Film Focus #08

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Turn to ‘Page 6’ to find out ‘why this movie and why now’.



Dear Filmmakers & Creatives, Welcome to our North Europe International Film Festival: Online Edition 2021.

Also don’t forget to drop by for the 3rd instalment of Dan’s ever popular Quiz Night!

As the last 12+ months have shown all of us, everything has changed beyond what we all knew as “normal” but perhaps there is now a light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine roll out and our fingers are very crossed for all of you.

We’ve made it our mission to support, encourage and to connect creative minds from across the globe and to bring them together at festivals across Europe.

London of course is our home city and we would love to have been meeting and enjoying the company of all the filmmakers and scriptwriters who would have made the trip to join us but, we have created an online environment once again where we can come together to connect, collaborate and celebrate. We are delighted to be hosting online networking events along with a wonderful selection of industry panels. Thank you to Julio Marmol Corbacho from FilmDoo, Jean-Francois Cavelier & Rebekah Louisa Smith who will be there to offer their expert advice.

FILM FOCUS IS PUBLISHED BY FUSION FILM & MEDIA EUROPE LIMITED Steve Grossmith Editor & Co-Director Dan Hickford Festival Coordinator & Co-Director Stephen Mina Graphic Designer/Illustrator & Head of Technical

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Independent filmmakers and creatives need independent film festivals and film festivals certainly need you so your support is truly appreciated. As always, the films, scripts and creative entries that were submitted to this festival have been of the highest quality, so very well done for your official selection and the quality of work that you entered. We know how much effort and dedication goes into every aspect of making a film or script writing and this is why we recognise such a wide range of categories with our festival nominations.

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5 We have been fortunate enough to connect with a number of industry professionals ranging from UK and international distributors, expert marketing consultants, production houses, VOD platforms and Film Commissions who are keen to support our network of filmmakers at festivals whether physical or virtual.

Our small team here at Fusion have worked hard to keep positive and keep focused. The main source of that focus and energy is working as hard as we can for each and every one of you. You might not know it but you truly have been and continue to be our saviours. Without you we wouldn’t have the dreams and aspirations we have.

Thank you to our Festival Jury for supporting us and our wonderful filmmakers, script writers and media creatives. Their feedback and diligent work allows us to recognise our winners in an honest and transparent way.

Colin and Laura Graham our festival ambassadors - we thank you eternally for sharing our passion and supporting us in our adventure.

With Fusion, our hearts and passion for what we do is immeasurable and we would like to thank Stephen Mina who has taken on such a huge role in adapting our Fusion brand for an online event. We have been producing festival interviews, podcasts, Fusion + profiles, Green Room interviews, Film Focus, online screenings and all of our online visuals. Stephen is the huge cog that gets all that in place, we thank you greatly.

We hope that you enjoy your virtual time with us and hope soon that we can finally meet again in person and share some wonderful festival memories. Take care and all of the best for the future! Steve & Dan

MARCUS Produced by J.R. Poli, Jose L. Martinez, Peter Wakem, Jr., Owen Miller, Jennifer L. Sharp, Cami Ciotta Written & Directed by J.R. Poli Starring: Owen Miller, Katana Malone, Paul Wight Cinematography by Matt Greene After winning Best Film and Best Lead Actor at our East Europe International Film Festival, we were honoured to interview the talent behind MARCUS, Writer/Director J.R. Poli, Lead Actor Owen Miller and Lead Actress Katana Malone.

Marcus is a story about a man with a checkered past and an unstable present. As he struggles mightily with mental illness, unexpected news brings a new opportunity for him to right old wrongs and make amends. He leaves his life behind and sets off on an adventure to find purpose, forgiveness, and redemption. But Marcus will have to face the consequences of his past life and overcome the greatest obstacle of all in order to find happiness: Himself.


FF: After our previous conversations, I know this film is extremely personal. Can you tell us more about it’s background? J.R: The film started as a ten-minute short back in 2018. I came up with the idea for the short while in the shower one late night. I was in a terrible place with my battle against depression and was thinking of doing the worst, until my young daughter woke from her sleep and yelled for my wife. This snapped me out of it and I instead chose to sit in front of the laptop and write the film. Then after it’s success during the festival run, we chose to expand it into a feature film.

FF: And this short itself, remains in the feature film correct?

FF: Owen, fantastic performance! How did you become attached to the project?

J.R: Yes. Almost in it’s entirety, minus a couple of cuts here and there for story reasons.

Owen: Thank you. Well, it’s good to have a friend who also happens to be an amazing writer and director, who you have a long working relationship with, which has resulted in a mutual respect for each other’s abilities, who just happens to think you are right for the role.

FF: The scene is quite memorable and serves as such an important part of the film, how much of your real life can actually be seen in it? J.R: It’s almost entirely real, what I was actually going through that night in the shower. The thoughts going through my mind. Even lots of metaphors, such as the rain hitting the car during the scene being the water from the shower head. And the baby’s ultrasound that Marcus sees on the phone is actually my daughter’s ultrasound (from years ago) snapping him/me out of it. FF: So was the feature film the same? All created from your thoughts and personal life? J.R: Not all of it. I have five friends still saved on my cell phone, all of which committed suicide. What you see Marcus go through in the film, is a combination of all our stories, situations and conversations. FF: Well that’s probably why the film has such a raw feel to it. J.R: Yeah, that’s what I was aiming for. A truth and a realness about this stigma that many still shy away from talking about but suffer badly from.

