Sunday, November 30, 2014

Film festival wins and pre-production for Tree Hugger!

Me as a 5 inch tall voice coach genie in the first episode "Big" of my co-directed web series Absurducopia.
Hello readers. So let me preface this with a word of wisdom to you all: this is not information generally given to the public, but an amazing thing has been hidden from us all... that amazing thing is the beverage of carrot juice. I just discovered a few days ago that carrot juice is not only delicious, but is jam packed with Vitamin A. Oh, and in one thing of carrot juice there are 39.5 carrots?! Now that I've shared that with you, let me move on to some news!

The Mini-Film-Fest-Tour

Me accepting my award. So classic of me to be covering my face because my smile is about to fall of my cheeks.

All American High School Film Festival (October 23rd-26th)

So I just went on my first mini-film-fest-tour as I've been calling it. Let me tell you the story of how that all went down... So the night of October 23rd I arrived in NYC for the All American High School Film Festival. I am originally a New Yorker (I was born and raised in Upper Nyack, NY... it's maybe a 45 minute ride away from the city?) so it was lovely to be back. The next day I interviewed for a paid internship at Warrior Poets, the production company of the amazing documentarian Morgan Spurlock. Super cool energy in that building. Hours later I reunited with my best friend, amazing filmmaker, and back-up vocalist Abbey Sacks. I hadn't seen her for 5 or 6 months... and yet that night we sang my original song "Warm Rush" in front of almost a thousand people. Cool story: my first live performance was about a year before with the same song alongside Abbey... it was surreal to go from an on campus talent show to the New York Hilton's Grand Ballroom in front of so many talented people. Here's a 15 second clip of the performance:

On the red carpet at AAHSFF!

The next day 5 of my films were screened (We're Okay, Girly, Hello from Malaysia, & my music videos Warm Rush and Beautiful Creature). That night I was nominated for six Finalist nominations including Best Directing and Best Drama for We're Okay; two nominations for Best Music Video for my films Warm Rush and Beautiful Creature (from my recently debuted CD, Confused Travels); Best Special Effects for Warm Rush; and Best Female Rising Star. So they were about to announce the final award for Best Overall Film... and at this point I whole-heartedly believed that I wasn't going to win because I had already been nominated so many times. So they call up the first 5 nominations... none of them are me. Then they announce the final nomination: they say "We're Okay" by Kira Bursky. I get slight butterflies, but still believe I won't win. But then.... I WON!!! Crazy moment. I went up there in front of more than a thousand people, accepted my award, and then the crowd requested I give a speech! I won $1,000, a new camera, a trip to work on a Relativity Media set for a week, lots of softwares, and some other things. So that was that. All high school filmmakers should enter this festival. It is one of the fanciest, most exciting festivals I've had the pleasure to attend. Plus everyone is so supportive and kind.

Mosaic Film Experience Film Festival (November 7th-8th)

Standing next to my talented best friend Abbey Sacks!
Two weeks later November 7-8th I arrived at the Mosaic Film Experience Film Festival in Grand Rapids, MI. The year before my film Girly had one 1st place. This year they paid for me to travel up to the festival to be a guest speaker! And to make life even more amazing, Abbey Sacks came to the festival as well! So we got to reunite again. AND the head of my film program back at Interlochen, Michael Mittelstaedt, decided to make a trip to the festival to support us. I hadn't seen him for more than 6 months since graduation. So they both supported me as I gave my presentation on my work since making Girly. I showed Girly as well as 4 other films (Hello From Malaysia, Warm Rush, Demons in Disguise, and Halfway). I talked about how with each film I learned so many things and I really tried to emphasize how all young filmmakers should not feel afraid.... you just need to go for it! There is no such thing as "failing." All of these "failures" should really be thought of as AWESOME LESSONS! The glass is half full, folks. So side note: this year my film We're Okay was in the competition- but I assumed since I had won last year that there was no way I could win again. So the next day, sure enough, We're Okay won first place!! So I won $1,000 again! AND Abbey won this Made-in-Michigan award plus 3rd place! So we both celebrated by stuffing ourselves with soup from the soup place across the street. It was a glorious occasion of smiles and friendly familiar faces (of whom I had met one year prior).

