Tuesday, April 23

Interview With Marina Shron

Marina Shron
Marina Shron
photo by Karen Shasha
Josh Mitchell of Wickid Pissa Publicity introduced Marina Shron to us, and she was gracious enough to grant us this interview.

 La Libertad:  What would you like to tell our readers about The Fruit of Our Womb?

Marina:  The film is a behind-closed-doors look at the life of an affluent Manhattan couple and a homeless teenage girl (Christina) who they rescue from the streets and take into their world. It's the story of an instant family - one that starts as a utopian dream, which blossoms, but quickly degenerates into a vicious nightmare.

At its core, it’s a social parable set in a society where child sex abuse is at once the biggest taboo and the most lucrative enterprise.

La Libertad:  What was the short film that the feature is based on?

Marina:  The feature is a sequel to [my] award-winning short film "Lullaby for Ray" - a miniature film-noir that follows Christina and her partner, Ray, who transforms in the course of the film, from her “daddy” to her “lover” to her “pimp. By the end of the film, Ray is dead, and Christina embarks on a search of a new home.
Lullaby for Ray
Estelle Bajou

La Libertad:  What are the perks of your Kickstarter campaign?

Marina:  We have recently launched a Kickstarter campaign, and we offer some pretty amazing perks,  from a limited edition tote bag and an autographed poster with the film’s logo to the Producer credits. Everyone who contributes $20 and above gets [a] digital download of the film, a film credit, and [an invitation] to our wrap-party. Some of the most popular perks include a walk-on background talent role in one of our larger scenes (perfect for aspiring actors) and a PHOTOWALK – a guided tour of the film sites in New York, with photography advice from myself and the film’s D.P. [Director of Photography].  Oh, and there’s a script-consulting session with me; in addition to making films, I’ve been teaching screenwriting for many years.

La Libertad:  What do you love most about filmmaking?

Marina:  Film is an inherently poetic medium. It’s the most direct way to convey my vision - my experience of the world without explaining or rationalizing it. My background is in writing – writing for theater, to be exact. When writing plays, I had to rely on dialogue – but images are so much more powerful than words! I also love the collaborative nature of filmmaking. It’s hard but joyful work!

La Libertad:  What inspires you?

Marina:  I’m not quite sure what it is that inspires me to create. It’s a certain kind of hunger… I just have to do it to stay alive!

La Libertad:  What is the hardest part of producing a movie?

Fundraising. And again – fundraising. It’s the part that takes the longest, and it’s the hardest, the most tedious one - at least, for me it is. I’ve been lucky to work with producers who actually enjoy that part of the process!

La Libertad:  Where have you traveled?

Marina:  I’ve traveled to many countries – Italy, France, Germany, SpainColombia, where I made another short film, "Sea Child"... If time travel counts, I would include Russia; I was born there, in St.Petersburg. Along with New York, where I currently live, it’s one of the most influential cities in my life – a source of my “dark” inspiration.

La Libertad:  What are your overall career goals?

Marina:  My short term goal is to make my feature film debut, The Fruit of Our Womb. My overall goal is to carve a niche for myself as a female film director. I’m pretty certain that the kind of films I want to make have not been made yet.

La Libertad:  What other projects are you hoping to work on?

Marina:  I'm currently working on another screenplay, a political thriller, and a T.V. pilot. But I believe The Fruit of Our Womb should take most (if not all) of my time in 2019. My plan is to shoot the film in [the fall of] 2019, and complete post-production by January, 2020. We have recently launched the Kickstarter campaign to help us meet these goals.

La Libertad:  What links would you like to share?
Marina: 

The Kickstarter Campaign [which ends May 1, 2019]:

kck.st/2TGvTh3

The Film’s Website:

www.thefruitofourwomb.com/

And you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram:

https://www.facebook.com/tfoowmovie/


https://www.instagram.com/tfoowmovie/

Judas Kiss
Madi Hall & Amy Gordon, photo by Charles Fara
La Libertad:  What else, if anything, would you like to tell our readers?

Marina:  Don’t let anyone tell you what kind of life you should or should not be living, [or] what kind of films you should or should not be making.

And, if you have a rebel streak in you, please join our Kickstarter campaign and become a part of The Fruit of Our Womb team!

Warm regards...

Friday, February 22

Interview With Webmaster, William Mortensen Vaughan

William Mortensen Vaughan  in black tophat and Royal Stewart Tartan tuxedo
William Mortensen Vaughan
We last interviewed our Senior Editor, William Mortensen Vaughan, in April, 2017.  We decided it was high time to catch up with him again.

La Libertad:  The last time we interviewed you, you were hosting a contest or give-away on your website, A U.S. Christmas Carol.  How did that go?

William:  It didn't.  No one entered.  I'd had contests before, which attracted several participants, but I offered hundreds of dollars in prize money.  No one seems to be interested in cheap prizes, such as D.V.D.s [Digital Video Discs]. They want cash.  Unfortunately, I'm no longer willing to offer prize money.  Perhaps I will again, another year.

The good news is that I've apparently done something right as far as S.E.O. [Search Engine Optimization], because for months now, whenever I "Google" "us christmas carol" or "christmas carol us," A U.S. Christmas Carol is the first "hit" returned - even before any Wikipedia article.

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear on the first page of "hits," when you "Google" "christmas carol."  Of course, I'd really love it if my site were the first hit returned whenever anyone "Googled" "christmas"!

La Libertad:  How extensive is your collection of adaptations of A Christmas Carol now?

William:  I don't know for sure, but I've probably collected a dozen adaptations since the last time you asked me, so about seven dozen, I think.

And that's just on D.V.D. and V.H.S. [Video Home System].  I've also started collecting audio-only adaptatations on C.D. [Compact Discs], and Audible, as well as literary adaptations via Kindle.

La Libertad:  What are some of the best  and worst adaptations you've seen, heard, or read since our last interview?

William:  I've seen some of my least favorite video adaptations, starring Stuart Brennan, Matthew McConaughey, and Brian Cook.

A Christmas Carol (2018), starring Stuart Brennan as a modern, Scottish Ebenezer Scrooge, features a Ghost of Christmas Past (Rebecca Hanssen) who looks more like a lingerie model in white lace and garter belts than a spiritual messenger.  This adaptation also replaces the Ghost of Christmas Present with "the Goose of Christmas Present" (Mark Lyminster).  Apparently, "goose" is slang for "homosexual," and this particular homosexual man seems to "hit on" Scrooge with sexual innuendo. 

The McConaughey adaptation, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009), is almost pornographic, and features a scene in which McConaughey's character is caught in a rainstorm of used condoms.

The sexuality is more subtle in the Brian Cook adaptation, My Dad Is Scrooge (2014), but, disturbingly, it's there.  It also features child who urinates on the floor, and another who refuses to change his stinking socks.  Furthermore, it features farm animals who walk around indoors, and ride inside luxury sedans.  The fact that they speak English isn't necessarily a good thing, either.

