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

Thursday, August 3

Interview: Director Josh Mitchell Pays Us a "Hard Visit"

Josh Mitchell
Hard Visit, Josh Mitchell, Director
By the time Josh Mitchell of Wickid Pissa Publicity first granted us an interview in December, 2013, he had already proven to be perhaps our greatest source of interviews, referring more interviewees to us than anyone else.

At that time, Josh had a mere half dozen Director credits on his filmography:  "Siphoned"; Helen Keller Had a Pitbull; "The Corruption of Kidiya Kitts"; "The Sacred Incense of the Drinking Man"; "Out For Buckner"; and "Pick N Roll."  He has more than tripled his filmography since then.

He recently wrote, directed, and starred in Hard Visit, a feature film about a down-on-his-luck actor who is rescued from obscurity by his wealthy, sports bookie brother, but is forced to use his best performance skills to escape the clutches of a female con artist.  You can watch the official trailer at:


www.vimeo.com/picknroll/hardvisittrailer

In addition to his prolific film-making career, Mitchell’s public relations company, Wickid Pissa Publicity, has become one of the most in-demand firms in the entertainment industry, offering services ranging from marketing, branding, event production, and social media management.
 

Fortunately for us, Josh took time out of his busy schedule to give us "the 411" on the inspiration for his work, and what lies ahead of him in the last half of 2017.

La Libertad:  What was the impetus for creating Hard Visit?

Josh:  Hard Visit was born at last year's Sundance Film Festival. I met a few ambitious actors, and we discussed the importance of creating and controlling your own content.  We all threw our resources  together... work-shopped some scenes, and carved out some characters, and the script began to take shape.

During production and a few pick-up days after, we molded and caressed the nuts and bolts of the story so it all made sense in the end.

La Libertad:  Did you use a drone to make this film?

Josh:  We bought a new drone and the latest GoPro 4K camera for this production because we knew we wanted to bring the viewer into the sprawling world of where these characters dwell.  The opening credits focus and foreshadow the dusty desert and windmills of Palm Springs, and we outline the challenges of an actor's life by showcasing Hollywood Boulevard, casting call auditions, and the iconic landscapes of Los Angeles.

La Libertad:  This film seems to glamorize gambling.  Are you an avid bettor in real life?

Josh:  No!  Not at all!  I'm a huge sports fans, though, and some of my family and friends are passionate gamblers, so I was able to pull from real life experiences.  The biggest element that fascinated me... which I tried to utilize in the conflict of the film, is the idea of old technology versus new technology.  When I was growing up, if you wanted to place a bet, you simply called a local bookie.  In today's world, the bulk of it all is computer-based, so skilled techies can place bets 24-7 without ever having to speak with anyone.

La Libertad:  What do you hope audiences get out of watching Hard Visit?

Josh:  The number one goal of all of my films is to entertain. This is a rock-and-roll, high adrenaline piece that has sexy girls, guns, expensive cars, a thrashing soundtrack, a cameo from a decorated character actor, and a big finale that will leave you thirsty for more!

La Libertad:  Who are your biggest creative inspirations?

Josh:  The iconoclasts who have influenced me in no particular order are Henry Miller, Keith Haring, Eminem, Quentin Tarantino, and Steven Soderbergh.  I like artists who lift up the random rocks of the world, and unveil a universe we would have never known existed if it hadn’t been for their inventiveness.

La Libertad:  What initially convinced you to move from Boston to Los Angeles?

Josh:  I left Boston and moved to L.A. because I knew you had to be in the belly of the beast to truly maximize your chances of success in the film and T.V. world.  There is a reason why all the studios are in Hollywood, and why all the movie stars live here:  Because this is where the magic happens. 

La Libertad:  Was it difficult adjusting to life on the West Coast?

Josh:  I recently celebrated my three-year anniversary on the West Coast, and the things I miss most are my family, friends, lobster, and Fenway Park.  You can watch my feature film Helen Keller Had A Pit Bull to truly learn about my transition and some of the shady characters I have had to endure in the process.

La Libertad:  What is the most rewarding aspect of your work with Wickid Pissa Publicity?

Josh:  The thing I love best about Wickid Pissa Publicity is the diversity of talent and companies I get to work with on a daily basis.  I specialize in elevating buzz, branding, and exposure for unique brands, so most days I am working with a female actress, a TV producer, a new energy drink, a T-shirt line, a Kickstarter campaign – it runs the gamut and keeps everything fresh and exciting for me.  I also get to attend a surplus of red carpet events and networking parties, which usually have delicious food and open bars.

La Libertad:  What are you working on next?

