What brought me joy THIS week….

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the list isn’t long but it’s meaningful….

Life Lessons from Blue Jasmine.

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Blue Jasmine is Woody Allen’s newest film.  When I’m feeling less than stellar, I curl up on my sofa to watch Midnight In Paris, another Allen film. I love the characters in the movie because they have these moments of genuine sweetness even when they are being sneaky and underhanded.

Except Inez.

Inez is a shallow, greedy, oblivious viper.  The first time I saw the movie, the following question kept looping in my brain: how do people like Inez find and keep love? After the umpteenth viewing, I figured it out.  People are fucking idiots.

And Jasmine is the future Inez.  Jasmine French, a  New York socialite whose cosseted  life unravels when her husband’s financial empire turns out to be a sham (think Bernie Madoff), is the kind of person who is broke but not broke enough to not fly first class. Watching Jasmine’s past and present is a horror movie, but with sumptuous, gorgeous accessories.  Her Birkin (I could smell its buttery leather from the screen) almost makes you forget how damaged she remains from living such an oblivious existence.  She didn’t take anything from the disaster that is her life, but I did.  Here goes….

Try mixing up some introspection with the self-absorption. It’s not mandatory but being curious enough to ask why you make the decisions you do.  It’s not lost on me that I’m writing this on the #1 self-absorption platform in the world and won’t let that stop me!  As Jasmine lurches from choice to choice, she doesn’t stop to question where she was, where she is or where she’s going.  There’s no moment of clarity for her; just moments of desperation, anger and confusion.

Some people aren’t meant to be well-rounded, empathetic individuals.  My check list for allowing someone to become an acquaintance is not long but I do adhere to it — they must show self-care on a regular basis.  My rationale is if they can care for themselves, then there is hope that they have the capability to care for others.  My check list for allowing someone into my life beyond acquaintance requires they offer more, be more, they have to be a slab of cake. Empathetic, sincere, humane, willingness to be open, a willingness to be loved. CAKE!  Jasmine is not ever going to be cake.  She doesn’t even know where to begin.  Her emotional devastation has given her zero insight — she’s still judgmental, class-obsessed and selfish.  And I do feel sorry for her but wouldn’t want to be around her or anyone like her.

Saying thank you will save your life. Showing genuine gratitude does make a difference in  how we see the world and ourselves. It pulls our heads out of our asses to feel and express kindness. It helps us to know empathy. Jasmine’s nervous breakdown magnifies her inability to know or express gratitude.  She believes that everyone is her co-star and doesn’t stop to consider anyone else’s existence. She’s not here for empathy and she pays the price for her obliviousness.

The Peter Sarsgaard character is the kind of man I want to date. Smart, aware, sexy, thoughtful, deploys his inner asshole with discretion. Shifting my choices so I can meet him.

Dear readers, have you seen Blue Jasmine? If so, please let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Pic via.

Thursday Interview: Tommy Franklin, Screenwriter, ARE YOU SARAH?

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Tommy Franklin Kickstarter

***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators and troublemakers to share news and insight about the creative impetus & inspirations  behind their latest projects.  This week, quintuple threat Tommy Franklin is the featured auteur. 

Name: Tommy Franklin

Occupation: Screenwriter, Actor, Film Producer, Song Lyricist, poet…

Motto: Above all, endure.

My current project is….

…..a recently launched Kickstarter campaign for the short film, ARE YOU SARAH?, a romantic comedy about muddled matchmaking and blind date blunders.  We know people will relate  to this project if we make our goal and complete the film.  It will be a beautiful movie, with a couple of awesome twists that’ll make you go “WHOA!”  I want friends and new friends all over the world to get involved, and I’m thrilled to take this ride with many folks!

Kickstarter Tommy Franklin Thursday Interview
The idea for ARE YOU SARAH? was sparked by….
… this film’s director (Troy Bakewell) and I deciding to work together on movie projects in the future after meeting on the micro production of the drama feature I wrote, produced, and acted in called FATE, shot in my hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Troy DP’d the project, and his wife, Heather (producer of ARE YOU SARAH?) headed up the Sound Department.  After the new year, I was connected in a most vital matter with writing several full-length features simultaneously, and beginning to spread myself thin, creatively speaking.  I put the breaks on not only to gain perspective on how to be creatively more efficient but also to embrace Troy’s idea that we make a kick a*s short film this summer, and sell the investors interested in budgeting features on the fact that my writing speaks for itself; that coupled with Troy’s directing talent and knack for navigating the independent film production industry, we can continue to make beautiful movies and build on the unique momentum of our focused goals for sustainable success.

The process for the project….
….has been fun and enlightening to this point, and I look forward to the growth of the campaign in the coming days and weeks.  Gaining a strong circle of support is what I endeavor upon as we strive to meet our Kickstarter deadline, and I’m excited to be reaching out across social medial platforms at a level I’d never thought I’d delve into.  I’m thankful for my inner ambitions and constant motivations to get ARE YOU SARAH? where it needs to be: accessible for all to see.  I’m grateful for my patience to see this project through. (I always say, if you’re always in a hurry, you’ll die quicker!)  The tide of momentum will be like any other sea change, but I am confident we will ride some awesome waves to cross the finish line and get to the next step of shooting the film in July.

