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“Artist of the Month” at Above the Line Artistry

So grateful to Above the Line Artistry for singling me out to be their June spotlight artist.

Above the Line Artistry is a group of filmmaking and screenwriting professionals that was established to encourage collaboration, mentorship and to help push projects forward.

As the group’s “Artist of the Month” for June, I answered a handful of questions about what I’m currently working on, my creative process, the tools I use when I’m creating and what and who I find inspiring. You can check out the post here.

Thank you Samantha Kolesnik and Vaness Wright, the administrators of the group, for highlighting my work and creative process.
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SEVEN MINUTES TO CLOSING wins Audience Award at KCWIFT/KCFF Staged Reading

A couple weekends ago I had the pleasure of visiting Kansas City for the Kansas City FilmFest. My short script, SEVEN MINUTES TO CLOSING, was a finalist in the 2016 Kansas City Women in Film & TV Short Screenplay contest and as such was awarded a staged reading in front of an audience at the festival.

I’m ecstatic to share that the script won the Audience Award. It was gifted an impassioned performance by Kansas City talent Frank Oakley III, Johanna Lee and Davis DeRock and a smooth narrative reading by Christal Watson. Sending out an emphatic, heartfelt thank you to the actors and reader, who gave life to the script.

Congratulations to Mariana Serapico, who won the grand prize for Best Screenplay with her script THE GRANDAD PROJECT. And my compliments to Marjory Kaptanoglu‘s script RUN, MY DEAR, which won the prize for Best Female Protagonist.

While at the festival, I was able to attend a Women Making Movies Brunch Panel featuring Andrea Sporcic Klund, Kerri Yost, Cynthia J. Popp, Karen Bernstein and Michelle Davidson. I also got the opportunity to learn from Angelo Pizzo (RUDY, HOOSIERS) in a screenwriting panel. Time for watching movies was relatively limited, but I did catch DRIVING WHILE BLACK, a hilarious film by Paul Sapiano featuring Dominique Purdy.

During the short bouts away from the festival, I experienced BBQ burnt ends at the historic Arthur Bryant’s, caught to catch up with a couple of writing friends, and saw lots of tulips.
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Recap of the Hollywood Inclusion Crisis Panel

Earlier this month I participated in a panel hosted by Berkeley Media Review, UC Berkeley Delta Kappa Alpha and Filmmaking at Cal. The Hollywood Inclusion Crisis panel was created in response to the #OscarsSoWhite response to the lack of inclusion in Hollywood. The panelists included Ephraim Walker (Creative Producer on FRUITVALE STATION, from Oakland), Cecil Brown (UC Berkeley African American Studies, Author), Andrew Barlow (UC Berkeley Sociology), Da Carla (Director, Actor, Performance Artist), Kristine Stolakis (Documentary Filmmaker), and myself. I was asked to discuss the lack of representation of people from the LGBTQ community.

I believe that the overall lack of inclusion in films is not just socially damaging, but it’s bad business. Movie goers want to see different people and stories and we’re over having white actors play people of different races (I’m looking at you, WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT and GODS OF EGYPT). A UCLA report from earlier this month has found that movies featuring a diverse cast do better at the box office.

The overall response from most of my fellow panelists was to encourage screenwriters and filmmakers to take matters into their own hands. Focus on producing quality work that represents the wide diversity of our country and world and don’t wait for Hollywood to catch up. Equipment and film education is easily accessible so there is really no excuse to not make your own films nowadays. With The Academy being an average 94 percent white, 77 percent male, and 63 years of age, it’s not likely that the Hollywood gatekeepers will shift their thinking any time soon. We have to produce the kind of content we want to see.

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‘Between Rock and a Hard Place’ Accepted to Smoky Mountain Film Festival

Happy to share that BETWEEN ROCK AND A HARD PLACE has been accepted to the 2016 Smoky Mountain Film Festival. I wrote the short script for the film, which was produced by Bennett Rodgers and Mary Meyer. The film had its premiere at the end of 2015 in Nashville. I’m excited that its going to be shared with the people of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

BETWEEN ROCK AND A HARD PLACE is a short comedy about a struggling young musician making ends meet working as a singing telegram performer.