Josh:  I’m shooting an inventive and endearing kids' movie I wrote, called Harry Head, next month, and I just finished the script for an action-zombie piece called Dirty Water.

After I execute these two thrilling projects, I hope to direct and star in a provocative new T.V. series called "NoHo District," which I plan to pitch to Netflix and premium cable channels.

La Libertad:  What links would you like to share with our readers?


Josh:  You can watch all of my films on Vimeo Pro, at:

www.vimeo.com/picknroll

Introduction by Josh Mitchell and William Mortensen Vaughan



Tuesday, May 9

Interview With Cuddy D

Cuddy D
Cuddy D
Steve Perri introduced us to himself as "Cuddy D," after his publicist, Josh Mitchell, from Wickid Pissa Publicity, referred him to us.

La Libertad:  Where were you born?

Cuddy:  Long Branch, New Jersey.

La Libertad:  Where do you currently live?

Cuddy:  Middletown, New Jersey.

La Libertad:  What do you love most about "The Cuddy D Show"?

Cuddy: What I love most about The Cuddy D Show is our unique perspective on the topics we discuss, I never know what to expect from my co-hosts.

La Libertad: What would you like to tell our readers about your co-hosts?

Cuddy: My brother Jim "J-Dawg" - the wit and genius of J-Dawg in the house. The master of hilarious one line quips, love and peace... Vicki Lee - she might be the quietest one on the panel, but loves to throw in some witty zingers, showing us her unique perspective on the topics. She packs a real punch. Courtney - singer/songwriter, she also has years of public speaking
under her belt, on the topic of sexual assault. Courtney believes most anything can be overcome by humor!

La Libertad: What inspired you to create your unique format?

Cuddy: As a fan of television talk shows, I had grown tired of the same old format: one host monologue, one perspective. This is why I created a show that offers multiple points of view, where our audience can perhaps relate to us better than other shows, where we say the things that people at home are thinking in their minds, but don't say; we become their voice.

La Libertad: What is the hardest part of coordinating each episode?

Cuddy: Getting everyone onboard for the same date and time in filming new shows, considering we all have our own private lives.

La Libertad: Where would you like the show to be in five years?

Cuddy: Airing on a major television network.

La Libertad: What has been the most memorable moment on your show?

Cuddy: Getting kicked off Public Access television for three weeks for saying the word "ass" on one of our episodes. And then, having to kiss ass in getting the show back on the network.

La Libertad: What are your career goals?

Cuddy: My overall career goals are to be the best host/producer I can be where I continue to hone my skills and evolve with the times so our audience continues to watch and love "The Cuddy D Show."

La Libertad: When can fans expect your latest edition?

Cuddy: Fans can expect new shows in the Fall of 2017, as we presently are promoting our show's trailer.

La Libertad: What links would you like to share?

Cuddy:

www.thecuddydshow.com

Facebook.com/thecuddydshow

YouTube.com/CuddyDShow

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

Cuddy: My message to your readers, of La Libertad magazine is this:

If you are interested in watching a stimulating talk show where we tell it like it is in our topics, and keep it real in an unbiased manner, while invoking humor, then tune in to "The Cuddy D Show."



Model Pictorial: Summer Crosley

Summer Crosley

Summer Crosley

Summer Crosley

Summer Crosley

Summer Crosley



Model: Summer Crosley
Photographer: Mary B
Wardrobe:  Helmut Lang

Sunday, April 30

Interview With Justine Johnston Hemmestad

Justine Johnston Hemmestad
Justine Johnston Hemmestad
Justine Johnston Hemmestad tells us that "Alexander the Great’s efforts toward world unity reflected his spiritual journey, in which [she (Justine)] drew from ancient religions and world views to paint a uniquely vivid picture," and that "Alexander’s relationships with his fellow man knew no restrictions, nor did his love of the sublime."  Justine is, apparently, the author of Vistions of a Dream, a book about Alexander the Great, which she made available this month, on Amazon, at: 

https://www.amazon.com/Visions-Dream-Justine-Hemmestad/dp/1543030327

La Libertad:  Where were you born?

Justine:  I was born in San Diego, California – at the same hospital that I was taken to when I nearly died in a car accident nineteen years later.

La Libertad:  Where do you currently reside?

Justine:  I live in central Iowa with my husband and our four kids who are still in school.  We have three older kids too, who have graduated and moved on (but, thankfully, not too far away), as well as one grandson.

