Category Archives: Wilde World Communications

A Soft Spot in my Heart for Independent Film

14766111811_1b259a3065_zFor better or worse, I grew up on television. We had all the cable TV channels and little supervision or limits. So I spent a lot of my younger days watching a whole lot of independent film. Many I watched over and over because they aired 3 times-a-day.

As I’ve gotten older, and now that I’ve actually tried to make some films myself, I have grown a more discerning eye for quality and a much greater respect for the artists that make film.

It seems everyone is a critic these days and not afraid to say how great or terrible a movie is. But once you try to make one yourself, you learn how much hard work, follow-through, and attention to detail it requires just to make an absolutely awful film, let alone a great one worth showing to anyone.

Being a film director is hard work. Being a successful one is considered a long-shot. Trying to become a successful female filmmaker, or female filmmaker of color, might feel even more impossible when you discover the statistics.

  • Most female filmmakers made only one film in the last decade.
  • Female directors face an age limit—they work from 30s-60s. Males work from 20s-80s.
  • 83.3% of women of color made 1 top film from 2007-2016 vs 54.3% of non-Black/non-Asian males.
  • Of 1,114 directors of 1,000 top films in the last decade, 4% were female.
  • The first African-American female directors backed by major film studios didn’t occur until as late as 1989-1991!

From: Inclusion in the Director’s Chair? Gender, Race, & Age of Film Directors Across 1,000 Films from 2007-2016 by Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Dr. Katherine Pieper, & Marc Choueiti. The Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative. February 2017. Annenburg Foundation.

lucy-morgan-c-1985-florida-hall-of-fame

Florida Hall of Fame filmmaker Lucy Morgan, c 1985.

When I was asked to work with a new 4-day film festival in my area of the Pacific Northwest, specifically sharing the films of female directors, I couldn’t have been more honored. CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival launches this April 20-23. Check them out and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They’re also mentioned in my most recent WhatcomTalk.com article about the upcoming independent-film-viewing opportunities in my area.

This festival and the others like it will be helping to tip the scales and make the stats above a more distant part of our history.

Finding Your Own Path to Activism

Over the past two weeks, since the Presidential Inauguration, everyone I know is unsettled. No matter who they voted for. Perhaps that is the upside of the upset. Perhaps this is what we needed. Even though it doesn’t feel good or satisfying, perhaps these benefits are worth it?

  • To be clear about how we feel on the issues.
  • To dialogue with those we disagree with.
  • For more people to take action to support what’s important to them.
  • For people to share their money in support of the causes they care about.
  • To be reminded that our point of view isn’t the only point of view.
overburden_16

By Chad A. Stevens, milesfrommaybe Productions. From the film Overburden about Lorelei Scarbro who became a community organizer in the campaign to build an industrial wind farm along the ridges of mountain whose coal mine killed her husband.

I’ve used my work as a teacher, writer, and now as a marketing strategist to support the causes–and the people and businesses–I believe in.

I worked in Superfund clean up as a US EPA contractor because I believe in clean air and water and healthy ecosystems for people, for living things, and for the future of the planet.

overburden_07

By Chad A. Stevens, milesfrommaybe Productions. From the documentary flm Overburden. Nonviolent protest on Coal River Mountain on a mountaintop removal preparation site.

I managed chemistry laboratories and taught environmental science at a State University training the future scientists, policy-makers, and planners that will lead us to problem-solving in future generations.

I worked in special education for little pay for years because I believe in the impact public school can have on the lives of special needs children.

I write about theater, music, the arts, environmental innovation, and buying local and supporting local businesses because I believe in their value–for myself, for my family, and for our communities.

the-drowsy-chaperone-2-2015

Bellingham Theatre Guild’s 2015 production of The Drowsy Chaperone.

My writing, my communication, and how I approach them are my activism. Perhaps all that’s going on in the world right now is a sign. A sign that its time to wake up, look outside ourselves, and find our own activism.

If we don’t hear the call, we just might lose the freedoms we’ve been taking for granted, the privileges given to us by the activists who came before us. Those activists were every day people. Writers, lawyers, teachers, cooks, students, parents, preachers, nurses, policemen, and even politicians. They are us and we are them.

3684396632_34a663e190_zAnother upside: the action is not hard to find anymore. Don’t be overwhelmed. Choose your cause and pledge to yourself to do some small things. Now and from now on. Add your voice. We can do little alone, but together we are mighty.

Here are seven articles I’ve written so far in 2017 in support of the arts and human rights. Take a look, appreciate the arts, the environment, the rights you enjoy. Then find your activism and get involved.

