Jeffery Patterson: " The Life of a Triple Threat".

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Letter From The Editor WELCOME READERS to another issue of Hollywood Weekly Magazine! On the cover of this month’s issue is none other than Jeffery Patterson, a big name in Hollywood. Known as a “Triple Threat,” he founded his own company, Once Upon A Dream Productions, to bring back family into Hollywood. Since its creation, Jeffery has filmed and produced several films. Not only does he film and produce, but he also acts - including in his own films! In additon, we have two authors to spotlight in this issue: Dawn Smith-Theodore and Stan Weisleder. The psychotherapist and former dancer’s memoir, Mother, Men, and Me, she disucsses her family secrets, love affairs, and her significant battle with anorexia. Weisleder’s historical fiction book, The Dogs of Brownsville, takes readers through the journeys of a group of guys and girls that make it out of ghetto Brownsville to glamourous Las Vegas, where they have to navigate the everchanging environment from the mob era to corporate America. Missed the Golden Globes? We’ve got all the highlights for you, as well as the nominations for this year’s Grammys! Need something new to watch? We’ve got you covered! We’ve highlighted some new movies and TV shows coming out in the next month; you can find these in theaters or on some of your favorite streaming platforms. We also feature some other incredible people: Joe Sparrow, Roger Gingerich, Elliot Grove, Anthony Bambocci, Dr. Emily Letran, Melannie Rembrant, Robert James Atton, Helen Hoey, and Dr. Barbara Saunders.

Thank you, readers, for once again supporting Hollywood Weekly Magazine. We are nothing without you.









LIFE & STYLE EDITOR Niki Shadrow Snyder DESIGN & PRODUCTION Emma Willett Ryan Newman Brandon Webster




BRAZIL OPERATIONS Fabio Glingani (310) 567-3333

Prather Jackson Prather Jackson Publisher


81st Golden Globes Award Winners

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Alex A. Kecskes Brandon Webster Carmelita Pittman



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JEFFERY PATTERSON The Life of a Triple Threat ELLIOT GROVE From Underdog to Top Dog

INDIA OPERATIONS Ike Sinha Mobile +919599068592 VIETNAM OPERATIONS Dr. Emily Letran

...and more!


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GET READY TO SING YOUR HEART OUT with the season 22 premiere of American Idol on February 18, with a new year full of talented individuals who finally get the opportunity to share their voices on stage with an audience. Hosted by Ryan Seacrest and featuring our favorite celebrity judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie, the excitement behind who among the many contenstants will shine in this year’s season. America is excited to tune in and listen to the powerful and emotional sounds of music from those who are willing to step up on stage and show the world what they are made of. American Idol has become wellknown for being the greatest starting point for artists such as Kelly Clarkson and Adam Lambert. As for who will be able to stand on top and rise to the challenge this year, America is ready to see and hear.


FINAL SEASON IT’S ONLY LOGICAL that after seven long years of seeing the past through the eyes of our favorite quirky and intelligent mind of Sheldon J Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, the series will have its final season premiere on February 16. Before becoming a physicist with a nerdy roommate and an attractive neighbor across the hall of his apartment, we took a deep dive into the childhood of this inquisitive individual and showed how even being the smartest one in the family can have its many ups and downs. In this series, many audiences finally got the chance to see the truth behind the tidbits, references and mere mentions of what his childhood was like, growing up in Medford, Texas, back in The Big Bang Theory. Through the trials and tribulations that had fans wondering when certain points of Sheldon Cooper’s life were to look up or down, along with certain characters such as his father, played by Lance Barber. Through the interesting takes on the members of the Cooper family, we saw that there was more to what we envisioned and what we imagined based on what we heard in Sheldon’s adult life. Once we saw the truth 4 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL

behind the stories and tales with our own eyes when this series premiered back in 2017, fans began to see just how much was going on both in the eyes of Sheldon himself, and his family with the turmoil they went through together. While this series may be coming to an end, fans can say that this marks the end of an era, as the prequel to the emmy award winning series is slowly reaching its end. As for what is in store for this final season, we can only wait and see as the ultimate final chapter of the childhood for the bright young mind approaches ever so soon.



A HEART-THROBBING LOVE is burning in the air in this season, as The Bachelor returns on January 22. This year, the lucky man on the mantle is Joey Graziadei, an eligible bachelor who multiple women will seize the opportunity in hopes of being his one true love. In this drama-filled season with many emotional moments, only one will discover their true love with this lucky man.




THE RETURN OF A CLASSIC is something worth celebrating, and for those who have grown up with the animated series that premiered in 2005, many will see this new take on the series as reuniting with an old friend from the distant past. This new live-action iteration of the series will soon premiere on February 22nd, with a cast that has old and new fans excited for what is to come with this distinctive look into the journey surrounding the four elements.

While the previous attempt on making the beloved animated series into live-action didn’t quite hit the mark with fans back in 2010, many are hoping that this time, it will meet expectations better now in the form of a live-action series rather than a full feature-length film. Ever since the resurgence of the fandom back in May 2020, upon the rerelease of the animated series on Netflix, new and old fans are wanting to see and revisit what made this story so

profoundly loved and emotionally engaging through a new lens, with hope that it will still capture the magic as it did back then. There have been a lot of questions over what has been shown throughout the course of production, along with what executive producer and showrunner Albert Kim has in store for those who have eagerly waited for this series. Soon, fans of the world that is composed of four distinct nations based on the four elements will get their answers.

DISNEY’S A REAL BUG’S LIFE IN A LIFE 70 TIMES SMALLER THAN OURS, get ready to experience the nine different micro bug worlds around the globe, where we see a true look into how these tiny creatures live their lives on Planet Earth. Inspired by the Pixar animated classic of the same name, audiences will get to bear witness to the interesting life of the creatures that fit in the palm of your hand. Narrated by the fun and witty voice of Awkwafina, audiences will see how the forces of nature will play out on a miniature scale and witness how tiny creatures brave the world we live in. On January 24 on Disney+, this series that will showcase bugs and how they are brought up in the high stakes world that humans live in. From the concrete jungle

of New York to the vast landscapes of Coasta RIca, bugs will have their time in the spotlight as we get to see just what kind of adventures they have. Not to mention the many dangers and threats on a miniature scale that these little creatures must face in order to survive and thrive on Earth. This family-friendly series shows the mind-blowing aspect of bugs in a way that makes them feel like they too are a part of the world bugs live in. It will truly feel as though we are revisiting the classic animated tale of bugs we saw on screen, thanks to Pixar’s passionate storytelling in A Bug’s Life back in 1998, only with real bugs.. This will make audiences realize that in the shoes of the many bugs we see in the world, it truly is a small world after all. HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL • 5




New Releases of the Month

Housekeeping for Beginners

Miller’s Girl


January 26

January 26

February 2

Only In Movie Theaters

Only In Movie Theaters

Only In Movie Theaters

The Promised Land

Lisa Frankenstein

February 9

Madame Web

February 14

Only In Movie Theaters

Only In Movie Theaters

Only In Movie Theaters

February 2




January 25


January 26

Masters Of The Air

Only On Netflix

Only On Amazon Prime

Only on Apple TV+

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Abbott Elementary Season 3

February 7

Halo Season 2

February 8

Only On Amazon Prime

Only on Hulu

Only on Paramount+

February 2

February 2



New Releases of the Month




S R E Best Screenplay — Motion Picture Justine Triet and Arthur Harari "Anatomy of a Fall"

Best Motion Picture - Drama "Oppenheimer"

Best Motion Picture - Non-English Language "Anatomy of a Fall" (France)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama Cinematic and Box Office Achievement "Barbie"

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy "Poor Things" 8 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL

Lily Gladstone "Killers of the Flower Moon"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Television Series Elizabeth Debicki "The Crown"

Best Television Limited Series, Anthology Series or Motion Picture Made for Television "Beef"

Best Television Series - Drama "Succession"

Best Director - Motion Picture Christopher Nolan "Oppenheimer"

Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy "The Bear"





S R E Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama Cillian Murphy "Oppenheimer"

Best Original Song — Motion Picture "What Was I Made For?" by Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell (from "Barbie")

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series, Anthology Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Robert Downey Jr. "Oppenheimer"

Steven Yeun

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy


Ayo Edebiri "The Bear"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series, Anthology Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Ali Wong

Jeremy Allen White


"The Bear"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy Paul Giamatti "The Holdovers"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Emma Stone "Poor Things"

Da'Vine Joy Randolph "The Holdovers"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Television Series

Best Performance in Stand-Up Comedy on Television

Matthew Macfadyen

"Ricky Gervais: Armageddon"


Best Motion Picture - Animated "The Boy and the Heron"

Best Original Score — Motion Picture Ludwig Göransson "Oppenheimer"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama Sarah Snook "Succession"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama Kieran Culkin "Succession" HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL • 11

Celebrate Music By Watching The 66th Annual Grammy Awards


t’s a new year full of infinite possibilities, and things are already shaping up to be a very productive for the entertainment industry! On Feburary 4th, the world will soon be blessed with the power of music this year, as many musicans from around the world will gather to celebrate the world’s most anticipated music awards ceremony. For 2024, there are many nominees whom have earned their place in the long list of categories, and we are eager to see just who will come out on top for their sincere dedication with their hard work. This is an event that will soon be filled with invigorating performances mixed with moments full of emotion and well-deserved victories. With Trevor Noah taking the helm as host of this annual event, audiences will be tuning in on the CBS Television Network and will be streaming on Paramount+ to see the lucky winners and get a full recap on the highlights of last year’s music and the trendy tunes that took the world by storm. As for who will be the lucky winners in each category, only time will tell for the various artists with February around the corner.


The event will be held at the arena in Los Angeles, and will be kicking things off for the music industry in a way that has traditionally stood the test of time over its 66-year-long run. Being one of the most recognized events, there couldn’t be a better event to start the year on a strong, high note, with the musical talent of our generation being in the forefront of the world’s eyes. The Grammy’s have always shown an almost electrifying energy that has always set the tone for the “pregame” for the new year’s soon-to-be trendy music in the works, and this year is no exception. While there may be some expected wins, there will also come to be unexpected surprises around the corner that many may not be able to predict, and for that, audiences will be on the edge of their seats.

What makes the Grammy’s so intriguing and almost hard to turn away from are some of the important moments that don’t follow under the awards themselves. Artists are given the chance to shine individually through their fashion to help stand out amongst the other candidates, to shine through fashion statements compared to their musical performances. Not to mention that winners are given the opportunity to show their feelings on stage, how they feel and how they raise their voices to even social issues more important than the accolade they receive. While it is not an event to fall under controversy, music is still the major draw to audiences, wanting to see if their favorite artist earns their place with other award-winning artists, with the same dedication to their craft as the year unfolds.

Trevor Noah, Four-Time Host and Proud Nominee for the 2024 Grammy Awards


revor Noah has already begun to shine in the entertainment industry in the new year, and the Grammy’s has become the first place to make an entrance for what will be a productive one. Being a South African comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor, and former television host, we couldn’t ask for a more suitable person to fulfil the important role as host for this grand event. However, this year will be extraordinary for this man, as Trevor will not only be hosting the Grammy Awards ceremony for the fourth year in a row, but he’s also been nominated for Best Comedy Album for his title, I Wish You Would. For Trevor Noah, this event has become one to look forward to, not simply just for everybody who are eager to tune in for it, but for himself as well. On his podcast, What Now? With Trevor Noah, Trevor has gone on record to state that hosting the event is a lot of fun, because he gets the prime chance to not only watch and enjoy the show in person, but also getting the chance to experience

it on stage while it’s happening. It is an understandable feeling to have, especially with the anticipation and hopes of winning an award hanging on his shoulders. While many will probably find this surprising, or even strange, Trevor Noah is not the only one who has not only earned the chance to host, but also to be nominated. If Noah were to be awarded for this year’s catagory of Best Comedy Album, he will be known as the second artist to ever be nominated while also taking the reigns as host for the Grammy’s. The first instance of this happening is dated all the way back in 1980, when American singer and songwriter Kenny Rogers hosted for the Grammy’s in sunny Los Angeles. He won an award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance and was still celebrated while being the host for this event that has stood the test of time for the music industry. While he will be missed since his unfortunate passing in 2020, we believe he would be happy to see another host get the same chance as he did.

Kenny Rogers smiling with his award received for Best Male Country Vocal Performance at the 1980 Grammy Awards at LA’s Shrine Auditorium, which he also hosted.


Endless Summer Vacation Album by Miley Cyrus

Midnights Album by Taylor Swift

UTOPIA Album by Travis Scott

2024 Grammy Award Categories GENERAL FIELD Record of the Year Worship Jon Batiste

Not Strong Enough boygenius Flowers Miley Cyrus What Was I Made For? [From The Motion Picture “Barbie”] Billie Eilish On My Mama Victoria Monét Vampire Olivia Rodrigo Anti-Hero Taylor Swift Kill Bill SZA

Album of the Year World Music Radio Jon Batiste the record boygenius

The Age Of Pleasure Janelle Monáe GUTS Olivia Rodrigo Midnights Taylor Swift

Flowers Miley Cyrus

Paint The Town Red Doja Cat


What Was I Made For? [From The Motion Picture “Barbie”] Billie Eilish

Song of the Year A&W

Vampire Olivia Rodrigo

Lana Del Rey Anti-Hero Taylor Swift Butterfly Jon Batiste

Anti-Hero Taylor Swift

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Thousand Miles Miley Cyrus Featuring Brandi Carlile

Dance The Night (From Barbie The Album) Dua Lipa

Candy Necklace Lana Del Rey Featuring Jon Batiste

Flowers Miley Cyrus

Never Felt So Alone Labrinth Featuring Billie Eilish

Kill Bill Rob Bisel, Carter Lang & Solána Rowe, songwriters (SZA)

Karma Taylor Swift Featuring Ice Spice

Endless Summer Vacation Miley Cyrus

Vampire Daniel Nigro & Olivia Rodrigo, songwriters (Olivia Rodrigo)

Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd Lana Del Rey

What Was I Made For? [From The Motion Picture “Barbie”] Billie Eilish


FIELD 1: POP & DANCE/ ELECTRONIC MUSIC Best Pop Solo Performance

Ghost In The Machine SZA Featuring Phoebe Bridgers

FIELD 2: ROCK, METAL & ALTERNATIVE MUSIC Best Rock Performance Sculptures Of Anything Goes Arctic Monkeys

More Than A Love Song Black Pumas Not Strong Enough Boygenius Rescued Foo Fighters Lux Æterna Metallica

Best Metal Performance Bad Man Disturbed

Phantom Of The Opera Ghost 72 Seasons Metallica Hive Mind Slipknot Jaded Spiritbox Adele Accepting Her Award for Best Solo Performance at the 2023 Annual Grammy Awards, Last Year.

