Mara Lee Gilbert What's Left
A young woman in prison for manslaughter is involved in a pen-pal relationship with a young man, who's fiancee has been killed. Both are in search of peace and redemption but must face their pasts, together, for better or worse.
"Art is the flaw captured beautifully
that we may have compassion for our ugliest ugly."
Mara is an award-winning and published actress/writer/producer living in New York City. She writes for stage and screen. Her work has most recently been showcased in in both New York and Los Angeles in notable festivals. She has a Master's Degree in Forensic Psychology and has worked for the past 11 years counseling NYC's most difficult populations. She taught drama inside a women's prison and ran the first ever drama therapy group inside the notorious Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center for the criminally insane. She pulls from these experiences often in her writing. She is moved to examine the spiritual nature of all human experiences, including the darkest, under a lens of compassion.
"What's Left was especially inspired by my two summers teaching a drama workshop with one of my professors inside Bayview Correctional Facility, a women's prison, in Manhattan. I wanted to look at how the past can muddle our decisions in the present, especially if we are trying to change course in life. And how, even in the most dire of circumstances, and through the most horrific forms of behavior, we strive to connect with each other. There is almost always something poignant and hopeful in the stories of offenders, whether or not it is realized. The hope of always reaching for what else is possible." -Mara Lee Gilbert
Developing a dramatic television series examining the micro and macrocosmic nature of
institutionalization, set inside a Forensic Psychiatric Center, based on some of my real experiences.
Working towards an Off-Broadway production of my play, Passage, which took 2nd place in the 2015 New York New Works Theatre Festival. It is now a full-length play and just had it's west coast premiere in Los Angeles with the Acting Out Ink Fest, a celebration of female playwrights.
Synopsis: A man about to die views death (and life) very differently, after an encounter with the woman hired to euthanize him, on the night he plans to die.
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AWARDS and international screenings for
Official Selection of the First Ever Digital Box Office Screening and Awards Series, 201
Official Selection of the CineArtistry Screening Series in Los Angeles, 2017
Semi-Finalist in the NexTV Entertainment Web Series and Indie Film Competition, 2016
Award of Merit for Artistic and Technical Achievement with the Best Shorts Competition, 2016
Thank you so much MARA for sharing your work with us!
Marina Bruno Cotton String
“Cotton String” is a feature film about two lower class, middle-aged men who decide to invest half their life savings in an idea that’s in the works by a drug dealer. The story follows a series of different events that each result in tragedy due to chaos and confusion. The entire film takes place in one day. The director’s father & mentor, Carlo Bruno - an Argentinian native actor and filmmaker - stars as Lucas, the leading role in the film.
Mostly known for her short film work, including Short Circuit (2013), Civil War (2012), Waste of a Fall (2014) & See How Easy That Was? (2015), Marina began her filmmaking career at a young age. She was first introduced to filmmaking at age 10 when she co-starred in her father, Carlo Bruno's independent feature film In April (2016). Following in her father's footsteps, the young filmmaker decided to make her first official short film at 16. She then founded her production company Wondering Pictures and in the next years created several new short film works. At 19, Marina wrote, directed, produced and edited her first feature film Cotton String (2015), making her one of the youngest ever established filmmakers in cinema history. She continues to create new works, all of which are showcased on her YouTube channel and in several film festivals across the globe.
MArina you ! thanks for sharing!
Lovell Holder Some Freaks
Originally from Charlotte, NC, Lovell Holder graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University before going on to receive his MFA from Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company. Shortly after moving to Los Angeles, he began producing the critically acclaimed feature film SOME FREAKS (written and directed by Ian MacAllister-McDonald), which stars Thomas Mann, Lily Mae Harrington, and Tony Award nominee Marin Ireland. Winner of a dozen film festival awards, SOME FREAKS will be released by Good Deed Entertainment on August 4, 2017. Lovell’s feature directorial debut, LOSERVILLE, a high school dramedy (whose ensemble includes Matt McGorry, Darby Stanchfield, Natalie Hall, and Jonathan Lipnicki, as well as newcomers Chris Bellant and Sarah Jes Austell), is available on Amazon and iTunes, and Lovell also recently produced Olivia Hamilton’s short film SURROGATE alongside Oscar winner Damien Chazelle.
