Sasha Anufrieva

-Who is Sasha Anufrieva?

I was born and raised in Russia at an unusual time, the 90’s, when the Soviet Union stopped existing and new life started pouring in from the West. For me, this new life brought tons of VHS tapes of Hollywood movies that my dad copied from his friends’ cassettes. We had all the Disney classics – The Little Mermaid, Lion King, Rescuers Down Under, etc. Together with my parents, I watched Trading Places, Die Hard, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Ghost, The Shawshank Redemption… just to name a few. I remember asking my dad to pause the films and explain things I didn’t understand. It was fascinating. We lived in a gray industrial post-soviet city and I was an only child with no friends in my neighborhood. I often felt unbearably bored but when Universal, Paramount, 21st Century Fox, or Disney logo animation started playing my heart would beat fast. I wanted my life to be like a movie. Or at least I wanted to live my life creating movies. At the age of 14, I wrote to ten American film schools and then corresponded with each school by collecting and translating the necessary paperwork. After 1.5 years I got accepted to California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco for a 4-year filmmaking program. It happened that my family was not able to pay the tuition. So I didn’t go to America at that time.

Fortunately, I had a plan “B”. As much as I loved movies I loved books. Because they ultimately did the same thing – transferred you to different worlds where you’d rather be. I wrote prose and poems and after finishing high school I went to Moscow to study creative writing. My alma mater was a completely different dimension from what I was initially aiming for. It was a Raskolnikov-Rasputin’s dark mine with diamonds of wisdom. I spent 5 years living together with other writers, poets, and dramaturgists in a miserable old dorm, digging out our intangible treasures. I ran from the ordinary and that was just it.

Over time some of my stories got published. One of them was published in Russian refugees’ magazine “Word” in New York, in 2012. I edited for a living. I worked in television in Moscow for 9 years as an editor, cutting tv-series, documentaries, and talk shows. I learned the craft of editing to make money and also because I saw it as a gateway to directing. And it did lead me there indeed. Now I can create my films using this extensive experience as an editor. And a writer. I combine these two professions in my art.

America showed me that the colorful thrilling world from my VHS tapes exists and I can actually live in it. Nevertheless, I miss my Dostoevsky-Tolstoy Russian world with its deep soul diving and endless roaming through dark depths. I am eager to see these two worlds co-existing in my art, interpenetrating and affecting each other. I’m happy to be in the beginning of this creative way, like a child who is allowed to mix all the colors in a new paint set.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

When I was a child, I visited my grandma at her countryside house. There was only one tv-set on the street, at aunt Madyna’s house. And every evening, about 5-6 grandmas gathered around this old TV and watched soap operas. The other neighborhood kids and I watched too. I was about 11 years old and could already distinguish a bad movie from a good one. I knew they watched really primitive stuff but I saw how happy they all were. Even I waited for these evenings during the day because one tends to feel lonesome away from home. I didn’t feel lonely among these grannies watching TV shows. And then I understood what television and movies are for.

Even the simplest and the cheapest ones. They prevent you from experiencing desperation and loneliness, they give you joy when you don’t have other ways to get it. When my grandma got her own TV, after a long day of physical work she happily ran to watch the next episode of a series. I thought that if my life was going to be as hard as hers, at least I would always have movies to watch.

I thought deeply about it. There are so many people in the world whose lives are hard and lack any exciting events. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, that’s just how it is in villages and in small towns. I know this because I grew up among such people, and my own early life also wasn’t full of adventures. So I know how much a good or even a bad movie means to those in small towns. So why not make movies for them? I decided that I wanted to be a director when I was 12.

-Do you think cinema can bring a change in society?

Cinema is the reflection of society and it certainly can be used by people as a tool to see themselves better, to correct themselves. To spread the word and the way of thinking. And with that, to speed up some changes in society. But I personally always loved the other side of cinema. When it is not a mirror but a lab where you can create something that didn’t exist before. An absolutely new form of existence. Like Jarmusch’s films or some of Antonioni’s films, or some random art house films you can stumble upon in a small movie theater. These are films you simply want to live in. Even if they’re about nothing, you just watch them, breathe them and want to stay in them every day thereafter. I always wanted to create such films. Do they change society? It’s hard to say. But they create joy, fulfillment, fantasies, and peace of mind.

