Playful Substance Theater Company-Pithy Party: Building the Home Within

Playful Substance Theater Company-Pithy Party

Playful Substance, one of NY’s premiere indie arts organizations known for fostering emerging writers, went “retro” and presented a telethon fundraising event of three programs. Writer-at-large, JEN BUSH, covered the event. This is Part IV

Playful Substance Theater Company-Pithy Party

Artists have a voice, a vision and a story to tell through mediums such as art, music and theater. What they need is an opportunity. Playful substance provides those crucial opportunities as well as support to artists. This is what Playful Substance is all about in their own words:

Playful Substance is a New York based theater company dedicated to fostering new works through our Writers Groups, developmental workshops, community events and fully staged productions. We believe that lifelong artist development, work-life balance, and the vitality of an inclusive creative space are integral to the artist’s practice. “Playful Substance” is the mission; substantive work approached with joy, cooperation, sensitivity, and humor.

Their Pithy Party is an annual event putting Playful Substance’s writer’s groups in the spotlight with staged readings featuring excerpts of works in progress directed and read by company members and friends. This year’s event was roughly four hours long and showcased 10 writers, 10 directors and 30 cast members. The live performances were spread out over 3 seatings. The online performance featured bonus content such as artist interviews and a more in-depth look at Playful Substance.

Written by and Starring-Osi Mizrahi

Building the Home Within: A solo show based on the upcoming book

In Building the Home Within, Osi Mizrahi takes us on an international journey. The story begins in a bucolic setting in upstate New York. Ms. Mizrahi has been invited to a ayahuasca ceremony via email. Ayahuasca is a South American psychoactive brew used for social, medicinal, shamanic, and psychological means. There is often a ceremony involved with its use, led by a Shaman. Prior to ingesting the ayahuasca, a powder is passed around. Ms. Mizrahi inhales the powder and immediately recalls a strong memory of her grandparents. We learn that Ms. Mizrahi is a transplant from Israel. She is a divorced mother who seems to have found her way in life after a 23-year marriage.

I always say, hats off to solo artists. They are out there all alone with their precious narrative. They have an obligation to connect with the audience very quickly. Ms. Mizrahi did just that. She made a confident connection with the audience immediately. She had an interesting story to tell which left the viewers wanting more. Lucky for us there is more to come in the form of a longer solo play and a book.

DramaQueens Spotlight of Leading Arts Entrepeneurs: GILDA MERCADO

The United Solo Theatre Festival – due to continuing restrictions – has evolved into the United Solo Screen presenting a litany of captivating solo film showings. A featured event there is ELLA Y YO. This deep exploration follows a woman’s journey in search for acceptance and healing of her identity. Written, directed, produced, edited, and starring international stage and film actress Gilda Mercado, Ella Y Yo takes thew audience on a schizophrenic journey through a woman’s psyche to revel power and paranoia in a swirl of imagery moving from the stunningly beautiful to graphic and disturbing. Mercado plays a woman battling herself within herself. Utilizing clever camera tricks, turning a split screen into a balletic dance of the id, ego, and superego.

Gilda Mercado is a Mexican actress, theater maker, and creative. Born and raised in Mexico City, Gilda developed an interest in acting from an early age. Her passion for the arts drew her first to the theater, where she notably participated in the play “Boda en Cirilico.” The show was directed by Ylia O. Popesku, and it was performed at the Torre Latinoamericana, one of Mexico City’s most important landmarks. Gilda subsequently co-starred in a short film and played opposite Ariel Award winning actors Tenoch Huerta (Narcos Mexico) and Cassandra Ciangherotti. (The Ariel Awards are Mexico’s equivalent to the Oscars.) The film, “Elevados”, was invited to several international film festivals including the Los Angeles Film Fest, “One Shot” ISFF, 12 Months Film festival, and the Asiana International Short Film Festival among others.

Ella Y Yo is available at https://screen.unitedsolo.org/.

