Sneak Peak of The Spirit Room

I’ve been talking about this short for months and it’s finally here.¬† The Spirit Room, by Adam J. Ung, is now out of post and coming to film festivals near you.

Here’s your first look:

 

I’ll keep you posted about screening dates and times.¬† Congratulations, Adam & the whole Spirit Room team.

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Not Just a Hollywood Problem

I’ve been thinking a lot about the state of women in the world.¬†¬†¬†Hollywood was reeling over the avalanche of harassment and sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein.¬†¬†The #MeToo hashtag is near-constant in my various feeds.¬† I am saddened.¬† I keep asking myself, “How do I take action?”¬† And more importantly, how to take action that reverbs beyond just Hollywood?

I see Saudi women claiming their right to drive and wanting more of the rights that we in the USA take for granted.¬† There’s been significant action to stop child-marriage in India.¬† ¬†Men are expressing remorse, sympathy and solidarity for the women brave enough to tell world their “Me Too”.¬†¬† There IS progress.

I had a conversation with Nada Nasserdeen of Rise Up For You this morning.¬† ¬†It will be up soon.¬† We discussed so many things and one of the things that came up was the pay gap.¬† What Harvey Weinstein did was horrible, and once the headlines fade on this, we still have to keep pushing for economic equality.¬† Abuse of power is intimately tied to money. Having money does not give you the right to abuse other people.¬† One of the things that stands out about the Harvey Weinstein debacle was how¬† he was perceived as¬† a “golden goose” to quote Scott Rosenberg, a long-time associate.¬† If you haven’t read Rosenberg’s comments, read it.¬† Weinstein’s ability to make box office money left him unchecked. Considering how little progress has been made to include more women in the decision-making process of commercial film and television, it’s no wonder that he would-be-Harvey-s would feel invincible.

How do we move forward beyond this week?

  • Reach out to a woman in entertainment and let her know you support her.¬† Let her know that you care.
  • Go to a play or movie directed or produced by a woman.¬† Support women in the arts.¬† There’s an old maxim that “You’re only as good as your last picture.”¬† Let’s support women making art.
  • Do not tolerate bad behavior, “locker room talk” or any action that demeans a woman or girl at home, work or school.
  • Support women globally, especially to empower them economically.¬† A threat to women’s freedoms anywhere compromises women’s freedom everywhere.¬† One of my favorite ways to do this is by funding a micro-loan on Kiva.

This is about more than the transgressions of one man.¬† There are more Harvey-s in every industry, every country.¬† This is not just a Hollywood problem.¬† It’s a power imbalance that manifests everywhere from gilded Hollywood to the most humble villages on earth.¬† As long as the pay gap is tolerable to the majority, women will still be a minority, even if women outnumber men.

 

 

Hollywood Dreams Announces Nominees

hollywood dreamz
Photo courtesy of Hollywood Dreams Film Festival

I am very honored that Seeking Valentina, a short film which I produced with Armin Nasseri, has garnered two nominations at this year’s Hollywood Dreams International Film Festival, including BEST SHORT & BEST VISUAL EFFECTS. ¬†Our film screens later this week, in Las Vegas. ¬†Want to catch it in Vegas? ¬†See here.

Hollywood Dreams calls itself,

“A blend of new classic world film, hospitality, industry connections and of course a hearty brand of distributors, buyers, audience and special guests will round out what is sure to become a major stop in the vein of top U.S. and international film events.”

¬†¬†For a full list of nominees for this year’s Hollywood Dreams International Film Festival, click here. ¬†Congratulations to our cast and crew, whose talents and efforts continue to receive world-wide acclaim and many thanks to Del Weston and Theresa Weston, the founders of Hollywood Dreams Film Festival.

Congratulations Amy Newmark & CSSE

When a woman I’ve met succeeds at achieving her goals, it makes me hopeful. Congratulations to Amy Newmark of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment! CSSE is now trading publicly on NASDAQ. I had the honor of speaking with Amy on What Women Want Talk Radio¬†a few months back with Judy Goss! Amy is a shining example of leadership and vision.Her entertainment company has been making headlines today and I am so happy for her success.

amy newmark naddaq
Amy Newmark at the opening bell of NASDAQ 8/18/2017, debuting Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment (CSSE).  Photo courtesy of NASDAQ Official Facebook Page. 

 

Check out this stellar interview with Amy Newmark  here.

Moviemaking is a Messy Business

If you’ve been watching my Instagram lately, you will have noticed someone has a gripe against a guy named Vinnie. ¬†ūüėČ

instagram litch

I was back on the set of James Balsalmo’s The Litch this week and I was again impressed by James’s wizardry, this time with masks, snot fabricated from cottage cheese and blood from chocolate syrup and food coloring. It was a messy, fun, albeit, occasionally odorous time. It’s amazing what creativity we have when we use it and James is a truly creative fellow.

Congratulations to Thomas Schlamme

Congratulations to fellow UT-Austin alum Thomas Schlamme on being elected president of the DGA yesterday evening.  I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Schlamme a few years back when he was directing Studio 60.  It was very inspiring to hear his story of success and he was also kind enough to introduce us to Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford that evening.  Hook Em Horns!

Learn more on Variety.