FIELD 3: R&B, RAP & SPOKEN WORD POETRY Best R&B Song Angel Halle

Back To Love Robert Glasper Featuring SiR & Alex Isley ICU Coco Jones On My Mama Victoria Monét Snooze SZA

Best Rap Album

Her Loss Drake & 21 Savage MICHAEL Killer Mike

UTOPIA Travis Scott

Bewitched Laufey


Holidays Around The World Pentatonix

Best Jazz Vocal Album

For Ella 2 Patti Austin Featuring Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band Alive At The Village Vanguard Fred Hersch & Esperanza Spalding Lean In Gretchen Parlato & Lionel Loueke Mélusine Cécile McLorin Salvant How Love Begins Nicole Zuraitis

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

Only The Strong Survive Bruce Springsteen Sondheim Unplugged (The NYC Sessions), Vol. 3 Various Artists FIELD 5: COUNTRY & AMERICAN ROOTS MUSIC

Best Country Album

Rolling Up The Welcome Mat Kelsea Ballerini Brothers Osborne Brothers Osborne Zach Bryan Zach Bryan


To Steve With Love: Liz Callaway Celebrates Sondheim Liz Callaway

Rustin’ In The Rain Tyler Childers

King’s Disease III Nas

Pieces Of Treasure Rickie Lee Jones

Bell Bottom Country Lainey Wilson HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL • 15

Best Americana Album

Friendship The Blind Boys Of Alabama Help Me Make It Through The Night Tyler Childers Dear Insecurity Brandy Clark Featuring Brandi Carlile King Of Oklahoma Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit The Returner Allison Russell

A Ciegas Paula Arenas

Electrophonic Chronic The Arcs

La Neta Pedro Capó

Gravity Falls Brad Breeck

Don Juan Maluma

Migration Leaf Yeh

X Mí (Vol. 1) Gaby Moreno

Stumpwork Dry Cleaning

Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album




Leche De Tigre Diamante Eléctrico

I Love You Erica Campbell

Vida Cotidiana Juanes

Best Gospel Album

April In Paris Patti Austin Featuring Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band

Hymns (Live) Tasha Cobbs Leonard

De Todas Las Flores Natalia Lafourcade

Com Que Voz (Live) Maria Mendes Featuring John Beasley & Metropole Orkest

The Maverick Way Maverick City Music

EADDA9223 Fito Paez

Fenestra Cécile McLorin Salvant

My Truth Jonathan McReynolds


In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning säje Featuring Jacob Collier

All Things New: Live In Orlando Tye Tribbett

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album My Tribe Blessing Offor Emanuel Da’ T.R.U.T.H. Lauren Daigle Lauren Daigle Church Clothes 4 Lecrae I Believe Phil Wickham FIELD 7: LATIN, GLOBAL, REGGAE & NEW AGE, AMBIENT, OR CHANT

Best Latin Pop Album La Cuarta Hoja Pablo Alborán

Beautiful Humans, Vol. 1 AleMor 16 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL

Best Children’s Music Album Ahhhhh! Andrew & Polly

Ancestars Pierce Freelon & Nnenna Freelon Hip Hope For Kids! DJ Willy Wow! Taste The Sky Uncle Jumbo We Grow Together Preschool Songs 123 Andrés FIELD 9: PACKAGE, NOTES & HISTORICAL

Best Recording Package The Art Of Forgetting Caroline Rose

Lush Life Samara Joy

FIELD 11: CLASSICAL Best Orchestral Performance Adès: Dante Los Angeles Philharmonic

Bartók: Concerto For Orchestra; Four Pieces Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra Price: Symphony No. 4; Dawson: Negro Folk Symphony The Philadelphia Orchestra Scriabin: Symphony No. 2; The Poem Of Ecstasy Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Stravinsky: The Rite Of Spring San Francisco Symphony




Jeffery Patterson on his boat in Florida. Photo credit: Madeline Paige Patterson 18 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL

Read through the first-person lens of Pauline Egan as she interviews and gets to know Jeffery Patterson. THE ASSIGNMENT Being a writer that splits my time between southern California and southern Florida, I was told my next assignment was to conduct an interview and write a follow-up cover story on someone who is known in Hollywood to be what is called a “Triple Threat.” The definition of a triple threat in the entertainment industry is as follows: a rare combination of being able to excel in at least three of the following: acting, dancing, singing, writing, producing, directing, etc. This cover story would be with someone who I had never heard of: Jeffery Patterson. WHO IS JEFFERY PATTERSON? I immediately opened my computer and googled his name... IMDB says: "Jeffery Patterson likes calling his own shots. Farm boy from Alabama that produces, and acts in and/or directs multi-million-dollar family films. Lives on a yacht in Los Angeles, CA. With his most important title now being 'Dad' … launching his own production company and has funded and produced five feature-length films." Hmm... there may be a story here.

eat. He will take out time to spend with his daughters, but other than that, he’s always on the go.” Solely based off this article, Patterson clearly doesn’t fit the Hollywood mold. He despises schmoozing and doesn’t care for clubs. There are a lot of pictures of Jeffery with his family, and quite often in the interview, he talked about family and family values. Others were also interviewed to talk about Patterson, including Alison Eastwood (daughter of Clint Eastwood). She had recently finished filming the movie Finding Harmony, with Patterson as the producer

and an actor. She thought who is this guy? when she first heard about Patterson.

has a really fun, silly sense “ofHehumor and so do I, so we got

along well. He kind of gears his projects to folks in between New York and Los Angeles, people that want to have a down home really straight-forward family entertainment, and I think there is a big audience for that. I think he is off and running as far as his career. He’s definitely one

Jeffery Patterson on the cover of Westside People.

The first magazine cover I discovered about Patterson was from Westside People, which featured him in a black cowboy hat, long hair, and a wild beard, with a caption that read “Is Jeffery Patterson America’s next great filmmaker?” I flipped to his article to read what was written; inside a picture of him on his boat, this chapter titled “Choosing His Own Destiny." It started off with “Patterson began our interview asking the first question, ‘so, what do you want to know?’ and like an open book, he threw his cowboy boots up on the coffee table and grinned… Don’t let the looks and southern accent deceive you, this is a man with the passion and drive to possibly become America’s next great filmmaker.” “Acting and producing are the perfect careers for me," Patterson said. “I would always get bored with what I was doing and this is anything but boring. Every production is different than the other. Every film has its own challenges. I have found what I want to for the rest of my life.” His assistant said shes shocked how much Patterson can fit into a day. “You’re on the clock constantly,” she'd say. “He’s spontaneous. I have to put food in front of him so he remembers to HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL • 19

of those maverick types that does what he wants to do. He’s definitely not willing to play the whole Hollywood game. He obviously has access to funds, but beyond that he really wants to make the kind of films that he wants to make and not let anyone stop him. I think he’s off to a really good start. Similar to my dad, he's a really intelligent guy and he knows what he wants and the projects he wants to do.


- Alison Eastwood

Matthew Gratzner, the director of two of Patterson’s films, was also interviewed. He’s known in the entertainment industry for his

range of movies, including The Aviator, Shutter Island, Hugo and Iron Man.

What Jeffery has is a good “sense of what people will want,

a good sense of an audience. The spirit Patterson brings to filmmaking embodies what Hollywood was originally about. He stepped up, and no one in Hollywood really does that. And the reality is he really did a terrific job.


- Matthew Gratzner

So, it sounds like people that have worked closely with Patterson really believe in him.

Jeffery Patterson on the cover of Good Life Magazine.

Ray Buchmann says the first time he took Benton fishing, she was hooked


His answer to this dilemma? Once Upon a Dream Productions. Patterson founded this production company based in Los Angeles, which allows him the freedom as a businessman, actor and film lover to take a step back from a culture he’s reluctantly seen digress from the moral content he grew up with. “I do family friendly films, stories with a moral compass that hopefully everyone in the family can enjoy,” Patterson stated. Again, more pictures of Patterson and his family on set were shown. There’s a reoccurring theme and a “do as you say” and “proof is in the pudding." “Most of our films are on a two-and-a-half million-dollar budget and rely on a talented crew, a tight script and are all shot within in a 30-day period. I have been blessed with a great team, from casting associates, wardrobe department, art department, camera department, etc. Most of our films have a crew of about 85 people during actual production. This requires a dedicated, knowledgeable group. Then, we add in a post-production team that takes the footage and goes into editing, color timing, dialogue replacement, writing and recording the score and mixing music. Everyone is super talented and committed to releasing the best film,” Patterson added. Well, there could be a fun story here.


Jacob Fisher finds his loft home and living downtown a perfect fit

I found another article of him in Marshall Magazine. Jeffery said that his connection and memories of life in North Alabama have always been an inescapable and integral part of him, deeply affecting the content of his work and his outlook on life. "Growing up on a farm, I learned the value of hard work and understanding what working seven days a week was all about. It didn’t matter if you were tired, or if it was cold or raining; there is work to be done on a farm, and you must push through and do it.” Patterson expressed his frustration about the entertainment industry, stating that “Hollywood had gotten so carried away with shock value and wow factor, that they try to build a movie entirely on that and entirely forget the story.”

Beth Anderson owned restaurants ... THEN she went to culinary school

This led me to the article written in Good Life Magazine. Jeffery recalled an old saying: Find something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. "I love what I do” he says. “Most of the time, I can’t tell you what day it is. That day when we always thought ‘Friday' would have

meant something? I work seven days a week normally 10 to 12 hours a day, and I love it.” Patterson even ran for a seat in the House of Representatives... twice! Coming from a political family, his grandfather was Mayor of Albertville and later Marshall County Probate Judge, a cousin was Sheriff; this was where the influence for taking this chance came from. But, on election night he “came in second,” he said with a smile. "I am so blessed I didn’t win that seat. Now in hindsight, it gives a much clearer meaning to the Garth Brooks song, ‘Thank God for Unanswered Prayers.’ If I had won that election, my life would have gone in a different direction, and I’m happy with where I am now.” This writer was able to screen one of Patterson’s films currently in post-production and he reports, “Patterson, playing one of the characters in this western film, shows his talents as a great horseman and his ability to handle a firearm, clearly talents he honed as a young man of the farm.” The article ends with: “Life is not a Cinderella story with a slipper, Jeffery knows." “I don’t think anybody buys their first lottery ticket and wins," Jeffery said. It's been a struggle; it really has. For every up, there’s a down, but it beats jobs where I hated being there." “I’ve been blessed” he added. “I guess this business is perfect for me, because there are actually no two days that are remotely the same. OK, maybe a unique story to tell here. Hollywood Weekly previously did an article about him as well; he was on the cover with a white cowboy hat with a Native American bead-work hat band, long blonde hair hanging below his shoulders, a long beard, fur-collared black leather jacket and piercing blue eyes, sitting behind the caption, “Jeffery Patterson and Once Upon a Dreams Production.” This writer had at least heard of Patterson, but it was from some of his recorded storytelling she had. The writer of this article starts off with going to Patterson’s home in Beverly Hills. “By his address alone... his home on Oak Pass Rd, is within an exclusive gated neighborhood, with most every house inside additionally gated, surrounded by Bentleys and Rolls Royce’s and whose owners are some of the most well-known celebrities in Hollywood. Neighbors include Demi Moore, John Voight, Channing Tatum, Harry Styles, Jessica Alba, and the list




Jeffery Patterson & Once Upon a Dream Productions

Jeffery Patterson on the cover of Hollywood Weekly Magazine.

goes on. A safe place for these celebrities to call home, raise their families out of the paparazzi’s camera focus and prying eyes of loving fans and tourists that visit from all over the world.” Passing by many six-figure automobiles, Patterson’s choice of vehicle poses a whimsical surprise. Right in the driveway, mirroring a Rolls Royce Phantom rests a blacked-out Hummer sitting atop 4 wheels that each compared to the size of a small 4-seater sedan, a couple of custom motorcycles flank it along with a highly polished 66 Shelby Cobra. Directly across from Patterson’s gated driveway is the world-famous home of the one of the stars of the show, Lisa Vanderpump, of popular 13-plus seasons of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and spinoffs, like Vanderpump Rules. As I open the article, I imminently see a picture of Jeffery’s family front and center. This writer writes about first meeting Jeffery

in his home, from the massive entrance, the bookcases in his home office that are filled with awards, trophies and his book collection varying from filmmaking, philosophy and religion. She writes about his furnishings and how they are to his taste, and his taste only. Furniture he got from the Bob Hope Estate sale that kick started his diverse motif, he reveals he’s well aware of, from he large rough hewn wooden seats with carved arms depicting horses, to the massive potted plants everywhere and the artwork on the walls that his daughters painted. Here, she quotes a friend of Patterson saying this: “We’re going to call Jeffery – eclectic." She also goes into what a down to earth guy Jeffery is, from his ripped-up jeans and worn cowboy boots to his genuine smile as he looks you directly in the eyes while talking HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL • 21

with you. This article has pictures from the films with Patterson working along well known artists, but I couldn’t help but notice there were many times in the interview he brought up family, and looking back over the article, there were more pictures of him with his family than anything else. This writer was also able to screen some of Patterson’s films before the interview, and she went into deep discussions on each film, what made him pick that script, that cast, and much more. “Yeah, we’re in Beverly Hills but I’m still a good ole boy” he says, assuring me he is a Real Beverly Hillbilly. Jefffery Patterson is innately, and to his core, the mythical cowboy Hollywood has long sought out. Lucky for them, he’s appeared all on his own. This writer continued with, “Patterson has the look and feel of a modern-day Wild West warrior that many a boot-wearing bearded hipster attempts to emulate – while unfortunately being impossible to mimic. To put it simply, he just is that cool. In fact, at first glance, Jeffery Patterson simply appears to be forged in effortless success.” Then she writes, “As the meeting came to a close, I mentioned that he, does indeed, stand out in the neighborhood. He laughs and describes the essence of what anyone would deduce after an afternoon with Jeffery Patterson and some strong coffee, in a matter of sentences. “I have no real desire to be rich or famous, I just love the whole process of creating, and I want to do it forever. But also, hopefully whatever I do will live on after I’m gone. So, I don’t want to put out a product that I don’t feel is the best that I can do at that particular moment in time,” Patterson said. Alright, there is a story here... is it the man, his company or the films he makes? After this, I found many more cover stories from big international entertainment publications, including Screen International, the world-wide entertainment magazine with Patterson on the cover, again with a big smile in a cowboy hat, t-shirt, covered with necklaces of turquoise beads, tiger eye stones, stringed together with leather, and sports jacket. The caption read: "HOME ON THE RANGE; What is driving the return to family films? Ask Once Upon a Dream Productions founder and actor Jeffery Patterson, who is leading the charge." OK, the international scene is now taking notice... there’s got to be a story here. 22 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL

Then, the other one that stood out to me, which is The Hollywood Reporter. Again, standing tall and straight on the cover long blonde hair flowing over his shoulders, the full beard and those piercing blue eyes looking with confidence directly into the camera. Caption read: "Once Upon a Dream founder and actor Jeffery Patterson brings the family back to entertainment." These magazines are normally reserved for people like Brad Pitt or George Lucas, but there he was… standing there with a paisley shirt and sports jacket. There is clearly a story here.. I have so many questions for my interviewee!!!

