Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Here I Come Paris!


Dear Mister Miss Magical Mystery Mortal who is reading my blog: 

TimTv breathing fire for the Monsters music video.
In less than 48 hours I will be on a plane headed to Paris. A year or two ago I told someone “I am going to write my first feature somewhere in Europe… somewhere magical.” I said this without any idea of how this would come to be. But subconsciously all along I believed that this would happen. Since I was a young little one till now, I’ve always believed whole-heartedly in big dreams, far-fetched goals, uncommon ideas or paths… and so many magical things have come to fruition because of this unquestioned, impassioned believing. There is a power in being open to the world and declaring what it is you hope for- where it is you’d like to go. Only then can the universe work it’s strange gears on your behalf. If you stare at a chocolate bar in a chocolate shop, the shopkeeper won’t just hand it to you- you gotta tell her “I’d like that chocolate bar.” Then the transaction can occur- and presto- you’ll walk away a happy creature. Maybe that analogy wasn’t the best, but, hey, chocolate is always the best. All I’m saying is don’t be silent about your dreams. And don’t be “still” about your dreams. Get into motion. Take steps. Be passionately vocal about who it is you are. Everything around you will begin to align to who you are and dream to be.

A screenshot from Dancing Children, a music video I directed for Ian Ridenhour.
I’d like to blog while I’m in Europe. But I can’t make any promises. I want to be present to the adventures and not miss out on the moment! So we’ll see. I’ll be scouting coffee shops and chocolate shops to blog in… Guess who I’ll be reuniting with the moment I arrive to Paris? Sojourner Ahebee! Aka: one of the coolest chicks on this planet! When I went to Interlochen I was class president of the student senate my senior year— Sojo was my V.P.! She was my Michelle and I was her Barack. Time for a throwback for some backstory: 

I’ll be staying with her for a bit while I’m in Paris! We potentially will be collaborating on a poetry-film project. I’ve never been to Paris so I look forward to exploring the magical city for a week! I’ll also be saying hello to friends I had met at Cannes Film Festival in 2015. Many glasses of wine to be shared soon! Then September 2nd I hop on the train and head to where I’ll be living for the month of September: Auzits, France at Le Couvent artist residency! From what I gathered there will be 3 other artists living there in September - a filmmaker from Argentina, a singer from the U.S., and a dancer from… I’m not sure where yet! During the month we will all be working on our own individual projects- mine being writing my feature film! 

Then September 30th I get back on the train and head back to Paris. From Paris…. anything is possible. I will spend all of October traveling to who knows where, doing who knows what, meeting up with who knows who. I’ve submitted some of my most recent projects into some European film festivals that take place in October… so if I get into to any of those I’ll be going! My European trip ends back in Paris in the beginning of November… and guess what? We’re Okay and Hattie got into the Cineffable Paris Lesbian & Feminist Film Festival which is taking place October 28th to November 1st…. so I’ll be attending! What a fun way to end the trip! Then November 4th I’ll fly to Miami where I’ll be premiering a film for YoungArts…. 

YoungArts Transformation Film Project

Various fun moments through the YoungArts Transformation Film Project shoot.

The team getting everything ready in pre-pro... securing locations, casting extras, finalizing script...!
Art director Zack & director Kira admiring the balloons.

I applied for an alumni opportunity through YoungArts (an absolutely incredible organization that supports young artists… if you are in high school: APPLY! Please.) probably 6 months ago. They were looking for 5 filmmakers as well as other artists to produce them short films based off of the topic of transformation. Out of more than 125 applications I was selected as 1 of 15 alumni artists to be creating 1 of the 5 films. I was partnered up with two extraordinary artists: Tatev, a composer-singer from Brooklyn (originally Armenia), and Da'Shawn, a writer studying in Chicago at the time (but strangely enough from Greenville, SC. where I spend much of my time!). They both flew into Greenville where we spent a few days in pre-production together. Nick Ramey, also an alum, flew from Los Angeles (he is from New Orleans) and joined us a few days in to serve as cinematographer. Then we headed to Asheville where we continued in pre-production and then production. We filmed for three days. Man, there are some crazy moments in the film! Tatev is electrocuted, Da’Shawn jumps into the deep end of a pool (and he can’t swim) and I get buried alive. Excited for you to see…. Ha. Anyhow, it was such a brilliant experience to be working so hard on something surrounded by individuals who were just as dedicated and committed to the project. What a great feeling. I’ve started editing and finished a rough cut yesterday. Will continue…. after I finish this blog post? 