It’s funny, but my first film project “Not For You” was the exact opposite of this kind of movie. I never thought I would start my director’s journey with a film or, in this case, a music video, that has such a message in it. I always agitated for “art for art’s sake”, for creating beautiful cozy worlds where the viewers could rest, enjoy themselves, or experience some insights, desires, and intentions. I didn’t understand showing the dark, cruel side of life in films. There is enough of it in the world, why should we magnify it in art? Whom will it help? And then, when my home country started this war, I found myself planning these anti-war film projects that didn’t align with my artistic credo at all. That’s probably how it works: something horrible happens near you and you just react. You go and film a bloody movie. I intend to return to my initial path but first I will finish another project related to war.

What would you change in the world?

I’d really want poverty and orphanhood to be eliminated by some genius scientific discovery the way that some fatal illnesses have been eliminated by vaccinations. There should be a way. Some socio-economic study. Then violence could be, if not eliminated, significantly reduced. That’s a dream. But what I could do for the world on my own is to make one’s life a bit fuller and brighter by providing them with meaningful content to watch. I would do my best to create films that could bring people hope and inspiration, or just be a journey to places they didn’t know existed.

Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

It’s probably going to microchip implants in our brains. At least engineers say so. The way we watch films will probably change. And the mastery of filmmakers. Compare the tv series of the end of the 20th century and the modern Netflix series. We’ve come a long way after Mexican “Simply Maria” and American “Santa Barbara”. Every episode is approached as a high-quality and well-built and treated feature movie. And it’s just in a 30-year period. What will we achieve in a century?


 “WOMAN – LIFE – FREEDOM” by Nina Kazè

As I begin to write this piece the brave women and men of Iran are amidst the largest and most unique feminist driven revolution in history.  

On September 16th, 2022 a 22 year old Iranian-Kurdish woman named “Zhina Amini” whose legal name was “Mahsa Amini”, died in a hospital in Tehran under unknown circumstances after being detained by the “morality police” for wearing an improper hijab in accordance with the government mandatory hijab standards.

She was at a morality holding station before she collapsed from a heart attack and was transferred to a hospital where she died from a cerebral hemorrhage or stroke.

Footage of Mahsa in this station shows a brief encounter with a woman criticizing her attire moments before she collapses.

Many eye witnesses detained with her claimed she was beaten (These claims were denied by the morality police), an autopsy shown denies these allegations but the public outrage is directly related to how common and unreasonable her being detained was to begin with.

Mahsa was visiting her family in Tehran and came from a small town of “Saqqez” in the province of Kurdistan.  She was in a mall with her family and her brother was alongside her as she pleaded with the morality police that she was a stranger there, before being forced to get in a van that transports women wearing improper hijabs to the station.

What sparked the public outrage was bigger than the mere was she beaten or not?

Seeing the footage and looking at her attire nothing seems out of place or a reason for concern.

In the Iranian culture your brother, father and uncles and cousins are far more of a morality police than any government implemented agency can be.  

That no government should have the right to have access to people’s children, wives or sisters and determine what they should or should not wear.

Her death sparked the biggest public outrage since the 2009 protests where Neda Agha-Soltan, a student of philosophy, was participating in the protests with her music teacher, and was walking back to her car when she was fatally shot in the upper chest – She was 26 years old and would have been 39 years old today.

The outrage regarding Mahsa Amini instigated protests all over Iran and specifically, in the city of “Sanandaj”, capital of the province of kurdistan.  The kurdish minority have experienced many hardships and the protests have been especially intense in the northwest, where many of Iran’s over 10 million Kurds live and where Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have a track record of putting down unrest. There are reported strikes in the Kurdish regions that include Amini’s hometown of Saqqez and Bukan, sharing videos which appeared to show shops with their shutters down in both towns.

The protests spread across the country, including universities & high schools, the words “Women, Life, Freedom” are chanted  with fists up in the air.   Where women and men walk alongside in cities and on streets chanting death to the current leader “Ali Khamenei” &  various anti “islamic republic” sentiments are written on walls and shouted from rooftops of homes.