For me, the best part of this adaptation of A Christmas Carol, is Brian Cook's refusal to dye the white spots in his hair.  When I first saw him, which was in this film, I thought it was snow, because his first scene shows him being struck with a snowball.  Then I thought perhaps he'd been moonlighting as a painter, and that he and all the film crew members (not to mention the video editors) missed a few spots of white paint before his appearance on set.  Then, curious, I Googled "brian cook," and discovered that his brown hair really has white spots in it, and he and those who employ him could not, apparently, care less.  More power to him!

I also discovered an adaptation, in the form of an episode of Sanford and Son, starring Redd Foxx; I bought the whole series on D.V.D., since it's nostalgic for me, and I'm ashamed to admit that I apparently missed this Christmas episode.

The best adaptation I've seen since our last interview, is The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017), starring Christopher Plummer as Scrooge, and Dan Stevens as Charles Dickens, which I saw at a cinema soon after the date of its release, November 10, 2017.  Since then, I've watched it it on D.V.D. and BluRay innumerable times.

The first audible adaptation I listened to was Jonathan Winters', which I found, on C.D., at a secondhand store.  Then I discovered A Shoe Addict's Christmas on Audible.  I've been hooked on audibles ever since.  I've heard Sir Patrick Stewart's audible adaptation, not to be confused with the movieNeil Gaiman has a good one on SoundCloud.

I downloaded a Western adaptation featuring the voice of James Stewart, with Howard McNear providing the voice for Ebenezer Scrooge in that adaptation, which was an episode of a radio show about a man named Brit Ponset, also known as "The Six-Shooter."  Howard McNear later played Floyd the Barber on "The Andy Griffith Show."  What I find particularly entertaining about Jimmy Stewart's adaptation is all the ways "Brit Ponset" is spelled:  Brit Ponsett, Britt Ponset, Britt Ponsett, Brit Poncett...  Not to mention the fact that his character and his revolver are both  nicknamed "the Six-Shooter," as if he were a "bad hombre," but his character sounds like a milktoast.

It's hard to believe Jimmy Stewart was, in reality, a Commanding Officer and a bomber pilot who flew twenty missions in combat during World War II.  He retired later as a Brigadier General.

The best audible adaptation that I've heard is Tim Curry's unabridged adaptation, not to be confused, again, with his video adaptation.  Three and a half hours, including Dickens' slight about U.S. Securities being worthless!  And Tim Curry makes every moment of those three and a half hours a pleasure to listen to.  Amazing!

There are spin-offs, too, which I've listened to, such as "Jacob T. Marley," "Miss Marley," and "Tiny Tim and the Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge."

The worst audible adaptation I've heard is "The Indian Christmas Carol," which is prose followed by an instrumental musical number.  It should have been marketed as a song - not an Audible.

I've had less luck with literary adaptations.  I read an  H.P. Lovecraft spoof adaptation by John Sheehan, and a set of plays for children to perform by authors Brendan P. Kelso and Khara C. Barnhart.  I found both of these literary adaptations slightly amusing - emphasis on "slightly."

La Libertad:  What upcoming adaptations, if any, are you looking forward to?

William:  Ice Cube is starring as "the Scrooge" in an adaptation called Humbug! which is scheduled for release this year [2019].

Candace Cameron Bure has already appeared in a film adaptation of A Shoe Addict's Christmas, which aired on the Hallmark Channel, but which I have yet to see, when it's released on the HallmarkNow "app" [application].

La Libertad:  What else have you been doing since our last interview?

William:  Today [February 20, 2019], I received notification that my Google Knowledge Panel has been verified by Google.  I applied a couple of days ago.  Now I can recommend changes, which will have greater weight than if I were someone else.

Unfortunately, I am not, apparently, important or notable enough to be verified on Facebook or Twitter.

I've also taken a greater interest in my genealogy than ever before.  I've tenuously traced my lineage all the way back through Vikings and Trojans, such as Thorgil Sprakling and King Priam, to Norse and Greek "gods" such as Zeus and Thor, and from them to Adam - emphasis on "tenuously"!

More believably, I've traced my Welsh lineage back through Lords such as Madog ap Gruffydd Maelor, to Casnar Wledig, born circa 500 A.D. [Anno Domini], about the time the legendary King Arthur was allegedly pulling the legendary Excalibur out of the legendary stone, and the historic Battle of Badon Hills.

More recently, my great grandfather Luther Clay Vaughan was perhaps born in Kentucky, but went to Indiana to join their Infantry to fight for the Union during the Civil War.

My great grandfather Rasmus Julius Smith, on my mother's side, was a Pony Express Rider between Utah and Idaho.

La Libertad:  Are you related to anyone famous?

William:  I recently discovered that Charles Dickens was a distant cousin of mine.  We are both descendants of a Scottish Earl named Alexander Gordon.

According to RelativeFinder.org, I have a lot of famous, distant cousins, including Queen Anne Stuart, who ruled over England and Ireland in the early Eighteenth Century (circa 1700 A.D.); P.T. Barnum, of circus fame; Johnny Cash; Johnny Carson; Jimi Hendrix; Elvis Presley; Janis Joplin; Richard and Karen Carpenter; Gene Autry; Jim Morrison; David Bowie; Walt Disney; Humphrey Bogart; John Wayne; Buddy Holly...  I find it particularly amusing that I might be related to Buddy Holly, since, over the years, people have called me that, and/or suggested that I resembled him.

I have also discovered links to dozens of the Defenders of the Alamo, including the Garrison Commander, Lieutenant Colonel James Bonham; Colonel Davy Crockett; and Jim Bowie, the alleged inventor of the Bowie knife.

I believe that I am related to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Viggo Mortensen, and Taylor Swift, but I have yet to make the connections.  The same goes for a somewhat famous photographer, for whom I am apparently mistaken online, named William Mortensen, who was born in Park City, Utah, and moved to California.  We are both descended from Danish Mormons who emigrated from Denmark to Utah during the 1800's.

I alo believe that a certain Jessica Vaughan is my second cousin, but I have yet to prove that.

La Libertad:  What are your favorite genealogical websites?

William: My favorite, where I "do" most of my genealogy, is WikiTree.com

I also like the Mormons' FamilySearch.org and RelativeFinder.org

Unlike Ancestry.com and Geni.com and others, they do not offer anything for money.  Unfortunately, they are open to the public, like Wikipedia, so anyone can potentially log in and change things.  One day your lineage is traced back to Adam, and the next it doesn't even make it back to Thorgil Sprakling.  I haven't had as many problems like that with WikiTree, although the opportunity for genealogical vandalism is also there.

Perhaps, another reason I gravitate to WikiTree is that it's so easy to get recognition there.  I've only had a WikiTree account for about four months (since November, 2018), and already I have sixteen badges.