Cucalorus Film Festival (November 12th-16th)

Why are we all unicorns? Well the woman on the righthand side is named Leah Meyerhoff. She directed a fantastic feature film called "I Believe in Unicorns." I had the pleasure and honor of meeting her- she is truly inspirational!
Three days later November 12th to 16th I was at the craziest (in the best way imaginable) festival ever: Cucalorus Film Festival. So the past two years Filmmaker Magazine has named Cucalorus one of the Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World! Instead of focusing on prizes, they focus on making the experience for the filmmakers A-mazing. There are parties, events, and screenings non-stop. So they paid for my airfare and accommodations, making this trip like a retreat! I seriously met so many unique individuals and really felt like I had a chance to truly bond with them. Cool story: one night I was "baptized" in a tub of ice water. The guy who "baptized" me is Jewish. I am Jewish. And this ritual was in order to awaken me. It was 3 in the morning. What followed this was dancing and sharing ridiculous old films we had made long ago... what a beautiful night that was. I'm addicted to the vibe of this festival. It is definitely a goal of mine to get back to this fest. It is something I do not want to miss.

Tree Hugger... Kickstarter and updates!

So I'm currently in pre-production for my short dark fantasy film Tree Hugger. Before I say anything more about this project, here is the link to the Kickstarter where any contributions are more appreciated than you know:

If you are inspired by this project and are interested in helping me bring this film to life, please feel free to help me in spreading this Kickstarter around. 

I'm currently in the midst of rewrites for the script as I have discovered that this topic is very hard to write about. But, alas, I am drawn towards things that are hard to express because I feel like that will help stretch me as a person and has the greatest chance at stretching and touching my future audience. Vulnerability + honesty = a more truthful film. I value truth. So if you are reading this and you happen to be or know someone who has dealt with sexual assault or abusive relationships, I am currently looking for individuals who can relate to this topic to read my screenplay and let me know if the screenplay is doing a justice to your experience and mindset of these topics. Feel free to contact me if you are interested or know of someone who is interested in giving me feedback. 

I'm scheduling meetings and rehearsals with my cast and crew. I have a really awesome group of people I'm working with. I love how each time I make a film my crew and cast quickly start to feel like a family. I'm also currently in the process of location scouting. Trying to find a magical woods has proven to be slightly harder than I had imagined... but I have not lost faith! 


Since my last post, Wayne and I have created three more Absurducopia episodes! For those of you who do not know, Wayne Culpepper and I have a co-directed, co-starring musical comedy web series! Big was accepted to TOFF The Online Film Festival (November edition) and Novella Showcase which is a TV Station in Lansing, MI and Jackson, MI. Halfway was also accepted to the Novella Showcase and additionally was selected for the Colchester International 60 Hour Film Challenge Top 10 which screened in the UK, October 26th, 2014. Here are the most recent three episodes: 

Episode 3: Halfway - dissatisfied with their life, a couple orders a guru in a box. Unfortunately, he is not the guru they expect him to be.


Episode 4: The Antidote - a scientist tries to convince the world of a zombie epidemic on a live talk show, but soon discovers that he doesn't have as much power as he thinks.

Episode 5: Use That Talent - the owners of a "famous" cat try to make a new hit video, but the cat has decided to pursue her own dreams...

Various Film Festival Acceptances and Updates!

Girly has been accepted to the Grace Film Festival 2015. The film festival takes place April 23rd-25th in San Francisco, CA. Girly was also accepted to Embarras Valley Film Festival and screened November 6, 2014, at 7:00 in Doudna Fine Arts Lecture Hall in Charleston, Illinois.

Hello From Malaysia took 2nd place for the High School Narrative category at the The MY HERO Project International Film Festival! The film fest takes place November 22nd in Santa Monica, CA #MYHEROIFF14

We're Okay had a screening in St. Louis, Missouri November 26th. October 21st at 8:00pm there was a local screening of my film We're Okay at the Bebe Theater in Asheville, NC. We're Okay took second place in the student category at Highway 61 Film Festival (Pine City, MN)! 

Bye Bye Lullaby and Hello From Malaysia (ha, Bye Bye and Hello....) screened at the Citizen Jane Film Festival November 7th to 9th in Columbia, Missouri. This film festival is awesome- their mission is to empower women filmmakers! High five to all kinds of filmmakers of all different backgrounds, ages, genders, orientations, races, perspectives and all that jazz! The more stories the merrier.

Warm Rush was National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY)'s Film of the Week- sponsored by Volvo. Also, Warm Rush was accepted in the Music Malt Online Fest (October 18th, online). Warm Rush was named a semifinalist at the Highway 61 Film Festival (Pine City, MN).

October 13th I was interviewed about my movies and music on Living Well on Asheville Free Media ( from 12-1PMEST. The podcast should also be available on the website

I've been doing some freelance work. Here's a BTS video of a 9 day photoshoot that I edited together for FishEye Studios. I also have been photo assisting for them on various shoots.

I additionally made a music video for music artist Jonathan Brown. Here's the video:


So I better go back to working on Tree Hugger related things! Oh, and tonight at 3 in the morning I'm helping a good friend of mine film something.... the things you do for filmmaking! Goodness! Ha.