We spoke with Ms. Mercado on her art and her journey.

Is your work autobiographical?

The work I do is not autobiographical, since my work consists of representing different characters which most of the time are totally different from me. However, I believe that there is a part of me in every character I play as well as them in me. I think every performance and creation offers a small glimpse into the artist’s soul. That’s what makes art soulful. I believe art is a mirror of us. Acting, I believe, is a combination of the writer’s words, the director’s vision, and the actor’s imagination and soul. I think the best artists are those who are full of life, depth, and contradictions. However, now that I think about the question, I’ve been collaborating and creating new work these past two years. A piece I created recently for Rattlestick Playwrights Theater might slightly be based on myself and on my feelings as a woman and a performer. I’m fascinated by the concept of identity, a subject I believe can never be fully understood. This theme keeps coming up in my work and it can definitely be seen in this last performance. ‘Ella y yo” is a bilingual digital piece I wrote, directed, edited and performed which was selected to be part of United Solo Screen. The piece combines text, imagery, music and movement to encapsulate the struggle to find oneself. The short play follows a woman’s journey to healing and acceptance, as she learns to embrace all the parts that make her a complex human being. This solo work is an exploration of questions and thoughts that every human but particularly women – can identify with. I created this piece with the goal of making it entertaining, visually captivating, relatable, and more importantly, raw and honest. It was challenging, fulfilling, and at times, a terrifying process. I feel proud to say I created a piece of depth and vulnerability.

What is it like being an artist in the United States? in your native country?

In my experience, being an artist in the United States, Mexico and the United Kingdom is pretty similar. It is a challenging industry, but also a fulfilling profession. The main differences I’ve noticed are the perspectives of the countries and their expression of art. However, the biggest difference between Mexico and the United States is that the industry is more well-developed and the theater scene is more diverse. There are fewer opportunities for doing straight theatre in Mexico, including classical theater. I feel that the United States offers a blend of different kinds of theaters, from classical to devised, not to mention its diversity of stories.

What obstacles do you face now … as a woman … and an immigrant?

Although there has been a lot of progress made in the industry in terms of inclusion and diversity, there is still a long way to go. There are a lot of misconceptions about the Latinx community. We are a diverse community made up of different races, colors, cultures and accents. I believe there isn’t enough representation in the media, on television, and in the theater. Not every Latina speaks the same, looks the same, and sounds the same. It would be as if we put all Europeans in the same category or say that English, Irish and Scottish are all the same. I feel that the stories are often driven mainly by ethnicity and the fact that the characters are Latino. I want to see more roles in which nationality and race are irrelevant and as an actress, I’m being considered not because of my background but because I am the best to play the role. As many English, Australian and American actors do, where you see them playing complex characters that are driven by their humanity and circumstances.

What’s next?

I have a few projects coming up for next year. Currently, I’m excited to work with The Blind Cupid Shakespeare Company on their upcoming 2022 season. A friend and I are currently working on a script for a western film, and I will be part of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater’s upcoming Global Forms Theater Festival in 2022.

DramaQueens Spotlight of Leading Arts Entrepeneurs: Joanna M. Briley

The Black Women in Comedy Laff Fest, founded by successful show producer and comedian Joanna Briley, is laser-focused on bringing awareness to the lack of diversity in the comedy industry. It amplifies the comedic voices of Black Women in the comedy community. The Black Women in Comedy Laff Fest 2021 was sponsored by Stand Up! Girls and Lois Thompson.

The Joke Sistas will be part of the return of the New York Comedy Festival, Wednesday, November 10 at 9:15 p.m. at New York Comedy Club, 241 East 24th St., NYC. Tickets: $25 (w/two drink minimum). Reservations: 212-696-5233/ newyorkcomedyclub.com

This year’s event is precided over by Ms. Briley herself plus the talents of Meshelle, “The Indie-Mom of Comedy;” Mugga, Calise Hawkins, Erin Jackson, and Ms. Briley herself, all hosted by Glo Butler with “guest spots” from Hollie Harper and Moonie.