Wild Flowers

I finished editing Wild Flowers! Check out the trailer and music recording session in Majorca, Spain with my composer Nicolas Martin and Ensemble Shamhat!:


I had a private cast & crew premiere of Wild Flowers at Grail Moviehouse a week or so ago. I screened 6 other films I had directed leading up to Wild Flowers. It was a fun time. Afterwards we drank sparkling wine and ate curry. Oh gosh curry…..

Some of the cast and crew of Wild Flowers at the private premiere screening in Asheville.

Ian Ridenhour Music Videos

Behind the scenes with director Kira Bursky from the music video shoots for Ian Ridenhour.
I finished both the music videos for Ian Ridenhour! One of the biggest highlights of these two projects was working with so many different artists. I worked with Kristin Tidwell, a designer, to have a dress designed for the lead dancer. Cynthia King, a choreographer, choreographed all the dancing in Dancing Children and Juan Garcia drew all of the backdrops. TimTv did stilt walking, fire breathing, and giant bubble making in Monsters. Nichole Ambrosia-Biggs designed all the creepy makeup for Monsters. Zackery Irick, well he’s the bees knees… he created wings, made a homemade plaque doctor mask, made a wall out of nylon…. and so much more. Best Art Director ever. Anyways… these are only SOME of the artists I collaborated with! THREE CHEERS FOR COLLABORATION!  Oh! And we released Monsters!:

Dancing Children will be released next month. Ian held a private screening for both the videos this past weekend. So much fun. Here are some screenshots from Dancing Children:


Dark Circus
Behind the scenes from Dark Circus... Kira preparing her inner darkness for the film...

Art Director Zack, Director Kira, and Actress Liz at the Asheville 48 Hour awards.
I entered the Asheville 48 Hour Film Project, had a beautiful time, and won for Best Costumes. I pulled out of the hat “Coming of Age” so I made a circus musical naturally. Here it is:


Various updates:

Screenshot from Typhoid Rosie's Baby I Want You music video I directed.
-Screened Footplant and Dark Circus at Tim and Mim's Weird Shorts in Greenville, SC at the The Ninjaplex
-Went on a roadtrip with my good friend and Art Director Zack to NYC to direct a music video for Typhoid Rosie’s song “Baby I Want You.”
-Really Looking and Tree Hugger are official selections of the Super Senior category at All-American High School Film Festival taking place the weekend of October 7-9th at the AMC Empire Theaters in New York City’s Times Square!
-We're Okay and Hattie have been accepted to the Cineffable Paris Lesbian & Feminist Film Festival taking place from Friday, Oct 28th to Tuesday, Nov 1st... and I will actually be attending! I'm so excited!
-I color corrected a SXSW documentary for the Accidentals.
-Clean and We’re Okay were accepted into the Horror Hour film festival taking place in LA at a date TBD. 
-Really Looking is an official selection at Ramunas Atelier International Independent Film Awards, which took place in Lithuania August 21st-25th.

In Conclusion:

I am daydreaming about this unique cheese tortellini dish that is served in a a fruit curry sauce with bananas, apples and currants. I plan on going to where it is served tonight…. a magnificent Caribbean fusion restaurant in Asheville called Nine Miles. My goodness. What a dish. With that said, I gotta get back to work so I can accomplish enough to reward myself with more food! (I already took myself out to my favorite Indian restaurant Mela today… but who says we can’t reward ourselves multiple times a day with delicious things?)

Tata, my loyal lovelies. Tata, my curious, cryptic cats. Tata, my secretive, strange society. Tata— OKAY. KIRA. DRINK YOUR COFFEE,

That’s right: drink your coffee! Or hot cocoa! Or pineapple juice! Whatever floats your boat and keeps your ocean... full of hydration. Oy. These analogies or metaphors or whatever this mess is has gone on for too long-


p.s.: For all of the above projects & events on this post and previous posts, you can find behind the scenes pictures documenting EVERYTHING on the All Around Artsy Facebook page. Here is the link to the photo albums on the page if you are interested in seeing more of these shenanigans:

This is Kristen. She is the girl who always takes my behind the scenes pictures.
I finally got a behind the scenes picture with HER! I love her.