Mount Baker Theatre Resident Ghost Judy is Blushing in Anticipation of The Irish Rovers and We Banjo 3 at Whatcomtalk.com

Resident Ghost Judy Can’t Wait for Mount Baker Theatre Education Shows at Whatcomtalk.com

Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival Explores Critical Issues at Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism Insider Blogs

Art, Nature, History, and Fun at Whatcom Museum in Bellingham at Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism Insider Blogs

Celebrate the Tribute Act at Mount Baker Theater at Whatcomtalk.com

Join Whatcom County’s Vibrant Poetry Scene at Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism Insider Blogs

Appreciating the Poetry of Whatcom County at WhatcomTalk.com

 

Cozy in Whatcom County

When I was asked to develop ideas for indoor activities for visitors to my area, it was easy to come up with a list of my favorite places. Many of them I’d already written about. Independent film, live music, indoor climbing, performing arts, and pub crawls are just a few of the options. Check out my Bellingham Experience Insider blog, 5 Ways to Stay Warm and Active in Bellingham this Winter, soon to plan your next visit to the Bellingham and Whatcom County area. One look and you’ll see why I chose this place to call home.

12079633223_38156d8e3f_z

When winter is keeping you inside, there are a lot of options for cozy fun.

 

Tribute Bands Rock!

mount-baker-theatre-gary-mullen-one-night-of-queen

Gary Mullen has spent 13 years channeling the power and energy of Freddie Mercury. Photo courtesy of Mount Baker Theatre.

 

Since I was a teen, whenever I’ve been looking for inspiration, for motivation, for perseverance when things feel hard, I’ve turned to Queen. Singing “We are the Champions” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” quietly in my head, or at the top of my lungs, has always helped me through.

When I was urgently paddling a kayak in a storm in British Columbia’s Queen Charlotte Islands, wondering if I would have to self-rescue, I sang Queen. When my newborn twins cried in stereo and nothing would soothe them, I sang Queen. When I ran my first, and last 5K, I sang Queen. Although Freddie Mercury passed away when I was still a teen, their iconic songs live on in recordings and through live performance by the Tribute Band.

It was cathartic for me to write about the beauty of the Tribute Act for my WhatcomTalk.com piece about one of the Queen Tribute Band that is part of Mount Baker Theatre‘s program this year. Get your tickets and say thank you for the inspiration and memories.

Strolling into the Darkness

dark-darkness-snakeman-by-damian-vines-photography-copy

From Season Zero Episode IV Snakeman’s Solitude. Photo by Damian Vines Photography.

I took accelerated math and studied science in high school and college. Yesterday, an elementary school friend said that I had always been the odd one out. It is safe to say that I was a nerd. Geek. Whatever label you like. I also liked Star Wars, Star Trek Next Generation, and my favorite filmmakers include Charlie Kaufman and Luc Besson. So yes, I’m bona fide.

That’s why I love working with local filmmaker Wilson Large. He is taking his sci-fi/comedy/fantasy passion project, the Dark Darkness web series, to the next level. Season Zero of the four episode web series used over 90 local actors and crew and became an official selection at several national and international film festivals. That success was hard earned and now Wilson is ready for the next chapter in pursuing his dream. That chapter includes business partners, pitching to studios and distributors, and a potential $1.2 million budget for Seasons One and Two in either a continued web series format or a full-on feature film. You can read more about it in my WhatcomTalk.com article.

If you’re bona fide too, you might enjoy Season Zero Episode I Ronald’s Summoning below. You can watch all four short episodes over on YouTube. Then tell your bona fide friends. Because bona fide is quickly becoming the new black.

Pure Poetry in Whatcom County

Natalie Fedak Erica Reed poetry Poem Store Kitchen Session Bellingham Whatcom

Natalie Fedak and Erica Reed make up poetry on the spot with their Poem Store at Kitchen Session Bellingham. Photo by Gary Wade.

I’m a writer, but as every writer knows, that doesn’t mean I excel in every writing genre. Poetry is a form of writing like no other. When I was younger, I studied science, not writing. I was immersed in the world of the literal and concrete. I didn’t fully ‘get’ poetry and I certainly didn’t have the confidence to try writing it.

Now that I’m more experienced in the world, I realize why poets are the writing perfectionists of the field. In just a few words, a poet must make their point, convey the feeling they are after, in a way that no one else has. They don’t get a paragraph to explain. They have one word or a single verse. That, my friends, is art at its finest.

I like to use my writing to support the arts whenever I can. That’s why I wrote about the Bellingham poetry scene for WhatcomTalk.com and Bellingham Experience (Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism). Whether you live in Whatcom County or want to plan your next getaway to this beautiful place, the perfection of poetry is now at your fingertips.

Channeling a Ghost for the Holidays

Momix at Mount Baker Theater.

Momix at Mount Baker Theater.

I am honored to be a part of Mount Baker Theatre’s (MBT’s) brilliance. Since the fall, they have allowed their resident ghost Judy to channel her thoughts about the beautiful, historic theater through me.

This week Judy is helping Pacific Northwesterners cross a few things off their holiday shopping list by giving the gift of a MBT experience through my WhatcomTalk.com blog post.

I hope you’ll appreciate how much fun it is to be Judy. I’ve always wanted a writing gig like Dear Sugar where I can give advice and thoughts anonymously. For now, this is the next best thing.