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FF: Did you connect with your character prior to accepting the role? Owen: I very much did. My battle with mental illness, depression, to be more precise, took place some 23 years ago, which very quickly brought me to my knees; and kept me there for quite some time. Suicide became a daily consideration. So, for me this was not a theoretical exercise. I did not have to look outside myself and my own painful experiences and memories to bring Marcus to life. The downside was that in tapping into those painful dark memories, I found myself in a place I never wanted to be in again. Yet I do not regret the decision, because of the sheer multitude of people who continue on a daily basis to suffer in this way. FF: What were your thoughts going in? Were there any moments of fear, doubt or were you completely confident in your participation? Owen: I was initially thrilled when J.R pitched the project to me on the very night he conceived it. After all, playing this


incredibly complex and extraordinary character would be any serious actor’s dream. It was only after enthusiastically agreeing to play this character that I started to consider what playing Marcus would mean. The memories I would have to access, and the pain I would have to endure. When the realization of what I had agreed to dawned on me, it was then that the stress and the fear took a hold of me. But there was no going back, I could not let my friend down. So, I determined to see it through. FF: Katana, quite a moving performance on your part! I want to ask you the same questions. You weren’t a part of the short film. How did you come on board? Katana: I actually saw the short film at a festival that was showing two other projects I was attached to, “Divination” & “To Each His Own.” I went up to J.R & Owen and couldn’t stop gushing about how much I loved it. It completely threw me for a loop and also made me remember and discuss my brother, Emmanuel. Who knew, that a few months later, I would be auditioning for the feature length film. Owen and I immediately clicked at the audition and the rest is history. I personally connected with Gaby in a number of ways. Without spoiling the story, everything about her was me. I’m an artist. My father suffers from a mental disorder he himself does not acknowledge. I experienced a pregnancy and fate identical to hers, even up until the end of the film.

FF: Any fear or doubts for you? Katana: Going in I was feeling a mix of emotions. It was my first “lead” in a feature, which is a huge step after almost a decade as a supporting actress, extra, or “face.” Fear, not quite. Excitement and awe, moreso. And having not sung in years, I wasn’t sure I could pull that off. FF: Well, you more than pulled that off! How was that part of this endeavor? Katana: I had never sung publicly in that way, so stepping into the studio again for the first time in years made my heartbeatout of my chest. When JR told me Gaby was a singer I was like, “ummm.” But with the support of the cast & crew of Marcus, I actually had close friends & family guiding me every step of the way. They helped me bring that confidence out that’s been on fire ever since. FF: Okay, we have to discuss the hospital scene. It was truly moving all around. J.R, why the choice for one continuous shot? J.R: I really felt the audience, at this point, would be emotionally attached to Marcus. I felt like cutting to other shots would pull you away from the moment and what was happening. I wanted the audience to feel present inside that hospital delivery room as if they were with Marcus.





FF: How did that scene affect you two? Owen: Filming that scene was very tough as I pictured, in that moment of crisis, one of my sons, as I did with a number of other scenes. It was indeed one of the most challenging scenes to shoot. Katana: For me, this definitely was the toughest scene. I was reliving that moment for the first time since having my daughter & going through the exact same thing. The tears, the pain, the fear... was all real. FF: If that was your (Katana’s) toughest scene, what was yours Owen? Owen: The most demanding, and as a result my favorite scene, was where we see Marcus seated, across from his daughter. He

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is desperate, as he tries to come up with the right words to explain to his rightfully angry daughter, why he not only left, but stayed away for so many years. I really felt that to my core, as again, my youngest was the image that I held in mind. FF: Ok, so shifting back to Mental Health, why this film and why now? Owen: This film and indeed it’s provocative subject matter would be of benefit at most any period of time. But, considering the dark cloud of Covid, racial tension, and the economic crisis that we’re all, to some degree, struggling to deal with at this time, this candid yet inspiring film could not have been more timely. This is validated by the multitude of heartwarming comments that we continue to receive by those who have seen the film.

Katana: Yeah, during the pandemic, there’s been a wave of upheaval. Some of us have lost family members either from the spread itself or their being alone. Some of us saw struggles with finances, healthcare, and even our own ability to function “normally” when forced to live in solitude. Some relationships suffered. I think Marcus is powerful, right now, in that it let’s people know they are not alone. Others live with depression. Others do care about them. And those who may know someone who suffers from depression, now has a more in depth look at what it looks and feels like for the person living with it everyday. J.R: Why not now? Then when? I say this because of recent issues we have had at other festivals who selected the film, but chose not to mention or promote it solely due to it’s subject matter. We have actually heard

“this is not something people want to hear about”. We have actually heard “we don’t play films about depression and suicide”. This is the problem; those festivals are part of the problem. No different than a father telling his son to “get over it” or “man up”. We need more awareness. We are getting there, but nowhere near where we should be. FF: What do you wish the reaction and response from the audience to be? J.R:My hopes are that people suffering from a mental illness see this film and choose to open up to their loved ones. I hope they realize that they aren’t alone. I also hope that a language is created from this. Just some more understanding between ones battling and the ones not. Family, friends and co-workers will hopefully learn how to talk to and handle the ones in need.

Awards: Buffalo Film Festvial – Audience Award Los Angeles International Film Festival – Best Feature Valley Film Festival – Best Feature East Europe International Film Festival – Best Feature, Best Lead Actor Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema – Best Feature, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress. IndieFest Awards – Best of Show, Award of Excellence – Lead Actor Festival Angaelica – Best Feature Social Media: Marcus: FB - @marcusthemovie IG - @marcus_film Twitter - @marcus_film J.R. Poli: IG - @j.r.poli_films Twitter - @jrpoli

Owen Miller: FB – @owen.miller.125 IG – @theowenmiller Katana Malone: FB ,IG, Twitter - @katanamalone

Feature Film Run time 150 minutes


MILLION LOVES IN ME A Major Motion Picture By Kenny Chan, John Y, Frank Mayor, Monique R White & Conroy Kanter Inspired by a true story and a headline case in Hong Kong, MILLION LOVES IN ME follows the story of a wealthy mother and daughter who suffer from the psychological issues of obsessive - compulsive disorders. Their controversial private lives are exposed to the public through a charge of their animal hoarding behaviour by the police with the film having been selected and awarded in over 100 major international film festivals around the globe.