The film features Alyssa Meyer, who has starred in a TV series and several short films, including THE BARREN LAND, which premiered at the Nashville Film Festival.

I had so much fun collaborating on this film with Mary and Bennett and hope to connect with them again on future projects.

The annual two-day Smoky Mountain Film Festival is hosted at the Greystone Lodge in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It’s a multi-genre film festival event founded in 2015 by Breaking Fate Entertainment (Producers of The Chicago Horror Film Festival, The Indie Horror Film Festival, The Laugh or Die Comedy Festival, The Prairie State Film Festival and More!).

BETWEEN ROCK AND A HARD PLACE will screen on Sunday, March 22. You can purchase a $25 weekend pass or pay $15 for Sunday.

You can keep up with BETWEEN ROCK AND A HARD PLACE by liking the film’s Facebook page. There you’ll find announcements of additional screenings.

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SEVEN MINUTES TO CLOSING a Finalist at KCWIFT

I am honored to have my short dramatic script, SEVEN MINUTES TO CLOSING, named one of three finalists at the 2016 Kansas City Women In Film and Television (KCWIFT) Short Screenplay Competition.

The organization, dedicated to supporting women filmmakers, directors and producers, made the announcement last week on Facebook.

As a KCWIFT finalist, my script will received a staged reading at the 2016 Kansas City FilmFest on Sunday, April 17 and will be in the running to win the $1,000 grand prize for Best Short Screenplay By a Female Writer or an All-Female Co-Writing Team and the Audience Choice Award $100 cash prize. I also receive a complimentary festival pass to the FilmFest.

Congratulations to the other 2016 KCWIFT finalists and semifinalists:

FINALISTS
BEST SHORT SCREENPLAY by a female writer:
– A Beautiful Lie by Sundae Jahant-Osborn of Malibu, CA
– Seven Minutes to Closing by Kim Nunley of Oakland, CA
– The GrandDad Project by Mariana Serapicos of Loughton, Essex UK

BEST FEMALE PROTAGONIST in screenplay by a female or/and a male writer:
– Becoming Lana Liu by Alfonso Orsini & David Schroeder of Miami, FL
– Run, My Dear by Marjory Kaptanoglu of Belmont, CA

SEMIFINALISTS:
BEST SHORT SCREENPLAY by a female writer:
– My Eyes Adore You by Katelind Ikuma of Honolulu, HI
– Smile, A Musical by Sarah Phillips of Los Angeles, CA
– The 64,000 by Dani Milton of Kansas City, MO

BEST FEMALE PROTAGONIST in screenplay by a female or/and a male writer:
– Fireman 26 by Mariah Cunningham of Blue Springs, MO
– My Eyes Adore You by Katelind Ikuma of Honolulu, HI
– Trek of the Novice by Yamin Tun of Westmere, Auckland, New Zealand

My script, SEVEN MINUTES TO CLOSING, is a 10-page, single location, minimal cast, low budget drama script about two uncongenial strangers sharing the final seven minutes together before a gigantic asteroid destroys earth.

The script took 2nd Place at the 2015 California Film Awards, was a semifinalist in the 2015 Screencraft Short Film Production Fund competition and is a semifinalist and still in the running at the 2016 BlueCat Screenplay Competition.

Hollywood Inclusion Crisis: A Discussion Panel on Diversity

HollywoodInclusionPanelThis Friday I’ll have the pleasure of participating in a panel to discuss the importance of inclusion in film. Hosted by Berkeley Media Review, UC Berkeley Delta Kappa Alpha and Filmmaking at Cal, the Hollywood Inclusion Crisis: Discussion Panel will be facilitating a panel discussion surrounding the lack of diversity that currently exists in Hollywood and mainstream media.

The panel is meant to further boost the wake-up call that’s stemmed from the rightful uproar regarding this year’s Oscar nominees. We’ll be talking about the reasons for lack of diversity in the academy, the systematic exclusion of people of color in the industry, and the influence that various historical, political, and social injustices have in the current dominant Hollywood model.

Panelists include Ephraim Walker (Creative Producer on FRUITVALE STATION, from Oakland), Cecil Brown (UC Berkeley African American Studies, Author), Andrew Barlow (UC Berkeley Sociology), Da Carla (Director, Actor, Performance Artist), Kristine Stolakis (Documentary Filmmaker), and myself.