Athletes, artists, journalists, lawyers and private citizens have since spoken up and stood alongside people protesting against the regime.  Many of which were detained and put in the Evin prison where 8 people died recently and as many as 61 injured only a few days ago.  Many protestors, all unarmed, such as Nika Shahkarami 17, Sarina Esmailzadeh 16, Hadis Najafi 23 , and many more brave men and women were killed & brutally shot and hit with batons.  The death toll is an estimated 233, of which 23 are children so far and increasing in numbers daily.

What is unique about this revolution is that it is fronted and lead by WOMEN. Unveiling of the hijab across the country and in schools and in media is a stance against 43 years of tyranny in the name of Islam forced by a theocratic regime that is not truly Muslim.

Of all muslim countries Iran is actually the only one where a hijab is mandatory & enforced legally.  Ironically the first words in the Quran translated are:  “In the name of God, the most forgiving & kind”.  The Iranian regime is neither of those and has proven itself otherwise and a terrible representation of a true muslim.  

Iran also houses many minorities and people of other religions such as Assyrians, jews & Arminian’s among other tribes whom are as Iranian and have a right to practice and live freely without the imposition of the islamic doctrine.

This female lead revolution has been in the making for over 150 years where the first journal of women “Danesh” marked the beginning & the end of feminism activity in Iran from 1910-1933 until its dissolution by the government of Pahlavi I. 

A country where renowned and well respected educated poets such as “Parvin Etesami” who studied at the Iran Bethel School in Tehran, (An American high school for girls) graduated in 1924 & taught there for a while.  After graduation she wrote the poem A twig of a wish (1924 ) about the struggles facing Iranian women, their lack of opportunities and need for education.  

She was a member of Kanoun-e-Banovan & supported Kashf-e-hijab reform against compulsory hijab (veiling).  In1936 she was awarded the third degree medal of art & culture by Reza Shah Pahlavi but she declined.               

It was the arrival of Pahlavi II in 1941 – 1950’s where women’s rights organizations began to openly advocate for equal political & personal rights.  Despite the opposition by clerics, in 1963 a national referendum reflected general support for a 6 point reform program known as the white revolution which included women’s right to vote & stand for public office.  Six women were elected in the parliament.

One can not forget when speaking of a woman’s plight, important figures such as contemporary1960’s poet Forough Farrokhzad whose personal life and work reflected a milestone in the feminist movement in Iran.  Both Forough & Parvin were divorced and independent though aware of their position as second class citizens in their country.

With Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 revolution the process of advancing the rights of women was interrupted.  The legal age of marriage was restored to nine years old and women were barred from serving as judges, refused to initiate divorce proceedings and prohibited from serving the army and participating in sports and the use of veil was imposed.

Several decades have passed since Iranian women started to vote and yet today’s events suggest that the Iranian regime has forced women backwards.  Since the 1979 revolution women have struggled to regain their lost rights and win a larger role in society.  They fare modestly in politics and sports & as an example a popular sport such as soccer is prohibited to be attended by women and for women to attend sports arenas.   

In 2019 A young Iranian woman set herself on fire to protest what she was told could be up to six months of jail time for watching a men’s soccer game. She attempted to disguise herself in men’s clothing, but was discovered, arrested and charged with violating modesty laws.  The 29 year old named only as Sahar suffered from burns in 90 percent of her body. 

This comes as a true setback as women’s football began in Iran in 1970 & the first spark was when they played in local street teams in various cities as goalkeepers and other positions at times.  

The story of women’s football is hardly spoken of & its history is ignored.  The first soccer team was established by Taj Club, also known as Esteghlal.  Talented women were trained and in 1971 Taj recorded the first official win scoring six goals.  Between 1969 – 1972 other teams namely Perspolis, pass & eagle were formed.  An important fact is that at the time, Alan Rogers was the head coach for the women’s and men’s team.  

The first international game was a friendly match on Sep 8th 1971, between Taj & a team of selected women football players from Italy ended in Taj losing 0-2.  The Italian women’s national team played the Iranian women’s team following and won 4-0.  

The excitement of football throughout the 70s wasn’t limited to Tehran.  The focus wasn’t on gender.  Women and men worked side by side to plant rice in the fields and went out in back streets to play soccer together.