An interview with Kenny Chan, Producer of “Million Loves in Me” Please can you tell us why you started making films and the projects you were involved in before Million Loves in Me?


I completed my Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Toronto and I first started my career as an associate with a U.S. Bank on Bay Street in Toronto. Through the magic of internet, I met my partner who was a practising lawyer in Hong Kong. I moved back to Hong Kong in 2005 and continued with my banking career working in the Audit and Compliance field for a number of banks. As time went by, I felt that I needed some changes in my life and career and film making has always been the biggest dreams of my partner. Therefore, after we moved back to Canada in 2014, that was the right time for both of us to challenge ourselves by stepping out of our comfort zone and start a brand new career in filmmaking. Prior to making our debut feature film “Million Loves in Me”, my company had also produced two short films, both written by my partner John and acted by him as well. What was the starting point behind making Million Loves in Me? My partner John came across this interesting court case when I was in Hong Kong and he was the lawyer representing Katy the protagonist in the film. This legal case to us isn’t an ordinary case. The story itself has so much substance in it that I think not only would touch a lot of people, but also provide a wake-up call to some of the things in life that we can surely reflect upon ourselves. When John and I decided to make a feature film, this court case immediately came to our mind. To me, it is a story of love, not only a love story between the protagonist and her mother and also the man she fell for, but also love to a “wider” spectrum to include our love and understanding towards each other in the society; and to John, it is a court case he truly feels for (even today!) and has extreme empathy towards the real life Katy, the protagonist in the film.

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What is the most difficult part of being an independent filmmaker? I think the most challenging aspect of being an independent filmmaker is to find distribution for your film. We have had the chance to travel around the world to many different film festivals and have seen many fabulous works made by independent filmmakers. However, power houses treasure more the commercial value of a film and this is something that many independent filmmakers may not be able to fulfil, either some of the independent filmmakers are on a shoe-string budget, or they have wonderful and powerful performance by actors and actresses but they aren’t commercially known etc. Making any film can be a costly business and raising funds must be difficult – can you give us an idea of how hard it is? Frankly speaking, it is definitely not easy to find funding for the first debut work. However, once you have got an appealing and successful piece of production, investors will start to notice you. I am the type of person who is not afraid to take a chance and my partner and I am fortunate enough to fund for the most part of our first work. I know it can be a tough question but can you give an idea of other filmmakers that you admire? Christopher Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson are the two filmmakers that immediately come to my mind. I would say Chris Nolan’s “Inception” and Paul Anderson’s “Magnolia” are the two films that influence me the most. Especially Anderson’s films which are often characterized by their depiction of flawed and desperate

characters, explorations of themes such as dysfunctional families, alienation, loneliness and redemption, which can be seen in “Million Loves In Me”. For those who have had the chance to see “Million Loves In Me”, they will find that the story surrounds a dysfunctional family which is common in today’s world and the messages in the film are similar to those of Anderson’s and we have different ways to express those messages. Getting any film produced is hard enough, how did you manage to bring together a talented cast and crew? The director found us a very talented local script writer in Malaysia, Tiong Wooi Lim and we polished the script of “Million Loves in Me” with Tiong together. John is the person who has all the first hand information in his daily communication with the real life Katy and Mami, the two protagonists in the film. During the preproduction stage, John communicated with Tiong on a daily basis and provided her with all the nitty-gritty details so that she was in a position to produce a polished version of the script for our consideration. We were also fortunate to recruit Koon Lan Lo who is a very experienced and seasoned television, stage and film actress to perform the female leading role in the film. We managed to persuade her to act in the film and she was so astonished by the powerful images and aura of the real life mother in a photo that we managed to find on a newspaper clipping in Hong Kong. At the time of recruiting Koon Lan Lo, she was an Associate Professor in the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, a renowned postsecondary institution in Hong Kong that offers bachelor degrees in performing arts.


What has been the reaction from audiences and viewers that have seen your film?

than 50 film festivals in six continents worldwide including the Best Screenplay from Montreal Independent Film Festival.

in other parts of the world. This will be a different version with most of the “original” scenes included.

We are very grateful that the film was well received by a number of critics both in the East and the West. Some critics are amazed by our method of conveying the messages of love, compulsion, confinement through the not-so-ordinary relationships between the protagonists with symptoms of OCD’s. Up till now, “Million Loves in Me” has received 161 awards from more

And can you tell us a little about distribution in other regions?

If a budding filmmaker asked you for some advice in launching their own independent production company, what advice would you give to them?

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“Million Loves In Me” was first distributed in Malaysia in May 2018. Due to censorship requirements in Malaysia, certain “sensitive” scenes had to be edited in our Malaysia release. Nevertheless, we have recently secured distribution of the film

Perseverance is the key. Do not feel discouraged in any way. Avoid having money and finding distribution as their first goal in making a film. We believe in putting


one’s heart and soul in during the entire film making process. If you want an audience to feel your film, you have to put the entire you in it! When people can feel your work, you will be able to receive your well-deserved recognition. Can you let us know which project you are currently working on – post Covid! We have a few projects on our table and we have been discussing with investors about the production of these projects. Our projects will most likely originate in Canada, in the States and in Hong Kong. We are in the talk with several investors to have the major chunk of our new productions in Canada. It is our aim to promote filmmaking

here at home, promote a positive filmmaking culture and provide job opportunities to cast and crew locally. Due to the pandemic, we are still being held off in the initial planning stage and hopefully once all the restrictions have started to ease, we can kick start our productions into full gear. Feature Film Run Time 82 Minutes

MIRACLE! MOTHER NATURE HAS APPEARED TO ME A film By Tommaso MiceliMalaguti & Mario Pascariello This short documentary film celebrates the beauty, charm and generosity of Mother Nature, seeing her not as a mere object to be used by us, according to the worldview of “civilized” man, but as someone with whom we should have a loving relationship as children. Through this perspective, we will be able to get a glimpse, through her, of our Father.