I consider FamilySearch invaluable, though, because of all the sources it has, such as U.S. and State Censuses.  RelativeFinder uses the same database (and you use the same user I.D. [identification] and password to log in); it generates lists and spreadsheets of famous relatives.  You can sort by entertainers, U.S. Presidents, and Defenders of the Alamo, as well as many other groups you might be interested in, such as people who came over on the Mayflower, or signed the Magna Carta.

La Libertad:  What else, if anything, would you like to tell our readers about?

William:  In the past few weeks I've reached the Top Ten on the Leader Board of Luxor BlackJack by Yazino.

I am also in the top one percent of all-time card counters on BlackJack by FilGames, and I'm a High Roller on Governor of Poker 3.

I've reached the rank of Master on Chezz.  Chezz is like Chess online, but you don't have to wait your turn. You play in real time, against real opponents.  It makes for very intense Chess matches, because you're not just racing against a clock, but every moment that you let go by is a moment your opponent can be moving any or all of his pieces, depending on how long it takes you to make a move.

There is also an offline section, in which you play against artificially intelligent opponents.

By the way, I've done all this without spending any money on virtual currency, such as poker chips, gold pieces, or diamonds, et cetera.  Also, I've placed in the Top Ten on Luxor Blackjack's Leaderboard above many people who are at higher Levels than me, which enables them to play in a tournament I'm not ever allowed to play in, because I'm only at Level 15, and it requires Level 17 to even see its name, let alone play in it.

I can't say that about Paradise Bay by King, where I've spent dozens of U.S. Dollars on virtual purple diamonds in order to obtain virtual pets, such as a pair of koalas and a panda; I recently unlocked and adopted a pair of pink flamingos.  I've reached the maximum Level, too, which is 80.

I use these games to advertize my website.  In Paradise Bay, I have spelled out the U.R.L. [Universal Resource Locator] to my website, and the date of its last update.

On Google Play and Dragon Soul, I actually changed my name to AChristmasCaroldotUS and USChristmasCarol, respectively.

Unfortunately, Dragon Soul is taking their game down.  I'm not sure why.

I hate it that games often require online connections to play them, now-a-days.  In some cases, it makes the C.D.'s obsolete, when the online support evaporates.  I still pay early versions of Warhammer 40,000; once they required an online connection to play, I stopped upgrading.

On Dragon Soul, I created a line-up of Heroes which I think resemble characters from Charles Dickens' novel, A Christmas Carol:

A tophat-and-ducktail wearing Plague Mogul is my "Scrooge."

A Raging Revenant is my Jacob Marley.

A blonde Dragon Lady in golden armor is my Ghost of Christmas Past

A giant Orc Priest is my Ghost of Christmas Present.

A Skeleton King is my Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

A pair of Stepladder Brothers are my Bob and Tim Cratchit.

A Shadow Assassin is my Mrs. Cratchit.

A Plant Soul is my Martha Cratchit.

An Ancient idol is my Peter Cratchit.

A Goblin Trio is my Belinda and two other young Cratchits.

A Huntress with white war paint is my charwoman.

A Groovy Druid is my laundress.

A magician and a thief are my Fred and his wife.

Rotbeard the Pirate is my Old Joe.

Anyway, I'm proud to say that I'm one of the best virtual blackjack players in the world.  How many people do you know whose names you can find on a constantly updated leaderboard, which welcomes competition from all over the World-Wide Web?  And I'm on two of them.

La Libertad:  Where have you traveled since our last interview?

William:  We've returned to Virginia Beach a few times.  We went to South of the Border and Myrtle Beach for our "Meeting Anniversary."

Best of all, we went to the Biltmore for Christmas, 2018!

La Libertad:  What links would you like to share?

William:

www.AChristmasCarol.US

And the following U.R.L.s, which redirect themselves to that site:

achristmascarol.today

achristmascarol.club

achristmascarol.world

achristmascarol.online

theghostsofchristmas.online

yourchristmascarol.info

achristmascarol.reviews

dickensiancarol.com

I am also proud to introduce my SoundCloud, and associated playlists:

soundcloud.com/dickensiancarol

soundcloud.com/dickensiancarol/sets/wassail

soundcloud.com/dickensiancarol/sets/a-christmas-carol
(audio adaptations of the novel)


soundcloud.com/dickensiancarol/sets/fezziwigs
(Christmas Carols played predominantly on a violin, by masters of the violin such as Ji Hae Park and my fellow Utahn, Lindsey Stirling)

soundcloud.com/dickensiancarol/sets/toppers

(Decrease the surplus population!  Songs that make you feel like "topping" yourself...)

soundcloud.com/dickensiancarol/sets/dodecahedron
(Throw down the gauntlet, drop the gloves, and take off the mittens!  This is where I intend to collect one hundred forty-four of the best Christmas songs ever recorded!)

La Libertad:  What else, if anything, would you like to tell our readers?

William:  I invented a new mixed drink for National Margarita Day:  The Purple Iguana!  A margarita spiked with (preferably) one hundred percent cranberry juice...

On a more somber note, Albert Finney recently passed away.  He was the star of one of my favorite adaptations of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge (1970).  As his character would say, "Thank you very much!  Thank you very much!  Thank you very, very, very much!"

Photo and interview by Libertad Green

Interview With LEX

LEX
LEX
Josh Mitchell of Wickid Pissa Publicity introduced us to LEX as a "singer, lyricist, composer, and pianist."

He tells us that her first single, "Again in Love," is now available on all digital platforms including iTunes, Amazon Music, and Spotify.
She is currently in L.A., but she grew up in New York, where she earned her Bachelor Degree in Psychology and Vocal Performance at the New York State University at Buffalo.

"Growing up, LEX was immersed in a musical family; she played piano, and wrote songs with her father and brother. It was this early influence that led her to create her own material, blending the sounds of her youth with her...vocals to create a unique style. As former president of her
a capella troupe, she is also trained in classical, operative, vocal performance."

LEX tells us that "It took a lot of hard work and dedication from within [herself], as well as support from all the people around [her] to fully realize who [she wants] to be, and what [she has] to show the world.  This E.P. [Extended Play record, "Again in Love"] is a reflection of the fire and passion my collaborators and I plan to put forth into our creations."
 

Again in Love
Again in Love by LEX
We lookforward to the release of her future single, "LA Baby."
La Libertad:  Where were you born?

LEX:  I was born in New York, and raised in Westchester County.

La Libertad:  Where do you currently reside?

LEX:  I just moved to Los Angeles about five months ago. I live around Silverlake.

La Libertad: What does "LEX" stand for?

LEX:   My name is "Alexa Feiner."  "Lex" and "Lexi" have always been nicknames since I was little.

La Libertad:  What would you like to tell our readers about your new single?

LEX:  My new single is called "Again in Love," and it features artist/rapper J.G. I chose to release this as my debut single because it really captures my style of R and B [Rhythm and Blues]. The song is an ode to every time you fall in love, or every time you "think" you fall in love, and I'm always falling in love. And every time it's like, "Wow, I fell for this... again, and again." But I secretly love it, so I keep doing it. Kind of like an addiction...