The back bone of the feminist movement are the brave men and women that support and are marching together for a better society.  To lessen a heavy load of poverty and a terrible economy that has burdened a tired nation and brought about too many afflictions to mention.

The history of soccer and the example of the poets mentioned, is fundamentally about a bigger picture where people’s basic human rights are taken away and violated on a much bigger scale daily.  That it is the right of anyone to choose what to wear and how to live. 

On her tombstone alongside her actual name “Zhina”, a name her family chose for her at birth and was not allowed to legally bind as it didn’t fit with the Islamic standards, are the words “You will not die, your name will be a symbol.”  

And a symbol it has become.

I leave you with this poem from Forough Farrokhzad written years ago for the brave fierce women and men of Iran:

Call to Arms

Only you, O Iranian woman, have remained 
In bonds of wretchedness, misfortune, and cruelty; 
If you want these bonds broken, 
grasp the skirt of obstinacy 

Do not relent because of pleasing promises, 
never submit to tyranny; 
become a flood of anger, hate and pain, 
excise the heavy stone of cruelty. 

It is your warm embracing bosom 
that nurtures proud and pompous man; 
it is your joyous smile that bestows 
on his heart warmth and vigour. 

For that person who is your creation, 
to enjoy preference and superiority is shameful; 
woman, take action because a world 
awaits and is in tune with you. 

Sleeping in a dark grave is happier for you 
than this abject servitude and misfortune; 
where is that proud man..? Tell him 
to bow his head henceforth at your threshold. 

Where it that proud mane? Tell him to get up 
because a woman is here rising to battle him; 
her words are the truth, in which cause 
she will never shed tears out of weakness. 

Melanie Ekholdt

Who is Melanie Ekholdt?

I am creative psychiatrist and a filmmaker.

As a medical student at the beginning of the 90`s, I often brought a camera with me to explore both the real life and the imaginative life and edited some short  “home- made”movies.

As a young mother and a young medical doctor, the camera was left aside.

Then in 2015, just when I had finished  my specialization in child and adolescent psychiatry, I got caught up in the personal story of the young rap artist Michael Kildal. I invited him to cowrite a book about young boys based on his rap lyrics. He said yes.

By a more or less unconscious act I brought the camera with me and not a sound recorder when we started the project  “In love with craziness”.

The clips of  our  conversations about Michael`s music became a  20 minutes long film about his life. The film was created  in close cooperation with the producer Karina Astrup from House of Gary. The documentary «In love with craziness» started its festival journey in February 2020 and has received a few awards.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

The field of mental health community showed an interest in the story of Michael and invited me to screenings at conferences. Through the audience`s  emotional  reactions and my own personal experiences, I  discovered the transformative power of films. I then got the inspiration to continue my  exploration of the art of filmmaking.

When I became aware of that I could not let go the camera, I planned my next documentary “Our Sins”. This time the story was based on autobiographic content; my own separation process. In cooperation with Helene Knoop, one of Norway’s foremost figurative painters, I documented the creation of a painting called «the Flood” where I  was the model. In the workshop, during the three painting sessions, which lasted 2-3 hours each, I shared my thoughts and emotions about the separation in a free flow of association.

When Helene was going to bring me the painting, I invited a good, old friend to join me and welcome the painting into my new apartment. I asked her to share her views on the divorce.

I set up the camera in the living room. The painting was hanging on the wall. I was behind the camera while my friend was sitting in the couch talking with Helene. My friend was sharing her thoughts related to the impact of the divorce on my family.  The artist was listening.  The camera was there as a witness. As I was listening to the conversation that was unfolding before my eyes, shadow sides of the separation process got clearer. From an ethical point of view, it was no longer an option to make this project public. At least, at that time and in the way I had thought.

The solution then became making a series of artistic short films named “Dance of sins” that brought in Nora, a famous theater fiction figure, as the main character of the stories. Henrik Ibsen´s masterpiece “A Doll`s House” became a big source of inspiration, and three short movies were produced in less than one year. “Nora`s Wedding anno 1905” and a “Dollhouse 2020- Dance of sins” have already received quite a few awards at festivals. “A Dollhouse 2041” just started its festival journey and is already selected to quite a few festivals.