Thanks for reading. Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of pies, pies, and more pies. Remember: stay hydrated! 


Friday, September 19, 2014

Starting a web series! Touring acting job! Film festivals!

So since my last post I've completed 3 film projects: Demons in Disguise (shown above), a children's dark comedy, plus the first two episodes of my new co-directed, co-starring, musical comedy series called Absurducopia. Wayne Culpepper and I both have many random musical comedy ideas and are both interested in acting- so the logical conclusion was to start our own web series. Additionally, lately I've been experimenting with making electronic music, so I have a lot of new tracks that need vocals... or better yet, I have a lot of tracks that want to be in some movies! Ha. We are about to start shooting the third episode starting tomorrow. This episode involves zombies. Of course. Well, it involves tubing-zombies floating down the French Broad River in Asheville... Before I give too much away, here is the first episode (originally made for the Charlotte 48 Hour Film Fest a few months ago).

Episode 1- Big: Chris tries to find his voice with a little help from Indigo the voice coach genie... but Indigo has big plans of her own.

Episode 2- ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Fail - The Musical: In the second episode Wayne gets nominated to do the ALS ice bucket challenge, amps it up by locking himself in a vat of ice at the gas station, and, well, has an epic fail: he dies.

If you're interested in seeing more and want to show us your support of Absurducopia, feel free to subscribe to our channel on Youtube!

My caterpillar costume!

So I got the coolest job ever: I am acting for Brightstar Touring Theater. I am touring all over the U.S. doing two 45 minute anti-bullying shows for children. So far I've had shows in NC, MI, KY, NJ, and PA. October 1st I go to OH for some more shows! It's been a great experience and has really stretched me. I did not know I had the capacity to memorize as much as I did as quickly as I had too! Normally I would assume that that sort of thing would be impossible for me, but I proved myself wrong. And although the process was very difficult, it has been such a rewarding experience spreading the anti-bullying message. I have been bullied and I know many children have been as well. It's important they know how to protect themselves and that they do not need to accept mistreatment.

Film Festival Travels:

I am going to be traveling to three festivals starting at the end of October. October 24th-26th I will be at the All American High School Film Festival in NYC where 5 of my films will be shown and I will be performing my song Warm Rush live at the opening night party. My best friend Abbey Sacks also got two films into the festival and is actually my backup vocalist for Warm Rush. As of a few days ago we are officially going to be staying together in NYC and performing together! I haven't seen her since graduation so it will be a fun reunion. After this fest I will be traveling to Grand Rapids, MI for the Mosaic Film Experience Film Festival around November 7th and 8th. I won 1st place at the film fest last year with my film Girly and they have asked me to be a guest speaker at the fest. They are paying for my travel & accommodations! I feel like I'm living the dream. And then November 12th-16th I will be in Wilmington, NC for the Cucalorus Film Festival where We're Okay will be screening. They are paying for my plane ticket, accommodations, and food! Again: I feel like I am living the dream. I am in awe! So happy.

Film Festival Acceptances and Various Updates:

"We're Okay", "Girly", "Hello From Malaysia", "Beautiful Creature" and "Warm Rush" are Official Selections for the 2014 All-American High School Film Festival! The festival takes place October 24­27th at the AMC Empire Theaters in New York City's Times Square.

Warm Rush is an official selection at the Grenada Afterglow Film Festival in Grenada, MS October 18th.

We're Okay and Warm Rush are official selections for the Highway 61 Film Festival in Pine City, MN, October 3rd-5th.

Hello From Malaysia has been accepted to the 2014 Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF). It is the largest annual festival of films for children ages 2-18 in the world. Hello from Malaysia has also been accepted to Guam International Film Festival (Guam, September 23rd-28th) and The International Children’s Television Festival “Dytiatko” (Kharkiv, Ukraine, September 24th-27th)!

We're Okay has been chosen as an early selection for the 20th annual Cucalorus Film Festival, November 12-16 in Wilmington, NC.

What Are You? has been accepted into Cine Probe 2015, May 5-7 in La Paz, Mexico

“Big” won for Best Special Effects after being screened to a nearly sold out audience of 650 people at the Charlotte 48 Hour Film Project Premiere.

Here is an interview Dan Thornton did with me about "Big" and "Demons in Disguise."

I have decided to start writing one of my feature ideas. Everyday my craving to make my first feature film grows stronger and stronger. Additionally I have a short film that I would like to shoot in the next 2 months. It has to do with the messed up romance between a girl... and a tree. I'll leave it at that!