La Libertad:  What does "J.G." stand for?

LEX:  It is his name, "Joshua Geiger."

La Libertad:  What do you love most about music?

LEX:  I'm never not listening to music.  There's always a song in my head. Music is the window to my soul, and it can be so powerful!  It has a way of hitting the heart so deeply!  And it can give me that type of cathartic release if I'm feeling sad, or stressed, or even happy. And I think that that's unique to everyone. And it's important that I, myself, and every artist, thinks about the way their music touches the lives of his [or] her listeners, to make them feel some type of way.

La Libertad:  What inspires you to write songs?

LEX:  Definitely my personal life. I try not to be too sad when it comes to my writing.  Sadness can come quite easily to me, and while there's a time and place for those kinds of songs, I like to take all my feelings and channel them into songs that are relatable to my audience.  I write a lot about love too, because who doesn't love love, "ya know?"  And I'm always looking for love, usually in the wrong places.

La Libertad:  What is the hardest part about the industry?

LEX:  I think it's hard to make a real connection with people in the industry. Everything seems kind of face value, and I think that's because there's that underlying feeling of competition, since everyone's trying to do the same thing.  It's also hard to try and stand out from everyone else who wants to do the exact same thing as you. "Ya know?"  It's like, "What makes you different, or what sets you apart from the rest of these artists who are trying to be singers and songwriters?"

La Libertad:  How many tracks will be on your upcoming E.P.?

LEX:  There's going to be around five or six tracks on my upcoming E.P., "Pinky." The E.P. is called "Pinky" because that's what my dad used to call me.  When he passed away three years ago, I knew I would dedicate this E.P. to him.

La Libertad:  Our condolences...

What are your overall career goals?

LEX:  To never stop making music. To always be working harder than I did the day before, and to challenge myself to think outside the box when it comes to my songwriting and my music. Winning a Grammy would be cool, too!

La Libertad:  What links would you like to share?

LEX:

Instagram: www.instagram.com/lexofficialmusic

Spotify

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LEXOFFICIALMUSIC

La Libertad:  What else, if anything, would you like to tell our readers?

LEX:  I hope that they're ready to be seeing a lot more of me! And to keep an eye out for my next single release in the next few months...!

LEX
LEX
Phtos by Ian Feiner

Introduction by Josh Mitchell and 
William Mortensen Vaughan


Friday, November 2

Interview With Madeline Rosene

Singer, writer, musician, comedienne, Madeline Rosene introduced herself to us by telling us that she is "sorry this took [her] so long!" and that she "[LOVES] these questions." She also "[hopes that her] answers aren't too ridiculous," and she would be "happy to change whatever!"  Please, don't change for us!

La Libertad:  Where were you born?

Madeline:  I was born in Danbury, Connecticut. My parents moved back to Cleveland, Ohio shortly after I was born. When I was four years old, they rented an apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and we began traveling back and fourth between New York City and Cleveland.

La Libertad:  Where do you currently reside?

Madeline:  I currently live in Los Angeles, and I'm loving it. Best weather, best friends... Everybody hustling... Love the energy.

La Libertad:  What made you want to become a singer?

Madeline:  My mom is a jazz vocalist. I think very young girls often photograph off of their mother. I just remember thinking what she did was cooler than anything my friends' parents did. As a third grader, I cared a lot about being "cool" because it was the first time I had ever been to school after being homeschooled, and I was basically the antithesis of cool.

Anyway, my mom was dope, and I knew that. I wanted to be like her. I remember drawing a picture of her -  literally a circle for her head, dots for eyes, a circle for her mouth with little musical notes coming out of it and spirals on her head for her "horrendous perm" at the time (her words). 

La Libertad:  What do you love most about writing music?

Madeline:  Writing music is kind of like a solution for me. I am very solution-oriented. It's a solution for negative or overwhelming emotions, difficult experiences, et cetera. It basically allows me to take a situation that might not be all that great and potentially turn it into something awesome. When that happens, it's such a satisfying feeling, and actually helps me move on from that experience much more quickly.

La Libertad:  What talents and hobbies do you have?

Madeline:  Besides writing music, I snowboard; I'm very into fashion and styling, thumb wrestling on a semi-professional level... One of these is not true! You pick!

La Libertad:  What inspires you?

Madeline:  I am mostly inspired by human interaction. Shitty people inspire me. Actually I don't really think there are completely bad people. I think there are terribly misinformed people, people who make bad decisions, and people who don't listen to my music. Those things can all be forgiven except for the not listening to my music one.

La Libertad:  What is the hardest part about living in Hollywood?

Madeline:  Probably living in NORTH Hollywood... That's only funny to people who live in L.A.

Honestly, I'm not sure. It seems relatively easy to me compared to living other places. I probably wouldn't last very long in Somalia.

I suppose there are quite a few people here, naturally, who are really only interested in helping themselves. That's a big part of living in an area that has such a large concentration of people working in entertainment. So many people want to be stars, not because they want to entertain or send a message, but because they just want to be? Instagram and the Kardashians have me so confused over what entertainment and talent actually are.

La Libertad:  You are also an actress. Tell us about your role on the new series "PUB.LIE.SIZE."

Madeline:  A friend of mine was casting a project he wrote and I asked if he needed an obnoxious singer/songwriter character. He was like, "Yep," and I was like, "I knew it..." So I'm basically playing myself and supporting Meg Dick who is an amazing actress and super funny. I love acting and hanging out with her. We have mad chemistry #letsrunawayandbelesbians.

La Libertad:  What are the details of your upcoming tour?

Madeline:  It's going to be throughout the U.S. We were planning for April but might be a little later because I just got a new agent (same agency though!) and we might make some updates. Whole band is going. Going to [be] amazing. It's my first tour and I've waited a long time to do this!

La Libertad:  Can we expect a new album from you this year?

Madeline:  Definitely trying to put out an album in 2019.  Want to call it Raised on Porn.

La Libertad:  What other projects are you currently working on?

Madeline:  Trying to get my dog to stop, drop, and roll. We've got stop and drop down. Still working on the roll...  There was a fire in my building the other day #NorthHollywoodLife
For real, follow my dog, @CroutonDog He's not like other Croutons.



La Libertad:  What upcoming events, if any, do you intend to participate in?

Madeline:  I am playing at the Silverlake Lounge on November 2nd at 11:00 p.m., and Los Globos on November 14th.

La Libertad:  What links would you like to share?

Madeline: 

www.instagram.com/MadelineRosene

www.youtube.com/user/RoseneMaddie

open.spotify.com/artist/7oIo0ztBhbXUaFhWRtVy7F

twitter.com/madeline_rosene

La Libertad:  What else, if anything, would you like to tell our readers?