The plan is  to present  this serie of  experimental  shortfilms “ Dance of Sins” on a specially made digital exhibition platform named “Nora´s Ark”. I would like to bring in young people to create content of their reflections on the platform. I hope that this joint creation can be a way of preparing them to different kinds of life events they may experience in their adult life.

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

I really believe in the transformative, emotional space that movie theaters give us. We can go there with a group of friends or the family. We can go there alone and sit in the dark being dragged in film without disturbance from others  or we can bring a lot of people together and have a public talk about the movie after the screening.

 Especially the documentary genre has a big transformative power in a larger public room because it is working more directly with our collective consciousness.

Both documentaries and  fiction films can have a healing power on each one of us. The modern streaming services give us the opportunity to explore more personal and relational topics with our family, friends and/or partners at home. By watching  shorter and longer films and series in our own living room we can easily share the stories we just love with our loved ones. Personal, individual changes are very often connected with our closest relationships. Because they have a big impact on us. Therefore I think positive changes in the society are often connected to our personal transformations through our families and friends.

-What would you like to change in the world?

I think that the world, the nature and human beings are constantly changing. Often painful lifeevents are necessary to activate these transformations processes, both in each of us and in the different collective systems.  Sometimes through close relationships, sometimes by meeting a new person  in  a new universe, bigger positive  changes can happen within an individual.

My belief is that  individual  personal changes can bring in changes in larger  collective systems; such as in the field of mental health, the film industry or  education systems.

For me making movies forces me to be more  conscious about all the beautiful changes  happening in ourself and around us; in others and in society.

Through my independent production company “Joyful production”, I  wish to  explore the complexities and magic of our  own personal stories. By jointly creating shorter and longer fiction films and documentaries with a crew of artistic and creative freelancers I hope  to show how many positive changes are actually happening around me, both in Norway and abroad.

-Where do you see the filmindustry going in the next 100 years?

I have noticed that people of all generations  are spending less time reading books, and more time watching films. For me watching a movie is like oral story telling. Being in a movie theater in the dark, is nearly like sitting around the fireplace listening to the storyteller coming to the  village. Myths and folk stories have been told without  written words for hundreds of years. And a natural selection of the most powerful stories  is still living in our societies, often conveyed by  artistically good films. I love reading books, but I think it is also a kind of exclusion.  Quite a few children are dyslexic and  many adults lack reading skills. With internet it is now possible that nearly everybody  can find the films with the stories they need for their situations. So for me movies are the future!  The fact that it is now possible to watch  a movie without paying too much means everybody can watch a good movie. And they will choose the good ones!  So I am quite optimistic for the future of the filmindustry.

The  State in Norway is really embracing filmmakers  as important changemakers. In each region there is a public film center  helping  independent film makers in different ways to develop themselves by  offering coaching and economical support.  I hope that also other independent film makers from other countries get support from the State they live in or from  other public or private institutions.

Angelena Bonet

-Who is Angelena Bonet?

I am an Australian multi-award winning, documentary filmmaker, singer-songwriter and humanitarian. I have my own production company Crystal Heart Productions and have created five documentary films, their original soundtracks and music videos, plus two web series Heart Of The Matter and The Angelena Bonet Show. I write, direct, edit and produce my work in its entirety, including co-writing and singing the soundtracks and I would describe it “purely as a labor of love”! My projects include a documentary feature film tetralogy consisting of Angelena: Change The World, Angelena: Heart Of The Matter, Angelena: Light At The End Of The Tunnel and Angelena: Warrior Woman. I have also created a documentary short film Change The World which recently screened in Hollywood, Sweden, Italy, France, South America and Japan. I am proud to share my personal story of triumph over adversity and my songs, which have won over 300 film festival awards worldwide so far, including numerous ‘Best Inspirational Film’, ‘Best Social Justice Film’, ‘Best Original Soundtrack’ and ‘Best Music Video’ awards. It has been such an honor to be the recipient of the ‘Humanitarian Award’ at the Jane Austen International Film Festival in the U.K. and the ‘Human Spirit Award’ at the DOCS Without Borders Film Festival in The Bahamas. My films feature the Original Music Soundtrack I co-wrote and sung from my heart and soul with my late fiancé, Erick Deeby. He had written and recorded instrumental pieces of music for me between 2005 and 2007, then suddenly and unexpectedly passed away three days after we got engaged in August 2007. I then wrote the lyrics and melody to his music after his devastating death and during my time of deepest grief. I unintentionally wrote the album like chapters of a book and feature songs such as Change The World, Tragic Fairytale and On My Way and the writing process was cathartic and organic. I promised my late fiancé whilst in a coma that someday, somehow I would finish our special project and I kept my word. My documentary film Change The World is now available on YouTube as well as my online talk show Heart Of The Matter which won the Social Awareness Award (Award of Excellence) at the Vegas Movie Awards. I love interviewing inspiring women all around the world and from all walks of life and I am dedicated to having women’s voices heard. I have been a Jury member of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (AACTA) for the past four years. My journey from being named Australian Supermodel to multi-award winning singer-songwriter, documentary filmmaker and humanitarian has been a magical and challenging journey thus far. I am committed to shining a light on violence against women and my message is one of peace, love and unity.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

It has been an organic journey for me and becoming a professional model was what opened doors to dancing in music videos, acting in TV and Film and putting into practice all the skills I had honed growing up. I met Erick in my twenties and we spent so much time at his recording studio where I got to watch his bands record, mix the tracks and shoot music videos. I would go with him to buy recording gear too so I was absorbing it all and learning about the music industry. We then began collaborating on our album end of 2005 when I returned from modeling in Milan and he became my mentor. I really worked on my songwriting as well as my recording technique and developed over the next couple of years as an artist. He believed in me, knew my potential and really encouraged me to find my own voice. When he passed away it was very difficult to deal with. I was in such deep grief and shock because it was so sudden and only three days after we got engaged. I was also terrified of the intensity of the pain and how I was ever going to recover. I could never have imagined I would be writing the lyrics and melody to the instrumental pieces of music he had written for me with him gone. The music was my sole focus as I had promised him while he was in a coma that I would finish our special project and having that promise to keep was what essentially saved my life. So over the next few months I just wrote every word and note from my heart and soul and then realized each song was like a chapter in a book. As each song was written I noticed I was healing and my emotions were being given an outlet and I am extremely grateful to Erick for this magical gift. As much as I don’t like admitting it, I don’t think I would be here without having a way to channel my emotions. As I was healing I then felt strong enough to return to work and began modelling again. In early 2010 I then signed with a talent agent in New York and moved to Toronto, Canada. I fell in love with the city, the people and loved working in their TV and Film industry. I hosted the FIFA World Cup Show that year and was on an episode of the TV Series ‘Ghostly Encounters’. I came home in 2012 for a visit and six days later I was a victim of a horrific violent crime in Melbourne. Once again my life was turned upside down and I had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the crime and had to also deal with the police investigation. This experience changed my life and today I can say for the better. It completely opened my eyes to the pain of this world and the cruelty that some human beings are capable of inflicting and also opened my heart with a feeling of immense compassion for all of us women who have suffered. To say I was disgusted with my perpetrators is an understatement and I’d never felt such rage. Once again I was suicidal and this time I really didn’t think I could go on. I also lost loved ones afterwards and that was when I decided enough was enough and I was going to go public with this injustice. I was told by one of my case workers at the time that sexual violence against women is a silent global epidemic and that 1 in 3 women and girls will experience some kind of abuse in their lifetime. I couldn’t bear to think of another woman going through similar suffering and I felt a very strong desire in my heart to help other people. This was before the #MeToo movement began and no-one was talking about sexual violence but I found my courage and made the commitment that I would not be silenced, nor would I own any shame for their behaviour. I then began my humanitarian work in 2013 by aligning myself with ethical non-profit organizations that support women and girls. I believe that when we come together, with united voices, we can change the world. I started my production company Crystal Heart Productions when I returned to Toronto in September 2014 and I put all my energy into this. I wanted to channel my skills in front and behind the cameras into a show for women that had purpose and meaning. And that is how my vision for my talk show Heart Of The Matter was born. It was created to allow women to not just be seen but heard and in turn inspire each other. When I won the ‘Social Awareness Award’, the category that Vegas Movie Awards created after watching my show, I was truly touched because this project means so much to me. To contribute positively to society is what is really important to me. My journey has been very challenging and painful but also really beautiful and magical. I have gone with the flow and always followed my heart and woven my life into my art and I am very proud of what I’ve been able to overcome.