THE INTERVIEW Research complete, my face to face interview with Jeffery is set for Thursday

10:00 AM EST on his yacht currently docked just outside of Miami, Florida. With my audio recorder in hand along with my notebook full of questions, I pull up to the marina gate and stop at the guard shack. The guard got my attention with “your business?” Once I cleared with him, he said "he’s at the end of dock A, she’s named SET.” Not knowing what all that really meant, I just shook my head in acknowledgement, drove through and parked. I walk down the dock, looking at all the boats lined up next to each other and notice they all have names printed on them, kind of like a license plate on a car. Right at the end this massive boat, three decks tall and too wide to fit in the slips I had just passed, I guess that’s why it was on the end next to open water. I think that’s where

Jeffery Patterson on the cover of Screen International.

Jeffery Patterson on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter.

I’m supposed to be, yes, on the side was a sign attached to the side in kind of glowing letters that spelled out SET. As I approach the “gang plank” there’s a sign that says PRIVATE YACHT, do not board. I got a little nervous and grabbed my phone to let him know that I was on the dock. He answered with a quick “Jeffery.” I responded, "Hey I’m here, or I think I am at the right place.” He said “Great, tell the guard we have an appointment and he’ll let you in, I’ll meet you on the dock.” I said “I did and they let me in, I think I’m at your yacht.” “Cool, be right there,” he said. In a flash, he steps out of the large teak door on the back deck wearing shorts, Hawaiian style shirt, barefooted and salutes me with a big smile. With a voice deeper than I had imagined he called out, "Welcome aboard!” as he walked toward me with an

extended hand that had rings on most every finger. I shook his hand and a little unsteady, stepped onto the gang plank. Once inside, I was amazed at the amount of room. We had stepped into the living room; all the walls were a glossy mahogany wood, the floor was white and straight ahead there was a big kitchen similar to the ones you’d see in a high end house, with all stainless steel appliances, it was separated by a tall bar with black granite countertops that continued all around one side of the boat with a huge TV screen mounted on the wall. Ahead to the right was a beautiful matching shiny mahogany wooden spiral staircase that went up and just to the left of it was another spiral staircase that went down. He offered me a cup of coffee as he stepped behind the bar. With that, I guess at this point all the questions I had written

down just went out the window, and I said, “So, you actually live on this boat? You just left Los Angeles, bought a boat and moved on it?” He laughed, hands me a cup of coffee and motioned to the sofa. “Yes, and yes, and another yes” as he counted on his fingers. I sat down, opened my book of questions as he continued. “Sounds like you did your homework.” He sat in one of the big black leather chairs facing me, now I had my book open, pen in hand and my trusty micro cassette recorder in hand, holding it up for acknowledgement. He said, "I had lived in LA for 15 years, this time, and I needed a break. There’s lots to love about LA, but it was time for a change in my environment. The mountains are great, the food is incredible, lots of great things, but it was time for a change for me." “So, after 15 years, you just decided to pack up and leave?” I ask. Again, that smile slowly comes across his face. “I’ve still got my place there, I’ve got some really great friends there. I’ve got some really great memories there too,” he exclaims, “I’ve been truly blessed. I’ve had some great adventures all over southern California. But, I have always been up for adventures and once I grasp this one thing years ago it gave me a different outlook on life: the only thing constant is in life is change... you know what I mean? Today is different than yesterday, or I hope it is. I’ve already lived yesterday, today is a new day. We all grow and or change, not all at once normally, but every day, every minute, we have different thoughts and hopefully different experiences that shape us and how we see life, and others, and ourselves. I felt I had experienced all I wanted to there; there were other places I want to see, others I want to meet, new adventures I want to have.” With that, he sat back in the big chair and added, “Not that I’d learned everything I could there, but it had become clear that, let’s say in my growth, I had come to disagree with more than I agreed. In so many ways, all things added up and was affecting my outlook on life. So what do you do? If you can’t change the things in your environment, change your environment. Other than Cali, I’ve lived in Florida the majority of my live. I love it here... the beaches are beautiful, the fresh off the boat grouper and scallops can’t be beat, and when you get accustomed to the humidity it’s a little piece of paradise.” Ok, if that hadn’t been delivered to me like it came directly from the heart, I would have possibly felt like I had just listened to a HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL • 23

Jeffery Patterson's yacht, SET.

motivational podcast. He sips his coffee and looks me directly in the eye, “too much?” he said. “No, no I think I got it,” shaking my head in agreement, “I may have to listen to that a few times.” He chuckles and adds "Yes, I know I have an opinion, it's mine, people can have different opinions. I think our opinions are based on our experiences, whether it’s something we lived, or read about, or heard, whatever. A person that has lived through an earthquake or a hurricane has a different opinion of those experiences than someone that hasn’t." He has become more animated using his hands when he speaks, and his face though has remained calm and caring, showing the emotions with every word. His rings are now clear in their meaning; they have a pirate meets hippie vibe, with the exception of his left pinky, which is a cross. Patterson adds, "Now, those are more wide subjects, but no matter the subject, it’s more of your experience you had with that subject,” he adds. “That’s deeper and a sidetrack from where I thought this conversation would go. My point is, in the growth or additional 24 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL

experiences, my viewpoint has changed. I don’t align with most of the entertainment industry’s values and beliefs.” As he stands up to put his coffee cup away, I notice the chains around his neck, and one that caught my eye was his large silver cross. I take the opportunity to ask another question that wasn’t on my list. “So, you are going to focus on more Christian content now?” “Not really,” he quickly replied, “I’m a Christian, the lord Jesus Christ is my savior. I am happy to follow Him; it’s made me a better man, not a perfect man, but a better man. I say that because when I hear of Christian films, I think of some of the recent ones that I love dearly, like God is Not Dead, I can only Imagine, and The Passion of the Christ; those are great Christian films. I also enjoy the new series The Chosen. I think there should be more films and TV shows like that.” He continued, "I believe that stories are what bond us and bind us, and without them, we would be lost. Stories help us forge our moral compass and learn important life lessons. That said, be noted that although movies can bring

us closer together, some stories can also drive us further apart. I believe there is enough pain and suffering in the world, so I prefer to tell storis that all have the one most important thing at the core family values. I’m very hands-on, I admire guys like Michael Landon, a writer, producer, director, actor, but not only that, but the content he created from his character on Bonanza to Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven. I personally like movies that show the values and virtues I believe in whether it’s as simple as saying please, thank you, or basically respecting your elders. Not judging someone by their monetary status, rich or poor or anywhere in-between lord knows. I’ve seen my share of strife." “The reason I say I do family-friendly films is because I think if you label a film a ‘Christian film,’ then most if not all people that watch those films are Christians. If I make movies more targeted toward family as a whole without the unnecessary foul language, no nudity, etc., but have the message of the Christian films, then the Christians should still enjoy the content I produce, and

Jeffery Patterson outside of his Beverly Hills home next to his '66 Shelby Cobra.

then there’s also a chance I could reach someone that either hadn’t been exposed to or had an opportunity to experience what someone else went through from the story. And who knows... maybe someone could have an epiphany when they see values like hard work, family, love thy neighbor, in a different light.” I sat there a moment to let that sink in, then had to look down at my notes. I started back with the first question in my notes. “All this started because you wanted to make family films?" I ask. “Yes, basically,” he responded. “When I teamed up with Judy Norton, the idea started to come to light.” So I ask, “how did you and Judy Norton meet?” With a big smile came across his face, like he just had a vision, “Judy really is like a sister to me. We met in the early 90’s on a film set in downtown Los Angeles; I admit I had a huge crush on her when I met her, so there’s your story exclusive, I’ve never told anyone that!” Then he added “That’s probably not newsworthy, I think probably every red-blooded American boy my age that grew up watching

the Waltons probably did too. We lost touch for decade or so, until I returned to Los Angeles years later. We have formed a bond; she’s absolutely incredible human being; she has become a dear friend, confidant, and a partner in two films so far and has another she wrote for us that I hope to put into production this spring.” Judy Norton was quoted in an article that she sincerely appreciates the fact the Patterson inspired her to write the feature film “Finding Harmony” and thereby provided her the opportunity to explore more writing for film. The mark of a confident and gallant person, of creative genius and of an industry leader is often in his ability to nudge others beyond their comfort zone, to let them explore genres and horizons they had previously journeyed to and facilitate their expanding their creative horizons. Such magnanimous and generous overtures are familiar for Patterson. Jeffery stands to return his coffee cup to the bar and reaches to me in a jester of asking if I’ve finished my coffee. As I hand him my cup, he ask “Do you want a tour of the boat?" It's clear to me now that I’ve

never conducted another interview like this, and I stand up to join him. I lay my book and pen on the end table but bring my recorder as we move through the boat. He clearly envisions every project, as he explains it with the passion of creating a painting. I ask “ why is your yacht named SET?" With a laugh, Jeffery responds, “It’s kind of an inside joke; small talk, chatter and cell phones have no place on a live film set. So, I named her “Set." The same rules apply on the boat. The fun part is, when I get a call that the prior description of chitter chatter applies, I simply cut the conversation off with: “I can’t talk right now, I'm on SET." We go up the wooden curved staircase that leads to the bridge. I stand and look at the high view out across the bow of the boat and all of the electronics and for a brief moment get a sailor kind of feeling. I ask, “So what's your plan for the boat?” Like a kid that’s just been offered ice cream, he takes a deep breath and says, “The plan is between movies I don’t have to be anywhere in particular. When I’m in pre-production or post-production, I can do HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL • 25

most of it from anywhere I am. So, maybe we motor down to Key Largo for a week, hang out, see new things, meet new people and when we're ready drop the lines and head over to Marathon or Key West for a week or a month, then head a few hours over to the Bahamas. It’s kind of like a motorhome on the water; I can stay as long or little as I like and then shove off and go in most any direction; we’re planning on Costa Rica this fall. I guess I’m changing from the Beverly Hillbilly to the Tropical BeachBilly!" We then make our way through the beautiful master ensuite out onto the second deck. We pause for a few minutes and enjoy the view overlooking the harbor and other boats as our conversation continues. My tour and the conversation continue over the boat, from the top deck to the fly bridge that has another full stainless-steel kitchen/bar. Here I learn new nautical terms, down into the “belly” to other ensuite staterooms. I ask how big the boat was, and he very humbly answers “big enough.” I push for a more specific answer and ask a leading question: “So over 100 feet?” He clarifies, “Yes, I can live on it and run my business from here. I’ve lived in smaller apartments in LA.” We continue into the “crew quarters” with a large bedroom for the captain, addi-

Top: Jeffery Patterson with his daughters, Autumn and Paige. Bottom: Behind the scenes of Another Day in Paradise. Right: Movie poster for Another Day in Paradise.


Left: Movie Poster for Finding Harmony Above: Judy Norton and Jeffery Patterson

tional space for the crew, TVs in every space a well-appointed kitchen, a big built in dining area and huge bathroom and shower. With so many of Patterson’s movies concurrently forthcoming, it’s hard to decide which one to discuss first. It’s best to start where Patterson’s heart would lead him to start – with the works of two of his beloved girls. Another Day in Paradise highlights the talents of Autumn and Paige, as well as of Patterson. From the first moment in a beautiful chiaroscuro-moonlit surfing scene, to the crescendo-climax when a husband and father grieving the loss of his children’s mother realizes that he must go on, and that he and his twin girls will heal, this wonderful story, set in a family-owned water park, takes fans vicariously riding the waves of emotions that families go through as they learn to carry on without a loved one, as beloved children come of age and as time marches on despite a loss. Fans of surfing – and fans of good, old-fashioned fun - will love this heartwarming story. Finding Harmony is, simply stated, an absolutely exquisite work. No spoiler alert intended here, but this piece recounts not just one, but two, love stories, amidst tales of intergenerational and relationship challenges,

of victories and of the undying, love-driven loyalty inherent in deep, unbreakable family bonds. Set in equine, pastoral settings and immersed in majestic musical scores, the film’s photography is stunning, the timing of its scenes and the angles of shots are innovative and fresh, and the story’s healing messages are heartening. The characters’ emotions are both raw and real and the tone is touching. This impactful movie has a message that is age-old but forgotten way too often – one can, with love and time, redeem oneself, and, in so doing, can even serve as a catalyst to further the greater good. Patterson convincingly and touchingly depicts the story of a rehabilitated hooligan who convinces the mother in the film (Alison Eastwood) and her estranged husband (Billy Zane) to re-establish an alliance to benefit the most important person in their lives – their beautiful, talented, thoroughly lovely daughter (played superbly by newcomer Anna Margaret). The film, in forthcoming release, will no doubt surge as a paradigm example of a work that convinces that America – and its creative genres – should re-focus their moral compass to do right and to return to a simpler life that centers on home and family. Patterson’s favorite focus hones in on

classic westerns. “I'm more aligned with John Ford , Sam Peckinpah, Sergio Leone, and again, to mention Michael Landon, as some of the directors I admire. Landon really stands out to me, because he not only was a director, but an actor and producer in the same project, and he always kept working, creating from Little House on the Prairie to Highway to Heaven.” Judy Norton wrote Finding Harmony, helping Patterson to portray fundamental family values, amidst a believable and endearing plot. Irrepressible and indefatigable, Patterson is also slated to release Hot Bath and a Stiff Drink I and II, works where Patterson portrays both ethical and diabolical identical twins. The twins and their intriguing interpersonal interactions immerse Patterson in these two works that the whole family can enjoy. Fans of western films will warmly welcome these dynamic works. Patterson envisions rolling out these pieces in a fashion wherein the cast can converse with audiences on opening night – films, he theorizes, should be immersive experiences for audiences. That ethos has been, after all, the essence of the genre. Segueing to introspection and matters more macabre, Patterson also produced Woman on the Edge, a darker tale involving an investigative journalist who realizes that her sister’s suicide might be linked to a series of murders that are actually disguised suicides. The probing work gives viewers pause and manifests that Patterson can segue between genres with great facility. “Jeffrey puts together a hell of a show,” HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL • 27

Zane said, commenting on Patterson’s tripartite titles of producer, director and writer in Finding Harmony. “My favorite title is Dad,” Patterson told Hollywood Weekly Magazine. “Overall, I really love what I do. I believe there’s enough pain and suffering in the world, so I prefer to tell stories that all have the one most important thing at the core - family values.” No doubt fans who view Patterson’s five forthcoming films will say, “I love you back and I love you more.” We have lunch on the boat, as I continue to ask questions, and the one-hour block to conduct the interview has now passed three hours and flown by. I have so much information, and I realize I could never make this into a standard article. So, from my face to face interview along with all the other articles and my research I now see a common thread both in the depiction of Patterson and what drives him. So, please allow me to give what I took away from all this.