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

Justine:  Visions of a Dream focuses on Alexander the Great’s spiritual journey set against the backdrop of his military conquests, which serves to reveal the origins of his motives. In order to conquer the world, he [had to] first explore and conquer his own mind. He [had to] also overcome his overbearing mother and his competitive father, and the impact they left on his life. He seeks answers to life’s greatest questions amidst a world of
war, with his two most intense relationships. He believed all Gods were one, and he lived that belief, and he continually evolved. Regardless of the distance he traveled, physically, spiritually, and mentally, his army [ended] up mutinying because he adapted the ways and religions of each culture he came into contact with and his men wanted him to spread Greek ways.

La Libertad:  What do you love most about writing?

Justine:  I love the degree to which writing has healed me. In 1990, my car was hit by a city bus and I sustained a severe brain injury, was in a coma, paralyzed, and the doctors said I would never recover. Within a few months I was walking again, and my husband and I moved to the Midwest; we had been married for three
months at the time of my accident. I began writing to cope with my severe P.T.S.D. [post-traumatic stress disorder]; then I began [writing] Visions of a Dream a few years after we moved. I studied Arrian’s history which had some of Alexander’s actual speeches as reported by some of his officers that were with him, and his character, as I wrote him, radiated out from those words. Through his words, I studied him rather than his contemporaries’ and later historians’ opinions of him.

After my T.B.I. [traumatic brain injury], I was devoid of a personality, I had essentially lost all of myself, and so I adhered to the personality of those whom I admired, Alexander being the main one. I admired his perseverance and his persistence, which I felt I needed to recover, and I loved his sincere interest in all cultures and wisdom. I loved his inclusiveness, even to the point that he adopted the family of his arch enemy when they were left behind. My injury has given me the blessing of learning about Alexander, and in the twenty years that I’ve written about him, I felt that I’ve been able to honor the spiritual side of him. Since I’ve been writing so ardently, I returned to college in the mid-2000’s, part time through distance learning, and I’m currently working on my Master’s Degree in English Literature through Northern Arizona University. I truly don’t believe I would have had the inner drive to do that if I had not written about Alexander and been so in tune with his spirit, and I wouldn’t have been able to do that if not for my severe brain injury and near death.

La Libertad:  What other talents and hobbies do you have?

Justine:  Learning about the historical world and it’s people is my life-long hobby. I also write [about] Alexander as learning through his dreams (the Seer Aristander traveled with his army), which is also something that has helped me to expand my mind in my own life as well, and I continue it. I also love to continually learn about world religions and experiences.

La Libertad:  What inspires you?

Justine:  My seven children inspire me in everything I do and in each breath I take, as does my new grandson. The ability to overcome such a huge struggle as was set before me is also inspiring to me because I’m so grateful and so in awe of my higher power.

La Libertad:  What was the hardest part of completing your book?

Justine:  Writing my book was such an essential part of recovery for me that there was nothing hard about completing it. Afterward, though, it was incredibly hard for me to proof-read and edit it (which was part of the reason it took so long to write). After my brain injury, I had to learn to read again, but I was never able to easily until recently. To read and to be organized in my thoughts are the biggest things that returning to college has helped me with.

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

Justine:  I know beginner-moderate German. I took four semesters of it through The University of Iowa; however, I haven’t had the opportunity to use it. The very reason I learned it, though, was because I knew it would be a great challenge since I still struggled with reading my native language.

La Libertad:  Where have you traveled?

Justine:  I’ve lived all over the Southern United States as well as California as a kid, and I’ve traveled to Mexico, as well as New York and New Jersey in high school. I hope to visit Arizona again soon; I also lived there for a short time as a kid. I would love to visit archaeological ruins in Central America as well as
the Middle East some day.

La Libertad:  What are your career goals?

Justine:  I would love to be a well-read author, and I would love for Visions of a Dream to some day be made into a movie, and for it’s message to help people in the world see that we must be sincerely fascinated with each others’ way of life to progress as people.

La Libertad:  What projects are you working on?

Justine:  I’m currently studying for my Master’s degree in Literature, wherein I’m specifically working on a scholarly paper about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in relation to Disability Studies. I would also like to teach creative writing and literature, and I have a few more books started.

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

Justine:  I’m involved in my Daughters of the American Revolution chapter, but my time is mostly devoted to my kids, writing, and my studies. I also love to be involved with projects for charity, if the opportunity arises.

La Libertad:  What links would you like to share?

My author site:

jhemmestad.wixsite.com/justine-j-hemmestad

My amazon site:

www.amazon.com/Justine-Johnston-Hemmestad/e/B01DHSLN0M

The Visions of a Dream book trailer is on my son’s webpage at:

www.maxgraphics.studio

and it’s also on YouTube:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFMe1DFLyRs

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

Justine:  My amazingly talented son Bradley Hemmestad is the graphic designer who creates my book covers and my book trailers...