Drama Queens is proud to spotlight Ms. Briley and her journey to empowerment through laughter.

Why did you choose to be a stand-up comedian?

I didn’t choose stand-up comedy. Cute story, an ex-boyfriend told me on one of the 100th dates to a comedy club, that I was funnier than the guy on stage and that I had what it takes to become a comedian. He later came to my apartment with a copy of the “Learning Annex” with “How to be a Stand Up Comedian!” class circled and as they say “the rest is history!”

What is “funny” to you?

I love absurdities and goofiness. Silly everyday nuances are golden moments of hilarity that is best shared on stage and with your best friends.

What are the biggest obstacles in being a comic?

As a comic, getting booked on a regular basis or passed at local established clubs has been an issue for me.

A female comic?

As a female comic, not being booked as often or on shows with more than one woman on them. 

An African-American female comic?

As a Black Woman, being pigeon-holed into a stereotype or caricature of what it is to be funny. If a Booker isn’t comfortable with having a Black woman or women at the venue, then they will always find a reason not to book. 

How does CancelCulture affect your act?

I do not follow the trends. Cancel culture is a form of #bullying in my opinion.

What is the “message” of your material?

My message has no message. I am an empowered woman speaking my truths. Someone will relate to what I’m saying. I mean as a single Black Woman, I can’t be the only one sleeping in a twin bed!?!? Lol

How has CoVid affected what you do?

In 2020 we moved outdoors and I was still leery. Having comedy snatched from me because of the Pansanemica caused me a bout of depression. 

Does CoVid play into your act?

No. I have not found a way to make Covid funny. It’s not funny to me. The nuances of living in a panzina can be funny but Covid itself will never be funny to me.

Join in the funny … Wednesday, November 10 at 9:15 p.m. at New York Comedy Club, 241 East 24th St., NYC. Tickets: $25 (w/two drink minimum). Reservations: 212-696-5233/newyorkcomedyclub.com

Experience Kaitana Magno: Magic During Pandemic (Part II)

Triple-Threat, Kaitana Magno helms Variety Life Productions, packing each production with live music, dance, nightlife, variety, circus, and immersive entertainment in spectacular site-specifc performances. Carmen: To Havana & Back, a Cuban-infused re-imagining of the opera, Carmen, premiered in 2018 to critical acclaim and sold out performances until its necessary closing due to Covid in March, 2020. Now, she tackles Shakespeareare.

Kaitana, tell us about YOU first.

Classically Trained Ballet Dancer Nightlife Creatrix Dazzling, experiential productions for folks who think they’ve seen it all, but ain’t seen nothing yet. My partner, James Sutherland, and I come from rigorous, strict, and disciplined dance backgrounds, grew up on stage and have performed professionally for the last two decades around the world. During that time, we’ve both had the extreme good fortune of having been mentored by prolific innovators in our field, and that inspiration has laid a foundation to consistently drive us to continue on the path of persisting in the performing arts.

What obstacles have you encountered (or are encountering) doing these types of presentations?

When it comes to pre-production I am always concerned with the timeline, it’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle, having all the pieces on a table and then plugging things in. Vision, venue, the piece itself and all of its elements. Story, style, music, it’s just this fantastic process of creating and then filling in all the pieces. I love it. Obstacles? Doing this in the middle of a pandemic and recovery. It’s a bit like building on sand. For example; set pieces that need to be built…Creating a site specific world. That’s hard! Artists willing to work within new boundaries. Finding a venue willing to re-open in times of uncertainty. But ultimately, the challenges produce really great partnerships with people wanting and willing to step out. And the results are really exciting.

Did the actors collaborate on this with you? Is this geared to be taken on the road when you are finished in NYC?