I am thinking about going to a Buddhist retreat in upstate NY sometime in December for 1 week and then traveling to NYC to do some film work. We will see if I can solidify these plans!

Until then: everybody remember to stay hydrated! Woo hoo!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Summer Days

My best friend Miles Carey and I sitting on a dock in Mackinac Island.
I'm sitting in an awesome coffee shop called Spill the Beans in Greenville, SC. I'm drinking some hazelnut coffee and I'm thinking about what all of my friends may be up to. I just graduated a boarding school, and well, all of my friends are from all over the world. It's strange to think that we are all existing at the same time, but none of us are experiencing things together any longer. It's also strange not knowing if and when I'll reunite with these folk of my past. How can you love someone thousands of miles away? A text message doesn't suffice. A letter? A phone call? There is nothing comparable to simultaneously experiencing the world. It's lonesome these days without the company of my tight knit group of pals. I took them for granted at times and didn't even realize how tight we were until I no longer had them. But I guess that's life. I just wish I could experience the essence of vibrant friendship in these days of summer. It's a feeling of magic that most movies can't even capture. Being around people you love and people who appreciate the brilliance of the moment opens up for a world of much more ebullience, warmth, and vigor. It's sometimes hard to find that enchanting reality from within yourself, by yourself.

My best friend Abbey Sacks and I on the night of Halloween.

My best friend (and insanely talented singer-songwriter of The Accidentals) and I at the end of a school day.
My fantastic roommate Ivy Carpenter and I waiting for the train...

One extremely fantastic group of people that I did have the chance to be with recently was my team for the 48 Hour Film Festival.  This group of individuals is composed of best friends I've had for a while, as well as new friends who I've just recently met. This year I picked out of the hat "Dark Comedy" so I wrote a script about a polygamist goat farmer, his wives who are competing for his love, and their one young daughter who has run away from home to become a gym instructor. Here's the film!:

The main thing I'm up to right now is pre-production for a short children's film that I'm shooting next weekend (July 26th and 27th). A teenage girl's mother says she can't have a sleepover with her friend, so she decides to seek revenge by putting pee in her mother's coffee. Yummy story, right?! My D.P. and I have been putting together storyboards and in the next few days my A.D./Producer, my D.P. and I will be putting together a schedule. 
Brad Hoover, my D.P., poses as one of the characters in the top picture while we work on storyboards.
Other Various Updates

Girly has been accepted to and was screened at the 2014 Princeton Student Film & Video Festival July 16th and 17th.

July 10th Bye Bye Lullaby and Warm Rush were screened at the Josiah Media Festival in San Antonio, TX where Warm Rush actually took 2nd Place in the Experimental Category. I skyped in July 12th for the awards ceremony where they interviewed all of the winners. 

Went on a road trip to Texas. Went to my first dance club. Tried real cajun food in Louisiana. Made music. Listened to music. Fun times!

I wrote my first 1-minute screenplay. It's called The Cycle of Sneezes. Of all things I've ever written, this seems like the easiest to pull off... I mean, it's only one page! Logline: Did you know that every time you sneeze someone's thinking about you?

I wrote a screenplay about a transgender child. I really hope to shoot this sometime soon. Logline: A little boy struggles with his identity as he finds himself attracted to both the popular boy at his school and girls clothing.

I've been working on scoring some music for an upcoming film of my friend Rachel Lin. I met her at NFFTY in Seattle this past year and she actually won the New Talent Award. She is such an awesome gal. Check out her film Iceberg which was screened at NFFTY:


Well I'm off to plotting out some crazy plans for the near future.
Have a lovely day, and always: stay hydrated!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Real Life Begins

High School Graduate: Gap Year Begins

This past year has been an uphill battle in terms of living a balanced and healthy lifestyle. I overcrowded my plate, lost touch with my social life, and crammed in every possible project I could. There were undoubtedly oh so many rewarding moments (some of the best of my whole entire life thus far), but overall I learned a valuable lesson: one's mental state is more important than a project! There were points during the year where I didn't know if this extreme stress and anxiety was worth it, but I am happy to say that I've learned that this "extreme stress and anxiety" is not innate within the nature of what I choose to do with my time, but rather, is a self-created, self-imposed, controllable spoonful of poison. I reject that poison. Instead I will eat chocolate and drink tea.

