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


Sunday, February 18

Interview With Chris Hoover

Chris Hoover
Chris Hoover
Josh Mitchell of Wickid Pissa Publicity introduced us to Chris Hoover as the author of a "new, erotic novel, Willow's Whispers," which is set "right before the raging Southern California fires of 2017," when "a middle-aged writer [was] engulfed in a taboo relationship with a muse thirty years his junior, causing his life to crash and burn around him.

"Reed Allen [was] a... Navy SEAL [Sea, Air, and Land operative], but [then he became] a struggling writer who [needed] a good story; otherwise, he might as well [have given] up on his passion. Having lived a life full of adventure in the military, then later as a fire fighter, Reed decided to put all his eggs into one basket, [and move] across [the] country to pursue the dream of becoming a bestselling author.

"His aspirations [came] to a screeching halt when he [met] the vivacious and barely legal siren, Willow, who not only [turned] his world upside down, but his long dormant heart inside out.

"The May-December romance was only supposed to be a fling... Reed assured himself, but when moments turned into nights, and days turned into weeks, he found himself utterly unable to live without his delicate muse. What began as a casual affair quickly spiraled into an all-consuming, life-altering addiction which could very well cost him his dreams, and even his life.

"Based on a real-life love affair between two forbidden lovers,
Willow's Whispers is a modern take on The Professor [Marston] and the Wonder Women clashed with the working man’s version of Fifty Shades of Grey."

Josh told us that the "book [was] set for publication on Valentine's Day and [would] be available on Amazon":


www.amazon.com/Willows-Whispers-Mermaid-Plundered-Pirate/dp/1983978477

La Libertad:  What would you like to tell our readers about Willow's Whispers?

Chris:  Willow's Whispers is a twisted, romantic, taboo story about a couple who were living in a forbidden relationship for almost a year.  It was forbidden because she was just nineteen and he was firty-nine.  He was her mentor, and she was his muse.  However, she distracted him from his writing career, with her whimsical energy and her sensual body.  In the end, even though he was the dominating force in their colorful relationship, she was the one who left him to fend for himself in the midst of the recent, horrible California Fires.

La Libertad:  What do you like about being a writer? 


Chris:  I like to tell stories, and I find that writing them is a very healthy way to express my inner feelings and fantasies.

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


Chris:  I love the flexibility of my writing duties, and the excitement that comes along with it when the new novel or book is just being published.

La Libertad:  What talents and hobbies do you have? 


Chris:  I am a highly skilled carpenter; I play the mandolin [and] the violin; I am a solid white water guide; I also enjoy surf kayaking, disc golf, mountain biking, long boarding, camping, hiking, fishing, dancing, and painting.

La Libertad:  What inspires you? 


Chris:  Being outside in nature, or dancing to live music.

La Libertad:  What is the hardest part of writing a novel?  


Chris:  The actual typing of it; I only type about thirty words per minute.

La Libertad:  Where have you traveled? 


Chris:  Canada, Mexico, all over the U.S., and I have lived in Costa Rica, which is where the inspiration for my first novel came from.



La Libertad:  What was your first novel?


Chris:  I spent many vacations and lived in Costa Rica for a year.  It was in this musical, magical world that I met a cherished spirit guide, who introduced me to a shaman, who mentored me in so many magical ways!  It was while I was existing in this euphoric world away from the mechanical grind of America, that I was inspired to finish the last one hundred pages of my four-hundred-page sci-fi fantasy novel called Imagine FreedomImagine Freedom was spawned from a lucid dream I had over thirty years ago now.  In the dream, there was an underwater, subterranean portal that led to another world deep inside our own. Inside of this world Reed Allen, the main character [in] Imagine Freedom, and the leader of the Freedom Fighting revolution, found the key to life.
 
La Libertad:  What are your overall career goals? 

Chris:  To see all of my books [become] best [sellers], and to make Willow's Whispers into a feature film.

La Libertad:  What other projects are you working on? 


Chris:  I just published/co-authored How We Got Trumped.  I also have published two sci-fi fantasy novels, Imagine Freedom and the sequel, Freedom Lives.  I am also working on a Ganja Cartoon series.

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


Chris:  I plan on being at SXSW [South by Southwest Film Festival]  and various Comic Cons.

La Libertad:  What links would you like to share? 


Chris:

www.willowswhispers.us  

www.imagine-freedom.com 

[How We Got Trumped]

www.amazon.com/dp/1983873772

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


Chris:  Willow's Whispers is set for publication by February 22, and will be available on Amazon initially.  There is also a feature film pending which will be shot at the house and in Ventura County.  Ten percent of the proceeds will go to victims of the Thomas Fire.
 

Monday, October 30

Interview With Anjanette Miller

La Libertad:  Where were you born?

Anjanette:  I was born in Saint Louis, Missouri.

La Libertad:   Where do you currently live?

Anjanette:  I currently live in Miami and L.A.

La Libertad:  Tell us about your latest film "Hard Visit."