This is a total collaboration. From our insanely talented creative team to our actors, everyone plays a part in sculpting this unique piece. We have cherry picked each cast member and feature a wide range of metiers to bring completely new nuances to these timeless characters. Each of our shows is purpose-built for its venue and cast, but don’t be surprised to see dynamic new versions of Midsummer (and Carmen) popping up in major entertainment cities across the globe.

Between this and Carmen, it looks like you enjoy taking the classics and weaving magic into them? That said, what’s next?

Growing up in the ballet world, one becomes very familiar with the classics and I fell in love with so many of these stories at such a young age. I was always fascinated with the process of building these massive productions and relished in watching them come alive before my eyes. As a child performer, I was fully immersed in the worlds created on and offstage and now as an adult I find myself chasing that feeling. Telling the classics through a different lens and using various art forms within one production makes these stories more accessible and perhaps palatable to an audience that wouldn’t necessarily get to experience these masterpieces in the first place. Our inspiration pipeline is miles long– classics, myths, forgotten gems, and original works of daring and romance…. Stories that pique our imagination and create familiar structures that we can play within.


MIDSUMMER: A SHAKESPEARIENCE
presented by Variety Life Productions
OPENING OCTOBER 13
Wednesdays thru Sundays at 8:00pm
CASA 51
625 W 51st Street, NYC
Tickets start at $99
Tickets: www.midsummershakespearience.com
More Info: www.varietylifeprodutions.com

Five Minutes with Ekaterina Behor

A dynamic young producer is now part of the landscape of Los Angeles. Ekaterina Behor was woo’d by making a TV commercial in her native Russia and the rest is history. Bringing an impeccible sens eof organziation and creativity to her work, “Kat” uses her degree to dig deeply into the minds of the characters of her films, then applies her mission of inspiring others to put the finishing touches on her work. After earning her degree from New York Film Academy, she announced her desire to be a producer … and again … the rest is history.

DQ sat down with Kat for a quick few moments in-between takes:

As a producer, do you have a certain mission or vision? Do you look for certain kinds of properties to produce? 

I have a certain mission, by the projects that I do I want to inspire people to be brave, motivated, and a bit happier. I want to put them in a world where they have hope. For me, first of all – any movie or video is an attraction for eyes, so it should be aesthetic, harmonious and beautiful. It is the reason why I  love music videos and commercials. When I work as a Creative Producer and I have access to the script, it makes me extremely happy. I have a degree in psychology,that is why I love to change some dialogue, add more subtext, and help the director to develop characters during the director’s rewrite. I like all genres if the story is engaging and  strong. 

What event in your life made you decide to join the entertainment community of the United States?

I was hired to make jewelry commercials back in Russia, and I thought it would be so easy, but then I realized I didn’t know a lot of things about camera, lighting, directing actors, making agreements and I decided that Los Angeles is the best place in the world to start my career.

What are some of the obstacles you are facing now?

The only problem is that some investors are not comfortable giving money now for the features because Hollywood might shut down again and some of the projects are delayed for an uncertain time.

Which provides you more obstacles, being a woman or being international?

Honestly, I have never met any big problems as a woman or an international filmmaker. At least, in Los Angeles, the situation is pretty good now. When I do line producing, I can assure you that salaries for men and women are similar; and we don’t hire crew depending on their sex or being American or not. However, as a producer, I have to talk to a lot of people, negotiate and find connections and networks… because of it I wish I could be a native speaker, but I am working on it. There is a lot of support for female filmmakers and a lot of festivals only for women. 

What are you working on now and what’s next? 

Right now I am working on a Russian Youtube Show. The first season got 3,5 mil views, so I am excited to see how many views we will get during this year because the quality of the show is so much better. Also, we are shooting a YouTube Project (of Larnell Stovall and Ellen Hollman) which will be presented at the end of this year. Next year I would like to focus on commercials, music videos, and our feature Volatility. We have just finished the final cut of our short-proof concept and already have a couple of interested investors.

