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Sunday, October 13, 2019

PRAYERS OF A SAINT, A SHORT FILM BY SANTHO GOONEWARDENE, WILL SCREEN AT THE LA FEMME INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, OCT. 16-19, 2019. Santho called in to the KUCI studios to speak with host Janeane Bernstein.


LISTEN to today's conversation with Santho! 

LOS ANGELES, Sep. 25, 2019 -- PRAYERS OF A SAINT, a dramatic short film written and directed by Santho Goonewardene, will be featured in the 15th Annual LA Femme International Film Festival on Saturday, October 19th at 2PM, 2019 at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles. The film is also entered into competition at the 10th Annual Oaxaca FilmFest in Oaxaca, Mexico, Oct. 7, 2019 and the Official Latino Film and Arts Festival in Palm Desert, California on Nov. 1, 2019.

PRAYERS OF A SAINT shows how the decision to run away from an abusive home life has profound consequences for young Maya, portrayed by Amber Midthunder (Legion on fX, new season of Fargo). An encounter with a violent man forces her to face reality and stand up for herself as she decides to leave her old life behind forever. Also featured are actors Rob Tepper and Abigail Shields.

The behind the camera team included Producers Jeffrey Stott and Sonia Marques; Director of Photography Bella Gonzales; Editor Annie Guidice; Supervising Sound Designer Victor Ennis (Oscar-nominated for Drive), and Original Score and song by Robert Summerfield.

Writer-Director Santho Goonewardene immigrated from Sri Lanka to the United States at age 14, alone. Her fascination with films began at an early age as they helped her escape her unstable home environment. After graduating from University, she secured a position as an assistant to Jeffrey Stott, a prolific producer who produced many of Rob Reiner’s films including Stand by Me, Misery, When Harry Met Sally, A Few Good Men, and The Bucket List. Stott’s encouragement inspired her to further expand her experience by working on both film and television projects including True Detective, Stronger, and Trumbo.

Santho has since collaborated with filmmakers Greg Campbell and Jake Gyllenhaal as a Co-Producer on their award-winning documentary, Hondros, and most recently served as Associate Producer on the Amazon Prime limited series, Too Old to Die Young, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.

Having been inspired and encouraged by these incredibly talented filmmakers, she started making her own films. In 2015, her first short film, Butcher, premiered in New York at the Chelsea Film Festival and was also selected to screen at the Bath Film Festival in the UK and the Short Sharp Festival in Australia.

“The one thing that underlies all my work is the firm belief that narratives that represent all walks of life are essential for us to be more understanding of each other and remind us that we are not alone.” Santho confides. “I strive to tell stories that engage thought while encouraging the viewer to navigate beyond what’s comfortable and familiar.” Critics have singled out her emotionally seductive, distinctive visual voice which is the hallmark of all her films.

PRAYERS OF A SAINT will screen on Sunday Oct. 19 at 2 pm at Regal Theater 14 at the LA Staples Center, 1000 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015

For ticket information, visit http://www.lafemme.org/tickets/. When visiting L.A. LIVE for two hours or less, we recommend using the East Garage (Lot E, Enter on Olympic Blvd) or West Garage (Lot W, Gates E & F – Enter on Georgia St. and turn on West Road). Some establishments validate, please confirm prior to arrival.

For more information on the film or to arrange an interview with Santho Goonewardene, please contact Deborah Gilels, LA Media Consultants, at 818-648-9513.

FILMMAKER MARTHA ELCAN’S “LADIES MOST DEJECT” TO MAKE ITS LA DEBUT AT LA FEMME INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, OCT. 17-20, 2019 - Short film lauded for its portrayal of resilience and strength in the face of loss and brokenness. Janeane spoke with screenwriter and actress, Conner Wharton from our KUCI studios.


Short film lauded for its portrayal of resilience and strength in the face of loss and brokenness 

LISTEN to today's conversation with Connor Wharton!

LOS ANGELES - September 25, 2019 -- “Ladies Most Deject,” a dramatic short film directed by Martha Elcan, will screen at 2pm on Friday, October 18 at the Regal Theatre at LA LIVE in downtown Los Angeles.

In the tradition of “Winter’s Bone” and “Mud,” “Ladies Most Deject” is the story of 17-year-old Charlie who struggles to free herself and her three siblings from the grip of their unstable addict mother and drug dealing uncle in rural Appalachia.

The screenplay was co-written by Conner Wharton, who plays Charlie, and ARAY Productions’ Mark Salyer; Helen Cho Anthos served as Director of Photography, and Emmy Award-winner Nena Erb, ACE, edited the film. Production Designer Kleev Guessford and Sound Designer/Music Composition Brian Hawlk complete the creative team.