Extract from the review edited by the Team of the Beyond the Curve International Film Festival (Paris France – 2020). Mario Pascariello has shown some beautiful narrative to describe how we often neglect something precious just because it is free.... The narrative has been good and precise.... It is very profound to see the childishness shown by Mario Pascariello wholy narrating the lines. The calm, happy face resembles the touch of sanity. The composed attitude itself sparkles upon the sublime madness hidden underneath that praises every bit of nature religiously.... It is an absolute honour to witness someone who is physically so mature....yet, mentally a child who has just begun to understand nature and admire the beauty of it. Thank you Mr. Mario

Pascariello...for this wonderful journey! May Mother Nature appear to us all...! In 2020 this work achieved the following results in International Festivals: 29 awards, 2 finals, 1 semi-final, 2 nominations for the best of the best & 18 selections. Directors Statement The film was shot on location but not on a planned set. That means, it was filmed live during the existential flow. The narrator’s reflections have sprung suddenly, though they are not improvised; they are the result of a growth and a settling occurred over a life lived with intensity and passion.

humorous/existential/spiritual Run Time 10 Minutes


In Search Of Professor Precarious A feature documentary by Gerry Potter

Lecturers, readers, adjuncts, sessionals, contingent or contract faculty, freeway flyers, road scholars, invisible academics... Call them what you want, the majority of people teaching in colleges and universities are now on low-paid temporary contracts, in stark contrast to the similarly qualified continuing faculty minority. If you’re a student, you may have heard your instructor mumbling under their breath about poverty-level pay and sweatshop working conditions. Is it REALLY like that? If so, wouldn’t that be very bad for the education system? And if it’s bad, what’s being done to make it better? After 27 years of teaching university drama and film classes, filmmaker Gerry C.Potter vowed to take no more teaching contracts and set out across Canada to find and film the answers to those burning questions. The result of this 4 year journey is IN SEARCH OF PROFESSOR PRECARIOUS, a feature documentary officially selected at six international festivals and streamed for members by nearly 40 faculty associations across Canada. North Europe Online Edition London 2021


In Search of Professor Precarious introduces you to Jen, a young sessional trying to balance teaching, caring for her young family and finishing her PhD so that she can be considered for a permanent university job; Sandra Mac, fighting to reverse the 23% pay cut dealt to her and her long time precarious faculty colleagues; Marco, leading a drive to get the sessional majority in his faculty association their democratic rights; and Pam, choreographer and leader in the largest higher education strike in Canadian history.

The exploitation of precarious faculty and their struggle for rights in higher education is a story unfolding in the U.K., North America, and globally. Join the fight for equality portrayed in this dramatic, moving and revealing film. To screen at your festival, campus or library, contact

Documentary Run Time 81 Minutes


NARCOLEPSY By Anastasia Vasileva A stunning film that shines a spotlight on long term brain disorders

“Narcolepsy” is a short film directed by the award-wining director, Anastasia Vasileva. This film tells the story of a girl, Sonya, who suffers from narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a rare long-term brain condition that causes a person to suddenly fall asleep at inappropriate times. Sonya meets a guy whilst travelling by train. They fall in love with each other but Sonya pushes this man away because she thinks that she doesn’t deserve to be happy. She firmly believes that she is defective due to her illness. The director Anastasia Vasileva decided to write the script on narcolepsy and shoot a film about it because she is inclined to believe that it is really necessary to inform the audience about obscure diseases. North Europe Online Edition London 2021


Anastasia remarked: “Quite often (from what I’ve heard from people) when they see someone tottering or even falling asleep in the street they jump to the conclusion that the person is merely drunk. We don’t usually assume that the person may have a neurological disorder and needs help, acceptance and compassion. This happens due to our ignorance. As a director, I am convinced that I should make films on important themes that could impact our society usefully.” The other meaning of the film is that we don’t usually allow ourselves to be happy. We can always find a reason for not living our dreams because people are always afraid of being responsible for their life choices. Sonya rejects the guy she met though she fell in love with him.

“Unfortunately, this pattern is clearly seen in human beings. It doesn’t matter whether they suffer from any disorder or not. I hope that my film may help someone to see that from the outside and it may help them to break that cycle. I don’t think my film will change your life because you are the one to do it. But in my opinion it may serve as useful food for thought,” the director tells us. It was quite hard to find the correct person for the role of the leading lady. The director wanted someone with a non-standard appearance. The choice became Margo Adaeva, a Russian actress. “She does not look like a Hollywood beauty but that was what I really wanted from my heroine. Sonya is vulnerable, a little bit


clumsy, with a childlike face and red hair. When women look at her, I wanted them to feel empathy for Sonya, as if she had been their girlfriend since her school years” Anastasia explains. The film was shot by the talented, young and award winning DOP, Nikita Anisimov. “His taste, his style of filming is unique and visually awesome. I didn’t regret even for a moment that I chose him as a DOP for my short film” comments the director. The main artistic goal of the DOP on this project was to arrange the whole image of the film that would reflect Sonya’s world; lightweight and dreamy.

“The most interesting challenge for me was the scene on the train. I had wanted to try using dynamic light for the filming before and I was really excited when I read the script and saw the opportunity in it. The director and I decided that the image would be soft, so I used a pro-mist filter. I find that it helps to create the right perception of the leading character and her world” Nikita Anisimov commented. “We are waiting for you to create your own opinion of my work. It is better once to watch the film than many times to read about it. I hope you will enjoy the short film as much as our film crew enjoyed making it.” Best Wishes Anastasia Vasileva

Short Drama Run Time 14 Minutes

THE JUICE How ‘The Juice’ Became My Ode to Screenwriting Joy - by Ian Causer Three groups of competing criminals scramble to claim the massive bounty attached to the contract killing of a deeply unpleasant man… a man who has chosen to hide out in the mountains of Wales?!