"EYE" SURE WANT TO SEE THIS MOVIE! DO YOU?
The film follows one-eyed high school senior Matt (Thomas Mann) who meets plus size Jill (Lily Mae Harrington) and falls more in love than he ever thought possible. However, when graduation comes and Jill moves cross-country to go to college, she undergoes a major physical transformation - much to Matt's surprise when he arrives to visit her. While Matt struggles to accept Jill's new look, Jill begins to question whether Matt is really the man she thought she knew. As the distance widens between them, the characters are forced to confront who they are, who they were, and who everyone thinks they're supposed to be.
Emily Gerhardson PART OF ME NOW
After witnessing her mother Lori go through the struggles of Breast Cancer, 27 year old first-time filmmaker Emily Gerhardson knew she needed to create a documentary discussing the continuing effects cancer can have on one’s life - even beyond the treatments. Born and raised in Fargo, ND, she now resides in Los Angeles, CA where she continues to develop her filmmaking craft. Her mission with “Part Of Me Now: Living With Breast Cancer” is to promote community and fellowship for patients and loved ones affected by the disease and its treatments.
How does someone live after having cheated death?
Part Of Me Now: Living with Breast Cancer The simple fact is people need to begin talking about and recognizing what is beyond the treatment of cancer. What is next? "Part Of Me Now: Living With Breast Cancer" targets the hardship and struggles those who've gone through Breast Cancer endure beyond their treatments. The film highlights a side to cancer that has yet to be focused on- the aftermath. It centers around the personal stories of individuals who will live with cancer in their bodies or as a lingering threat for the rest of their lives.
KPage Stuart Valdes FULL SERVICE
KPage Stuart Valdes is a New York-based filmmaker, writer, educator, and musician whose work explores the many layers of misunderstanding generated by the stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination that exist within American society. She has received fellowships and commissions from Yaddo, Jerome Foundation through Voice and Vision Theater, Atlantic Center for the Arts, HERE Arts Center, Blue Heron Arts Center, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and Tisch School of the Arts.
Her screenplay, Borderline ‘73, was a finalist for the Sundance Writer’s Lab, and an Academy Award Nicholls Screenwriting Fellowship Semi- Finalist. Her screenplay, Psychotropia, won Best Screenplay at the California Women’s Film Festival, second place at the LA Underground Film Festival screenplay competition, was a finalist for the Sundance Writer’s Lab, and a Semi-Finalist at the Rhode Island International Film Festival.
Talking Piece, a short which she wrote, produced, and directed, premiered at Detroit's Charles H Wright Museum of African American History and screened at multiple festivals nationally and internationally winning the Complex Cultural Currents Award from Stories by the River Festival and an Honorable Mention at the San Francisco Black Film Festival. Full Service, a short which she also wrote, directed, and produced, was awarded Best Short at the Toronto Nollywood Film Festival and Best Short at the Katra Film Festival. It was screened in the African Diasopora International Film Festival and at the famed Anthology Film Archives in NYC. Her music has been presented by Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and in countless smaller clubs.
She has worked in progressive education as an arts educator, teacher coach, social and emotional learning specialist, and project manager, and has supported and trained thousands of educators in conflict resolution, social and emotional learning, and racial equity initiatives. By leading workshops on understanding bias; creating emotional literacy; countering stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination; and learning concrete skills to better ally with people who are being targeted she supports communities to become more equitable and inclusive. She writes a regular blog for Edutopia on these issues, and recently delivered the 2nd most popular webinar of 2017 for the American Federation of Teachers by using footage that she shot in NYC classrooms to teach skills for creating positive classroom climate and racial equity in schools. Her creative work is influenced by the years of experience she has had as a progressive educator.
She holds a BFA in Acting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and an MFA from their Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program where she wrote both words and music.
In Full Service, we meet, Abike, a Nigerian-American, who is taking a country drive to a friend's house when she realizes her tank is needling towards empty. She pulls into the only station she can find and is greeted by Scott, a local who inherited his business from his grandfather. Scott has never met anyone like Abike and she patiently dissects his assumptions about her and her life with humor and gravity, before leaving him to ponder their commonalties and her power. Full Service explores our propensity to stereotype others, our simplistic ideas around identity, and how we are all more complex than we seem.
If you are interested in seeing this film in full, please contact the director here: