Monday, June 6, 2016

Artist Residency in France, Polyamorous Films, and Music Videos!

A photo I took of Wayne Culpepper during our adventure to Max Patch in NC- the weekend I turned 20.
Rabbit Holes

Whirlpools… tornados… blackholes… swish and you’re suddenly sucked into a parallel universe. But somehow your feet are still planted on this very earth. Your body is here but your mind is dancing elsewhere… far away… sorting through the directions to take and choices to make. I know logically that I have many amazing friends. Logically I can spend hours counting up all of them… could list them out by name. Logically I can tell stories about all the fun times I’ve shared with my many friends. But when you’re living in a separate universe, though your body exists on earth, sometimes you forget these things and you find yourself in an isolated world where you have no friends, no stories, no names to point to. No evidence that there’s anyone out there you can talk to. There are times where I swear I could yell out in to the world “I am the most loved girl in the universe” with confidence and no doubts, but as a human being with a brain that likes to frolic into lands of polarity, there are also times where I’m convinced I have no friends to talk to. I’ll start this blog post out as a reminder: remember to show your love to everyone you encounter during the day. The boy who is smiling brightly may be doing that to cover up his deep pain. Be present and soft with people. Reach out. It could be that you listening to that boy helps him get out of his rut. It could prevent him from falling down the rabbit hole. The rabbit hole is no fun. You see, it looks so magical and enticing, so seductive… but once you start falling into it… well, it’s hard to get out. Your vision points one way. Down. You fall, fall, fall. Deeper and darker. Till the life you had above ground is almost gone. You can’t remember what it looks like in the real world. You live in a mindset of obsession and circular thinking. Depression is a weird thing. But just as odd as the rabbit hole is, you may find yourself falling all the way through the bottom, back to the top! Depression starts. And then it stops. Simply put: I’m eating a delicious crepe. (It’s my 2nd crepe today… woohoo). And I’m drinking coffee. And life is okay. I know there is love in my life. I’m above ground, inching away from the hole. There are no crepes and cups of coffee in the rabbit hole. I like it up here much more. Much more indeed. In the rabbit hole when you hug someone you feel nothing because in the rabbit hole nobody else really exists. When people hug you up here it fills you up with the warmest of warmths… like rays of sunshine being produced due to the touching of two souls. I love sincere hugs. 

Artist Residency…
aka: Traveling to Europe… 
aka: Writing First Feature!
Two of my actors with me on the set of Wild Flowers. Yay for hugs.

So I applied for a grant. I was doing some research on artist residencies and I found one called Le Couvent. It’s in France. I found it 2 days before the grant application deadline! So in a fury of passion I got all the materials together, got 2 letters of recommendation made in 12 hours (thank you Lesley Tye and Brad Hoover for your unending support), wrote a 3 page summary of my feature film concept… and bam: I submitted. Weeks later while in Seattle for NFFTY (National Film Festival for Talented Youth where Tree Hugger screened, Really Looking premiered, and Abbey and I had our film Fix You workshopped) I awoke to a magical email stating that I had received their new grant  “The Emerging Artist to Watch” grant. So…. conclusively: at the end of August I fly to Paris where I’ll stay for a week. And then the month of September I’ll be living in a 17th century French convent located in Averyon, France. And guess what? My composer Nicolas Martin (who I’m currently collaborating on our fifth project with) is from AVERYON! Life is magical. Then in October I’ll spend a little over a month traveling via train all over Europe meeting up with my friends… living from couch to couch…. cafe to cafe… who knows what will happen!

By October 1st I will have a feature length screenplay. It’s nice to have firm deadlines for things you’ve been dreaming of for years…. Prepare for: polyamory (obviously), circuses (of course), and magic (yessss). 

If you live in Europe and want to be my tour guide and let me crash on your couch… let me know. My plans are flexible and ready for anything!

Wild Flowers
aka: Filming at a snake den….

First... some screenshots from the film!: 

A week ago I wrapped on shooting my second short film for Massada Eyewear. For this one I got to indulge in my desires…. as the whole film is about desire! Polyamory… waterfalls… paint… what a fun, adventurous weekend. I worked on editing all last week and sent a cut to my composer, Nicolas Martin, yesterday. So excited to hear what he comes up with for this one! This film has no dialogue… which is a first for me. A few crazy stories: 
Actress Liz and director Kira
taking a break to lay in the flowers.

While location scouting Wayne Culpepper (my assistant director / best friend / partner-in-crime / coolest person I’ve ever met) and I found a romantic bamboo forest on the French Broad River. Well, on set I have my actor Taylor sit on a tree that was over the water. Wanna hear something romantic? In between takes Taylor suddenly shouts out “I just saw a snake jump out of a tree!” A couple seconds later: “It’s attacking a fish! It’s eating a fish!” A couple more seconds later: “There’s another one! And another! There are snakes lining the ground!” So a few of my crew people went on a rescue mission to save Taylor from the tree-trap. Bill informs us that the snakes are Water Moccasins….?! So we finally get Taylor off the tree. And here’s the craziest part: a few seconds after rescuing him a Water Moccasin climbs up the tree Taylor was on!! So Wayne and I succeeded at finding an extremely “romantic” location… classic Kira and Wayne accidentally securing a Water Moccasin, poison ivy-infested snake den as a shooting location. Oh so romantic!