"We're Okay" Premiered and Released

I graduated from high school a little over 2 weeks ago, and these past 2 weeks have been the most balanced 2 weeks I've had in the past 2 years. I know that's a bold statement, but I honest to goodness feel like a twisted weight has been lifted from my back and from my eyes. Did that metaphor make sense? Who knows. Ha. Well, I finished and premiered my senior thesis film "We're Okay." It deals with teen depression, sexuality, and warped body image. I am here to vouch that as a teenager the high school years can be extremely tough. We are in a society that unfortunately bites at the confidence of everyone in one way or another. The characteristics and ideals our culture values comes in opposition with the reality and truth of what it means to be a human. There is no blanketing checklist that can identify and define every person. The beauty of being here on earth lies in the fact that it is in our great and mighty multitude that we find diverse personalities and real individuals. Before I continue to rant, here is We're Okay. I hope you enjoy!:

We're Okay has already been accepted to two festivals: Mass Hysteria (Live Stream Event, June 6th 2014) and The Serile Filmului Gay Film Fest (Cluj-Napoca, Romania, November 10th-16th 2014). Can't believe I have a film that's gonna be screened in Romania?! Who would've guessed! Ha.

48 Hour Film Fest

Most of my team at the 48 Hour Film awards last year after winning Best Cinematography. We were pretty happy.
So for the 5th year in a row I will be competing in the 48 Hour Film Fest. I made a promise to myself the first year I competed (and bear in mind I was only 14 years old!) that I would compete until my team won best film. Over the course of 4 years my team has won Best Director, Best Actress, Best Makeup, Best Sound Design, and Best Cinematography. I hope to win Best Film within the next 10 years.... cross your fingers for us, ha! But in all seriousness: I actually do this competition not for the awards, but really to reunite with my crew. They have become my family and this competition becomes a time for us to join back together and create something. Most of these people I do not get to see anytime during the year, so it truly is a once a year reunion.
Team All Around Artsy does crazy things.
Wayne, producer and gaffer, did indeed fall into the waterfall.
Wayne Culpepper (my producer and gaffer) has been helping me to secure locations, additional crew, and equipment. I don't want to give anything away, but we've secured something that I have only dreamed of having the privilege to use sometime in my life. The thing we have secured... well, never in a million years did I think I would have the chance to work with one at this time in my life! I hope I've stricken your curiosity. Mwahaha. You'll just have to wait and see! The competition is June 20th-22nd. Thusly, the film will be released online a few weeks later.

Wish my team luck on the 48 Hour Film! If you're interested in seeing what my team has done the previous years, here is the one we did last year:

Other Projects

As always I am working on a ton of projects. I'll try to summarize each project in a couple of sentences:

I've always dreamed of seeing the mysterious Blue Ghost Firefly that only appears for 2 weeks in the summer in certain areas of the South. So I made a short doc of my friend Wayne (who is a professional photographer) capturing the blue fireflies on camera, along with doing a light-painting photo shoot of Miss Whimsy (that's me) in the woods. Currently in post.

I was planning on making a short doc on No Kill Nation, an organization that is trying to stop the use of euthanasia within dog shelters, but after getting in contact with a local animal rights group I just got hired to shoot a doc for them. More info to come.

I am making my own doc on these 8 year old twin "brothers" but one of them identifies as a girl already. Having a meeting with the mother tomorrow. Very excited about this one. Gender identity is one of my favorite topics.

My best friend and greatest mentor Brad (he was my first film teacher and taught me oh so much!) wrote a short story that we are adapting into a short (possibly animated) film.

I wrote a short about a coffee-addicted insomniac who ventures to a stargazing field in the hopes of escaping coffee, only to stumble upon and fall in love with a sleeping narcoleptic boy. I applied for a large grant. Wish me luck. If I don't get it, I'm still gonna make the film. Nothing will stop me. Mwahaha.

I just started taking hammer dulcimer lessons. This is random, but I recorded a composition using my dulcimer, melodica, guitar, and vocals, and it's my favorite composition I've ever made. I will probably be putting it into an upcoming film.

I've been in contact with so many different and amazing individuals in terms of internships and jobs. I never thought I would be granted so many oppurtunies and options. I have no fear going into this gap year (*note that this gap year is possibly eternal) because I have an abundance of inspirational oppurtunities!

This past November my film Girly won The Mosaic Film Experience film fest in Grand Rapids, MI. Well, a few weeks ago they got in contact with me and have offered me a job! They are going to pay me to fly out to the fest in November and be a guest speaker. This is a dream come true.

Directing Reel

I cut together my first directing reel which features clips from over 10 projects of mine! Here it is!

Well, there are probably a lot of things I'm forgetting to mention, but, oh well. I'm gonna get back to work. So many random things to do! I love it! By the way, I'm in a coffee shop right now. What a suprise, right? At this point I think it's safe to stay I spend half of my life in coffee shops. Rather than being a coffee connoisseur, could I call myself a coffee shop connoisseur? Ha.