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

I absolutely do believe that cinema can bring change to society. Film is the most powerful medium we have and when combined with music it can be instrumental in changing hearts and minds and inspiring millions of people to live their potential. Seeing another human being’s suffering and how they overcame it gives people hope for their own lives, as well as feeling compassion and empathy. We can learn so much by seeing ourselves in others and learning about different cultures but also seeing our similarities.

-What would you change in the world?

Creating Change The World and inspiring people around the world and touching their hearts is a wonderful gift that I am very grateful for. I have deep compassion for myself and every other woman who has suffered sexual violence and I am honored to use my voice for good and speak for those who can’t. My spirit couldn’t be silenced and to now be heard in countries around the world is something so special to me. When I look back at what I have endured and the miracle of surviving the murder attempt to now winning these special awards is something I could never have imagined would happen! I vowed to make a stand and leave this world a better place than I found it and I am committed. Women are now finding their voice and self-worth and it is fabulous to see. I feel future generations will look back at this point in time with fascination, shock, and dismay and also awe at the courage women have shown by standing up and speaking out about the injustices and violence they have suffered since time immemorial. The social fabric is changing and I’m hopeful the momentum will continue and begin to move more quickly. I see the future in a positive light. I believe change is possible and that we are at the dawn of a new day. As more women are in leadership positions, the world will naturally become a more inclusive one and love will become the focus again. Violence will no longer be a silent global epidemic, all girls will receive an education, and helping others will become our primary goal. We have set the wheels in motion to ensure future generations have a safer and more equal world. My message is one of peace, love and unity and being an example of how to turn tragic into magic is the legacy I am creating.

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

The film industry has been changing in recent times and it will continue to evolve over the next one hundred years. With films being shot on smart phones these days and the ability to be uploaded to social media and online streaming platforms the whole landscape for the industry is constantly growing and changing. Technology has given any budding filmmaker the opportunity to produce a film and be able to independently distribute it on the internet. I think the prospects for the industry are super exciting and as technology gets better and new social media platforms are developed, the options are endless. We are watching content on demand and particularly since Covid, the movie theatres are no longer the central place to view new releases. Netflix and other major streaming services are not only building their catalogues but they are creating original content. Hollywood studios no longer have the monopoly on the industry and this competition is helping to create amazing series and films. It’s a very exciting time for filmmakers and actors as there are many more productions being shot each year. In one hundred years from now the industry will be much more inclusive and I’m sure many amazing stories will be told because of it.

Maxine Gatt

-Who is Maxine Gatt?

I’m a screenwriter, actor and filmmaker from Melbourne, Australia. I have worked as a Producer’s Assistant on a TV series and am currently in production for my own short film that I wrote – Broken Chrysalis, a revenge thriller. 

-What inspired you to become a screenwriter

I always wanted to be involved in filmmaking for as long as I can remember. I was taken by the magic of it, the way it moves you, the visual spectacle and the connection to characters. I love creating story concepts, developing arcs and get a real buzz when everything in the story links up. Since working on a TV series I’ve enjoyed the collaborative process of filmmaking and seeing how all the pieces come together. I hope to write, act, produce and direct as much as possible going forward. 

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in society?

I do, I think cinema reflects society’s beauty and flaws that brings an awareness and understanding that can create change. As well as always pushing boundaries in technology and storytelling that can show us what is possible, for good or for bad. 

-What would you change in the world?

I feel very strongly about human rights and equality. I would like to live in a world where people are living free of fear, oppression and poverty. I would also like to see us protecting the environment and reducing our pollution. 

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

There will probably be new devices to view films and new ways to experience cinema. I think the pandemic showed us how much we need film and music in our lives. It helped us through the lockdowns, comforted us and made us feel connected. So I’m sure it’ll still be going strong.

Laura Burnett

Who is Laura Burnett?