My favorite highlight (so far) of working on ARE YOU SARAH?….
…..is learning new ways to be resourceful and resilient when embarking upon my passions.  I am genuinely enjoying telling people about my project.  Having a deadline is a funny reminder of hearing radio hosts on public radio pitch for pledges to grow and continue quality programming, not uncommon from a vital goal of mine, and that’s to make sustainable, thoughtful, and entertaining art through the medium of film.  I’ve only just begun, so stay tuned…

What’s next?
Knocking down more doors; well, at the very least, getting my foot in them to be heard!  Currently, my most pertinent goal is to realize every ounce of potential for ARE YOU SARAH?, which includes reaching our funding goal on Kickstarter, shooting an awesome short film, and reaching out to the world with my (and my crew’s) talents much further down the road.  ARE YOU SARAH? could very well serve as a great catapult.  I will continue to polish and develop features I’m writing.  I’m excited for some ideas people have brought me about new screenplays for me to write.  Other creative adventures include developing 2 more short films, as well as a sketch comedy musical series (deep breath), and also writing music and putting together a superb band with my great friend, Joseph Nord, an unbelievably talented musician and man.

Shout outs:
My absolutely fantastic and amazing collaborators on ARE YOU SARAH? to this point: Troy and Heather Bakewell, Joseph Nord, and Briana Johnson.  I am indebted for life to my guardian angel, friend, mother, and 6th grade/lifelong teacher, Mrs. Lauren Hildebrand.

Thanks to friends who’ve gotten involved in key ways at key moments thus far: Kathy Seipp, Kacie Vinton, Jessie Jacobson, Chef Kate T. Moore, Lindsay Whalen (WNBA Superstar point guard for the World Champion Minnesota Lynx), Todd and Jill Smith and their crazy/sexy/cool bar Nomad World Pub in Minneapolis, MN.

Thanks to loved ones and friends and everyone who shows love to my dreams.

I love his energy and passion! If you can, support with money and/or spreading the word.
***Interested in doing a Thursday Interview? Email me!
Photos courtesy Tommy Franklin.

‘The Prep School Negro’ update and #Kickstarter campaign

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Director André Robert Lee has launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring ‘The Prep School Negro’  to the big screen and DVD.  Regular blog readers (thank you!) will remember that André also participated in a Thursday Interview.  From his call to action:

I am pleased to announce that we are finally going to release The Prep School Negro documentary. We have been approached by the Quad Cinema theater in NYC. They will partner with the Laemmle Fairfax Theater in Los Angeles and do an Academy qualifying run of the film. This would mean releasing the film THIS SUMMER! We will follow that with the release of the DVD for sale in the fall.

I have taken a very different path with this documentary. I have been to nearly 300 institutions around the country. This is where I met most of you. I have numerous requests everyday by people all over the country who want to purchase and own the DVD for their institutions and personally.

We need your help to release this film. Please click on the link to the KickStarter page below and help the film and this important story reach a broad and wide audience.

KickStarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/892504237/the-prep-school-negro-do-it-yourself-distribution

This is a chance to support a compelling, thought-provoking documentary that provides an intimate look at education, class, race and opportunity in America.

Pic via.

Thursday Interview: Domingo Canate, film and event producer, ‘Hands To The Sky’

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Domingo headshot

***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators and troublemakers to share news and insight about the creative impetus & inspirations  behind their latest projects.  This week, Domingo Canate, film and event producer, shares the journey behind the house music documentary, Hands To The Sky.

Name: Domingo Canate

Occupation: Film and event producer

Motto: Not  so much as motto as a theme song – “Keep On” by D Train.

My current project is….
Working to take Hands to the Sky to the next level.  I’d love to secure a sponsor to allow the film to be screened for house heads all around the world.  I’m also in pre-production on another documentary with the working title, The G and Me, which will delve into how people’s experiences at the Paradise Garage helped form their worldview.

The inspiration for Hands To The Sky came from….
I’ve been attending these outdoor dance parties for years and one day, I just picked up my camera and started filming.  The people and places where these events go down provide some of the richest visual content any filmmaker could ask for.

The process for the project is/has been…
…a three-year labor of love.  What’s been complicated is trying round up enough funds to keep screening the film.

My favorite highlight (so far) is….
Sitting in the audience during screenings.  Almost to the letter — from when we screened at The Brooklyn Museum to Machine in Boston when it just recently showed at Indiescreen in Williamsburg — everyone reacts enthusiastically to the same scenes.

What’s next….
Beyond the screening on May 25 at Harlem MIST, we’re looking for more opportunities to get the movie seen.   We’d really love to participate in The Chosen Few Picnic in Chicago this summer.

Shout outs to…
My crew, without whom, none of this would be possible:
Wendy Amirah, Angelo Boyke, Kervyn Mark, Jean-Paul Noel, Chris Hunt-Walker and Erik Talbert.  Also a shout out to the ones who hold the key to my heart, my daughters Isabella and Jessica.  I also want publicly thank Cedric Beasley of MIST Harlem Cinema for believing enough in the film to allow us to screen there on Saturday May 25 on such a prime date as Memorial Day Weekend. It is sure to be a night to remember!

If you want to see a wonderful celebration of community and the power of music, go see Hands To The Sky. Stay connected via Facebook and Twitter 

***Interested in doing a Thursday Interview? Email me!