Love you all! Feel free to comment or email me any questions! Have a lovely day, and remember: stay hydrated!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Last two weeks of High School!

Firstly: Hey I turned 18 a few days ago! I'm an adult! So strange! So lovely!
Some of my friends and green-me on the day of my birthday!
Being green on the day I turned 18 was never part of the plan!

Secondly: I'm sitting at my favorite coffee shop in Traverse City: Brew. My nickname is Bru Bru (my last name is Bursky, which got shortened to Bur, then Bru). Why did I tell you my nickname? I don't quite frankly know... None-the-less: I graduate from high school in 13 days.

Current thoughts: I am extremely excited to pursue my "gap year." I've been reconsidering what I'm going to do with my time. The first thing I've reconsidered: I do not want to make a definitive plan. Thusly, I am no longer set on making my first feature film (and believe me, reconsidering this was a heart-wrenching process, but in the end seemed more than logical). Why? Well, my whole life has been schedule-based. I want to retrain my mind and way of life. I want to be more flexible and more able to live in the moment. The only way for me to do this is to stop planning out every minute. But: I do have some plans. The two big ones: In June I'm competing in the Asheville 48 Hour Film Project for the 5th year in row. So happy to reunite with my familew (family + crew = familew). The other plan: I am gonna move to LA for a bit. Maybe it'll be just a month, maybe it'll be for years. Who knows! I just want to experience new things and work on films and meet people in a big city. I'm from New York, but it's time to try out the West coast!

I'm looking for jobs / internships and a place to stay in LA. I'd like to move on out there in the next few months- probably sometime after August. Let me know if you're looking for a roommate... or know of a job! I'm honestly pumped to help out on anything and everything!

Other current thoughts: I am frightened. I am about to step out into the real world. And if / when I go to LA I am afraid of being alone. BUT: I know that I will meet new people and make new friends! I love people!

In other news: I just released a new music video for my song Beautiful Creature:

I also was sponsored to travel to the most amazing film festival ever and I made a VLOG of my trip:

Gosh I just need to reiterate: going to NFFTY was life changing. The experience and the way life felt while being there was so unique. Everything was so exhilarating and wonderful and I met so many fantastic individuals. My music video for Warm Rush was accepted and screened at the fest. I really hope I am fortunate enough to be accepted into the festival next year. I would do anything to go again and to reunite with these brilliantly wonderful people.

We're Okay Updates

So We're Okay premieres Friday! That's less than a week! I have been busily working on finishing up animation and editing. I am getting closer and closer, but wow oh wow! I'm nervous! And excited! And busy! I do wish I had more time, but hey, deadlines allow me to see better creative alternatives. So that's good I guess!

Various Festival Updates

"Girly" won Best U.S. Narrative and "What Are You?" won Best U.S. Animation at The Lovett School High School Film Fest. 

"Hello from Malaysia" has been selected as one of the top three entries for the "Theme" category and "Warm Rush" has been selected as one of the top three entries for the "Music Video" category at the Cresskill High School Film Festival in Cresskill, NJ May 22nd.

Girly was accepted to the West Chester Film Festival in West Chester, PA and screened April 25-27!

Random Updates

I've also been busily editing my best friend Miles' capstone film "Border Woods." For more information on this film, check out his recently successful Kickstarter project:

I've also decided to document the last 20 days till graduation by drawing one hand a day. Once I'm done with that I'll turn it into a collage and post it on here. It's been fun. And if you didn't already know, I'm utterly obsessed with drawing hands and I have been since I was 12 or so years old. 

A few days ago I started shooting a music video for my song West Wind. My best friend Abbey did face paint for me.


Well I'm hungry. I'm gonna go get sushi or Middle Eastern food. Sushi vs. falafel? This is the strife that a foodie must face each day. Oh, dear life, please bless me with the ability to be decisive when it comes to choosing food! I JUST LOVE ALL FOOD SO MUCH. Food = life. Life = food? My logic is broken. Why? Because I am hungry. But that was logical.


Wish me luck with finishing up We're Okay! 


Monday, March 3, 2014

Trip to the White House + Finished Filming "We're Okay"

It seems as though I was at the White House 2 days ago...

So in my last blog post I quickly mentioned that I was planning on making a film for the first ever White House Student Film Festival. So, I did. And out of the 2,500+ entries, I was named one of the 16 finalists! I was invited to the White House, along with the lead of my film, Aiman Marzio, and my mother.

Here was my entry "Hello From Malaysia":

When there I got to meet Obama (!!), Bill Nye the Science Guy, Neil Degrasse Tyson, and Kal Penn!
There is a photo album on my All Around Artsy facebook page with all of the pictures during the trip:

I told Bill Nye that I wasn't good at taking selfies. So he grabbed my iPhone and was like "let me teach you how!"