Upon first meeting him, you might chuckle at the blanket of sarcasm, charm, and dry, southern wit that Patterson exudes, but make no mistake; this man might just have more soul and vulnerability than you bargained for. You only have to watch one of his many layered performances as a lead or supporting actor in these films to see traits shine through. You can't fake authencity. Patterson's family values don’t stop at his immediate family though. Jeffery believes in creating a family on every film he produces, and he takes chances on people who show passion and promise. From supporting artists and people experiencing homelessness, to mentoring at risk youth, Jeffery has the biggest heart of anyone you might meet. He shared his experiences about loss. and there was no mistake at how deeply sensitive and kind he is. He is, in real life, a devoted and generous mentor for so many. Having experienced one too many people making false promises and propositions over the years, when it comes to business, Jeffery warned, "I’m fair, but don’t mistake

me for a pushover." I cannot reiterate that point enough; do not let his polite southern hospitality fool you. Jeffery is a very intelligent and business savvy indivual who only wants to work with honest, quality people on quality projects. However, despite his resume and success, Jeffery remains one of the most down-to-earth, no-BS people you might ever meet. “No matter who I am, or what role I’m playing, I am not above or below anyone… someone doesn’t have to lose in order for another to win," Patterson stated. This guy is real, a southern gentleman in every means of the phrase. He is prolific; he is a dedicated, nurturing father, with an intent on sharing his values and his immense talent with his children; he is a true family man. He is an adventurer and knows what he’s doing, he’s got a clear plan, he’s very transparent and very genuine. He’s a dynamic director, prolific producer and an inspirational actor. He is irrepressible and indefatigable. He enjoys riding horses and his motor-

Movie posters for Hot Bath an’ a Stiff Drink (left) and Hot Bath Stiff Drink an’ a Close Shave (right).


Above Left: Jeffery Patterson Playing Sheriff Dillinger on Hot Bath an' a Stiff Drink. Above Right: Jeffery Patterson producing and acting while on set of Finding Harmony. Right: Jeffery Patterson as the stuntman, in addition to actor and producer, on Woman on the Edge.

cycles, he loves his fast exotic cars. He is affable and ambitious, straight-forward and creative. He is a man’s man who knows what he wants, and he knows how others should be treated. I’m sure you’d agree that it goes without saying that Jeffery Patterson is a man to work with, but not a man to mess with! He’s good-hearted, highly intelligent and versatile induvial with a bright future still ahead of him. After playing the game of Hollywood, Jeffery has decided that he wants to shift the way "show business" is done. Jeffery has now laid the foundation to start something new, through leveraging his decades working in the entertainment business, his former business experience as a real estate broker, stock broker, investment banker, restauranteur, etc. Patterson has now

established an equity fund, the International Family Film Fund, where the team has grown to include attorneys, financial planners, estate managers and accountants that specialize in investments and entertainment. IFFF is acquiring intellectual properties that will be produced and distributed as feature films and episodics. So this isn’t the last time you will be hearing about Jeffery Patterson; I’m sure there’s more to come. But for now I leave you with the yachtsman’s term: “Fair Winds and Following Seas." Maybe it’s from his roots, maybe it’s from his experiences, maybe a combination of all of the above, I don’t know why, but I do know it resonates with me. Or maybe.. that’s just my opinion. HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL • 29


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Few people know more filmmakers than the founder of London, England’s Raindance Film Festival, and the British Independent Film Awards, than Canadian-born Elliot Grove.

But it didn’t start that way. Elliot was born Amish Mennonite outside Toronto on a mixed dairy farm. As a youngster, he was always cautioned never to go to the cinema - because the Devil lived there. And since 1992, he has been doing the Devil’s work. Growing up in a Christian background and surrounded by Bible stories, Elliot developed a deep love of storytelling. He remembers going to church on a Sunday. While the elders worshiped upstairs, one, the man with the long gray beard, would shepherd the youngsters downstairs for Sunday school. One Sunday, after church, he got home for lunch, wailing his eyes out. When his mother asked what was wrong, he said: “Daniel is stuck in the Lion’s Den. We need to rescue him, or he will be eaten alive!” And he couldn’t sleep for three nights. Later that year, about Easter, he started crying again. “What’s wrong now?” His mother asked. He replied: “That baby that was born in the barn, why did they kill him when he grew up?” And again, three sleepless nights followed. When he was ten, his father, Merlin Grove, had what he called “The Call of the Lord” and decided to abandon farming to become a missionary. His figure was slight and not readily suited to the rigors of farm labor. He decided he would go to an area of the world where no other missionaries of any race or creed have ever been. Elliot, his parents, and brother and sister ended up 70 miles inland from Mogadishu on the Ogaden desert in a tiny village of 500 on the banks of the Shebelle river. It winds down from the 32 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL

Ethiopian highlands towards Mogadishu. And there, a very young Elliot was surrounded by stories. Being equatorial, the sun rose and set at about six each day, and the dawn and dusk lasted about 30 minutes. As the sun was hovering over the horizon, the villagers would gather in the center of the village to build a fire. The elder, the one with the beard, would say, “Let me tell you a story. Actually, it’s not a story, it’s a true story. I know it’s true because my father told me, and his father told him, all the way back to the prophets Abraham and Moses.” He began to recount a story about heroes and heroines from 800 years ago and if the elder made a mistake, the others would correct him. Somali at that time was an unwritten language, and these stories were told by generation after generation, a bit like Homer’s Iliad. Two years to the day of their arrival in Somalia, a Sheik in the Ethiopian Highlands heard there was a Christian in town, and walked two weeks to where Elliot’s father was teaching and slew him, making Elliot’s father the first Western victim of Al-Qaeda (which started in that part of the world). The assassin said he was seeking revenge for the rape and pillage of his village by the last crusaders who got lost in that part of the world 800 years ago. From witnessing that horrible event, Elliot learned how embedded hatred is, and is appalled by the violence in Sudan, Myanmar, Ukraine, and most recently in Gaza and Israel.


The Birth of Raindance Film School Elliot moved to London in the mid-’80s and worked as a property developer renovating flats in the center of London. In 1991, a cruel recession swept the United Kingdom. Interest rates rose to

Raindance Founder Elliot Grove

24%, and property values fell by 50%. Elliot lost everything. At that time, he was living in a National Trust property outside London - a property a thousand years old, with walls a yard thick. The tenant farmer who had the surrounding 50 acres knew that Elliot had gone bust, and for a whole year saw him morose and depressed. One day he called him on it and said: “As long as you’re feeling sorry for yourself, there’s not a single doctor in the world that can help you.” Elliot sought the wisdom of the farmer and asked, “What should I do?” The farmer said: “Do what you love.” It was at that moment that Elliot remembered the very first film he saw. He was sixteen, it was harvest season, and a machine broke down on the farm. He was the one sent to the local village’s blacksmith. When he found out the repair was going to take 3 hours, it wasn’t worth going all the way back home to turn around. It was a hot summer’s day, he had a few coins in his pocket, he was wondering what the devil looked like. And there it was, a few doors down - the house of the Devil - the movie theater. He paid his 99 cents and walked into a large room that

looked a bit like a church, chairs lined up facing the front. He sat down. It was about 2 pm in the afternoon. He noticed that the fabric on the chairs was red, “Ah, the color of the devil” he thought. He had no idea what a movie was. He was just told never ever to go to the cinema. They turned the flipping lights off. The curtains slowly opened. And the first movie he saw, at the tender age of 16, was Lassie Comes Home. He was so impressed that, at the end, he rushed to the blank screen to see if he could feel the texture of the fur and the trees. It was all gone in the twinkling of an eye. He was totally hooked. Flash forward to 1992, Elliot was at a low point. Being entrepreneurial, ran into an American guru of filmmaking, Dov S-S Simens, and Raindance Film School was launched, first with short and weekend courses, but expanded from 2012 to teach degree courses. Raindance Film School now offers an accredited 2-year Higher National Diploma, a BA, and MA programmes in filmmaking and screenwriting. Raindance also has campuses in Dubai, Mexico City, and London with over 200 students from 14 countries. They learn by doing. In 2023, the students completed 42 short films and are currently in post-production on three features.


The Birth of Raindance Film Festival In 1992, when Raindance started, there were only six features made that year - one of them was Stephen Frears’ My Beautiful Laundrette. It was a far cry from the heyday of British filmmaking in the ‘70s and ‘80s when Britain produced over 100 features a year if you count all the stake-through-theheart Hammer House of Horror films, and the Carry-on films. But Elliot and the people he reached, new filmmakers like Edgar Wright (who volunteered at Raindance for 9 months), couldn’t get their films into either of the two dominant British festivals at the time: Edinburgh and London. Sitting around a table one day in their tiny basement office, Edgar, Elliot, and Elliot’s partner, Suzanne Ballantyne, decided to start a festival. Not knowing anything about a film festival but knowing they needed films, Elliot cycled 100 films in that year’s Cannes Market Guide because they had a fax number. Elliot faxed 100 invite letters out. He was so broke he had to use a

Elliot Grove Introducing the Opening Night Film Raindance 2023

single piece of paper and used Whiteout to reenter the person’s name. The faxes cost £1 a fax, and Elliot had a budget of £100. Sixty-seven films accepted the invitation, and the festival was born! One of the films was the European premiere of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Over the years, Raindance has focused on debut films, screening Christopher Nolan’s debut film The Following, and in 1999 his next feature, Memento. In 2000, Raindance screened The Blair Witch Project. The festival rose in stature and is now considered one of the top 15 film festivals in the world (by Variety Magazine). The festival has always led with innovation. In 2012, short films at Raindance became Oscar and BAFTA qualifying. In 2013, Raindance became the first festival to showcase a web series. In 2016, it became the first film festival to showcase immersive VR and gaming content. In 2023, the festival showed 38 features, 122 short films, and 30 VR immersive games.


The British Independent Film Awards By 1998, Elliot realized that there was an explosion of independent films in the UK. Many of the filmmakers had touched Raindance Film School and the festival. However, he felt that there wasn’t enough noise being made about the films made by newcomers. BAFTA at the time was mired in giving accolades to the big-budget Hollywood films and was largely dismissed by the new generation of filmmakers. Seeing the opportunity, Elliot decided to launch an awards show for this bright and fresh new talent. He put together an Advisory Committee composed of the great and the good he’d met, and launched the British Independent Awards in the autumn of 1998. The inaugural BIFA was a humble affair in a hotel in Piccadilly, London. Awards went to Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, the then-unknown Ray Winstone, and the British legend, Ken Loach.

Tim Roth and Elliot Grove at BIFA 1998


Elliot Grove Hosting the Red Carpet at BIFA 2023

Elliot says that the awards were a success because of the quality of the jury. Composed of a combination of industry insiders and celebrities, having your film seen by the right people meant your film’s success (and the success of the filmmaker) became more likely. Since that first year, the BIFA’s have become an established event held on the first Sunday in December. It is deliberately held at the end of the year. Not only has it become a pre-Christmas bash, but it is the first international award ceremony of the season, predating the Emmys, the Oscars, BAFTAs, Golden Globes, and European Film Awards. BIFA, starting as Elliot’s dream, has become a highly credible event, and Elliot feels that the success is largely because all the nominees and attendees feel like they own it. BIFA is a registered charity. If you are ever lucky enough to attend, you will sense the passion and joy in the room.

mental laboratory or facility for producing innovative products, as in the computer or aerospace field, ideal, he thinks, to be adapted for independent film production. A disruptive and countercultural way to produce exciting content is the Raindance Raw Talent model. Elliot knows that quality films can be produced at a fraction of the cost of costly Hollywood films. He also knows that filmmakers with bold, fresh and innovative projects are rejected at the doors of Hollywood. Why? Hollywood, and the film industry in every country, only make films that are, in their opinion, marketable. They also seek to de risk their massive investments by paying huge fees to talent, ie: film stars. The reason Elliot thinks that the time is now for Raindance Raw Talent? “Everyone is screaming for content. The cinemas, the

Raindance Raw Talent: the Skunk Works Elliot’s role in Toronto, spearheading new research into medical and computer technology, led him to the term Skunk Works. According to the dictionary, Skunk Works is slang often referring to a secret experi34 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL

The Red Carpet Crush BIFA 2023

streamers, everyone wants movies. But the door to film production is firmly closed to newcomers. I have watched the painful birth of so many careers. From my first volunteer, Edgar Wright, to Christopher Nolan to Gareth Edwards (Star Wars). Raindance Raw Talent will be an open door to undiscovered talent. With what we have learned about film festivals, awards and distribution, we can monetise these new projects.” Raindance is vertically integrated. To make films you need a script. Raindance has run a successful script competition with over 1500 entries each year; a motherlode for production. Our film school is taught by working industry professionals: Camera, sound and editing professionals who can supervise the rest of the crew filled by our excellent students. The films can start their sales and distribution journey at our festival. The question is, how can these films be funded? The films that are culturally diverse, the films about the whistleblowers and the disenfranchised, the films championing social impact issues. Elliot has teamed up with a British Financier Byron Rose who has become Chairman of Raindance. They have major plans to disrupt and enhance the British Film Industry with a focus on Independent Film with its Skunk Works way of operating at its core. By contacting Raindance Raw Talent, their financial experts can help you navigate the benefits of investment/donations through both the American and British tax systems. These advantages could mean a net zero cash position to a donor or an investment directly with an equity position in the next big thing and newly discovered talent.