An electrifying multiracial cast puts Titania in the forefront at MIDSUMMER: A Shakespearience

Variety Life Productions, a dynamic new NYC-based experiential theatre company, driven by the belief that art is essential coupled with an insatiable desire to illuminate the human condition, marries live music, dance, nightlife, variety, circus, and immersive entertainment in spectacular site-specific performances. VLP are the creators of Carmen: To Havana & Back, a Cuban-infused re-imagining of the opera, Carmen, that premiered in 2018 to critical acclaim and sold-out performances until its necessary closing due to Covid in March, 2020.

Now, joining Broadway in the greatest live entertainment comeback in recent history, VLP is paving the way for a new paradigm of live theatre with Midsummer: A Shakespearience.

This dynamic and innovative take on Shakespeare’s most beloved “romcom,” blends the brilliance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with myriad elements of music, magic, and artistic innovation, sure to allow audiences to love and laugh again – together.

You’re invited to dress in your finest enchanted forest couture when you enter Titania’s ‘Round Midnight Revue!

This genuine theatrical spectacle – inspired by Shakespeare’s most cherished romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream – brings you to “Titania’s ‘Round Midnight Revue,” where, nightly, the whispers of the fairy queen’s secret soiree pulse in a rhapsody of mesmerizing live music, wondrous dance, and vaudevillian splendor. This immersive event invites guests to dance the night away and dress in their finest “Enchanted Forest Couture.” Variety Life Productions, the creative force behind some of NYC’s most spectacular immersive and theatrical nightlife experiences, has gathered a powerhouse team to sending you soaring into a world befitting of the Bard: Creative Direction by Kaitana Magno (Queen of the Night, The Box); Choreography by Emmy Award-winner Jason Samuels Smith (Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk,” Michael Jackson’s You Rock My World), Mishay Petronelli (Beyoncé, Madonna, Kanye West), and Adesola Osakalumi (FELA!, Equus); Music Direction by Matt Parker (Postmodern Jukebox); Scenic Design by Cinder Petrichor (The Illuminati Ball) and Roberto Garcia (House of Yes, Sleep No More); and Costumes by Isabel Freiberger (Carmen: To Havana & Back). OPENING OCTOBER 13, 2021 Wednesdays thru Sundays at 8:00pm @ Loft 51 (625 W 51st St.) Tickets start at $99 Tickets: www.midsummershakespearience.com. More Info: www.varietylifeproductions.com
 
MIDSUMMER: A SHAKESPEARIENCE 
presented by Variety Life Productions 
OPENING OCTOBER 13 
Wednesdays thru Sundays at 8:00pm 
Loft 51 
625 W 51st Street, NYC 
Tickets start at $99 
Tickets: www.midsummershakespearience.com 
More Info: www.varietylifeproductions.com 
 

Celeste Mancinelli: Enlightenment and Sheep

Celeste Mancinelli‘s true account of a woman who took a 200 mile walk to find enlightenment
(and met some lovely sheep along the way)

Crying on the Camino: A one-person show written and performed by Celeste Mancinelli and directed by Richard Sabellico.

Special NYC Benefit Performance
Thursday, October 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Theatre 555
555 West 42nd Street 
between Tenth and Eleventh avenues, NYC

Stage performer, Celeste Mancinelli, has an extremely funny and deeply moving story to tell.

After successful regional performances, actor/singer Celeste Mancinelli now brings her compelling mix of humor and poignancy Off-Broadway to 42ndStreet. This special one-night performance of “Crying on the Camino” willl be presented at the newly renovated Theater 555. This NYC debut performance will benefit the American Pilgrims on the Camino, a non-profit association for people interested in the Camino de Santiago,a network of ancient pilgrimage routes leading to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain.

Celeste’s show recounts her 200-mile walk on the Portuguese Route to Santiago de Compostela. Her desire to share this experience brought her to the legendary teacher/director Wynn Handman, who helped her develop the show at his NYC studio.