Here is my first ever VLOG. With the help of my lovely iPhone I basically recorded our whole adventure and edited it into this video:

So yes! That was a very surreal and unexpected adventure.

White House Film Fest Article Mentions 
Here are some articles that I've found thus far that I'm mentioned in!:

President Obama to Host First-Ever White House Film Festival

Seventeen-year-old Kira Bursky from Asheville, North Carolina has been making films since she was only 10. Her film chronicles a fictional girl, Aiman, who, after being sent to boarding school in the United States, uses technology both to maintain a connection with her family back home in Malaysia and also to share her culture and build connections with her new classmates.


"Student Filmmaker heads to D.C."

One local student filmmaker was invited to Washington D.C. to show her short film at the White House.  Kira Bursky is one of only sixteen students from across the country selected to show at the White House Student Film Festival on Friday, February 28th. The theme for the festival was the role technology plays in the classroom. Bursky's film Hello From Malaysia follows a student who just moved to the U.S. from Malaysia, and finds it challenging to adjust to cultural differences. 

Bursky is a student at Interlochen Academy of the Arts. She was the first place winner at the 2013 Mosaic Film Festival in Grand Rapids back in November.


"Students Are Stars at White House Film Festival"

I love "Hello From Malaysia" because it shows how technology can bridge cultural gaps


"Future Wes Andersons talk movies, tech at the White House"

A 17-year-old student from Asheville, N.C., Kira Bursky, made a video about how a fictional foreign-exchange student could stay connected to home (via Skype, of course), and tell classmates about her home in Malaysia (via iPhone, of course).


"We're Okay" Film Updates

In other news: For my senior thesis film "We're Okay" I decided to have a Kickstarter and raise $1,500. Within the first 3 days I got to my goal. By the end of the fundraiser I raised $2,000. I'm still in awe of the generosity I received. I finished the live action portion of the shoot after 3 shoot days.

Here is the trailer for the film:

I am currently in post-production for the film and pre-production for the animated portions of the film. I plan on going into production of the animation after I get back from my Spring Break. In the next few days I will be meeting with my art department to discuss our plans for building the miniature vintage found-object circus world. Should be fun.

Film Fest Updates

My film Bye Bye Lullaby was accepted to and will be screened at its first film festival at the Portland Oregon Women's Film Festival, which will be held from March 6-9, 2014.

Girly will be presented at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival on Sunday, March 9, 2014 in San Luis Obispo, California as part of the "Filmmakers of Tomorrow Showcase".

Other Updates

So Young Arts (the competition I was a finalist in and got to go to Miami for a week for) is the one and only route to becoming a presidential scholar in the arts. I was nominated as one of the 60  candidates to becoming a presidential scholar in the arts. I completed my essays last week and will be crossing my fingers. In the event I am selected as one of the 20 presidential scholars, I will be going back to the White House this summer! That would be pretty nifty!

On February 12, 2014, named We're Okay as the Indie Fundraiser Pick of the Week. We're Okay was listed along with ScreenCrave's list of the best new indie trailers for soon to be released films including The Double with Jesse Eisenberg, Under the Skin starring Scarlett Johansson, and The Two Faces of January with Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst.

Dan Thornton at GigSpotting Network wrote a brief article on January 29 about We're Okay.

I will be DPing another thesis film in around a month. Additionally I have plans to try and shoot a music video for one of my songs. Right now I'm leaning towards the song "Beautiful Creature." If you haven't heard my music yet, my album is on iTunes. My band name is Miss Whimsy. Check it out! (And if you don't want to pay to listen to my music, it's also on Spotify!)

...gooooodness I am a sleepy. Yet at the same time I wouldn't mind having a one person dance party. Sleep or dance? Hmmm... I think I'll just have some tea!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Busier than ever! Updates galore.

"It's just so smooth and nutty," she says with a glint of love in her eyes.
"...and the smell just enhances it!" I respond.

I just took a sip of coconut oolong tea- I thank my lovely roommate Ivy for that! For those of you who do not know, both coconut and tea are two of my most beloved things. Anyhow: Let me preface this blog entry with the following: the past four months have been the busiest, most stressful, and most rewarding months of my life and I will never live my life like this ever again. What a great learning experience! I learned the word "no" and finally learned the importance behind the concept of "limiting oneself." Let's just say that I said yes to all projects and did not what so ever limit myself. In the past three months so much has happened.