There is another way


Raindance, the voice of independent cinema in the UK, takes a bold step towards unlocking the closed doors of the traditional film industry. A movement to be independent.





Our shunkworks are where diverse stories are told, giving voice to underrepresented people.

Marketing Guru Dan Kennedy (left) and Dr. Emily (right) Co-author and Launching Dan Kennedy's Book 'Why Advertising Fails"

Is This The Year Your New Year’s Resolution Will Become a Reality? By Dr. Emily Letran and Melanie Rembrandt


id you make your New Year’s resolution yet? Do you want to lose weight, stop smoking, get a new job, or be healthier? Resolutions are a positive way to start the new year, but will you actually keep them? As we all know, most people do not. However, a select few start to make their dreams a reality on January 1st. How do they do it?

They have a clear vision of what they want and set specific goals to fulfill their big dreams.

When we have a vision and a commitment to achieve certain goals and fulfill that vision, it becomes much easier to decide our course of action. Specifically, when I coach my business 36 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL

clients, I often realize that they do not need time management. They need attention management! This is because where you focus your talent and resources will dictate the results and the speed with which you achieve those results. Meet TGo, the perfect example. In a world often content with the ordinary, Theresa “TGo” Goss stands as a beacon of innovation and relentless creativity. Her story is not just one of success; it’s a tale of a visionary spirit and an indomitable will. TGo embarked on her entrepreneurial journey with a heart full of dreams and a mind buzzing with ideas. With a sharp focus

on her goals, she started earning income by the age of 12. After serving with pride in the United States Navy, TGo leaped into the realm of technology. Here, she blossomed as a computer programmer and a creative director, a rare combination of roles that showcased her unique blend of technical skill and artistic vision. In 2004, TGo shattered the glass ceiling with Black Insight Magazine, or “BIM,” the first all-digital interactive magazine for African Americans with 1.8 million subscribers. By entering the world of media, TGo used “authority positioning” to create a circle of influence and forge a path to success. This is something that my co-author Melanie Rembrandt and I coach our clients on regularly. Authority positioning focuses on working with media members at targeted venues so that they can share your message with their audiences. When these stories go live, you appear (or are positioned) as the authority in your particular industry or space. In TGo’s case, she has produced and directed radio and talk shows for over 19 years and is now producing her own media

Theresa Goss on the pink carpet of NOW Honors (Network of Outstanding Women) and the Power of PINK Summit

businesspeople out there did not begin as celebrities. They used various media platforms to give them the attention they needed to make their dreams a reality. You owe it to your business team not to be “the best kept secret.” You owe it to your family to optimize your business with authority positioning. You owe it to yourself to be the best version of yourself and share your unique insights and knowledge with others.

Are you ready to ditch your New Year’s resolution and focus on proven tactics to make your “dream life” goals a reality? I am pretty sure you are ready to take the new course of action! To accelerate and grow YOUR entrepreneurial journey with Authority Marketing, download Dr. Emily’s Action Business Acceleration guide at

About Dr. Emily Letran, DDS

via documentaries and films. Her focus on authority positioning has earned her accolades like the ATHENA International TV & Producer Award and a place in the Nevada Women’s Hall of Fame for Entertainment & Media. Moreover, she is the architect of the NOW (Network of Outstanding Women) Honors, celebrating women who are changing the world. Check out her projects at “But I don’t want to be In the media.” Yes, many of you are introverts or feel like it’s boasting to tell your story. But take a moment to think about this; the people who are in media are usually the ones who exceed in business (Oprah Winfrey, Sir Richard Branson, Judge Judy, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz… the list goes on). This is because media exposure increases awareness, provides a competitive edge, and allows you to command a premium price. Don’t think of it as boasting. Think of it as sharing your unique message to provide value to your target market. After all, the more people who know about your business, the more people you will be able to serve, and the more impact you can create in your community. You can have more time or money to donate to charity. You can expand your business and create more jobs. Or perhaps, your media attention may lead to running for a political office and improving governing laws or making significant changes on an international level. Oprah and many of the other, ultra-successful

Dr Emily Letran is a serial entrepreneur, CEO of several multi-specialty dental practices, and private coach to many professionals. As an international speaker, she has been on TEDx and shared stages with countless business leaders including Sharon Lechter (Co-Author Rich Dad Poor Dad) and Kevin Harrington (Shark Tank). She has been featured in several magazines as well as the media, Yahoo! Finance, Forbes, USA Today, and FOX. She is a contributing writer for industry magazines and the author of several books. She hosts her signature events, ACTION To WIN seminar, in several countries. Dr. Letran has been knighted as a Lady of The Royal Order of Constantine The Great and Saint Helen for her work in philanthropy and currently enjoys practicing dentistry with her daughter in Huntington Beach, CA.

About Author Melanie Rembrandt The founder of Rembrandt Communications ® , LLC, Melanie Rembrandt is an award-winning publicist, copywriter and speaker. She has helped thousands of entrepreneurs worldwide through her articles in top publications (such as Harvard Business Review, Thrive Global, Medium, Success, Under Armour, Dental Economics, etc.), presentations at Dan Kennedy’s No B.S., Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, American Writers and Artists Institute, PINK, and many other events, the “Simplify Your Business” C-Suite Radio podcast, and The Small Business PR Academy. A magna cum laude graduate of the prestigious UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, Melanie has appeared on all of the major television networks and is the author of “Simple Publicity,” (Foreword by Lee Milteer), “Secrets of Becoming a Publicist” (Published by AWAI) and “Dance Class Etiquette.” Entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 companies, and celebrities work with Melanie to boost positive awareness, credibility and sales fast. Not at her desk? You’ll probably find her helping others, kickboxing, dancing, or scuba diving with sharks! To learn more about Melanie, visit

Dr. Emily Letran on the cover of Top Doctor magazine and Melanie Rembrandt on cover of Soar To Success magazine.

I S S U E 1 5 5 | H E A LT H Y L I V I N G


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Rhythmic Alchemist: Joe Sparrow’s Spellbinding Fusion Takes LA by Storm By Brandon Webster


os Angeles’ music scene holds many hidden talents waiting to be illuminated into the spotlight, and Joe Sparrow is one of those gems. Blending charisma, profound storytelling, and an irresistible fusion of pop and R&B. Hailing from the northern reaches of San Francisco, Sparrow has seamlessly transitioned into the heartbeat of California’s entertainment capital, leaving an indelible mark on the sonic landscape. Sparrow’s music isn’t a mere auditory experience; it’s a journey into the extraordinary. It invites both devoted fans and newcomers into a realm of unworldly sounds that evoke a temporary, blissful state resonating deep within the soul. Whether you’re enveloped in the comfort of your own space or swept up in the energy of a live performance, he has mastered the art of ensuring a great time.


What sets Sparrow apart isn’t just his magnetic stage presence but his prowess as a self-composer. His productions are a testament to his musical acumen, creating sonic landscapes that reverberate with an infectious energy. Beyond the beats, Sparrow’s lyricism is a masterclass in storytelling, drawing from the rich tapestry of his own experiences. Sparrow’s music transcends mere entertainment; it’s a vibrant, pulsating party that demands attention. His ability to craft a unique atmosphere is unparalleled, compelling listeners to surrender their senses to the euphoria emanating from his compositions. Stay in the loop with Joe Sparrow’s sonic escapades and mark your calendars because, on January 9th, 2024, he’s unleashing his next single, “Whatever, I’m With Her,” across all major streaming platforms. It’s a date that promises to be a musical revelation, a glimpse into Sparrow’s

ever-evolving artistry. Our conversation with Mr. Sparrow was nothing short of delightful, and as he embarks on his journey to stardom, Hollywood Weekly extends its sincerest wishes for an ascent as meteoric as his beats. Keep the rhythm alive, Joe Sparrow, and here’s to the pursuit of musical excellence.

So, what’s your whole background? How’d you get to this position that you’re at today with music? Sparrow: So I started like you know every musician, I started pretty young. You know, it’s like you get the itch, I was like what 12, 13, when I started on drums. Was playing in rock bands as a drummer in high school. When I was 18, I got the itch to sing. It was like something started pulling me and I began singing and I realized, oh man, I love this way, way, way more than I like drums, um, but I

was glad I had that drumming foundation, you know, because it’s like I had the understanding of rhythm and all that stuff and an understanding of music. And then I started teaching myself piano, started writing songs and then within a year, I started a band and we started playing shows and kind of building a following and eventually, at the peak, we were touring and opening for some bigger bands. We were an alternative band, similar to The Killers or like The Strokes. And there’s the thing that’s interesting with writing, is that I think songwriting (especially pop writing) is fun. You know I’m a pop artist. At the end of the day, I think pop writing it’s kind of like what we were talking about with graphic design. It’s deceptively simple, but there’s a lot of kind of I don’t want to say rules, because there really are no rules to music, but there are guidelines. I really did like a lot of your songs. I was listening to your latest release, “Little Cleopatra”, what was the process behind it? Sparrow: Oh yeah, thanks man. I’m glad you liked it. So, what was interesting with that one was I remember driving and you know

you’re an artist so I’m sure you’ll relate to this. Like things will just come to you. So that one, the bass line came to my head. I started just singing that and I was like oh, that’s pretty dope. So I put that in a voice memo. So then I built around it, and then for me melody is king. Like the most important thing for me in any song is melody. I’m a sucker for melody, see that’s the pop person in me. It’s like everything that I do, I want it to be melodic and catchy in some way, and so then it was building the Melody and then, lyrically, I was with my girlfriend at the time and we were kind of in that like honeymoon phase, gotcha, where you’re just like you know, when you just start, absolutely it’s like a drug. It’s the period of a month or two months or maybe three months in. You know where you’re comfortable now with them, but you’re still excited. It’s that middle ground. And then, yeah, sonically, you know you like House, I kind of wanted to have kind of a rhythm for that beat. But you know I still wouldn’t call it a House song by any means, or like Deep House, it’s definitely a pop song. But I kind of wanted some of that element in the song. It’s a bit of a dance trap.

Brandon: Beautifully said. When you explain it like that, I get the vibe now, one hundred percent. How everything’s constructed, it definitely does embody that type of feeling. I love hearing the backstory behind a lot of songs. Maybe it’s just me, like sometimes the song could be cool, but then hearing what actually went into the song makes me appreciate it way more. I feel music videos have that type of effect too, you could listen to something, but once you see a visual aspect behind it, it’s like, oh dang, something about it just rewires your brain. It’s a little bit easier to digest now because you can see the whole scenery of the song’s atmosphere.

Joe Sparrow, Singer, Songwriter

CEO of the Canadian International Fashion Film Festival, Roger Gingerich Photo credit: Nick Merzetti

THE CREATIVE CURATOR In the dynamic world of fashion and film, where creativity is the driving force, certain individuals emerge as influential visionaries, leaving an indelible mark on the industry. Roger Gingerich stands as one such luminary, whose four-decade-long career as a creative curator has significantly shaped the Canadian and global fashion and film landscape.

Contribution to Canadian Fashion Gingerich's impact on the Canadian fashion scene is immeasurable. Through curated events and collaborations, he has provided a platform for Canadian designers to showcase their talents on an international stage. By intertwining fashion with cinematic narratives, he has positioned Canadian fashRoger Gingerich and his wife of 26 years, Martine Gingerich.

Early Beginnings Roger Gingerich's journey into the realms of fashion and film began over 40 years ago when he repaired equipment for NHL teams, and most notably Wayne Gretzky in Edmonton, Alberta. Marked by an innate passion for storytelling and an eye for artistic expression. His early experiences laid the foundation for a career that would blend the visual narratives of fashion with the cinematic magic of film.

Fashion Fusion As a creative curator, Gingerich became a pioneer in seamlessly blending the worlds of fashion and film. His ability to curate events that fuse these two creative realms has been transformative. The synergy created between fashion and film under Gingerich's curation has elevated storytelling to new heights, captivating audiences, and industry professionals alike. 40 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL

Photo credit: George Pimentel

ion as not just apparel but as a storytelling medium that reflects the diverse and dynamic Canadian identity to the global market.

Global Recognition Beyond Canada's borders, Gingerich's influence has extended globally with his role on the Board of Directors of the Commonwealth Fashion Council based in London, UK. His curated events have garnered attention from the international fashion and film communities, bringing together talents from various corners of the world. This global perspective has enriched the creative dialogue within the industry, fostering cross-cultural collaborations and pushing the boundaries of what fashion and film can achieve together.

Innovative Events What sets Gingerich apart is his commitment to innovation. Over the years, he has conceptualized and executed ground-breaking events that redefine the traditional boundaries of fashion and film. From immersive fashion shows that tell a narrative to film festivals celebrating the artistry of costume design, Gingerich's events are a testament to his forward-thinking approach.

40 Years of Dedication Gingerich's enduring contribution to the industry is a testament to his dedication

CANIFFF’s annual party during TIFF 2023 featuring a live fashion film shoot by Director Raha Euphoria and Brave Productions in front of 900+ guests on the stunning Lavelle Rooftop overseeing downtown Toronto.

and passion. Over the span of several decades, he has weathered the evolving landscapes of both fashion and film, adapting and innovating to stay at the forefront of creative curation. His commitment to nurturing emerging talents while respecting the legacy of seasoned professionals has created a harmonious blend of tradition and avant-garde expression.

Photo credit: Natali Ambri

Legacy and Influence As Roger Gingerich continues to shape the fashion and film landscape, his legacy becomes a source of inspiration for the next generation of creatives. His influence goes beyond individual events; it lies in the paradigm shift he has orchestrated, demonstrating that fashion and film are not isolated entities but interconnected threads in the rich tapestry of visual storytelling. Gingerich's journey as a creative curator stands as a remarkable chapter in the story of Canadian and global fashion and film. With innovation, storytelling, and his commitment to collaboration, Gingerich has left an indelible legacy that will continue to shape the creative landscape for years to come.