Now Celeste embarks on a new “Camino,” bringing this true account of her walk to the stage. “This piece is about minimalism and simplicity, self-reflection and honesty,” says Mancinelli, a veteran stage actress. “In sharing this piece my goal is to inspire others to take their own journey – to fully live their own Caminos”

Contact  crycamino@gmail.com  for donation info and reservations

Celeste Mancinelli has been performing professionally since the early 80’s. Her NYC credits include the hit show “Nunsense” at the Douglas Fairbanks Theater, Cynthia Heimel’s long-running play “A Girl’s Guide to Chaos” at the American Place Theater (originating the character of Lurene) and Larry Gelbart’s “1-2-3-4-5” at the Manhattan Theater Club. She has appeared as Mama in “My Big Fat Gay Italian Wedding” and its sequel (Funeral) at the St Luke’s Theatre. Celeste has worked in numerous Off-Broadway, cabaret, stock, regional and national touring productions throughout the United States. Her most recent appearance was as Edith Frank in “The Diary of Anne Frank” at the Greenbrier Valley Theatre in West Virginia.

Celeste has proudly enjoyed a second career as an ASHA certified Speech/Language Pathologist and earned the NJSHA Distinguished Clinical Achievement Award.  In that capacity, she developed a unique program at Spectra Academy in Montclair, New Jersey. This program targeted children/adolescents with Asperger’s/Autism/ADHD assisting them with the development of comedy scenes and scripts resulting in two full-scale stage and four film performances, all conceived by her students. This rewarding opportunity allowed her to mesh her two professional careers at the same time for the first time.

During the COVID outbreak Celeste began writing/developing and performing her original, one-woman show, “Crying on the Camino” based on her 200 mile hike through Spain.

Celeste is thrilled to share this experience with all of you.

Francesca Ravera as Una in “Blackbird”

The #MeToo Movement shines a light on behavior that begins with inapprpriare and goes to criminal in the “real world” but theatre – and David Harrower did it way-back in 2005. You are on stage and in the breakroom of an ordinary business for an extraordinary conversation. This “meeting” is complicated by the plethora of feelings that run the gamut of anger and confusion to curiosity and even passion. 

David Harrower’s drama puts the audience in the room for a meeting between a young woman and a middle-aged man. This meeting occurs 15 years after the woman was sexually abused by the man… when she was 12. 

As Una and Ray, Francesca Ravera & Lenny Grossman take us on a diffiuclt journey through raw emotions in BLACKBIRD. This production is directed by Kim T. Sharp with previews beginning September 14 at downtown’s New Ohio Theater, 154 Christopher Street, Suite 1E, New York City

As Una, originally from Italy, Francesca Ravera is a N.Y.C. based, award-winning actress. She has starred in Taxi Tales at Marylin Monroe Theater, Rules of Love,and A Thousand Clowns. Off-Broadway, she has played the lead in Two Rooms,by Lee Blessing at Access Theater, North of Providence, by Edward Allan Baker, and The Nina Variations,by Steven Dietz, at Chain Theatre. Francesca has acted with Danny Glover and Udo Kier in the feature film Ulysses: a Dark Odyssey.

She played the lead n Claire, a dramatic short film, for which she received ‘Best Actress’ awards from numerous festivals including Oniros Film Awards, Care Awards, Diamond Film Awards, Best Actor Awards festival, Milestone Worldwide Film Festival, Mindfield Film Festival Albuquerque and Five Continents International Film Festival. She starred in several short films, including Creature of the Nightdirected by Kaya Tone; Osiris, a Sci-Fi directed by Tamara Hansen and Windows to Nowhere, another film by Tamara Hansen. www.francescaravera.com

Director Kim T. Sharp directed two productions starring Francesca Ravera, at Urban Stages: Espresso by Lucia Frangione and The Way We Get By, by Neil LaBute. The latter, was also performed in Italy, in Turin, Genova and Milan. 