Who will win? Irish OC? The most successful hitman in English history? Or… three well-meaning idiots from East London?

The Juice started as nothing more than an exercise… a break… a vacation if you will. Not from writing itself… but from what I’d been writing. Sci-Fi is where I cut my teeth as a screenwriter. Not spaceships and alien races; not westerns in space, but characterdriven stories tackling modern, mature and socially relevant themes that weave through thrilling narratives. Award wins and options followed. I’d found my voice! Suddenly it felt as though I had – albeit accidentally - stumbled onto the right path. Morality, theology, philosophy and what it means to be human are broad, grandiose and worthy themes… but they can get heavy… really heavy. The irony? I’m actually a light-hearted person by nature. I’d been writing gritty subject matter non-stop for over two years and I needed a break; a time-out in order to refresh. I’ve always loved heist movies and always loved the dark humour that pervades the writing of Martin McDonagh, Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino… and even though I’d written nearly a dozen specs in a variety of genres, not one had been set in Britain. So, rather than booking a fortnight in the Caribbean, I made the unusual, but far cheaper decision to spend my leisure time writing my heist movie. North Europe Online Edition London 2021


No outline. No planning. Just three rules: it had to be fun… it had to be different… and it had to take advantage of a brand of humour unique to Britain and Ireland. The result? A story that was different, that was fun and that…well, mercilessly took the piss out of everyone and everything! I had never intended the results of such an exercise to be read by anyone… but after leaving it on a shelf for a month, I re-read it and had the nagging feeling it might be more than just a creative exercise. Could it have merit? After a thorough rewrite, I sent it to my inner circle of trusted industry pros; they confirmed it did have real potential!

Suddenly it was time to re-write, polish and seek a wider audience. Fusion International Film Festival was the first festival I entered The Juice into. The shock and - to be brutally honest - joy I felt when it won ‘Official Selection’ is still making me smile. You see, there are stories I have written that I am proud of; there are stories I’ve written that I wish I’d stuck straight in a burn bag (!), but The Juice is the first story I’ve written that I LOVE. Perhaps it was the way it came about, perhaps it’s because I never intended on taking the project seriously… or perhaps it’s simply because I got to write my heist movie! Whatever the reason, The Juice helped me rediscover the pure joy that is screenwriting.


Tommaso Miceli Malaguti & Mario Pascariello

FULL CIRCLE A Multi Award Winning Feature Film By Noel Brady

Documentary Film-Maker and war journalist, Malcolm Walker returns to Ireland after his last production in Gaza went horribly wrong. A tragic accident occurred while filming his documentary about underground tunnels used by ‘Hamas’. This accident caused the death of Malcolm’s wife and producer Linda Walker. Two years on and Malcolm barely recognises himself or the man he has become. Poor life-choices leave Malcolm facing a night in the local police cell following an unfortunate altercation… But he’s not alone in the cell. Enter Travis Sear, an American that met Malcolm some three years earlier and his cellmate for the night. Malcolm had interviewed Travis and his wife at the ancient site of Newgrange Co.Meath for another TV show at that time. Following the interview Travis and his wife Rose were in a car accident. Travis survived, but his wife Rose was left in a catatonic state.

Travis now believes this car accident to be the result of the curse of the ‘Órach Stone’. An ancient stone that Rose had found at Newgrange that day. And her taking it from the ancient site caused this curse and the subsequent accident. Travis believes that the ‘Órach Stone’ has to be returned to Newgrange and an ancient ritual performed with the chosen ones. Only then, can the curse be lifted.

Having met Malcolm once again after all these years, Travis believes that Malcolm is a sign, and a chosen one. And he and only he can help perform this ancient ritual and bring Rose back. Seeing the opportunity of a story, Malcolm reluctantly agrees to help Travis on his journey. Feature Film Run Time 94 Minutes Https://


TRIO: a short film about music...and something else. Directed By Igor Chekin

The film features Pavel Karmanov’s musical piece ‘Birthday present for myself’ performed by the ensemble ClassicaPlus: Nataliya Zhukova (flute), Evgeniya Boginskaya (chello), Valeria Esaulenko (piano). Music has been depicted as a powerful means of connection in many films about music cultures or bands. However, an invisible, behind-the-scenes link between musicians themselves has hardly been portrayed before. In ‘Trio’ young director Igor Chekin aspired to give voice to the inexpressible. He has succeeded, as we have seen the film winning multiple awards in many international festivals. Three musicians, while in three different locations of one city, are performing the piece by the modern composer Pavel Karmanov, ‘Birthday present for myself’. We can see how the musicians are breathing in unison, without realising they are playing the same music at the same time. North Europe Online Edition London 2021


The city is breathing in sync: trains, crowds of people, and bustling traffic are moving dynamically in beat with the metropolis. Radiant and lively, everything is moving in rhythm with Pavel Karmanov, twenty three at the time of composing the piece, drawing his inspiration from the blues of being in love. With one unconventional director’s solution - the sudden pause - Igor Chekin’s work is elevated from a musical clip to a film. Each musician is not only an auditory art devotee, but a human being with day-to-day

preoccupations. Thus at one point in the film a performer is distracted by a phone call, while another is enjoying a coffee break. We see a glimpse of everyday lives behind the sheet music, while the city’s loud humming is music itself. Polina Markova Music Short Run Time 10 Minutes


THE SPIRITUALIZATION OF JEFF BOYD A Script By Uwe Schwarzwalder Here we were lucky enough to interview Uwe about his latest script which gave us some fascinating insight into his writing process *

Notorious Jeff Boyd goes on a spiritual quest after escaping a mental institution to start over and find meaning. He travels to Australia where his friend Morton helps him to get a hold of his life, but after being robbed and tricked by suspicious characters in the Outback, he’s had it and tries to find his luck with a monk in the Balkan mountains who gives workshops to become enlightened. Jeff is followed by Prisha, a guru’s daughter from India he had a short encounter with at the bakery, who joins the workshop at Jeff’s surprise. The two fall in love and discover that they need each other and leave the workshop to go to India where Prisha’s father is expecting them, but Jeff and Prisha find themselves fighting against intrigues and mistrust in the community where they want to start a new life - and Jeff’s past demons.