Below: (from left to right) Actress Laura Vandervoort, Roger Gingerich, costume designer Shannon Wilson, and actress Cindy Sampson Photo credit: Steve Blackburn

Above: Mixed media artist and model Elyse Saunders. Photo credit: Natali Ambri

Model Miriam Mattova, Miss Slovakia. Photo credit: Alex Sodo

Right: Model Jaeda Russ. Photo credit: Gloria Caballero




MOTHER, MEN AND ME: A Memoir of Anxiety, Anorexia and Affairs

An Intricate Dance Between Love, Deception, and Resilience Unveiled by dawn smith-theodore

Esteemed psychotherapist, former professional dancer, and eating disorder expert, Dawn Smith-Theodore, announces the launch of her poignant memoir, Mother,


Men and Me. Following the success of her previous book, TuTu Thin, which guides dancers through the challenges of eating disorders, Smith-Theodore delves deep in-

to her personal journey, unraveling family secrets, unexpected love affairs, and her combat against anorexia. Set against the backdrop of a quaint Ohio town, Mother, Men and Me portrays Smith-Theodore's early infatuation with the boy-next-door, which spirals into unforeseen revelations about her mother's past. As familial secrets unfold, she confronts her relationship with men and battles the silent enemy of anorexia while establishing herself as a professional dancer. In her book, Smith-Theodore intricately depicts the complex bond shared between her and her mother, juxtaposed with their shared passion for dance. Through captivating narrative, readers witness their relationship's evolution, marked by trials and tribulations but fortified by their mutual love for the art of dance. "Mother, Men and Me raises probing questions about the intricate dynamics of familial relationships, self-image, and the legacy of the past," says Smith-Theodore. "I hope my story encourages readers to reflect on their own journeys, realizing that resilience can pave the way to redemption. Dawn Theodore’s book, Mother, Men and Me will start presales Oct 18th, 2023 on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. Dawn Smith-Theodore has dedicated over twenty years to the treatment of eating disorders, incorporating insights from her background as a dancer, and drawing from her personal recovery from anorexia nervosa. Her expertise has been acknowledged globally, with features in esteemed publications such as Pointe, Dance Teacher, Dance Magazine, and a recent interview by People Magazine. For those eager to embark on a riveting journey of secrets, love, and resilience, Mother, Men and Me is now available for purchase. Follow Dawn Smith-Theodore on Instagram @mothermenandme and @tutu_thin for more insights and updates.

As a therapist who specializes in eating disorders, I have heard countless stories about family secrets, the trials, and tribulations of mother daughter relationships and how anorexia nervosa can be a way to gain a sense of control. Usually, I hear these stories from my clients but I, and my colleagues who worked together at my former treatment center, would continually tell, Dawn Theodore, that her personal story which interweaves these topics, along with her various relationships with the men in her life, was something she should write about. Now she has done just that. Besides being a therapist, Dawn, who is also a dancer and dance teacher, takes readers into the life journey of a kid growing up in the world of dance with a mother, a dance teacher herself, who both doted on Dawn and yet also controlled her and kept crucial things from her until she was forced to tell the shocking truth. Dawn’s story is about dealing with one’s circumstances and the pain of life while also grabbing the joys that living offers. Dawn is a dedicated, passionate, humble, generous human who sees the good in the world despite the sad, painful, or uncomfortable lessons that it brings. This is what she brings to her story and to you the reader who will surely find not only something to relate to but some take home messages from Dawn’s journey. Carolyn Costin

MA, MEd, MFT Director of the Carolyn Costin Institute, Founder of Monte Nido Treatment Center, therapist, renowned eating disorder expert, activist, and author of 8 Keys to Recovery, Your Dieting Daughter and The Eating Disorder Sourcebook

Dawn Smith-Theodore shares her amazing- heart wrenching story of disordered eating, romantic relationships, familial dysfunctions and secrets- specifically mother daughter- that color her path to finding her calling as dancer-teacher-airline stewardess and therapist. From the first page I was riveted as she shares this extraordinary life with tenderness and perspective. Is is unconventional, complicated, nuanced and full of devotion and love. This book weaves the complexities of mother -daughter and family dynamics that affect the child deeply- disordered eating being an outcome. I laughed, I cried, I was left speechless. I love this woman and I loved this book! Zippora Karz

Former soloist NYC Ballet Repetiteur George Balanchine Trust, Author of The Sugarless Plum and Ballerina Dreams

I recently had the pleasure of reading the captivating book Mother, Men, and Me and I cannot recommend it enough. This heartfelt memoir by Dawn Smith-Theodore takes readers on an incredible journey of self-discovery, love, and resilience. From the very first page, I was drawn into the author's world as she shared the experiences growing up with a complex relationship with her mother. The raw and honest portrayal of their struggles and triumphs instantly struck a chord with me. The way in which the author delves into the complexities of motherhood and the impact it can have on one's life is truly remarkable. What sets this book apart is the author's ability to share her story in a way that is relatable and universal. While the book explores the author's unique experiences, it also touches upon themes that resonate with readers from all walks of life. Whether it be navigating the intricacies of romantic relationships, the challenges of finding one's own identity, or the pursuit of personal fulfillment, Mother, Men, and Me leaves no stone unturned. The author's writing style is both evocative and engaging. Their words flow effortlessly, painting a vivid picture of their emotions, struggles, and personal growth. Each chapter is carefully crafted, keeping readers hooked and eager to uncover what lies ahead. I found myself completely immersed in the author's story, feeling every triumph and setback as if they were my own. Moreover, the book's exploration of the author's relationships with men adds another layer of depth to the narrative. The author fearlessly tackles the complexities of love, heartbreak, and the search for companionship. Dawn’s reflections on these experiences are incredibly insightful, offering valuable lessons and perspectives that readers can learn from. Mother, Men, and Me is a powerful testament to the strength of the human spirit and the resilience of the human heart. It is a book that will make you reflect on your own journey, appreciate the complexities of relationships, and inspire you to embrace your true self. I highly recommend this captivating memoir to anyone seeking an emotional, thought-provoking, and ultimately uplifting read. Dr. Johanna O'Flaherty

PhD, LADAC, CEAP Author, Psychologist , Crisis Response Manager, CISM Instructor HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL • 43


Dawn Smith-Theodore By Brandon Webster

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dawn Smith-Theodore, a woman of indomitable spirit, invites us into her captivating memoir, "Mother, Men and Me: A Memoir of Anxiety, Anorexia, and Affairs." This hauntingly beautiful account not only unveils the secrets embedded in familial ties but also explores the profound impact of love, the dance of life, and the pursuit of personal liberation. Born and raised in a quaint Ohio town, Dawn's life took an unexpected turn at a young age. Infatuation with the boy-next-

door led her down a path woven with family secrets and unexpected love. The dance of life, as she would later discover, is not always a waltz but sometimes an intricate ballet, demanding balance, resilience, and a profound connection to one's roots. Dawn's early years were immersed in the world of dance, with her mother's dancing school becoming both a sanctuary and a stage for her artistic expressions. The intricate ballet of her life was set against the backdrop of a family dynamic shrouded in mystery and

Dawn Theodore, Mother, Men and Me author 44 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL

unexpected turns. As Dawn's story unfolds, we delve into the complexities of her family dynamics, where secrets hold profound sway over the trajectory of her life. At the tender age of 11, an 18-year-old dance student moved into their home, blurring the lines between familial bonds and romantic entanglements. The revelation of her mother's affair with this young dancer became a pivotal moment, shattering the illusions of a seemingly idyllic family. The unfolding of these family secrets became a silent yet influential force, shaping Dawn's perceptions of love, relationships, and her own identity. The delicate dance between truth and secrecy set the stage for a narrative that would resonate with those who have grappled with the weight of family secrets. Dawn found herself entangled in another silent adversary—the relentless grip of anorexia. At the age of 15, she succumbed to the throes of this eating disorder, a silent battle fought against the backdrop of societal expectations and familial discord. Navigating through a world that often prioritizes appearance over well-being, Dawn's journey with anorexia became a testament to the strength required to overcome internal struggles. The memoir peels back the layers of this battle, offering a raw and vulnerable portrayal of the impact of mental health on one's relationship with the self. Amidst the chaos of family secrets and the tumultuous struggle with anorexia, dance emerged as a unifying force for Dawn and her mother. The dance floor became their sanctuary, a space where the language of movement spoke louder than the words left unspoken. Despite the challenges surrounding them, the love for dance provided a common ground, offering solace and understanding in the midst of life's turbulence. As Dawn matured, her journey took her on a global dance tour, from the stages of Japan to the vibrant energy of St. Croix. Her pursuit of professional dance became a testament to the resilience forged through personal struggles. The memoir raises poignant questions about breaking free from the chains of the past, challenging readers to reflect on the impact of familial legacies.

Dawn Smith-Theodore transcends the role of a mere memoirist; she emerges as a storyteller, skillfully intertwining the intricate threads of the human experience with grace, vulnerability, and an unyielding dedication to truth. Her narrative serves as an inspiration, urging us to navigate life's various stages with a dance-like fluidity, bravely confronting our shadows, embracing our truths, and, above all, celebrating the inherent resilience that resides within every individual.

What is a message you have for the dancing world today about body positivity, especially with the youth during this age of social media we live in? Dawn: Well, I think it's much harder for young dancers today. I mean, yes, I looked at myself in the mirror all the time, but eating disorders, you know, are not just about body image, but there's usually a psychological component to it, as there was with me. But for people, I say to them, to young dancers like, what you see on social media isn't always accurate and that you need to only compare yourself to yourself, because you can only

compete with yourself as a dancer. And yes, you're gonna go to auditions, but you have to be the best dancer that you can be, and so you have to work on yourself and work on yourself as a technician, work on yourself as somebody who can, you know, emote and express the feelings in dance, and be the best dancer that you can be, because the dancers standing next to you might have better feet, but they may not be, you know, they might not have the same extension, and so there's a place for everybody in dance. You just have to find your place. And you know, like for me, I wasn't tall enough to be a rockette that's what I wanted to be but I was still able to be a professional dancer and find my place in dance. And you know through all of my years in dance, I still have a place in dance because now I'm trying to help young dancers. With you being an author. Do you see any parallels, I guess, from the mentality you would have as a dancer going into writing? Dawn: Creative, you know. Creative in telling a story, because dance is about telling a story and so is writing, and so I've always

loved to write. But it's about telling a story and that's the book. You do it with both. Navigating the balance between vulnerability and privacy when sharing your intimate details of your life. How do you go about that? Dawn: Well, I think the reason you know actually, one of my therapist colleague friends asked me, you know how do you feel about putting all this out there? But the truth is that I want people to see this. My reason is, I want people to see that you can go through a lot in your life and you can come out on the other side and be successful and do well, recover. You know, because I'm like you know, with eating disorders you need to, you need to recover. You can't just be recovering because you have to make peace with the food and, like with drugs and alcohol, you're always recovering because you could always go back to it. But with an eating disorder, you need to make a healthy relationship with food. And so I want people to see that you can go through a lot and get to the end result and have a healthy relationship with yourself, with your body and with food.


HALF AD HERE It’s okay to not be okay. Learn how to reach out to a friend about their mental health at

Helen Hoey: Weaving Creativity into Reality By Brandon Webster

Conceptualizing ideas is an art, but bringing those concepts to life requires a unique blend of passion, determination, and a touch of fearlessness. Enter Helen Hoey, a conceptualist at its purest form, whose ideas transcend mere thoughts, finding their manifestation in the tangible and the beautiful. A graduate of LaRoche College, Helen honed her skills in interior design and architecture, using this knowledge as a canvas to construct special atmospheric environments. However, her journey didn't stop there; she seamlessly integrated her vast understanding of the fashion industry to give birth to Pulchra, a luxury boutique nestled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This exclusive establishment offers intimate lingerie apparel and select accouterments, captivating the intrigued with a carefully curated experience. Pulchra, the brainchild of Helen's creative prowess, is more than a boutique – it's a testament to the fusion of interior design and fashion. With an astute eye for detail, Helen employed her interior design abilities to craft an enticing and intimate atmosphere within the boutique. This ambiance harmonizes seamlessly with the garments, creating an empowering experience for those who adorn her creations. Beyond the aesthetics, Helen has a mission that goes deeper than the surface. In a society often dictated by conventional beauty standards, she challenges the norm. According to Helen, true allure emanates not from adhering to predetermined physical ideals but from the confidence and self-love that individuals exude. In her view, each person possesses a unique beauty that should be celebrated and embraced, transcending societal distractions. During our conversation with Helen, she emphasized the importance of self-love as the foundation for empowerment. For her, fostering confidence is an integral part of the design process, as she strives to instill a sense of pride and uniqueness in those who don't like her creations. 46 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL

Helen Hoey, Reality Star and Business Woman

know I always look forward “toYou new projects and I always have something going on, and one of my little secrets there is I always set a date, because if not, it just becomes an idea that hangs in the air and the only way I bring it down and to make it happen is to put it on the calendar and then I execute.


- Helen Hoey

It's not just about wearing lingerie; it's about embracing one's identity and cultivating a profound sense of self. Helen's journey in the art of design has been more than a

personal quest; it's been a beautiful trajectory filled with opportunities to give back to communities and inspire the youth. Her altruistic endeavors aim to instill a belief in themselves among the younger generation, ensuring a fruitful future for their creative endeavors. In a world where ideas often remain ethereal, Helen Hoey emerges as a beacon of creativity, transforming concepts into tangible realities. Her dedication to empowering individuals and challenging societal norms sets her apart as a force to be reckoned with in the intersection of design, fashion, and self-love. As Helen continues to shape beautiful environments and redefine

beauty standards, her influence resonates far beyond the walls of Pulchra, leaving an indelible mark on the world of design.

Model Isabella Perez wearing pieces from Helen Hoey’s brand Pulchra

Going into lingerie, how did you get your inspiration to pursue the fashion industry?” Helen: So growing up, my mom's mother pred ominantly wore black and she collected beautiful lingerie. And when I was 16, she lived in Washington State, we lived right outside of DC and she would come for the holidays. She gave me a piece of lingerie and my mom was mortified. She's like what are you doing? Like you are promoting her to be promiscuous. And she's like, no, I just want her to feel beautiful. She said if she ever gets into a car accident she'll be thanking me if she has on beautiful panties. And I had a couple little incidents that sort of happened and I specifically remember thinking, oh my god, I thank my grandmother for collecting lingerie just because of what she had given me. And you know, I love antiquing, so sometimes I would flip through vintage clothing if I saw something beautiful I’d buy it. So then when I was asked to design the line of lingerie for Adam and Eve (and which is not reflective of my brand at all) but I at least I did it for them, and then that just kind of unlocked all these memories flooding my mind and truly my approach to design is more fabric driven and then the design comes in.

mean, basically I sell attainable “ Ibeauty, you know, and I just want

people to unleash that in others, you know. I want to have people feel their most sexy self, because we all have it, it's all there and you know I'm lacing that in others.