Madeline:  Stick it to "the man." Nobody really knows what we're doing here, so just do you, but also be nice and help other people do them?

Photographer: Alex Huggan

Monday, October 8

Interview With Roger Hill

 Josh Mitchell of Wickid Pissa Publicity introduced Roger Hill to us as his "new filmmaker client," and told us that his newest feature film, Huckleberry has been released; a trailer is available at:
 

www.vimeo.com/275289172

Huckleberry, nicknamed "Huck," Mr. Mitchell tells us, is an eighteen-year-old, transgender man; Jolene is the daughter of a single mother; and both of these young people are high school seniors from the town of Rustbelt, Ohio, in the fall of 1999, where Huck goes to the Boys' Room for the first time, before his next class with Jolene, "the unrequited love of his life. 

"While pursuing Jolene," Mr. Mitchell explains, "Huckleberry comes into conflict with Clint, her twenty-two-year-old, drug-addled boyfriend." Jolene rejects Huck, and stays in her abusive relationship with Clint, so Huck executes a complicated plot against Clint.  Then an unknown assailant attacks Huck by surprise.

Will the identity of Huck's asailant be revealed?  Will Huck's friends stand by him?  Will Huck and Jolene live happily ever after together?  Or will the Rust Belt crush them like defective parts in outdated machinery?  Watch
Huckleberry, and find out!

Mr. Mitchell informs us that Roger Hill has spent a decade making documentaries, and co-directed
Flying Paper, an award-winning documentary, screened at forty international film festivals, about residents of the Gaza Strip trying to set the Guinnes World Record for flying the most kitesFlying Paper received an All Roads Seed Grant, Mr. Mitchell tells us, from National Geographic, in 2011 (before it terminated its film festival and these grants, in 2013).

According to Mr. Mitchell, Roger Hill founded Mental-Rev Productions in 2006, and directed its first feature-length documentary, Struggle, which LinkTV aired several times prior to the U.S. Presidential Election of 2012 (Romney versus Obama); it covers voter suppression and election rigging.

Mr. Hill currently divides his time, Mr. Mitchell tells us,  between Cleveland, Ohio, after founding Rust Belt Productions, and San Francisco, California where he has roots as the Director of SF Quality Video, which specializes in advocacy videos for non-profit organizations.  He is also seeking new partnerships to produce more films such as Huckleberry, and is currently developing two feature-length screenplays, as well as a television series set in the underworld of historic and present-day San Francisco.

Mr.Hill's production of
Huckeleberry is a return to his roots in narrative fiction.




La Libertad:  What would you like to tell our readers about your new film, Huckleberry?

Roger:  Huckleberry is a film I started writing twenty years ago, when I was in High School.  It was born from a complex revenge fantasy I was having about tormenting the abusive boyfriend of a girl I had a crush on.  I set aside the film for a long time and picked it up again in early 2016.

The logline reads:  Huckleberry, eighteen, transgender-male,  pursues his crush, Jolene, in the face of indomitable small-town values and his love's loathsome boyfriend, Clint.

Huckleberry is a moody teenage drama with elements of a thriller and some late 'Nineties nostalgia.

At the heart of the story is the fallacy of revenge, a universal theme.  However, Huckleberry’s gender identity as a transgender man is very relevant in these times of “bathroom bills” and increased violence and discrimination towards the trans, non-binary,  and the broader genderqueer and non-conforming communities.

This is my first feature length narrative film and was made with the tenacity of a wonderful cast and crew, an incredible cinematographer in Jon Coy, and the support of the Ohio University Film Division.

My background is in documentary film-making, and my intention was to bring that gritty realism into the style of Huckleberry. The environment in which the story takes place is one of abandoned factories and rusting industrial architecture; this is a motif that is representative of the lives of the main characters.

In the screenplay, a key scene takes place near an enormous metal scrapyard, with a unique, twenty-foot tall statue of an iron worker, constructed from bits of scrap metal...from the yard, standing in front.  The description from the screenplay which I feel best represents the stylistic approach of the film is the following:

A scrap metal statue of an iron worker stands by the entrance. Rain drips and pours in rivulets as if it is bleeding.

During production, we were banned from shooting near this statue at the scrap yard, at the last minute.  As happens with most artistic visions, we had to make changes on the fly.  I approached it by drawing on associations I had with my Rust Belt upbringing, and shot the scene over two locations -  one a decaying relic of the railroad industry, and the other the access bridge to a defunct steel mill and current storage yard for decommissioned train engines.

La Libertad:  Where were you born?

Roger:  I was born in Ashtabula, Ohio.  Which is the northernmost county in Ohio, and gets a lot of snow in the winter.  That’s about all it’s known for.

La Libertad:  Where do you currently reside?

Roger:  I split my time between Cleveland, Ohio and San Francisco, California.

La Libertad:  Do you have any fun stories that unfolded on set during the making of the movie?

Roger:  We were set to shoot exteriors in the morning for a couple key scenes...in December of 2016.  Here are the elements of the shoot:

A cherry, 1986 IROC Camaro, with a manual transmission and a finicky owner who was paranoid about road salt; an actor who can’t drive a stick shift; a choreographed fight scene; a full sized phone booth that we transported to northeast Ohio; and a location that we hadn’t yet cleared.  The night before, with all these dangling logistics already to contend with, there was a blizzard dumping about six inches of snow.

Most of the crew and I were crashing at my parents' house in Youngstown, Ohio.  I woke early and looked across the fields of snow.  I remember asking my D.P. [Director of Photography] Jon Coy how early was too early to talk logistics for the shoot.  He took a deep breath and asked to finish his morning coffee.  I begrudgingly agreed that this was acceptable.  With the car being delivered that day, after much negotiation, it was not really feasible to shoot anything other than what we’d planned on.

Sarah Ulstrup as Jolene
So we went for it.  While Line Producer Carrie Love and Assistant Director Leander Edmiston found a flatbed trailer for the Camaro, I practiced with the actors Sarah and Justin for the fight scene. Carrie brought cookies to the unsecured location and won over the owners of the business. We braved the snow and cold, shot the fight scene, unloaded the phone booth, shot that scene and even found time to fly the drone around.

That morning I was upset and concerned about the snow, but it worked out perfectly.  The white-out matched the tone of the scene and we captured some of the most evocative footage of the
entire film; it was probably our best single day of shooting over the entire project.

La Libertad:  What do you love most about film-making?

Roger:  Film-making is a deep, shared experience with an entire cast and crew of amazing people. 

That is what I love most about it - the relationships forged in a collective creative endeavor.  I e-mailed Daniel Fisher-Golden, who plays Huckleberry, out of the blue, about three years ago, based on the strength of his grin on his Backstage profile photo.  Armed with a shaky pitch for a proof of concept, I assured him we’d see it to the end; Dan dove in with both feet, he did not hesitate.