The ambitious screenplay is setup in beautiful locations in the Australian Outback, Balkan Mountains, and Indian temples while adding ethnic music from the respected countries. The Spiritualization of Jeff Boyd is about taking risks, setbacks, and starting over to find new ways to conquer a life with meaning - and love. Uwe Schwarzwalder aims to play out the story as a dark comedy, with weird situations, awkward moments, and many twists. Jeff Boyd is always on the run, driven by overwhelming events, but always moving forward to find the light. FF: Can you tell us how The Spiritualization of Jeff Boyd extends the main character from the actual film (The Radicalization Of Jeff Boyd) that you produced? US: It’s interesting because although the story is kind of a dark comedy he’s also on the run from his past life, he wants to become a better person. But as it is in life, you want to become better but your past catches up with you. I like this idea and touching on the actual film of “The Radicalization Of Jeff Boyd” he’s actually really becoming radicalized by the circumstances that he’s in so it’s a good example of how we shouldn’t take words too literally in life!

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FF: Could you create a TV or web series based on Jeff Boyd’s adventures or life? US: I like that; I mean that would be possible and I always like to see where he goes (as a character) and the thing is I like really good dialogue, especially when it’s ping ponging back and forth as a dynamic but also because I study a lot in acting and this influences me a lot, because I write for the actor. Somebody actually asked me if I’m a stage actor which I’m not but that’s probably how I write. FF: We often hear how important the script is, would you agree? US: Yes absolutely! I remember saying that a lot, it’s the story that carries you through and you have to believe in your story and you have to be critical about it to yourself, does it work? You can have the best equipment but you still have to write a good script to the best of your abilities. Feature Script Watch Full Interview: Https://




Forced Change By Rennik Soholt Forced Change is a feature documentary that uses the path of destruction left behind by Hurricane Katrina as a vehicle to bring to life unique human stories that shed light on what it means to be home. Filmed at critical moments over the last fourteen years, Forced Change is a heart-breaking retrospective of four unique and relatable, but displaced, characters that left New Orleans after the hurricane and never returned home.


Offering a gritty, insider’s look at one of the first culturally recognized, climate impacted, North American tragedies of the 21st century, this film reminds us of the faces beyond the statistics of those who lost their homes and as a groundbreaking documentary, looks past the modern news media’s broad coverage of Hurricane Katrina and focuses on the touching human stories of people who were displaced from their homes due to the effects of climate change. FORCED CHANGE is told in an innovative narrative style and features a chorus of New Orleans-based voices, including jazz trumpeter, Kermit Ruffins. North Europe Online Edition London 2021


“I moved to New Orleans in 2000. I was a bit lost and needed focus and ended up in Graduate School at Tulane. But it was not for me and I realized I was studying the wrong subject (Social Work) and I dropped out. But I ended up taking classes at the local city college and making a couple of short films. Fast forward to 2005 when Katrina hit and I was already in NYC, I knew this was a film subject for me. I rented a car and I drove to New Orleans. I was there the day the city opened back up to the public in Oct. And I began to film. I focused mostly on people I knew. I started to tell their stories. I continued... for 12 years.

This story is so close to my heart. I love New Orleans. I love the people of New Orleans. My heart was broken when so many had to leave, and I went on the journey with them of permanent relocation. This is the most intimate story I could tell outside of my immediate family...maybe more intimate. FORCED CHANGE has become a part of my life. I look forward to sharing this story with y’all.” Rennik Soholt Documentary Run Time 110 Minutes






Usa /Mexico immigration by Jeff Grace Why are journalists being murdered in Mexico? A photographic journey through the dark labyrinths of corruption and violence towards Mexican journalists.

Jeff Grace: When I found out about the selection of my short film “Driver” it was a great pleasure, it is a short film that represents an important leap in my film career and that is also very personal to me, since it has a broad social burden and that has always been of interest to me. I practiced journalism for 30 years, traveled to many places and got to know many cultures and societies; it’s something that stayed with me and with my cinematographic work.


The documentary on social issues is my favorite and that’s the kind of projects we are working on. On trips to Mexico I met several colleagues, developed a friendship and got to know the problems in depth, particularly in the state of Sinaloa. Something that surprised and intrigued me was how journalists lived, with low income and with a high danger, reporting drug trafficking has two forms: the

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red note where only murders are reported, and the ethical research, to my surprise committed investigators they were the ones I found the most. My interest increased. In 2017 Javier Valdez was assassinated, I knew about him from the press, from his books and from Sinaloa journalists, he was a person who had the respect and admiration of all, had a strong commitment to the truth and to giving a voice to the victims of violence, he

was working on an investigation of corruption within the police forces that protected drug traffickers. It still shocks me to know that he was murdered at 12 o’clock in downtown Culiacan. I started gathering information about Javier and the other persecuted journalists. A couple of years before I had met André Fernández very briefly in Culiacán, I looked for his contact and we started conversations about doing something there. Together we got in touch with César Uriarte, who had also


worked with Javier and had even interviewed him for his documentary January the 28th. We started discussing story possibilities, we knew what we wanted to talk about but we didn’t know how. César Uriarte: Someone I admire is Emir Olivares, a journalist for La Jornada who has lived in hiding, leaving his friends, his home, even his sources as a result of death threats for doing his job, telling the truth of the corruption that prevails and has allowed the sale of drugs within the University of Mexico. Fernando Brito is another character, a photojournalist awarded for artistically portraying people killed by drug trafficking. Fernando lives in an ethical dilemma about what people can think of his work, Emir lives in hiding with little freedom, Javier was murdered for telling the truth, we realized that the three characters build the story we want to tell, persecuted journalists in different stages of his life who even put his safety first in order to tell people the truth. Jeff Grace: César proposed a structure where the three stories are interspersed and we know in detail the characters and their problems, something that seems very powerful about the project is that Javier’s murder is a narrative resource to which we constantly return. What we are doing is giving the personal and social importance that this event has, determining that no one was safe from the power of criminals and government corruption.