What is a message you have for the world at this moment? Helen: I would say just being a conceptualist in life, and what I mean by that is everything starts in the mind as a concept right and making that concept a reality. But making sure that, whatever concept it is, it's cohesive with every new concept you have. You know if that makes sense. Not being co-dependent on others or anything to keep you from really feeling the joy in life because when you're dependent on others, regardless of what it is, in general it can keep you away from living out who you are and the beauty in life. HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL • 47




Finally, a novel that is filled with gratuitous sex and overflowing with profanity that has no redeeming social values whatsoever. “The Dogs of Brownsville” is a historical novel that is ripped from the headlines of the past seventy years, told in Godfather fashion, about a handful of guys, and girls, that make it out of the ghetto of Brownsville and arrive in Las Vegas in time to witness

and participate in the changing of the guard from the “Mob” to Howard Hughes to corporate America. The novel traces the lives of Lawrence Cohen or Mongoose and his boyhood friends, Ringo, Solly, Mo, Scumbag and Charlie the Man together with Eunice and Yetta, the ex-wife of a Rabbi who runs a “bunny ranch” in Pahrump, NV, and her daughter Wylie who becomes a Navy jet pilot. Mongoose,

who is in charge of the gaming activities for the Desert Winds Hotel and Casino works for Frank Rothman, the “Wizard of Odds” and Ignacio Baldacci or Balsy, reunites with Eunice who has become a successful showgirl under the name of Venus. At first she ignores him but softens after he is almost killed in a car bombing. As their relationship develops Mongoose is haunted by her prior connection with Tommy DiMeglio who he must deal with and “make his bones” with Funzi Santucci as he was responsible for the car bombing. The novel concludes with the partnership between the Desert Winds and Stanley Ho, the richest man in Asia, to establish the Pacific Winds Hotel and Casino in Macao in time for the new millennium in the Year of The Dragon.

WHERE CAN YOU BUY THE BOOK? Amazon or wherever books are sold ABOUT THE AUTHOR Stan Weisleder worked as an Actuary for most of his life. When he decided to retire it wasn’t to sit on the back porch and watch the grass grow. He became a cop and put in 23 years with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, most of that time as a reserve Detective with the Child Abuse Unit of Special Victims about which he could tell you a lot of stories as well as having the distinction of being the oldest one to have graduated from their Academy. He also had his own internet radio program for three years where he interviewed people in the arts and entertainment, “The View From Over Here”. One of his books, “A Killer of Lions”, is the only novel ever written about the four squadrons of black fighter pilots during WWII that had to fight two Air Forces in order to be recognized, the Luftwaffe and the US Army Air Corp. Stan is also available as a speaker on what to do after you retire. 48 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL

Only a talented author could write such a cohesive book with so many different characters in a story that takes place over such a long period. The appearance of legendary historical figures from American history like Howard Hughes and Meyer Lansky are additional elements that make the book more enthralling. The Dogs of Brownsville deserves four out of four stars. I recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction and Mafia-related books. But if you hate profanity, skip this one. Online Book Club

Normally I would not buy nor read a book like The Dogs of Brownsville but once I picked it up and started to read I could not put it down until I finished it. I give your book an A rating. Sidney K

I teach creative writing at a “magnet school” and all that I can say about The Dogs of Brownsville is that I wish that I wrote it. Ira W.

A coming-of-age gangster novel with a bit of glamour and a lot of get a vivid picture of a neighborhood with its hangouts and all of the dynamics...Las Vegas in its Rat Pack heyday, the shows, the money, the parties, the competing for control...well worth reading. Reedsy Discovery

Like all good authors you wrote about what you know. I’ve never been to New York City but I came away with a great sense of what Brownsville must have been like. I think you also did an excellent job of capturing the spirit of Las Vegas too. I look forward to the sequel of The Dogs of Brownsville. Jim K.

So far I read The Dogs of Brownsville three times. Jerry S.

Entertaining and compelling. Well written. Rolling with the gangsters and becoming a “made man” kept me glued to the pages. Having a Rabbi’s wife owning a brothel gave an in depth look at what it is to be a prostitute in Pahrump, Nevada, where it is legal. I have already recommended The Dogs of Brownsville to several people. I commend you on developing, writing and publishing this remarkable tome. Marc T.

The Dogs of Brownsville came as a complete surprise. I had no expectations when I picked up this book and yet, when I started reading it, I could not put it down. I found the characters to be fascinating and suitably complex. The plot lines kept my interest as the author weaved them in and out of each other bringing the characters together in ways that I had never imagined. I particularly enjoyed the way that historical references and details worked into the story. I was actually disappointed that there wasn’t more to this book. I can only hope that my imagination will be brought to the big screen so that I can see just how the actors bring these fantastic characters to life. Phil D., DDS HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL • 49


STAN WEISLEDER By Brandon Webster

The starting question I have for you is that your first novel was based on your personal experiences with the LASD. How did the process of turning real life experiences into fiction impact you, and what message or insight do you hope readers will gain from it? Stan: Well, first I have to tell you, when I went to school I never planned to be a writer. I became an actuary, somebody working with numbers. Yet I started writing later on. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to begin. I didn't even know where to start. So I went back to school. My first course was how to get started in writing, and I'll never forget the instructor. He gave everybody a slip of blank paper and we had to write a first assignment. And when you're staring at a blank sheet for the first time, it's intimidating. You have no clue where to start. But then, eventually you get into it. Initially you think you're a great writer and, oh my god, I'm going to win the Nobel Prize. And then you put it aside and you look at it six weeks later, let's say, and you read it and you say to yourself how could I have written such crap? So writing is a learning process. You have to do it and do it. It's like going to the gym. If you go to the gym every day, you're going to get big muscles, right. If you write every day, eventually you'll get good at it. Brandon: I get you completely. Actually, it's funny you mentioned that because this is my fourth day on the job. I'm a graphic designer, and I didn't think I would be a journalist or writer, so this is a whole new experience. I'm learning as time passes and I become a better writer. So I'm glad that you're saying that and how much you've grown in your career to be the writer you are today, and I aspire to be the same. You've worn many hats in your career, from being a cop to an author and having your own internet and radio program or internet radio program. How do these different roles complement each other and how do they contribute to your overall perspective on life? Stan: Never thought of it that way, but now 50 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL

that you've asked the question, the more you know about different aspects of life, the more you know about life in general. Interesting, because it's one thing to be critical of a field that you're familiar with, but then it's different when you criticize somebody who works in a different field, when you never walked in that person's shoes. So the more multifaceted you are, I think it makes you a better writer, because you can address different aspects of life and different aspects of what is going on in individual people's lives. So I think the more you do in different areas, the more well-rounded you become, the better it suits you to become a writer or to be able to put down in words what people feel or think or how things should be or how things may be in the future. So we have your book over here, the Dogs of Brownsville. I was reading through it and, by the way, congratulations on the positive reviews from the online book club and Amazon. How does that make you feel, knowing that your work was well received? Stan: It makes me feel really incredible, it makes me feel great, but I wish it could get out to more people so I could get a lot more of those responses. I think I've barely scratched the surface, but I would like to say that I think in just about every situation where I know of somebody who read the book, they all loved it, except one person, a friend of mine. Brandon: That's a good ratio, though, just one that's not bad. That is not bad at all. Stan: But those who were real and honest. I mean, they reached out to me and said hey, you know, let me tell you what I think of this book. I didn't have to ask them if they were very helpful and voluntary about how they felt. Brandon: Props to those people. As artists, we definitely need that type of encouragement to fuel our passions, just knowing that our perspective is being seen, it's being received, and people synchronize with it. I love what I've been reading and I was actually gonna ask you about that as

well. The transition from the ghetto of Brownsville to the glamor of Las Vegas is a significant aspect of the book. Can you elaborate on the contrast and challenges your characters face as they witness and participate in the changing dynamics from the mob era to Howard Hughes and eventually to corporate America? Stan: Well, the book is divided into three parts. In part one we’re dealing with the development of the primary or main characters, from their teenage years to their you know, late teens or young adult ages, and all they know is they want to get out of Brownsville, they want to get out of the ghetto. They don't know where or what, but they're looking for some kind of you know make believe land, someplace to go to, someplace where they can become different, where they can do things and express how they feel and become better people, raise their level, so to speak, and I sort of segue into this towards the end of Part One. And then I skip ahead a bunch of years and we're in Las Vegas, or they're almost in Las Vegas, and then the different characters develop according to the line of work that they pick out for themselves and they progress from there on. And then, after Part Two, after all of the characters have been developed, I jump ahead a couple of years to Part Three, where they are all really doing their things and people get killed, people do things that they shouldn't do, people become things that they never expected to. They aspire to do better things and they achieve these results. Anyway, I don't want to tell you anymore. I want people to read for themselves. Actually, I have one thing I have to tell you, everything in that book happened. Okay, not in the sequence that I show. I've had to change dates to make things fit and, of course, it's not all based on the same people. My main characters are Composites of two, three or four different people that I know or know of. But, like I said, everything in there happened at one time or another. So people ask me you know, is it, is it all fiction? I said yes, it's fiction, but I like to call it faction. That's it. That's fiction based on fact.



Robert James Atton: A Filmmaker’s Odyssey By Brandon Webster


obert James Atton emerges as a luminary whose ardor for the essence of cinema transcends conventional understanding. A polymath in the realm of filmmaking, Atton seamlessly weaves his expertise across an expansive spectrum, encompassing Special Effects Makeup, Producing, Production Design, Script Supervision, 2nd Assistant Directing, Key Grip, and Screenwriting. Atton epitomizes the significance of being well-rounded in one’s craft, not merely for the financial rewards it bestows, but for the profound love that saturates this pursuit of

knowledge. His advocacy for perpetual learning resonates as a guiding beacon, as he attests to an ongoing education gleaned from each project undertaken. With a diverse skill set, Atton remains in a perpetual state of anticipation, ready to explore and challenge his capabilities across a kaleidoscope of film genres. Among his current ventures is the riveting project, “Stay Safe,” where Atton amplifies his commitment not only to the cinematic artistry but also to the well-being and camaraderie of the dedicated crew and staff. In a candid reflection, Atton expresses deep gratitude for the visionary Executive

Producer, Alex Cohen, whose mentorship has bestowed upon him a treasure trove of tools to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of the film industry. These nuanced details unveil the profound joy that permeates Atton’s involvement in the filmmaking community. By striving to be the best version of himself, he imparts a legacy that echoes through time, a testament to the younger Atton who dared to dream. Each day dedicated to the pursuit of creative endeavors becomes a tribute to the enduring spirit of an artist committed to the perpetual evolution of his craft. In the vast realm of cinema, Robert James Atton stands as not just a filmmaker but a custodian of the

cinematic spirit, tirelessly inspiring the next generation to embrace the ever-unfolding magic of storytelling through the lens. How do you manage juggling all of the many roles you play in the production of films? Atton: The smaller independent films I can manage it, I mean a bigger film I would just take one role and that’s what is you know. But I don’t mind. I can juggle—it’s not easy, but at the same time it saves money on the budget versus paying three people to do three different tasks. When you have someone on the team that is knowledgeable and has experience of these tasks already. What is a recent film you worked or are currently working on that you would like to shoutout? Atton: ”Things Greater Than Us” I originally got hired for special effects but the production was understaffed at first, so the Key Grip guy and I took on a couple other roles because we’ve had previous experience in film and that’s how I jumped into producing then taking up multiple other roles. The director is a down to earth person and I wanted to push on this film because for hist first time directing he did a great job. Me and the Key Grip guy really learned a lot working on that film, we turned a nothing crew into a full length film crew and actually getting the movie done. The original director we had to get him arrested. That was a whole story so you know there’s always something fun going on. What are some of the outside sources from your occupation that helped inspire you and your creativity for your unique perspectives? Atton: Growing up I’ve always had a huge imagaination, my younger sisters and I would come up with these interesting games as kids. But I would say a big push was my uncle. He was one of the only members in my family that had an artistic talent and he never used it so I guess that encouraged me to actually pursue my creative talent so I wouldn’t take the same route in life. If the whole world was tuned into our conversation right now, what is a message you would have for them at this very moment? Atton: No matter what you want to do in life, always go for it—push yourselves. There is always going to be roadblocks but if you want it bad enough, you’ll get by it.

“I’m more about enjoying my career, enjoying working on film. Like the money is great—pays the bills, but I’m more about im there for the movie you know” HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL • 53


The most important thing in life is to forgive. No matter what anyone has done to you, the most important thing in life is to forgive and not hold grudges. Because that will make you sick. . .

In In thethe heart heart of of Baldwin Baldwin Hills, Hills, CA,CA, Dr. Saunders Dr. Saunders invokes invokes a storya of story triumph of over triumph adversity, overisadversity, a testament is a to testathe transformative ment to the transformative power of positivity power and of perseverance. positivity andFrom perseverance. the outset From of our conversation, the outset ofDr. our Saunders conversation, welcomed Dr. usSaunders with an unprecedented welcomed us with warmth, an sharing unprecedented openly about warmth, the challenges sharing sheopenly faced about in herthe early challenges life, navigating she both faced familial in herdifficulties early life,and navigating a battle with both breast familial cancer. difficulties Her remarkable and a battle tale with unfolds breast not cancer. as a victim Her remarkable but as a victor, tale unfolds a testament not as to aher victim indomitabut as a blevictor, spirit.a“The testament Cinderella to her Doctor,” indomitaherble upcoming spirit. “The book, Cinderella promisesDoctor,” to delve her even upcoming deeper book, intopromises the inspiring to narrative delve even of Dr. deeper Saunders. into the Theinspiring title itself narrative hints atofthe Dr.transformative Saunders. The title journey itself hints she has at the undertaken, transformative turning adversity journeyinto she accomplishment. has undertaken, turning It’s a story adversity she eagerly into accomplishment. shares with a world It’s hungry a story forshe tales eagerly of resilience. shares with Beyond a herworld clinical hungry practice, for tales Dr. Saunders of resilience. is theBeyond drivingher force clinical behind practice, “Hannaah Dr. H.E.L.P.S.,” Saundersan is organization the driving force embodying behind hope, “Hannaah endurance, H.E.L.P.S.,” love, peace, an organizaand tion embodying hope, endurance, love, peace, and success. With a mission to support those facing the challenges of breast cancer and other illnesses, Dr. Saunders leverages her extensive knowledge and experience to uplif those in need.

candidly shared the profound impact of success. With a mission to support those her mother’s tumultuous relationship with facing the challenges of breast cancer and her,illnesses, a journeyDr. marked by jealousy, past other Saunders leverages her traumas,knowledge and cyclesand of abuse. This to painful extensive experience uplif backdrop, however, propelled Dr. Saunthose in need. ders towards her life’s calling – helping others overcome psychological In Her expertise extends to the realmbattles. of mental recounting struggles for materhealth, whereher sheown specializes in treating nal approval, Saunders acknowledged conditions such Dr. as depression, anxiety disthe transformative power forgiveness. orders, substance abuse, andofschizophrenia. Her poignant message resonates with Notably, her dedication extends to children universal truth:driven “The most important thing and adolescents, by a boundless comin life rooted is to forgive. matter what anyone passion in her No tumultuous upbringhas to you,inthe most important ing. Dr.done Saunders candidly shared thething in life isimpact to forgive them, and dotumultuous not hold profound of her mother’s grudges. Because will make you sick. relationship with her,that a journey marked by Yeah, that the mostand important thing I jealousy, pastistraumas, cycles of abuse. believe in backdrop, life.” This painful however, propelled Dr. Saunders towards her life’s calling – Our conversation with Dr. Saunders was helping others overcome psychological more In than an interview; it was a glimpse battles. recounting her own struggles for into a life shaped Dr. by hardship, maternal approval, Saunders resilience, acknowland, the ultimately, love. Wepower extend edged transformative ofour forgiveheartfelt gratitude to Dr. Saunders forwith ness. Her poignant message resonates sharingtruth: her compassion and wisdom within universal “The most important thing world, a beacon of hope in anyone the fieldhas of lifethe is to forgive. No matter what mental health and beyond.

done to you, the most important thing in life is to forgive them, and do not hold grudges. Because that will make you sick. Yeah, that is the most important thing I believe in life.” Our conversation with Dr. Saunders was more than an interview; it was a glimpse into a life shaped by hardship, resilience, and, ultimately, love. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Saunders for sharing her compassion and wisdom with the world, a beacon of hope in the field of mental health and beyond.