I am from Clearwater, Tampa Florida, then moved to Los Angeles to study acting. I have worked in post production and production for tv series for 20 years. 
I desired to create my own projects and finally in 2010 I wrote, directed and produced a music video “Queen of the Sun” for the Indie band, Windsor for the Derby.

Their label Secretly Canadian used the music video.

While working as a producer on a true crime tv series, I had a overwhelming desire to be creative and that is where the script for “Blind Truth” originated from. 

“Blind Truth” was my first scripted movie.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

When I started working in television it was in post production because I had learned Avid and Protools in 2001.  My first job was an assistant editor on a feature film then my first job in television was a logger who moved up to librarian for a Dick Wolf’s documentary series. After that I was hired in different positions on a many series but not creative positions.  I started working on a documentary crime series as an associate producer and then moved up as a producer. I have always been a very creative person and that is what is natural to me; but I have not been hired for those skills. My work in television is very different, so in 2010, I decided to create. That is when I made a few music videos for an indie music artist and also for a contest for a well known artist. Even though I funded these, I was happy to be creating and being able to do what is my passion. My desire to create is what inspired me to be a filmmaker and write “Blind Truth.” For this movie, which I wrote in 2013, I was very affected by wrongful conviction stories and how the justice system can sometimes work against people of color. So what inspired me was a mix of me always being creative and desiring to create.  As a child I was a talented fine artist and wanted to pursue a career in the arts. I was told fine art wasn’t reliable, so I studied acting for over a decade, was in a few indie films, booked a commercial, but it wasn’t enough work to continue. I was told to get a reliable job, so I learned editing. That led me into production and the business, legal and technical aspects. So when cameras and software became more affordable, I was able to finally create.

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

Yes. I know I was heavily influenced by stories I saw as a child. Star Wars, IV, V, VI were a huge influence on me. I really connected with the Jedi and I feel those films had an impact on my world view.  Another film that impacted me was “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” My mother was a movie fan, so she had me watch all the classics. When I saw that movie I was 6 or 7 and I felt the same way as the main female character. Sidney Poitier’s character was a great man, and I loved the message of that film. It was entertaining but also taught wonderful lessons about our world as do documentaries and other tv shows. I remember seeing the 1977 Roots version as a child and feeling so angry at the injustice. But also, cinema for me; just lifts up the spirits and can show the best parts or humanity which is just inspiring. Spielberg Films were also a huge inspiration for me because they lifted me up, and allowed me to dream. So I would say based on my personal experience, I know how cinema has impacted me personally. I guess everyone is inherently different with different backgrounds, so each person will take away different things from the same story, but for me, I know it has affected me.  At the least, I feel it will open up discussion. In general though, I think cinema and pure entertainment with or without a message makes us happy and that is important. I know it lets me dream and opens my mind.

What would you change in the world?

So many many things. The dark side of human nature? 

In general though, abuse in any form.

Since I live in Los Angeles, right now, having the right to housing, food and clean water is a human right.

I really wish we could find and enact a more comprehensive approach to the homeless problem. 

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

Wow, I have no idea. There are so many probabilities. 

I am sure things will change with technology advancements. 

On WILD FILMMAKER “Dance again with me Heywood!” with the Academy Award Winner James Ivory

Announced at the next edition of Rome film festival, the Oscar winner James Ivory will also be the

special guest of the first film distributed by WILD FILMMAKER, Magazine and interactive

channel in English language entirely Made in Italy.

Born thanks to the support of a Community that includes more than 2000 independent film

companies from all over the world, WILD FILMMAKER will offer an exclusive programming

from mid-October.

Already under progress the series “eleveN fiftY” that will be shot entirely in New York and

“Cinema is a drunken spider that cries” whose filming is in progress in Rome. Both projects will be

distributed by WILD FILMMAKER and produced by Michele Diomà, founder of New York

Neorealism Film Awards.

Among the artists which have participated to New York Neorealism Film Awards and contributed

to the creation of WILD FILMMAKER, the Oscar winners Susan Sarandon and Jeremy Irons,

directed by William Parker and Stuart Rideout and the director Brooke Harris Wolff author of “Eye

of the Storm” with Oscar winner Robin Williams.