So three years ago, the Los Angeles-based actress began to write.
The subject – a woman’s menstrual cycle – she decided to tackle is deemed by many as taboo.
But she wanted it out there.
“It’s kind of perfect timing,” she says during a recent phone interview. “Earlier this year, Newsweek had a cover with a tampon on it. The story was about getting over the shaming part of having a period.”
Barton’s film, “Girl Flu” follows the life of 12-year-old Bird, played by Jade Pettyjohn.
In the film, Bird is having the worst week of her life – she gets her first period, is ditched by her impulsive, free-spirited mom and learns that you can never really go back to the Valley.
The film also stars Katee Sackhoff, Jeremy Sisto, Heather Mtarazzo, Judy Reyes and Diego Josef.
The film will screen at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival at 5 today and at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at Violet Crown Cinema.
As Barton wrote the script, she wanted to create many layers to the story, though Bird would be the focus of the film.
And she wanted a new generation of women not to fear the rite of passage.
“It’s not a crass joke,” she says. “I felt like we needed a heartfelt coming-of-age story. I have so much hope and want little girls to have a much better experience.”
Barton wanted to keep the story focused on the friends and family of Bird and how they help her through this life-changing event.
She wanted to look at the whole system that surrounds the young girl.
“Jenny (the mother) really does have things to offer her daughter, though she doesn’t know it,” Barton says. “Jenny is very free and not so responsible. In many ways, the story becomes twofold. Both Jenny and Bird don’t really want to grow up, but they have to.”
Barton’s film is gaining steam on the film festival circuit.
In seven weeks, Barton will have traveled to 10 film festivals with the film.