So my friend Garrett Meyers is an insanely talented photographer and drone cinematographer. I kept daydreaming about him doing the drone cinematography for the film… but, alas, he’s in Seattle, WA. So I’m in the car with Brad Hoover, my cinematographer, and I am naturally ranting about how I want Garrett to be on the crew. Half jokingly Brad says “why don’t you fly him in?” (You see… that Sunday I cast Taylor via… and I bought him a plane ticket… Taylor would be flying in Thursday, so the plane ticket was purchased only a few days before… now it’s Tuesday and we’re shooting starting Friday). So I smiled and sent Garrett a Facebook message. To make a long story short: the next morning Garrett was in SC and we were shooting some drone shots. The world can be a spontaneous and magical place if you will it. 

Music Videos

So I’m currently working on three music videos! Two are for Ian Ridenhour’s upcoming new album. Ian is seriously a prodigy. He is turning 16 this month. A year ago he was on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. He’s super smart. Super talented. And super sweet! I’m so excited to direct 2 music videos for him. We’ll be shooting at the end of this month / beginning on next month- still determining shoot dates. Then next month I’ll be going to NYC to direct a music video for my amazing friend Rosie Rebel- aka: Typhoid Rosie! We’re making a video for her song Baby I Want You! Rosie is one of my favorite people. We met earlier this year while working together in art department on a feature film. We instantly hit it off and I felt like I had known her my whole life. Love creating art with my friends. 

Releasing Many Films!

I released both Tree Hugger and Really Looking online! Here they are!

Super excited to share with you "Footplant." I co-created this film with Wayne Culpepper for the Huntsville 48 Hour Film Project and we went on to win Best Film along with Best Directing, Best Cinematography, Best Musical Score, Best Sound Design, Best Costumes and Best Choreography. This is the 6th episode in our musical comedy web series Absurducopia! You can find the other episodes on the youtube channel. Enjoy (and subscribe if you'd like to see more musical comedy madness)!

Various Updates
On the alumni panel at the Future of Cinema Film Festival at Interlochen Arts Academy. 
Abbey and I having our film Fix You workshopped at NFFTY in Seattle.

New official logo for All Around Artsy!
I kind of want to leave this creperie / coffee shop before I buy more crepes & coffee… so I’ll keep this short and sweet:
-All Around Artsy finally has an official logo! Check it out!
-Here are two little tunes I recorded recently!:
-Sophie Magazine did an article on my film work and artistic adventures!
The inevitable annual NFFTY cuddle puddle.
-I traveled to Interlochen, MI to my old high school as an alumni speaker and gave a presentation at the Future of Cinema Film Festival. I also went to a gay dance club with my old screenwriting teacher Lesley and my life was suddenly complete in that moment. 
-I held a workshop on experimental filmmaking at the Blue Ridge Young Filmmakers Film Festival and served as a judge.
-I wrote an article for Matador Network about filmmaking:
-Been PAing on Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, a feature film being directed by Martin McDonagh, starring Woody Harrelson, Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Peter Dinklage.
-I officially signed up to compete in the Asheville 48 Hour Film Project June 17th-19th! Prepare for something strange. Naturally. 
-Big Little Filmmaker is under-going some major site mantenience. But in the meantime I’ve been releasing more and more inspiring interviews! Hopefully we’ll resolve some of the issues on the site very soon!
-Edited / did motion graphics on some videos directed by Wayne Culpepper for GrowJourney. 
-I turned 20 last month. Oh my gosh. I’m no longer a teenager. But I still have to leave the country to legally drink. Oh America. 
-Asheville National 10 Minute Play Festival went super well! MountainX publicized it a bit:

Oops. That wasn't too short and sweet. The coffee is pulsing through my veins!!

Film Festival Announcements

-Really Looking was an official selection at MayDay Film Festival and screened in Evansville, IN May 20th-21st. 
Poster for Sleepwalker, one of the plays I directed.
Art by lead actress 13 year old Savannah!
-Tree Hugger, Hello From Malaysia, Hattie, Girly and Demons in Disguise were all official selections of Festival Internacional de Cine y Audiovisual Infantil y Juvenil, FICAIJ taking place in Merida, Venezuela May 22nd-27th. Tree Hugger won for Best Film in the +13 Audio Visual category! 
-Hattie was an official selection and screened at the Take 21 Film Festival taking place in Toronto, Canada on May 27.
-Tree Hugger is an official selection of Ozark Shorts Film Festival. Screening info coming soon.
-Really Looking is an official selection for Cineyouth taking place May 5th-7th in Chicago, Illinois. It will actually be screening on my birthday, May 6th!
-Warm Rush is an official selection for CineAutopsia Bogotá Experimental Film Festival taking place April 20th-24th in Bogotá, Colombia.
-Hello from Malaysia is being screened at the Spring Family Film Night at ASTC (Asia Society Texas Center) taking place April 22nd in Houston, TX. 

In Conclusion...

Running without a destination. Max Patch, NC.

I need to get off this laptop and dance! I'm about to go see Wayne... so I'll see if I can convince him to have a 2-person dance party with me. I'll tempt him by giving him my delicious leftover crepe.

Stay hydrated, my friends. Water or carrot juice will do the trick. Or coffee. Mmmmm.... caffeine. 

Big hugs!


  1. As usual, a wonderful overview of the last few months. Incredible.

  2. Hi Kira! I have really enjoyed reading your blogs and watching your films! You have such an artistic eye and great outlook on life. As an up and coming filmmaker myself, I was wondering if you had any tips you could share!! I was also curious to know what type of camera, lighting, mics, etc you used for some of your films. They are all of such great quality! If you have absolutely any time in your busy schedule, I would love to hear back from you. Thanks in advance!