Daniel Fisher-Golden as Huckleberry


I feel like Dan understood his character on a molecular level, he worked so hard and challenged himself so thoroughly that what reads on screen is a perfect hybrid of my original imagination of the character and Dan’s genuine self.  Dan’s honest portrayal of Huckleberry was so much better than I ever could have imagined!  The collaborative process allowed us to reach a deeper level of empathy with the character by freeing the writer (me, in this equation) [from] the burden of their limited experience while opening the floodgates of personal experiences of the actor (Dan).   This is an example of the creative collaboration process, which is what I love most about filmmaking.  I could give an example for each cast and crew member on this film.

La Libertad:  What inspires you?

Roger:  I don’t know what it says about me that this is the hardest question to answer.  But I think simply working on films is what grounds and also inspires me.  If I don’t have a project that I’m fully invested in, I feel unmoored.  Success in this career has always seemed just out of reach for me; I mean success is relative, but, for me, it’s simply defined as being paid to do what you love and are good at.  I still haven’t quite got to that point as I’m self-financing my films; maybe after this one I’ll enter the ranks of Directors who actually get paid for their work, but until then, I’m inspired by the process, because I’d be miserable if I wasn’t making films.  What inspires me is not a lofty ideal; it’s the all the simple acts of creating - engagement with the process.

La Libertad:  What is the hardest part of getting a project into production?

Roger:  I think the hardest part is the solidifying one’s personal commitment to the project. 

Just getting started is really the hardest part.  Tinkering on scripts over the years is a pretty low level of engagement, but once you really fully commit, it becomes a whirlwind of activity
from casting, to location scouting, all the prep work, you can’t half ass it, it has to become all consuming or it’ll never truly get off the ground.  So that first step, jumping into the fire - that’s the hardest part.  I think after you write that first check it starts to get real.

Beyond that, the most stressful part is figuring out your financing.  Everything costs so much money, and you have to be prepared for that expense; otherwise it could cripple your production.

We shot Huckleberry over three periods:  one week in October, 2016; a week in December, 2016; and two weeks in August, 2017.  Between shoots, I was hustling to secure the budget for the next one, so I was never really out of the grind of fundraising.  It was cool, though, to shoot in stages like that, because I got to put more work into the script, and adjust storylines based on the performances we had captured so far.

I adopted a kind of fatalistic approach to the film, and tried not to second guess each decision I made; instead, I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, and followed the path that unfolded.  I think it is important to trust it’ll work out, despite the pitfalls and overwhelming evidence that failure is a distinct possibility.

La Libertad:  What are your overall career goals?

Roger:  I just want to work.  Simply to direct, write, edit, and/or produce movies while supporting passionate people in their careers in the movie industry.  There are a lot of creative and talented people out there who are willing to work hard and sacrifice for their art; that should be enough, but it really isn’t in this industry.  In film, it takes a level of access to be able to put one’s talents to work.  My goal is to continue grinding and working for that access, for myself and those I collaborate with.

I dream of the day I can direct a film and hand it off to a producer and start the next one.

That, however, is not feasible right now, as I must also promote and plan the next project from the ground up.  Accepting this as reality helps me set more reasonable goals, and adopt a more patient mantra, because I understand that each film is a three- to five-year commitment.  So staying grounded, and not burning out is another goal of mine.  If success comes in the meantime, I’ll be happy to adjust my goals.

La Libertad:  What future projects are you working on?

Roger:  I have a couple projects in development in addition to promoting Huckleberry.  I’m currently writing a drama primarily set along what’s known as the “Loneliest Road in America,” Route 50, through Nevada.  It’s about that brief moment in time between life transitions, and is centered around two couples:  One, a couple of recent college graduates, moving to California from the
East Coast; and the other, a couple in their late thirties, moving from San Francisco (back) to the Midwest.  It’s a reflective film, but the points of stress on the characters' relationships is something that will be explored in a unique variety of ways.

I’m also penning a series set in different communities of San Francisco criminal organizations, both past and present, with a stylistic approach, influenced by the wild tales [of] when the city was nicknamed the “Barbary Coast.”

La Libertad:  What upcoming festivals, if any, do you intend to participate in?

Roger: 
Jahking Guillory as Will


World Premiere, Marina Del Rey Film Festival, on October 18, [2018], at 9:30 p.m. 




Florida Premiere, Orlando Film Festival, October 21, [2018], at 4:00 p.m., and October 23, [2018], at 6:00 p.m.

Ohio Premiere, Ohio Independent Film Festival, November 3, [2018], at 12:45 p.m.

There will be more in 2019, as well, but this is what we have booked so far.

La Libertad:  What links would you like to share?

Roger:  Follow Huckleberry on Facebook and Instagram:

facebook.com/huckleberrymovie

instagram.com/Huckleberrymovie

Watch the two-minute theatrical trailer at:

vimeo.com/270129140



Sarah Ulstrup as Jolene and Daniel Fisher-Golden as Huckleberry

La Libertad:  What else, if anything, would you like to tell our readers?

Roger:  Just keep working.  I had a professor tell me that if you study every night you won’t have time to worry that you’ll fail.  I think that applies to making films as well; dive in and keep treading water; invest yourself fully in the process; and don’t look for excuses, but rather solutions.  Anybody can do this work, but not everyone has the discipline and self sacrifice to
see it through.


Introduction by William Mortensen Vaughan and Josh Mitchell



Saturday, August 18

Interview With Superwomen Sue Melke, Bridget Cook-Burch, and Celeste Gleave

I Am a Superwoman poster
Josh Mitchell of Wickid Pissa Publicity referred us to Sue Melke, Bridget Cook-Burch, and Celeste Gleave, who gave us this interview:

La Libertad:  What would you like to tell our readers about the Superwoman Campaign?

Sue:  I Am a Superwoman is really a movement – of bringing women and men back into alignment so that we can create a greater world for our children. Right now as a society, we are like being in a broken down car on the wrong side of the freeway — and the freeway signs are down...  As a society, we are lost amongst so much violence, distrust, unkindness, and despair, and there is nearly a gender war taking place.  I Am a Superwoman is about recalibrating society to bring mutual dignity and respect for one another – to heal from past hurts while moving forward in purpose, in a fun and powerful way, for today and tomorrow’s leaders.  That’s why #IAmASuperwoman.  That’s why #NowItsUp2Me!

La Libertad:  Where did you get the inspiration for your mission?

Bridget:  So much openness developed after #MeToo that has been critical, and because we've been working in the trenches with victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault, we know women can no longer remain silent.  However, women and men have become afraid of one another, and it’s not teaching our kids healthy boundaries, nor mutual dignity or respect for one another.  We have been working for several years on programs to end violence against women, and we know that it is time for women and men to be working together for a healthier future.  We are inspired by women leaders and the men that love them enough to support and help create change.  We've been surprised and pleased at how many men want this for their wives, children, and grandchildren.

La Libertad:  What are the details of the Superwoman Summit?