César Uriarte: We found that there was a lot of strength in the joint history of the three characters, we focused on building a dynamic rhythm made up of interviews, archival photographs, archival video and narrative sequences with the same characters.

César Uriarte: It seems to me that it’s urgent that this story be told as we want to tell it, the number of victims continues to increase, to deny it is to hide the truth, it’s not to value the effort of these journalists who have sacrificed everything for their profession.

Jeff Grace: The project is currently in the final script stage and we are looking for partners to produce and eventually distribute it. We have had approaches from companies and co-producers, all interested in the strength of the issue and how we are addressing it.

Jeff: We know that we have a very important film in our hands, which will be moving and shocking, controversial in content and dynamic in it’s rhythm. Instagram/Facebook @jeffgrace47



Our work

For over 10 years, Artists for Peace and Justice has been dedicated to changing the lives of those most in need. We understand the game-changing effects of secondary and higher education in breaking the cycle of endemic poverty.


On January 12, 2010 a magnitude 7 earthquake devastated Haiti. Hundreds of thousands were killed and much of the capital city was leveled. The destruction was unimaginable, but urgency of that moment required action. We pledged our support to do more than just provide immediate humanitarian relief. We pledged to build lasting academic institutions that would serve a greater purpose.

Our mission

We believe youth, especially those living in abject poverty, deserve liberty and equality to build a better life for themselves and for their families. By developing partnerships with local leaders in communities that need us most, Artists for Peace and Justice works to create real opportunity with Valuable Education, Meaningful Employment, Inspiring Voices and Ethical Leadership. APJ is comprised of artists, advocates, and creatives across all disciplines who believe in the power of artists to change the world. We believe that everyone has the creative capacity and voice to make a difference and that it is our duty to leverage our collective talent to help create a more just and peaceful world.


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We believe youth, especially those living in abject poverty, deserve liberty and equality to build a better life for themselves and for their families.

I... OVERCAME HOUTHI MINES A Yemeni documentary film produced in 2020, with all rights to the director, Mrs. Nisreen Alsbeihi Noman. A film showing the story of a young woman named “Dalila” who challenged the disability caused by one of the land mines that the Houthi planted at the threshold of the water well next to her house, and amputated her legs three days before her wedding, to deprive her of the joy of her life and make her incapacitated.


She cried on her knees and hands for three years with physical pain, and in Taiz - the city where she lives - she received nothing but empty promises to treat her, as she explained. And without succumbing to the obstruction and terror that Al-Houthi intended against everyone who still rejects his terror and tyranny. Until MSF adopted her treatment in Jordan and began a long journey of treatment of suffering that culminated in success and returning to the city of Taiz on her feet, as she had wished from the moment she arrived at the hospital. North Europe Online Edition London 2021


Dalilah was not able to return to her village, “Al Shaqeb,” as she explained in the film, due to the continued stationing of Houthi snipers in the heights overlooking her village, and the continued laying of mines that were her victim a month before Dalila returned to Yemen, one of her relatives who lost her leg completely to the basin. Through the film, Dalilah sent messages to Al-Houthi and to the legitimacy and to those who provide weapons and mines to the Houthis.

She also sent a message to people of conscience around the world, to cooperate in stopping this tragedy. She thanked all those who wished her healing and sympathized with her story. The film is a candidate at the North European International Film Festival held in London for the best Best Scientific & Education Film, Best Editing of a Documentary, Best Cinematography in a Documentary and Best Short Documentary categories. Short Documentary Run Time 28 Minutes

Dream Vacation By Stephen Foster & Chuck Pelletier

Looking forward by looking backward Los Angeles partners Stephen Foster and Chuck Pelletier are an award-winning comedy writing team with an incredible, diverse background. Their combined voices blend together to create a wacky, off-beat collection of work that aspires to some their favorites: Christopher Guest and Mel Brooks. Their independent, comedy short “That’s Opportunity Knocking” won an astonishing 24 film festival awards and is now streaming on Amazon Prime: The duo created the Off-Broadway musical “The Green Room” which has been produced world-wide. Long before they were award-winning

filmmakers, they were writers, and the pandemic has halted many productions, so they had to turn back the hands of time to look for hidden treasures sealed in the vaults of “forgotten” projects. The discovery unearthed some excellent material that never got its time in the spotlight, so they are excitedly returning to the film festival global community with 2 screenplays (out of many), “Clubbed!” and “My Missing Year,” as well as a music video, “Dream Vacation.” They are honored to be nominated for awards in Fusion, and also eager about old work returning to the front burner. “Clubbed!” is a comedy favorite that scored a semi-finalist placement in the Page International Screenplay Contest.

“My Missing Year” is a dysfunctional family dramedy that was nominated for Best Drama at the Big Bear Film Summit. The music video “Dream Vacation” is a selection from Chuck’s album “Flight Times,” was directed by Stephen Foster, and is an homage to the love of world travel. The pandemic focused the lens backward, and through digging, they found gold. This led to coming back with fresh power and new projects. What next? Their comedy “The Little Johnny Dickens Show,” bought by the Dramatically Incorrect Company, will be out later this year.