Anjanette:  "Hard Visit" is about a down on his luck actor [being] rescued from obscurity by his wealthy, sports bookie brother; but when a calculating female hustler comes between them, their relationship is anything but perfect.

La Libertad:  What do you love most about being a producer?

Anjanette:  What I love most about being a Film Producer is to work with the cast and crew, and bring great content to the big screen, so hopefully it will change someone’s life in an entertaining fashion.

La Libertad:  What is the most important thing in making a great movie?

Anjanette:  The most important thing in making a great movie is to provide great understandable content that will actually move emotions in someone.

La Libertad:  What inspires you?

Anjanette:  What inspires me is when other filmmakers move their creative vision of their project into production and onto the big screen.


La Libertad:  What is the hardest part about being on set?

Anjanette:  The hardest part about being on set is when the production ends and you’re not with the cast and crew on a daily basis anymore.

La Libertad:  Where have you traveled?

Anjanette:  I’ve had the pleasure to travel all over the world, as in:  Asia, Europe, Caribbean Islands, South America, and still exploring more countries and continents!

La Libertad:  What are your career goals?

Anjanette:  My career goal is to master my Producing talents and become a Film Director as well.

La Libertad:  What projects are you working on?

Anjanette:  I’m currently working on the Distribution of my current films that I Produced called "Wine Tasting" and "Hard
Visit."  I also have other film and T.V. projects in my pipeline to Produce and Distribute.

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

Anjanette:  I currently plan to attend the A.F.M. [American Film Market] Conference in November, 2017, which is the largest film conference and motion picture business event. Over seven thousand industry leaders converge in Santa Monica for eight days of deal-making, screenings, conferences, networking, and parties. Participants come from more than eighty countries, and include acquisition and development executives, agents, attorneys, directors, distributors, festival directors, financiers, film commissioners, producers, writers, the world’s press - all those who provide services to the motion picture industry.

La Libertad:  What links would you like to share?

Anjanette: 

IMDB link:  www.imdb.com/name/nm0587898
           
http://celebritypictures.wiki/celebrity/587898/884012

My Father’s Teeth Short Film:  https://vimeo.com/139320296
                   
http://lalibertadmag.blogspot.com/2015/07/filmreview-theconvicted.html

http://www.electrowow.net/2016/12/wickid-pissa-films-set-to-kick-off-wine-tasting.html

https://lillyslifestyle.com/2017/06/05/festival-di-arte-e-cineturismo-di-sesimbra-la-mia-esperienza

http://www.fanboyfilmfestival.com/-my-father-s-teeth-

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

Anjanette:  What I would like to tell our readers is to keep striving forward with your passion and goals.  Never quit dreaming, because dreams do become reality.  Through hard work and knowledge, your dreams can be obtained!

Monday, August 14

Interview With Sara Serena

Sara Serena
Sara Serena
Jodi Jackson introduced us to  Sara Serena by sending us a press release,  introducing her to us to her as her (Jodi's) "new client," and offering us an interview with her (Sara).  

We accepted the offer and were astonished by how promptly Sara obliged.  Very gracious of her!

La Libertad:  Where were you born?

Sara:  In the city of Zaragoza, Spain.

La Libertad:  Where do you currently reside?

Sara:  In Valencia, Spain, and Los Angeles.

La Libertad:  What is your occupation?

Sara:  I am a full time artist.

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

Sara:  My favorite thing with my work is that I can show people how I feel music, and how I want them to feel my music.  And, of course, I love to travel the world, and meet people - experience different cultures, et cetera.

La Libertad:  What is your favorite thing about performing live?

Sara:  I love to make people feel with my music, and, when you see that, you really get to the people; that's when you realize why you are in this business.

La Libertad:  What talents and hobbies do you have?

Sara:  I started playing the piano at the age of eight, and then I studied guitar and accordion.

I love to do sports; I swim a lot.
Sara Serena

My hidden talents are drawing, and I love to cook.

La Libertad:  Who are your music mentors?

Sara:  Andrea Bocelli, Freddie Mercury

La Libertad:  How did your parents influence your singing career?
        
Sara:  I always listened to great music at home.  [Neither] of my parents are musicians, but they always supported me [and encouraged me] to pursue my dreams.

La Libertad:  What do you do for yourself, to keep your voice in shape?

Sara:   I drink tons of water; I avoid sugar and nuts and lactose products.  I don´t expose myself [to] air conditioning or direct air, and, of course, I warm up my voice every day with my practice routines.

La Libertad:  What inspires you?

Sara:  My biggest inspiration in life is my experiences that I have had before, and, of course, my closest people.

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

Sara:  The hardest part of my job is that you have to be perfect all the time; you are being judged by people who don´t even know you, and, also, that you have to be far away from your family and friends.

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

Sara Serena
Sara:  I speak Spanish, English, and French.

La Libertad:  Where have you traveled?

Sara:  The two past years I have been traveling a lot. I have been to Sweden, United Kingdom, France, Germany, U.S.A. (New York, Florida, New Jersey, California, Nevada, Arizona), and all over Spain.