Filmed entirely in the Appalachians, the film’s producers strove to represent the authentic and gritty reality of life in the mountain communities in America today. ARAY (Appalachia Right At Ya) Productions tells stories by and about the people of the Appalachian Mountains. Created by Appalachian artists Melissa Palmer and Mark Salyer, ARAY develops projects for television, film and new media. Current projects include “Mysteries of Appalachia”, a docu-series about the mysticism and folklore of the region; and “Where I’m From”, a travelogue for young people about cultural exchange.

Initially drawn to this touching story because it was set in her home state of Virginia, Director Elcan quickly learned how true-to-life this drama was. “Charlie finds herself desperate with nowhere to turn when she and her three young siblings must leave home to escape their mother and her meth addiction. Though Charlie’s kind teacher Mrs. Neeley finds them a safe place for that night, the children’s dire situation forces Charlie into adulthood before her time in this cautionary tale for a society immersed in a national opioid addiction crisis.”

Conner Wharton (Charlie and Co-Writer) is a student at UCLA majoring in English and minoring in Film Studies. She was 19 years old when she and Salyer wrote the screenplay for Ladies Most Deject, inspired by the people of her tiny hometown in Central Appalachia which is dealing with a drug crisis of epic proportions. "I want to tell stories about people dealing with extraordinary circumstances - heroes and heroines making a difference," she said. Asked how a teenage girl from the mountains ended up at UCLA making films, Conner said, "I always knew I wanted to be in California working in this industry. I may very well be the only Appalachian girl at UCLA."

Other cast members include Robin Mullins, Ben Mackel, Pepper Binkley, Ellie Williams, Sofia Adams, and Josiah Wells.

About LA Femme International Film Festival (www.LAFemme.org)

The LA Femme International Film Festival is now in its 15th year as one of Los Angeles’ premiere film festivals dedicated to celebrating and promoting female artists both in front of and behind the camera. In addition to bestowing awards in multiple categories, from short subjects to documentaries to commercials, LA Femme is proud to present the Lupe Ontiveros Award to a performer who embodies the spirit, audacity and dedication to art that its namesake represented.

“Ladies Most Deject” will screen on Friday October 18 at 2pm at the Regal Cinema Complex at LA Live, 1000 Olympic Blvd. in downtown LA. Tickets are available at the box office or by visiting the festival’s website www.lafemme.org/tickets.

For more information on the film or to interview Martha Elcan and Conner Wharton, please contact LA Media Consultants, Deborah Gilels at 818-758-6509.

Teen Filmmaker Olivia Anton’s Short Film “Tillie” to Screen at LA Femme International Film Festival, October 17- 20th. She called in to our KUCI studios to chat with host Janeane Bernstein

Teen Filmmaker Olivia Anton’s Short Film “Tillie” to Screen at LA Femme International Film Festival, October 17- 20th 

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October 4, 2019 — “Tillie” which marks the writing and directorial debut of 13-year-old Olivia Anton[now 15}, will screen at the 15th Annual LA Femme International Film Festival on Thursday, October 17th at 12PM. The film was conceived as the first episode in a proposed teen thriller television series, similar to shows like “Stranger Things” and “Riverdale” and was shot in Asbury Park and pays homage to the city’s historical and mythical landmarks.

Produced by Asbury Park Films, “Tillie” centers around Julia, a typical teen, except for her deadbeat father and the murder of her best friend, which has made her fearless and brave beyond her years. When Julia and her friends secretly visit the abandoned “Tillie” mural at the old Palace Amusements in Asbury Park, they seem to disturb something. As they spend the day at the local Carnival, Julia’s friends start to go missing one by one and she will have to get to the bottom of the disappearances before same fate befalls her.

Anton intends to ride the horror popularity wave with her fresh take on the teen horror genre. And with Asbury Park’s recent resurgence as a destination spot of the Jersey Shore coupled with its iconic history, the teen filmmaker felt she had the perfect setting for a thriller.

“I feel reality television has shaped a very inaccurate and crude perception of typical Jersey Shore communities, where in actuality, generations have fostered long-lasting relationships that strengthen through the years,” Anton said. “Listening to my parents tell stories of Asbury Park and its decrepit, unfinished architecture and its live music and art scene, I knew it would provide the perfect setting for a horror film. Moreover, I’m so excited to be part of the LA Femme International Film Festival, with all the other women/young women in the festival.”

Anton, as young female filmmaker, is also bucking the trend of a male dominated profession. Out of 1,100 films made in the last 11 years, only 4% were directed by women or roughly 22 male directors for every one female director, according a study by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Anton, who is a Manhattan native and spends summers in Asbury Park, studied acting at the The Lee Strasberg School of Film and Theater for five years. She landed her first role at the age of 11 as the young version of the title character in “Ava's Possessions,” a 2015 supernatural horror comedy film written and directed by Jordan Galland.

After her experience on the film, Anton quickly realized that she preferred to behind the camera and is now currently participating in a prestigious two-and-a-half year film fellowship with the Ghetto Film School in New York City.

Her first student short film entitled “Cheat Day” was recognized by a jury of industry professionals as one of the top films of her class and was recently screened with classmates at The Landmark Theater in New York City. Anton is in the 10th Grade at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, and a competitive swimmer. She is also the CEO and founder of a 501c3 not-for-profit organization called Birdhaus of Interlaken, NJ which is a well-known community building initiative which give back to the Jersey Shore. She has donated funds and hosted art therapy to Mary’s Place by the Sea, replaced a fence at a Cemetery in Neptune & is now working with Covenant House in an initiative to help homeless teens.

“Tillie” will screen on Thursday, October 17, 12PM at the Regal Cinema 14 at LA Live, 1000 West Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles 90015. For ticket information, visit http://www.lafemme.org/tickets/

For more information on the film or to arrange an interview with Olivia Anton, please contact Deborah Gilels, LA Media Consultants, at 818-648-9513.

10/14 @9:15am pst - Krista Driver, author of MANI/PEDI, joined Janeane on KUCI 88.9fm

LISTEN to today's show!

She left everything behind and risked not only her life, but also the lives of her two small children to escape from Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon. In the middle of the night, Charlie―along with her husband, two toddlers and two young sisters―joined 100 other people on a tiny boat and fled their home country. The journey was long and dangerous, but after almost two years in refugee camps, the family finally made it to America.

After emigrating, as many Vietnamese refugee women did, Charlie began working in the booming nail industry. When her path crossed with Olivett, an African American woman, they became business partners―and built an empire together. After only a few years in the US, Charlie was a millionaire and living the American dream. Her tale is one of tragedy and triumph―a true rags to riches story that will amaze and inspire readers from all walks of life.

Born to a teen mother and a child of the foster care system for four years before she was adopted, Dr. Krista Driver started out as the epitome of the “underdog.” Today a licensed marriage and family therapist with a doctorate in psychology, Dr. Driver has dedicated her career to working with the most vulnerable in her community. A perpetual observer with an innate curiosity for other people’s stories, when she stumbled across an incredibly fascinating tale of one woman’s escape from Vietnam, she felt compelled to write about it. It all began in a nail salon in Orange, California with a simple question: “Where are you from?” As the CEO of a nonprofit counseling center that specializes in providing mental health services to women and children, Dr. Driver sees Mani/Pedi as a natural extension of her work.

10/14/19 @9:30am pst - Filmmaker Nancy Goodman spoke to Janeane about SURPRISE ME! - her fun Rom-Com starring Fiona Gubelmann, Jonathan Bennett, and Sean Faris. Author of “It Was Food vs. Me …And I Won.” (Viking/Penguin) has figured out the connection between eating and feelings.


Written and Directed by: Nancy Goodman

Produced by: Kevin McGrail and Nancy Goodman

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Runtime: 103 minutes
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yI5uqxb5pM&feature=youtu.be

Website: surprisemethemovie.com

Starring: Fiona Gubelmann (The Good Doctor, Hallmark’s Tulips in Spring), Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls), Sean Faris (Never Back Down), Nicole Sullivan (The King of Queens), LaShawn Banks (Chicago P.D.), and Robyn Coffin (Every 21 Seconds).

Synopsis: At Surprise Enterprise, Genie Burns masterminds off the wall surprise parties in nobody-would-suspect-it locations. Here, she takes crazy risks but in her personal life, she plays it safe. Her hilarious partner Steven is gay: that makes him safe. Danny, her perfect match, is kept in the friend zone. Safe again. Along comes Jeff. His depth and charm draw her in. They slip into a passionate love where she loses all control. 

Nancy, she is a published author, a health and food specialist, and recently an award-winning director and screenwriter. SURPRISE ME! is based on a 2012 novel she wrote and something she would call a “romantic comedy diet” because she sees this as not just a movie, but her crusade to help women turn their focus from dieting (which she calls a set up to binge and overeat) to their feelings, choices, strength, pain, joy, goals, and new passions beyond their taste buds.

Meanwhile, Surprise Enterprise has just been contracted to throw a surprise party wedding by a client who prefers not to reveal his identity. As Genie works to get his bride down the aisle, her own life begins to take turns. Is Jeff "the one" because he challenges Genie to heal the wounds from her past? Or, Danny because he embraces her fears? And why is she bingeing out of control? Is there a clue in all of that crunching? We'll find out in the end, and not a moment before, because what's real in life screams...SURPRISE!
SURPRISE ME! will be available to stream on Amazon Prime Video on October 4th, with additional platforms to follow.