Her expertise extends to the realm of mental health, where she specializes in treating conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and schizophrenia. Notably, her dedication extends to children and adolescents, driven by a boundless compassion rooted in her tumultuous upbringing. Dr. Saunders in HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL • 55



Brandon: Thanks for taking time to do this interview! So, it says here you graduated from Howard University, how was your experience there? Dr. Saunders: Yeah, I graduated from Howard University Medical School. But in my last year, I did a double degree program. I got my MD from Howard University and my master’s in public health from Harvard University that same year. Brandon: That’s incredible, congratulations on that! And you definitely put it to great use for the 20 plus years that you’ve been doing your profession.

What is your goal for being featured on the magazine? Dr. Saunders:My goal about being featured on the magazine is to have people know who I am and know that I have a project called Hannah Helps, which originally was for people who are breast cancer survivors like I am, but it’s really to help people with any devastating illness or problem or any difficulty they need help and support with. Brandon: That’s beautiful. That’s beautiful. I know that’s probably been a really rough journey, and the fact that you can survive from this and then utilize this knowledge to help others, that’s very commendable. Dr. Saunders: I appreciate you for that. Yeah. I not only did I survive, I actually had stage three and I had a mastectomy and chemotherapy and radiation. And then five years later, it came back and spread to my brain. It was stage four and I was and I actually did die. I had what they call a near-death experience. I died and was sent back. Brandon: Do you recall anything from that? Would you be comfortable to kind of speak about that experience? Dr. Saunders: Yea, I do. I could no longer work because it had spread to my brain and I was bedridden. I knew that the life was going out of my body. My soul and body were separating, and then it finally happened.I could see my dead body; I wasn’t in it. My soul and spirit left my body, and I finally left this world and started to ascend. I was told, a voice from above said, “you have to go back, there are 56 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL

things you must do, steps you must take.” And I found myself going back into this world and back into my body, and I was alive. Then I thought, well, what am I going to do? I still have terminal brain cancer.. what’s going to happen now? What ended up happening was that I was healed enough for me to go to a church convention, to a healing service in Nashville, Tennessee, from Los Angeles. I went to this healing service, and the head of the church laid hands on me, and I was healed. I came back to Los Angeles, went to my neurologist, and it took four months for the symptoms to completely reverse because I had neurological symptoms, and I had problems walking. Over a four month period of time, the symptoms reversed. So, I wasn’t completely healed in the beginning. But in those four months, the symptoms reversed, and in six months, I was back at work, and I told the neurologist what had happened. And he said, “but we’re physicians… we’re scientists.” I said, “I know we’re scientists, but there’s a scientist greater than we are because you couldn’t do anything to get me better.” Things have been fine since that. That was quite a while ago. I don’t believe I will have breast cancer ever again. Brandon: You put a warmth in my soul right now. Thank you so much. That was a great story for this morning; it has me feeling great. I didn’t know about near-death experiences until I read about it and I saw that there are people who have had these experiences. I feel like you took a very positive route in this experience because I feel I have a feeling some people would either be because of this experience. They see life in this way where they start to think, oh, okay, nothing matters. But you’re clearly making this a positive experience and trying to help other people through it. And I commend that so heavily, because I feel like that that can be a very potentially could be a very hopeless feeling. But you’ve you’ve come out of that phase and see the bigger picture of all this, which is so great. Dr. Saunders: What I believe I was sent back for, though, was to ultimately become a minister, which is something I never wanted to do because I’ve had a busy practice in

medicine and I never wanted to become a minister, ever. But I finally, after five years of running, I finally agreed to do that. So I’m an ordained minister. Brandon: Isn’t that so funny how stuff like that works? Like, you have this idea of your goals and what you believe, like, this is what you’re supposed to do. And then, the thing you hate or even something you just kind of like, is actually what you’re meant to be doing in this world. Dr. Saunders: It’s very interesting. So, I do both now; I practice medicine and I’m an ordained minister.

The mind-body connection is a topic gaining increased attention nowadays in your practice. How do you integrate holistic approaches to mental health, acknowledging the interconnectedness of physical and psychological well-being? Dr. Saunders: As a psychiatrist, which is a specialty of medicine, I prescribe medication. But it also makes me do other things like have them exercise and make sure they have a healthy diet. I also make sure they have a positive outlet, because most of my patients don’t, you know? They’re depressed, they’re anxious, and they don’t have a positive outlook on life. So, I try to reinforce that in addition to the medication prescriptions I give them.

As a psychiatrist, your work can be emotionally demanding. How do you prioritize your self-care and maintain your own mental well-being to ensure you can continue to provide effective support for others? Dr. Saunders: Well, I am able to do that because I am objective. I don’t get into other people’s problems. Although, at one time when I was before I went to medicine, I became an RN. When I was assigned to a mental health program at a psychiatric hospital, one patient had postpartum depression, and I became depressed. So, I left and went on vacation. I soon realized what was happening. I was allowing my feelings o get involved in

hers. So, when I came back from vacation, I was able to separate my feelings from hers, so that I don’t allow anyone’s issues to become mine. I don’t get involved. I’m completely objective. Therefore, I’m not depressed. Brandon: Was anything you saw reminding you of your own life or did you see some type of personal familiarity within what she was going through? Dr. Saunders: No. She was depressed because she had a baby. Sometimes, you end up with postpartum depression, and your brain chemicals are so out of control. She actually didn’t want her baby. But no, there was nothing about me that reminded me of her. It was just her problems that were affecting me, because I wasn’t objective. Brandon: Yeah. It’s really interesting how the mind works like that. Or just being around people… you kind of are who you’re surrounding, Growing up, when my parents would tell me that I would say, oh, no, that’s not true. But it really does have an effect when you kind of just sit there and subconsciously kind of allow it to happen. Dr. Saunders: If you’re not objective and you don’t separate yourself from their problems… even suicides. I’ve had some people commit suicide. Not that many over the years, but since I’ve become a psychiatrist, I had a couple suicides. They don’t affect me either because of my objectivity. If I didn’t have that, I could become depressed as well.

What got you into psychiatry? Was it something just from a young age that you just knew? Dr. Saunders: I had a very difficult mother who hated me for a reason that was just illogical. I was three when she and my father divorced. She decided that it was my fault and held it against me. She was not a good mother to me; she was psychologically abusive. So, because I finally realized that she had issues, that’s what made me go into psychiatry. Yea, my mother was very difficult. I’ve been writing a book about my life called The Cinderella Doctor. See, with Cinderella, it was her stepmother who was psychologically abusive to her. In my case, it was my mother. But, when my mother was

growing up, she lost her mother when she was five years old. And she had a stepmother who was psychologically abusive. When she got married, and she had daughters, because she had three other daughters, and I was the oldest.. She had three other daughters and she didn’t mistreat them, she didn’t psychologically abuse them. It was just me that she did that to. But it’s okay, because it really helped me grow up. It helped me, actually. I was successful because of my mother. I wanted to please her. So I went to school and I had her at my medical school graduation, and she still had that hateful spirit. When I graduated, she said, “well, I thought you’re going to be a real doctor. “ In other words, I wasn’t the real doctor. She wanted her daughter, who became an attorney, to be a doctor, and she would have been the real doctor. But that’s history came to me and she said, I don’t want to do that. And I said, you can’t do what someone else asks you to do. You have to do what you want to do. And she became an attorney. So my mother never got the real doctor. But later on in life, my mother actually changed and she did accept me for who I was. She sat down and explained to me what happened between her and my father. She said, well, he gave you the love that should have been for her. There’s a difference between love between a parent and their child and love between a married couple. So I thought my mother was disturbed, and she was. Because that’s not normal thinking. You don’t blame your position on a three year old child. And he wasn’t even around because he was in the war, and I was born during that period. Brandon: I feel like a lot of people especially like as a college student myself, I think a lot of people can relate with you.. they’re in their major because they’re listening to their parents or their parents are trying to sculpt them into something that they might not be. And I find that amazing that you went through kind of a similar route, but you actually found a love for what you do, and you took your own path. Dr. Saunders: My mother never said she was proud of me, never acknowledged that I went to Harvard as well as Howard. I got two different two degrees in different universities

in the same year.. didn’t acknowledge it, But in the end, for the first time before she died, she told me she was proud of me. And she had never done that before Brandon: That was beautiful. How did that make you feel like going forward? Dr. Saunders: It made me feel good. I’m glad that she was able to do that while she was before she left this world. Although I would have been fine if she hadn’t. But it was better that that she had. I understood her whole situation. I just didn’t agree with it. You know, Brandon: 100%. What’s the one message that you want to leave for the world? Dr. Saunders: I would tell them the most important thing in life is to forgive. No matter what anyone has done to you, the most important thing in life is to forgive them, and not hold grudges. Because that will make you sick.

Dr. Saunder’s project: HANNA H.E.L.P.S is an organization that seeks to support those in need.



Almost Grownups 2018 Producer

No Game Like Foxes 2020 Executive Producer

Shooting Heroin 2020 Executive Producer


Cinematic Brilliance Meets Comedy Gold:

The Anthony Bambocci Experience By Brandon Webster In the ever-evolving realm of entertainment, where creativity reigns supreme, Anthony Bambocci stands tall as a dynamic force, seamlessly weaving through the diverse roles of filmmaker, writer, entrepreneur, and surprise—side-splitting comedian. Bambocci’s relentless work ethic knows no bounds, catapulting him into a league of his own, where the sky is merely a starting point for his boundless artistic endeavors. Recent offerings from this polymath include the gripping “Shooting Heroin,” the enigmatic “No Game Like Foxes,” the racing documentary “Dancing with the Devil” and a TV series with an edge, “Almost Grownups,” a sitcom echoing the influence of iconic shows like Seinfeld and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Not content with conquering one medium, Bambocci has a recent book deal from a publisher that delves into the depths of addiction and is currently being shopped to studios as a movie. In an animated discussion about his sitcom series, Bambocci shared, “Something I am trying to capture in this sitcom is that each character gets their own episodic threads, and somehow they all connect at the end. You know, I wanted to recreate that Seinfeldian feel — where all the stories somehow intertwine and give the viewer closure at the end.” Surrounded by friends-turned-employees, living a life of opulence. Yet, amidst the perpetual vacation, a yearning for deeper purpose emerges. Thus unfolds the inaugural season of “Almost Grownups,” a gripping narrative of self-discovery, where every twist introduces a new ensemble of characters. Bambocci’s attention to detail is nothing short of inspirational, breathing life into every frame of his work. But the narrative doesn’t end there—enter the world of laughter with Bambocci’scomedic alter ego in “The Stone Man Live - I’m So Annoyed Comedy Tour.” The maestro has also

See, I’m a learner and I

believe that the more you learn, the more you force yourself outside of your comfort zone, the better you grow as a human. And when you stop learning, you stop living, at least that’s in my view.

graciously shared a sneak peek into several upcoming projects. Working with Spencer Folmar and Dan Roebuck, “Saint Nick of Bethlehem” is a tearjerker Christmas story about love, loss and redemption. Timothy – God’s Son (The Other One) is a dark comedy about what would happen if God sent another son to save the world in the 21st century. As we eagerly await the unveiling of “Saint Nick of Bethlehem,” and “Timothy” one can’t help but marvel at the tapestry Bambocci weaves—a mosaic of passion, humor, and an unwavering commitment to pushing creative boundaries. Prepare to be enchanted as Anthony Bambocci takes center stage, not just as a filmmaker but as a storyteller redefining the very essence of entertainment. The journey has only just begun, and the destination promises to be nothing short of extraordinary.

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in the film industry? Bambocci: I always wanted to be an entertainer, ever since I was like 14 or 15 years old, and I wanted to be a talk show host. So I would go around with a tape recorder and ask questions to everybody in my house. Then one day my dad broke the tape recorder. Both my parents said, listen, it’s a long shot, get a real job and you can come back to this later in life if that’s something you want to pursue. And that’s how my dad ended my talk show career early. Later, I became the CEO of my own tech company, and when you are the CEO, your main job is selling, which means you are always telling stories. The entertainment world is just storytelling through different means – so it wasn’t that far of a leap for me. Could you talk about any challenges that you have run into from past projects or upcoming films that you are currently working on? Bambocci: Yes, ‘Shooting Heroin’ was interesting, probably because it was going to go in a limited theater release. But then, Covid hit, and then it went straight to streaming platforms. The problem with straight to streaming is, you know, even if it’s probably still on Netflix – if the company isn’t behind you marketing it and promoting it, it’s really hard to get noticed when you’re in a library of a million movies.

Anthony Bambocci’s book, Satyromaniac, under his penname, R. J. Covington.


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