Tickets are $28. Student and senior tickets are $20.

https://ci.ovationtix.com/34708/production/1076055

Check The New Ohio Theatre website for the most current information on Covid restrictions. Currently, to attend a performance you must show proof of vaccination for admittance into the theatre. Masks are required for all audience members. However, performers will not be masked. The theatre is accessible from the #1 train to Christopher St. or A, B, C, D, E, F or M train to West 4th St. For info visit NewOhioTheatre.org.

Even her name means ART

She was supposed to be a doctor. But her parents named her wrong.

Her name – in Chinese – means “artistic view” seemed to predict how her life would turn.

After taking an acting class in college – where she was studying medicine – something clicked in her and she did a full stop on medicine and went head-first into a career in acting here in the United States.

This story is a familiar one but the next part is the twist. Most stories end with returning to their original profession and – years later – talking about that one play they did when they were young.

This was not the case for Yiqing Zhao.

In just over one pandemic-drenched year she turned her life around and is now a working actress here in New York with stage and film works that are catching the attention of industry and audience alike.

Television audiences will see her in the TV pilot, Divorce School, which has already garnered a few awards and awaiting even more joyous news. She appeared on film in Jessie X Snow’s daring film, Little Sky, which also carries numerous awards. She also appeared in Mother Tongue, a deeply moving film about a family coping with Alzheimer’s disease.

On stage, she garnered praise for appearances in Murder in San Jose and Oil, and The Mannequin Diary (directed by Trazanna Beverly, the first African-American Tony Winner)

All this culminates into YOU & I, a film which she wrote, directed, produced, and starred. The film won accolades from the Mindfield Film Festival and recently she won BEST ACTRESS from the Royal Wolf Film Awards.

Ms. Zhao has not totally let her “medical” training go. She has created a thriving life-coaching business where she helps artists be better business-people and sharing how they can better serve their careers. One might say she is stopping the stereotype of the starving artist.

More on Yiqing Zhao can be found at

www.yiqingzhao.com

https://coaching.yiqingzhao.com

linkedin.com/in/yiqing-zhao-329a11a6

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm8131159/

Read about her and her award-winning film at https://indiepicturesblog.wordpress.com/2021/07/21/beside-myself-with-joy/

A STORY CALLED AKSHATA HONNAVAR

After winning multiple awards for her new film,

A STORY CALLED LIFE,

the offers came rushing in for visionary filmmaker, AKSHATA HONNAVAR. “I have been grateful to work with multiple amazing projects,” she commented on her recent success,

I will be script supervisor and continuity starting July 19 for nine episodes of Chase, a new TV series; then I work with Bhakti Center, developing and subsequently producing a series of Master Class Educational Programs, and finally I will be part of the TV pilot for a series called Budabless, but I don’t have production dates on that yet.”

Her life currently looks like the films she loved and grew up on, “In India, almost every film is a musical and perhaps reflects the way people live in this part of the world. I am not sure how or when the transition from being a huge film fan to wanting to be a filmmaker happened. But it did and my journey to New York Film Academy began.”

When asked if she encounters any obstacles — as a woman or as someone from another country — Akshata volunteered an answer as hopeful as any of her favorited films but resolute, “The important thing to go up is to have a network of good film makers from whom we can learn further. A film school teaching has its limitations and cannot be compared with what we learn on the ground.” But she is not naïve, “everybody wants to be with good natured people. Unless someone is amazingly talented we will try to avoid them. The work is too collaborative where we sit with many people together. Personal relations will definitely come in between. If you are good to be around the people for whom we may work will find this as a bonus.”

Open and honest her needs point to talent, “I think everyone has to pass the first test but the real challenges that we will face here is the lack of good film makers to work with. There are a few but then they are already surrounded with so many brilliant people that we will not be visible unless we have some network.”

She concluded with honesty, ” I am struggling with the networking part and that should not be taken lightly ever. Most of us think that we are best at our work and good hearted. That illusion breaks and builds all the time.”