Indie Rights was founded by Michael Madison and Linda Nelson because they believed that the future was bright for independent artists and that there was a better way to produce and distribute movies. They have been in business since 2000, when they produced their first film, NSYNC BIGGER THAN LIVE a Giant Screen Movie that played to sold out crowds worldwide.

Known for innovation. SHIFTED, their first digital feature, was the first movie on Amazon's UnBox (the predecessor of Amazon Video) and was used by Amazon to promote their platform for over five years. DELIVERED was the first independent feature to edit and master a 4K movie using Adobe CS5. Articles in Variety, HDVideoPro and an Adobe Success Story followed. Partnerships were forged early on with the leading digital platforms including Amazon, Google, AppleTV, TubiTV, and others. These partnerships insure that Indie Rights can offer the very best audience opportunities for their own films, as well as the more than 800 other filmmakers they work with. Indie Rights exhibits every year at AFM and the Cannes Film Market.https://www.indierights.com/

10/14 @9:45am pst Country music artist Brandon Stansell redefines the country music genre with his incredible talent and inclusive messages to LGBTQ artists.

“[A] Country Artist You Need to Know”
- Rolling Stone

LISTEN to today's show!

"I grew up in small-town Tennessee, gay and a lover of Country music. I thought I was the only person like me in the entire world and that made for a very lonely childhood. I don’t want anyone else to ever feel that way...ever again." https://twitter.com/CMT/status/1059460333360869377 …

With Jimmie Allen’s recent #1 song, Kane Brown’s #1 album and Grammy wins for artists like Kacey Musgraves and Brandi Carlile, Country music seems to be swinging open its doors to some of the more unlikely of country artists - enter Brandon Stansell.

When CMT premiered the video for Brandon’s last single HOMETOWN in November 2018, he instantly became what they called,“living history.” The premiere of this video, addressing LGBTQ themes, is a first for the home of Country Music videos.

The video then went on to be named one of Rolling Stone’s Top 10 Country Music Videos of 2018.”

"Country music may not be known for being inclusive to LGBTQ artists, but rising musician Brandon Stansell is redefining the genre one soulful song at a time, “ says Billboard

His is a bold new voice in the genre, as comfortable making you tap your foot as shed a tear - a singer songwriter with something to say, and a voice to remember.

10/14/19 at 9:00am pst - Janeane spoke with Julie Rowen about her documentary, The Air of Time


Film celebrates legendary fashion designers Coco Chanel, Carolina Herrera, Donna Karan, Diane Von Furstenberg, Vivienne Westwood and others

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LOS ANGELES - October 7, 2019 - “THE AIR OF THE TIME: Celebrating A Century Of Women Designers,” a documentary produced and directed by Julie Rowen, will screen at the upcoming 15th Annual LA Femme International Film Festival, October 17-20, 2019 in downtown Los Angeles.

“The Air of the Time” gives an in-depth look at the impact and empowerment of women fashion designers over the past 100 years. The film tells the stories of designers Coco Chanel, Diane von Furstenberg, Carolina Herrera, Vivienne Westwood, Donna Karan, Gabriela Hearst and Hanako Maeda, in a combination of archival images and interviews.

Also included are insights from male designers Tony Melillo (ATM) and Johnson Hartig (Libertine) as well as fashion editors, Hamish Bowles (Vogue), Ken Downing (Neiman Marcus) and Betty Halbreich (Bergdorf Goodman).

“The film is an intimate look at women designers who have successfully launched iconic careers in a male dominated industry, created for women,” says director Rowen. “In the film, the designers share their personal and professional stories, as well as their processes for designing their respective collections. We discover the journeys they have taken, from their beginnings to present day; their struggles, their successes and their disappointments, as well as well as their thoughts on sustainability and the future of design.”

The production gained the full cooperation of the Chanel Estate, Carolina Herrera, Diane
von Furstenberg, Donna Karan, Gabriela Hearst, Hanako Maeda, Hamish Bowles, Johnson Hartig, Bergdorf Goodman and many others. These designers not only made the time to be interviewed, but opened up their offices, ateliers and archives for the filmmakers to produce this project.

Producer/Director Julie Rowen began her career working with directors John Hughes and Ron Howard on films such as ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’, ‘Far and Away’ and ‘Apollo 13’. She is currently a producer/director at Blue Collar Productions working on commercials, documentaries and films. “The Air of the Time” is her documentary feature film debut.

Other members of the production team include producers Camilla Belle and Mark Rowen, and Blue Collar Productions, a creative content and video production company located on ‘The Lot’ studios in Los Angeles.

THE AIR OF THE TIME will screen at the Regal Cinemas Venue 1 at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, October 19th at 2pm. For ticket information, visit http://www.lafemme.org/tickets/