Superwomen:  Friday, August 24 [2018], from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.  It’s being held in the historic International Ballroom, and all manner of girls and women (rising leaders) will be joining us, as well as men with the vision of what is possible.

We have:

·         Lifetime award-winners in global and human rights, media, and journalism.

·         Compelling topics on equality and empowerment, with incredible speakers and panelists.

·         Young female leaders coming to learn and be mentored from some of the greatest leaders in the nation.

·         Victims coming out of human-trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault, learning how to own their voices, and become leaders.

·         American Idol artist entertainment

·         A Personal Bill of Rights Challenge

·         A VIP luncheon with the award-winners, speakers, and panelist leaders on the world-famous International Terrace.

NOTE: Tickets are limited to availability.

La Libertad:  What inspires you?

Celeste:  I think we're most inspired by leadership based on integrity...  Leaders that engender and engage human compassion and kindness...  Treating one another with respect and dignity...  That inspires us greatly - so do women and men who have fought for their rights... and hard-won, share their stories with us.


La Libertad:  What would you like to tell our readers about the Bill of Rights video challenge?

Superwomen:  Inside of SHEROES United, we had been working on the educational aspects of something magnificent that was working!  We knew this to be the next step for healthy leaders.  What clinched it was an educational training process we use that not only alleviates the low energy of shame and blame, but it also helps women and men own their voices, and rise from being victims to victors and leaders!  It’s vital for them to voice their boundaries.  We had developed a Personal Bill of Rights into our trainings in prisons and villages, and we knew it worked.  We made it historically tied to one hundred seventy years ago, with the inception of the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, [New York], and also made it relevant to today.  We realized that in a fun way, if women could own their superpowers, their voices, and their boundaries, things have to change! If men can be honored and do the honoring as well, then a deep wound within our society becomes healed.  Imagine kids growing up knowing their superpowers and their boundaries because mom and dad taught them?  And all the adults they know are practicing healthy boundaries?  It’s very powerful!

La Libertad:  What is the biggest challenge you face in 2018?

Superwomen:  The saturation of so much turmoil in the world and on our home ground.  The news is full of people berating and raking one another under the coals, throwing them under the bus.  People are tired of the news, not knowing that there is good news on their horizon if they but choose it.  We are not victims to our past, nor to any beliefs that do not honor others.  We have power to make change within ourselves this minute, and in our families immediately, and in our communities by simply being a different form of leader.

We have been around the world, and we have discovered there is more good in the world than evil, and more good people in the world than the twisted.  We just get to find each other and create a more positive tribe – get our car back on the right side of the freeway and work together for a brighter vision and future.

La Libertad:  What are your career goals?

Superwomen:  Well, as Producers, we are working on changing the world!  Beginning with ourselves, we believe in thinking big and acting bigger.  We believe that change is possible, and we’re working to spread a message that is much bigger than ourselves individually.  We’re looking to collaborate with more of the top leaders in this country and beyond, and to be able to bring significant change by being influencers of influencers.  We believe in having the bigger conversations that have to be addressed — without apology.  We plan to continue working with local and world leaders, diplomats, and royalty.  It’s time.

La Libertad:  What other projects are you working on?

Superwoman:  We’re creating a beautiful I Am a Superwoman Red-Carpet Gala, where we can celebrate equality and empowerment through entertainment, awards, and bringing people together for a common cause of doing real good in the world!  We have some popular celebrities, glorious entertainment, and are auctioning off Whitney Houston’s piano, with the proceeds going to SHEROES United’s education programs that help high-risk girls and women, as well as raising a new generation of leaders.

We would like to see additional Superwoman Equality and Empowerment Summits across this great nation, and in different parts of the world where it is also needed.

La Libertad:  What links would you like to share?

Superwomen:

www.SuperwomanCampaign.org

www.SHEROESUnited.org

La Libertad:  What else, if anything, would you like to tell our readers?

Bridget:  One person has the power to change the world...  One person has likely inspired you to become your best self.  It takes leaders and mentors to show the way, oftentimes, but the leadership comes from inside of you.  You have it, even if you've been beaten and bullied.  You have it, even if you've made mistakes.  You were born with greatness, and it becomes a matter of choice:  Victim or victor?  Sheep or leader?  We're asking you to look at the greatest leader already inside of you.  The fact that you are reading this means she is ready to be awakened!

Monday, February 19

Interview With Shelly Skandrani

Shelly Skandrani
Shelly Skandrani

Josh Mitchell of Wickid Pissa Publicity introduced us to Shelly as someone who "is best known for her critically acclaimed co-star role in Showtime's popular Holocaust film The Devil's Arithmetic, starring Kirsten Dunst and Brittany Murphy, and produced by Dustin Hoffman and Mimi Rogers."

Mr. Mitchell also tells us that "Shelly had to shave her head on camera to portray a young bride whose wedding ceremony is destroyed when Nazi [National Socialist German Workers' Party] soldiers invade her Polish village and carry her and her community to the concentration camps."

According to the New York Daily News, "...it is the quiet, honest performances of young actors from the United States, Canada and Europe, Brittany Murphy, Shelly Skandrani and Kirsten Dunst that carry this picture [
The Devil's Arithmetic] and infuse it with power."

[NOTES:  According to the Internet Movie Database, Brittany was born in Georgia; Kirsten, in New Jersey; and Shelly, in Tel Aviv, Israel.]

"Some of [Shelly's] latest projects," Josh tells us, "include an anti-war short film called 'The C-Gate,' which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and a recurring co-star role on the Amazon hit show "Transparent."

"This spring," he adds, "she is set to star as Astrid, an indecisive woman who can't get her life together in the indie feature film
Phoning It In, which Joe Shapiro will direct.

"In addition, she will be co-hosting an online talk show with Natalie Marciano, called "Black Sheep Revelations" which will discuss current issues, ruffling some feathers in a humorous and unique manner."


In this interview, Ms. Skandrani tells us about the currently popular #metoo and #timesup movements, from her point of view.

La Libertad:  Where were you born?

Shelly:  I was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. But I grew up in London from ages seven through eighteen.

La Libertad:  Where do you currently reside?

Shelly:  I live in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

La Libertad:  What is your occupation?

Shelly:  I am an actress.

La Libertad:  What do you love most about your work?

Shelly:  I love the anthropological aspect of acting. I love learning about different cultures, different times in history, and wearing different costumes, and then bringing a person to life from it.  It’s like I can live a hundred different lives in one lifetime.

I also love the idea that by bringing those different characters to life I can inspire people to think differently - to see another aspect of society or another point of view.  I believe that arts can really heal so many issues in our society, and I love being a part of that!

La Libertad:  What talents and hobbies do you have?

Shelly:  I love singing and dancing.  In fact I used to act in a lot of musical theater growing up, and, as an adult, I love it - the movement, the choreography, the teamwork, the excitement, the costumes!  It brings me to life.