Run Time 4 Minutes

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JOE CAMARENO Joe Camareno – Award Winning Director, Actor, Writer & Producer

With the feature comedy “Tin Holiday” featured at our previous festivals and the short dramatic film “Patriots” in competition at London 2021 here we are delighted to showcase Joe Camareno’s extraordinary talent. TIN HOLIDAY Best friends Samuel and Jesse travel to London after a life-changing event in Samuel’s life. They find themselves in trouble with the Punjabi mafia, Interpol and in inappropriate couplings. Director Statement


As a filmmaker of Native American (Tohono O’odham) and Latino mixed background, and also identifying as gay, I was inspired to tell the story in ‘Tin’ because of the lack of roles for Latino and gay actors/characters in traditional Hollywood fare. This story, while not specifically written for two ethnic lead actors, ‘Tin’ was written to showcase Latino’s in a positive light, just as “regular” people in a film. The gay characters are also shown in this manner. They are not stereotypes or amalgamations of what someone might think a gay person is in the broad sense but shown as complex people living their day-today lives. The character of Jesse is best friends with a straight man, Samuel, whom he met at university. Both men forged a friendship based on loyalty, despite societal norms on friendships and what we tend to see on the big screen. The characters of Jesse and Simon are also not stereotypical representations of gay people on the big screen. They are slightly older and not part of the young party world we typically see in gay cinema or exploitive television. While we don’t see what Jesse does for a living, we do come to find that Simon is (SPOILER ALERT) a spy on a deepcover assignment. Shot mostly in London, England, this film, while on the surface is a light rom-com, shows depictions of gay and Latino characters as regular people. If there is a message to glean from this film, it’s to show how people of color and gay people aspire to be seen on the big screen, as normal everyday people just as Caucasians and straight characters are seen in traditional studio films. The story in ‘Tin’ is presented in a very matterof-fact way, whether romantic or platonic, the characters are just a viable part of the fabric of the lives in the story. The gay romance is not the whole story, but part of the major storyline, something that mainstream films tend to miss the boat on. I’ve never considered myself to be an activist filmmaker, but I do go against the grain when showing people of color, women, or gay characters on the screen.

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PATRIOTS When the line between protecting the republic and being an enemy of the state is blurred, the realities of true freedom are questioned. Brash CIA operative Eric Simms is on a personal mission to set things straight after a mishap on an unsanctioned black ops operation in the recent past. Career long loyalties are questioned as he uncovers a sinister plot at play. Unsure of what to do, he justifies his motives and is then faced with the ultimate question of loyalty. What makes one a steadfast defender of a republic, one who goes against protocol to make those difficult choices in righting a perceived wrong, or one who toes the line and follows procedure? This short-form spy thriller is being developed into a full-length feature film. Tin Holiday - Feature Comedy Run Time 90 Minutesc Patriots - Short Film Run Time 7 Minutes


Eddie Torres A Profile of Music Producer and Composer

Synopsis: Henry is a 20-year-old boy American boy studying Georgian folk music. He will be abducted and forced into becoming, a fiancé, and a hero in one evening in a strange exotic family tradition. Henry’s humanity character is to save this girl’s life as she attempts to commit suicide after the pressures of her family’s strange and bizarre traditions. There’s only one surprise announcement Henry will share with this unusual family. Composer: Multi award winning film composer Eddie Torres met director of Romance Giorgi Tkemaladze in 2018 for the Milan IFF film nomination and they then came across each other in London at the Fusion IFF a year later after winning for Best Original Score on a feature film (Nawal The Jewel) Directed By Renjilal Damodaran. Since then the director Giorgi has been in touch with Eddie about scoring his new short film Romance. Learning the music styles and instrumentation in the country of Georgia was a success for

Eddie as Romance led him to a nomination in Valencia 2020 and London 2021 at the Fusion International Film Festivals. The film has also received other awards.Eddie’s vote counts for the Grammys in four categories. Music began on the streets of Chicago’s Cubs Wrigleyville neighborhood in Chicago, IL.Eddie has composed music for shows on major TV networks including, Oxygen, Life Time, TLC and others. Director: When I first heard Eddie’s score in Italy (Nawal The Jewel) I was moved by his approach to allow the music to invoke feelings to the viewer. Along with other directors I wanted to meet Eddie. In our short conversation I new I wanted to know more of

Eddie’s work and talk to him about my new Film (Romance). His spirit of excellence and professionalism was immediately noticed. Living in the country of Georgia I thought would present some logistical challenges for Eddie and working together but with Eddie it didn’t. Eddie was able to capture what I was looking for in music/score by phone, messaging and emails. Coming: A full feature film Life Ain’t Like The Movies with an amazing Director Robert Butler whom Eddie also met in London during his win. This is also a great story…


The Crickets Dance by Veronica Robledo

With the rising awareness for diversity and the growing movement in support of women-led and female-driven films, Veronica Robledo takes the initiative through her storytelling. Women have unique life experiences, and those experiences inform their stories and the lens through which they view the world. Veronica optioned the book, The Crickets Dance, developed and wrote the screenplay and, in 2019, she directed and produced what would be her first feature film. The Crickets Dance concerns, ANGIE LAWRENCE, an attorney and southern beauty. If she ever hopes to find love she needs to do two things: let a man walk her to the door and let go of the past. She sadly gets the opportunity to do both when her dear friend passes away and leaves her a stunning southern antebellum mansion. While moving in she discovers a long-forgotten diary hidden in the attic. It dates back over 150 years. She becomes entranced with diary’s story, its history of North Europe Online Edition London 2021


slavery and brutality, and how the bounds of time and injustice were overcome by love. So much so that she hardly notices when the handsome black attorney, ANDREW RUBEN MCGRATH, is assigned to share an office with her. The world is ready for protagonists and stories that play a vital role in our lives and our cultures presenting challenging questions about our society and history. The recent royal interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry has only further sparked the debate of interracial relationships. The Crickets Dance provides a common experience that allows us to explore topics of diversity and inclusion. Veronica hopes that this movie will inspire tolerance and acceptance. She especially hopes to inspire young women to be comfortable in their own skin and to follow their dreams. She believes that with hard work, passion, and God one can achieve greatness.

Feature Film Run Time 81 Minutesc

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