La Libertad:  What are your career goals?

Sara:  My goal in my career are to establish myself as a top international artist.

La Libertad:  What projects are you working on?

Sara:  I am currently working on the promotion of my album in U.S.A. and Latin America, and we are planning my tour next year.

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

Sara:  I am invited to participate in the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards in Mexico and Colombia. There are a few major events in California this coming fall that I will be part of, but [I] cannot disclose anything yet.

La Libertad:  What links would you like to share?

Sara:       

https://youtu.be/35HiYxDEq-o

https://youtu.be/9sD3ro5X0GM

Facebook.com/saraserenamusic

Instagram.com/saraserenaofficial

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

Sara SerenaSerena:  [My favorite charities are] World Vision, U.N.I.C.E.F. [United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund], Oxfam Intermon, [and] Red Cross.

La Libertad:  What would you tell new singers starting out?

Sara:  They should fight for their dreams and believe in themselves, because, with hard work, you can get it.

I would tell young people that they should believe in themselves and not believe the people saying that Millennials are a lost generation.

Introduction by William Mortensen Vaughan

Photos courtesy of Mike Karlsson




      




Saturday, August 12

Press Release: Sara Serena

Publicist Jodi Jackson tells us that her "new client Sara Serena...is quickly becoming the new Pop Sensation," and that "Nexar Recording Artist Sara Serena’s Single 'Chasing Dragons' [reached] #9 on [the] Billboard Hot 100 Single Sales Chart."

Ms. Jackson also tells us that Ms. Serena is a "Spanish import" in "Hollywood, California," and that "'Chasing Dragons,' [was] written by The Kennel, [which has] more than one hundred #1 hits in the world."  Ms. Jackson adds that, besides reaching #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 Single Sales Chart, it reached "#79 on [the] Mediabase Radio Chart."

According to the International Music Festival Wikia, Sara was born in Zaragosa, Spain, in 1998.

Ms. Jackson claims that Sara went from being unknown to being Spain's "#1 international female star in less than a year.  Her first single 'Asylum' became the #1 song [on the] radio in just three months, and [her] debut album Skyline went straight up to #4 on the sales charts...beaten only by Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, and Ed Sheeran."  Apparently, Sara Serena’s debut album Skyline was recorded in Stockholm, London, and Los Angeles, with some of the top writers and producers in the music industry, including RedOne, Martin Wiik, Emile Ghantous, and Zayn Malik.

Ms. Jackson alleges that Sara Serena is signed to Nexar Music whose team of songwriters, producers and choregraphers support Beyoncé, Justin Beiber, and Lady Gaga, and that Nexar Music’s creative team includes JaQuel Knight, choreographer for Beyoncé; Chris Grant, choreographer for Beyoncé and formerly for Michael Jackson; Jason Woods, vocal coach and singer with Michael Jackson and Beyoncé; Jono Hart, who worked for Jason Derulo; Little Mix; and Rafa Sardina, a producer with thirteen Grammy's and forty nominations from his work with Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Shakira, Alejandro Sanz; and Vice President of the Latin Grammy, Emile Ghantous, producer and songwriter for Justin Bieber, Michael Jackson, and Charlie Wilson.

Ms. Jackson further alleges that Sara Serena has "extensive opera training" and has "performed in every major concert in [Spain], sharing the stage with...Megan Trainer.  Sara opened [a] national festival in her hometown of Zaragoza, where she performed for one hundred forty thousand [audience members].  With creative director JaQuel Knight and choreographer Chris Grant, she struts her stuff on stage with six top dancers and always sings live.

"One of the stars of Coca Cola’s Music Experience and Pop 40 (concerts organized by Los 40 Principales, [a] major radio network in Spain and Latin America), Sara Serena’s songs are...deployed in heavy rotation in the U.S.A., Columbia, Guatemala, and Argentina.

"Sara Serena is the first winner of a new global talent contest, Aim2Fame where the finalists get to come to Spain to be part of the Game Academy where Beyoncé’s creative team are the coaches. The winner gets a long-term artist contract and is launched worldwide. Sara won the competition with contestants from 43 countries; the auditions for the second season of the show have started.

"Sara Serena is the first Spanish female artist ever to have a #1 hit on American radio stations; considered one of the best singers in the industry, she has taken America by storm.  Walter Afanasieff, says, 'Sara Serena is the next Celine Dion'; he would know, having produced all of Celine’s top albums.

"Sara Serena is self-taught; she plays three instruments, (accordion, piano, and the guitar); she has perfect pitch and a photographic memory...[and] is wise beyond her years, which she attributes to her three grandparents," whose initials she has tattooed, [Ms. Jackson says] on one of her arms.

Speaking about her music, Serena says, “Everything is like a heartbeat; it starts in you and goes through your body; the important thing is to make people feel something.”

You can follow Sara on:

Facebook - Saraserenamusic

Instagram - Saraserena

Twitter – Saraserenamusic

YouTube

Press release by Jodi Jackson
Edited by William Mortensen Vaughan