I was a hip hop and salsa dancer for years, and I was the singer in a Ska band back in the days when Ska was a new kid on the block.

I’m also really good with arts and crafts; I draw and paint, and make jewelry; it’s really relaxing, and I use it for stress relief.  I also love to cook; it’s very satisfying to look into my fridge, take out whatever is there, and make a delicious meal with it.  It makes me feel independent and powerful!

La Libertad:  What inspires you?


Shelly:  Travel!  Travel and nature! I’ve spent extensive periods of my life traveling and back packing.  One of my favorite things to do when out and about in the world is to hike.  Not day hikes, but heavy duty ones, twelve miles a day, five days up and down a mountain to some lost city like Machu Picchu, surrounded by trees.  Nature grounds me, I feel like we are as God intended when in nature.

Often, when looking for stress relief, I go to a place filled with trees; I sit under the biggest one I find, and I connect with it.  I feel like, if the tree has been here for a hundred years and has survived, then I guess so will I, and everything will be okay!

La Libertad:  What is the hardest part of your job(s)?

Shelly:  If I’m honest, and this is not easy to talk about, I feel that the hardest part has been navigating through the behind the scenes aspect of the industry.  I have found myself in situations where I’ve read for the role, gone for the callbacks, gotten the part, met with producers, met with director, met with investors, jumped through all the hoops, and then, somewhere along the chain, one of the gate keepers makes it very clear that if I actually want to film the role there’s another “requirement” I need to fulfill.  It’s never been forced; it’s just been clarified.  And I’ve had to pack my bag, and walk away from the role.

So I only worked with people I truly trusted and those experiences were incredible, but I’m sure my career would have exploded much faster without all those set backs.

This year everything is changing and I feel invigorated! The #metoo and #timesup movements have filled me with hope and a new found energy.  I feel like I’ve been waiting for this moment, and now I’m set free to conquer the world again.

I walk into a room, and suddenly people care about a woman’s perspective!  Writers are writing female leads; those that were already interested in telling female driven stories are suddenly getting funded and the narrative has totally changed.  No longer does the woman need to be a submissive "babe," only there to pander to the male lead.  Now she can be courageous, strong, opinionated, and liberated!

These roles suit me far more as a person and as an actress; these roles are opportunities for me to really show my range and capabilities, and I’m really excited at the doors that have opened up for me in the last six months!  These are great times in the industry!

La Libertad:  What foreign languages, if any, do you read, write, and/or speak?

shelly:  I speak, read, and write in Hebrew fluently, and I speak and read Spanish proficiently. 

La Libertad:  Where have you traveled?

Shelly:  I’d say my passport is pretty worn.  I’ve been to most of the States in America, [and] most of the countries in Europe; I spent ten months backpacking in South America in 2007, and six months in India in 2011.  My biggest dream is to spend six months in Africa.  One day...

I usually immerse myself in the culture, getting to know local people, learning the language, trying the food.  During my two months in Cusco, Peru, I practiced my salsa every day with the local dancers, and in Varanasi, India I studied a dance they call Kathak.

Sunsets are more spectacular when you travel; food is tastier; clothes more colorful.  I think it’s because we are less bothered by the stress of every day issues... so we flourish; our senses heighten, and we connect to the universe better - to the here and now.

When I was young I dreamed of being Indiana Jones - traveling the world on adventures, and uncovering hidden temples, but when I looked into archaeology, it was more about sitting in offices, and cleaning dead bones with toothbrushes in the dessert...  So I realized I wanted to be an actress and pretend to be an archaeologist in a movie!

La Libertad:  What are your career goals?

Shelly:  I’d love to be involved in more films that further the women’s story!  Films like Suffragette (starring Carey Mulligan) and The Post (starring Meryl Streep) really inspire me.  I’d love to know that through my art I made a difference.

The first film I ever acted in was a Showtime Holocaust film called The Devil’s Arithmetic; I had a co-star role opposite Kirsten Dunst and Brittany Murphy.  It was the movie of the month on Hallmark, and was shown in schools all over the U.S.A.  I know that my cousins saw it at school, and all their classmates were really affected by it.  For some kids, it’s the only film they’ve seen - it’s the only understanding they’ll get about the holocaust, and I felt that I was a part of something that matters.  I want to feel that feeling with every project I do.

I’d also like to star in some of my own stories.  I wrote a lot of journals and stories while traveling around the world; I even wrote some scripts.  One day, I’d love to have one of those scripts made, so that I can share my own life lessons and truths with the world.  I’d love to feel that they were of use, not just to myself.

La Libertad:  What projects are you working on?

Shelly:  I have a few things coming up, but I’m most excited about two projects in particular.  I feel that they are both very empowering to viewers, and to women in particular, and both further the female voice in their own way.

One is a feature film called Phoning It In, which is a humorous drama about Astrid, a woman who’s stuck in life because she’s afraid of making any decisions; she’s afraid of making mistakes. I can really relate to that; often I’ve held off from making a decision until the very last moment, and I wish I was more courageous.

While I’ve had plenty of lead roles in theater, in Tel Aviv, this will be my first lead in a feature film, and I’m very excited to be working with director, Joe Shapiro, who’s a truly talented director, with a great eye for detail.  We will be shooting towards the fall!

Another project is an online talk show that I will be hosting with Natalie Marciano, who’s producing it as well.  It’s called “Black Sheep Revelations,” and it’ll be all about thinking "outside the box," and accepting your own individuality.  We will be talking about current issues in a witty and edgy way.  I’m sure we will be pressing some buttons, but that’s okay; let’s get the conversation rolling!  The show will be released around May, so that’s super exciting!

La Libertad:  What upcoming events, if any, do you intend to participate in?

Shelly:  I recently heard of an organization called Women Creating Change; it’s for female filmmakers from the Middle East and Northern Africa.  The idea is to bridge the gap between different religions and countries in the area through collaboration and art!

I went to their launch event in November and came out so inspired I was walking on clouds.  I met Arabic women who are actresses, writers, and directors, and heard their stories, their conflicts, their triumphs, and their failures, and they were so similar to my own experiences, that it felt like home; we really hit it off.

Coming from Israel, it’s always awkward when I meet Arabic women, to tell them where I’m from, but here everyone was open, warm, kind...  It was enlightening.  As if I could picture a possibility for peace in the Middle East, if we all just worked together...

So, any event they hold, I’ll be there!

La Libertad:  What links would you like to share?

Shelly:  I’d love to share a link to my website:
www.shellyskandrani.com

My IMDB:

www.imdb.com/name/nm0803840

And one of my reels:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMz8U385Srg

La Libertad:  What else, if anything, would you like to tell our readers?

Shelly:  These are changing times.  There are shifts in people’s perspectives and energies.  I implore everyone to jump on board the train of change to a better future!

I sound like a hippy.
Well... Maybe I am...




Introduction by Josh Mitchell and William Mortensen Vaughan