As a screenwriter, woman, and member of the LGBTQ community, I’ve been invited to express my thoughts on the importance of sexual orientation and gender identity representation in film. I’m honored to be invited onto this panel, because I want to be an active participant in pushing new types of stories that represent people of all identifies. I do this in the types of stories and characters I create, and I look forward to sharing my personal reflections on Hollywood inclusion during this discussion. I am also excited to listen and learn from the other panelists.

I hope you’ll be able to join our discussion, which will take place this Friday, March 4 from 5-7:30 pm at 142 Dwinelle Hall (Nestrick Room) at UC Berkeley. The talk begins at 5:30, but get there early for snacks.

The panel is free. Please help promote the event by RSVP’ing on the Facebook Event Page.

‘SEVEN MINUTES TO CLOSING’ Makes Quarterfinalist Cut at BlueCat

My short tale about two strangers sharing the final minutes before the earth is destroyed made the quarterfinalist cut at the 2016 BlueCat Screenplay Competition. SEVEN MINUTES TO CLOSING is one of my personal favorites so I’m thrilled it’s being well-received. Congratulations to the other finalists and best of luck in the upcoming rounds.

The BlueCat Screenplay Competition was started in 1998 by screenwriter Gordy Hoffman. It’s a contest I participate in every year because I’ve found the judges to be top notch. Plus, the contest provides you with the readers’ feedback, which in the past has helped me identify problem areas. It also doesn’t hurt that their short script contest winner takes home $10,000.

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Making the quarterfinalist cut at BlueCat is legit. According to the contest’s site, there were a total of 2,086 short script submissions in this year’s contest. Just 119 made this first quarterfinalist cut, which means SEVEN MINUTES TO CLOSING was considered to be in the top 5.7% of all submissions.

A Closer Look at SEVEN MINUTES TO CLOSING

I wrote SEVEN MINUTES TO CLOSING as a self-challenge to construct a single-location story. And as tumultuous and antagonistic as our society is at the moment, I wanted to explore whether an austere situation could cause two ordinarily adverse individuals to espouse humanity.

Looking for a Short Script to Produce?

SEVEN MINUTES TO CLOSING also recently took 2nd place at the 2015 California Film Awards and was a semifinalist at the Screencraft Short Film Production Fund competition. It’s a low-budget, 10-page, single-location dramatic story that requires three actors (African American Male – 20s, Asian Female – 50s, Male – open ethnicity and age).

I’m actively looking to collaborate with an enthusiastic producer and director who are interested in producing the piece for film festival distribution. If you’re a filmmaker looking for a script, please feel welcome to reach out if you’d like to read SEVEN MINUTES TO CLOSING.

‘SEVEN MINUTES TO CLOSING’ 2nd Place at California Film Awards

I’m elated to share that my short script, ‘SEVEN MINUTES TO CLOSING,’ was awarded 2nd Place in the Short Script Competition at California Film Awards.

SEVEN MINUTES TO CLOSING is a short drama about two uncongenial strangers sharing the final seven minutes together before a gigantic asteroid destroys the earth.

SLY SYLVESTER Screens at Oakland’s I Hella Love Shorts Festival

Last night, SLY SYLVESTER screened alongside nine other shorts as part of I Hella Love Shorts Q4 film festival. Director and co-producer April Abeyta and I were honored to have our little comedy featured alongside what were admirable projects.

Haven’t seen SLY SYLVESTER yet? You can now watch it online, here.

Also, be sure to check out I Hella Love Shorts, “like” them on Facebook and “follow” them on Twitter to keep up with their upcoming festivals.

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SLY SYLVESTER to play at Oakland’s I HELLA Love Shorts

I’m honored to announce that SLY SYLVESTER, a short film I wrote and produced, has been selected to screen in the I HELLA Love Shorts Festival on Sunday, December 6. The quarterly festival showcases local and international independent filmmakers.

The festival is hosted by The Flight Deck (1540 Broadway Street, Oakland). Come out Sunday, December 6 at 5:30 to enjoy eats, drinks and flicks. Advanced tickets are available for $7 via Brown Paper Tickets or you can pay $10 at the door.
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