The album art for my recently released album "Confused Travels."
So, my album that I began just four months ago is now complete and released! "Confused Travels" features 12 original songs and is available through iTunes, Spotify, and from, well, me!  My friend Keara Dooly did the album cover art and I am so happy with what she created. I've been interviewed twice about my music (check them out here and here) and have been posting live performance vids and track previews on youtube (which you can see here). I additionally created a stop motion animated music video for my track Warm Rush:

To stay updated on Miss Whimsy (that's my music name!) you should probably like the Miss Whimsy Facebook page: - Additionally in the next few days I will be releasing a website for Miss Whimsy! Also, a local radio station emailed me asking me to preform live on the radio... I thought about it and was filled with the polarities of both fear and glee. I've decided to respond: why yes, I can do it! -- This is a big step for me!

Also, for Hanukkah I got a couple of new instruments, so as usual, I was super inspired and made some rough (and please note *unfinished*) test songs experimenting with them:

Test song using hammer dulcimer (note that I plucked it instead of hit it... oh Kira Bursky):

Test song using melodica (a melodica is basically a piano you blow into! Cool, right?!):

Test song using natural reverb in a stairwell (not a new instrument, but oh well.):

Now for the film side of my life: My film Girly won first place at the Mosaic Film Experience Film Festival in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They actually paid for me to take a bus to get there, so I got to go. It was fun being interviewed, meeting many cool people (I was staying with two animators actually!), and seeing my film on the big screen. Seeing my movies in theaters is always such a fulfilling feel.... gosh darn I love it so! 1st place received $1000. Seems like a lot, but... it's all already gone. It was put towards the album! Wow, right?! But, hey, at least it was recycled towards another artistic endeavor of mine.

All of the cinematic arts finalists and panelist teachers. Boy I miss them.
Just last wednesday Girly was screened in front of a sold out crowd of 700+ people, plus it was live webcasted. This was a part of a big arts competition called "Young Arts." Just a few months ago I received a phone call saying that I was one of the 7 film finalists in the U.S. When I heard this my stomach dropped, I mentally fainted, and then I proceeded to have a one-person dance party with myself. They paid for me to fly out and stay in a hotel in Miami. There I met 171 of the most talented and driven young artists of the U.S. The arts categories ranged from anything from visual arts to theater. The panelist teachers and the other finalists for cinematic arts were so amazing. Each one of them was so knowledgable, passionate, and lovable. Some of the bonds and friendships I formed will last forever. I know that it was only a week long, but I connected up to certain people more deeply than I have ever connected up to anyone else before. I know that sounds crazy, but hey, passionate people connect to passionate people. I cried so much when I parted ways. Now as I sit here I am filled with a sweet sense of melancholy. Time has a funny way of causing our appreciation for things to grow.

(Left Picture: That's Eden. She is an amazing jazz singer. In a week we became super close best friends. So grateful to of met this lovely soul; Right Picture: That's Ted. He was one of my panelist teachers. He is an animator for Dreamworks, and before that worked for Disney. He worked on the Lion King- crazy, right?! Meeting him and working with him was one of the most inspiring things of my life. Wish I had more time to learn from him. Already miss him.)

All of the cinematic arts finalists on stage alongside the dancers in front of the crowd of 700+ people!
Feature film... yes, yes, yes. I will indeed be taking a gap year next year to make my first feature film. I was struggling for the past few months with pinpointing what theme I wanted to focus on. I was juggling a few possibilities. One possibility was focusing on a film about accepting love and allowing yourself to feel it. Another possibility was making the film metaphorical for child abuse. The possibilities went on and on. Finally one stuck with me: a film about female empowerment and defeating gender norms (specifically the idea of "boys don't cry.") I have a complete first draft treatment. It's a children's fantasy adventure film. When I get a little bit further along with the treatments I'll release more details...

And now for the main endeavor of my current moment of existence: my capstone film. By tonight I will have another draft for the screenplay of my film "We're Okay." The film is about the way people perceive you versus the way you are actually feeling. Everyone thinks Delilah is really happy, but truth be told, she is not. On her 18th birthday she decides to kill herself, but this attempt causes her body to shut down and send her into the world of her mind. This world is a stop motion animated circus world of found objects. In her mind she discovers why she is feeling the way she is... BUT: you will only find this out once you watch the film which will be completed and released at the end of May or beginning of June. I begin production on February 1st, so I have around 3 weeks left of pre-production. I have a lot to do, but I'm excited.

I have a few other projects in the works (a short animation collaboration with two of my best friends, a short film for the White House's first high school film competition, facilitating the creation of a mural on my campus as student senate class president, etc!)  Busy as usual, but it's finally the right level of business. I'm enjoying myself. Especially my new stash of dried fruit. Oh how those freeze dried strawberries make me feel so good....

Cheers! And stay hydrated!