EXCLUSIVE: Genius Produced has snapped up the rights to the story of aviation pioneer Florence Lowe “Pancho” Barnes in an agreement with her family and estate.

The announcement was made by Genius Produced CEO Kim Rocco Shields, who also revealed that Dahlia Heyman, sister of producer David Heyman, will adapt the story for a feature film which Shields will produce and direct. Shields previously wrote, produced and directed the viral short Love Is All You Need? which
she developed into a feature film.

Kim Rocco Shields
Genius Produced

Christened Florence Lowe at birth in 1901, Pancho Barnes fell in love with flying under the guidance of her grandfather, who established America’s first military air unit during the Civil War. After a youth spent riding stunt horses in Hollywood and fighting Mexican revolutionaries while disguised as a man, she was dubbed “Pancho” by her compatriots, and the name stuck; her last name was acquired through marriage. In 1928 Barnes obtained her pilot’s license and became a barnstormer and air racer, breaking Amelia Earhart’s women’s world air speed record by the time she was 27 in 1930 at a speed of 196.1 mph in a Travel Air Type R Mystery Ship. Barnes later moved to the Mojave Desert and opened the Happy Bottom Riding Club, a popular ranch and saloon for Hollywood celebrities and early test pilots, including Chuck Yeager, Buzz Aldrin and General Jimmy Doolittle. Her saloon was featured in the film The Right Stuff.

Hollywood has previously been fascinated with Barnes, and in 1988 CBS aired the Orion Television movie Pancho Barnes which won an Emmy for outstanding costumes for a miniseries special and a nomination in the music composition for miniseries/special category. Valerie Bertinelli played the title role.

Genius Produced also announced today that they have acquired and renovated a 20,000 square foot warehouse, located in Culver City’s revamped Hayden Tract, as a second production facility for their own productions and third-party rental. The new studio includes a light grid, mixing boards, green screen and VR
capabilities.