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!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Keeping Busy: Seventeen Magazine, Directing Plays & Judging for Film Fests!

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” 
-Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland

Reviewing the set for Really Looking.

Up, up and away! My first time riding the crane!

Kira the director (me) and lead actress Ioanna Chasta, snuggling on set.
I keep writing blog posts in my head. I’ve written so many! But writing in my head is not very effective. So here I am now, hazelnut milk by my side. Yes, you heard me correctly. After many years of waiting and searching, hazelnut milk is back on the market. I am celebrating and you should too. Cheers to long lost beverages that make a come back in marketplaces all across America.

These past few days I’ve gotten into a groove that I thought my soul had forgotten: it’s called the “somewhat-oddly-graceful despite juggling 5+ big projects” groove. It’s my favorite kind of groove. I’ve been working non-stop. But it’s not “work-work.” It feels like play, ya know? I find that taking a moment to reflect is always a healthy thing. Sometimes I lose track of where I am- who I am- what I’m doing- what I’ve done…. because I pack my plate with every delicious opportunity I see. So reflection is a necessity if I value my balance & sanity even just a little bit. 

Where to begin…

Seventeen Magazine

Over the past few months I’ve been in contact with Seventeen Magazine… they did about 5 interviews with me. Well just last week they released my article! I still can’t believe it. They featured me as the April edition Power Girl and did a two-page spread on me. Notice how we are still in March. Yeah, I thought it was coming out in 2 weeks or so. So I’m just coming out of the theater of the new Michael Moore film Where to Invade Next? (which I highly recommend- I’ve gone twice!) and I turn on my phone to discover that my friends have posted pictures of my Seventeen Magazine article. I’m a mixture of shocked, excited, and terrified. Why? I haven’t even read the article yet and it’s already in Walmarts all over the world! So my mom and I run out of the theater - we make a pit stop at the Chocolate Lounge and grab some delicious brownies for the car ride - and zoom on over to Barnes & Nobles. But they only have the March edition! We panic and zoom over to Walmart. BAM. I get my copy. I finally read it. I melt into a puddle made of rain-drops of surreal-ness. I’m making no sense. But apparently life makes no sense and crazy things happen. I can’t believe it! 

Big Little Filmmaker

Mentioned in the Seventeen Magazine article was my organization Big Little Filmmaker so viewership is on the rise! These past few days I’ve been working passionately on content for the site. Many interviews & articles are in the works. I just released a few interviews and will be releasing more in the next few days. You should check them out! The social media aspect of the site is currently being worked on but should be up and running very soon. I’m excited to be releasing a “Film Festival Cheat Sheet” of youth (middle school, high school, and college age) film festivals that are free to enter. If you want to check it out, click here.  The film festival database now has over 40 festival listings, all of which are geared towards young filmmakers. And over half of them are free to enter. I’m very excited for the direction Big Little Filmmaker is heading. Check out some of the articles under the “Film World” section!: 

Asheville National 10 Minute Play Festival

I was selected as 1 of 5 directors to direct for the Asheville National 10 Minute Play Festival. I am directing two 10 minute plays. Performances will be April 7-9th. This is my first time directing for stage. I’m in the midst of rehearsals and it’s been a really good experience thus far. It’s interesting adjusting to directing so much dialogue and not having the freedom to “cut into a close up.” I plan on incorporating video projection in one of the plays. One’s called Sleepwalker and is written by a local playwright. The other play is called Employee Assistance and is written by a playwright out in Seattle who I’ll meet next month when I head up that way. They are both tonally opposites: one’s dark and haunting & the other is humorous and whimsical. It’s a nice balance. (Side note: I’m living in a dream world where crazy things happen. Shout out to my best friend Katie Larson who a) is turning 20 today (!?!?) and b) is coming to Asheville to perform with her amazing band the Accidentals on April 6th… at the SAME VENUE as my plays?! One day before the play festival opens?! Can we just take a moment to let this sink in?)

Really Looking 

I completed Really Looking and it is now in its film festival run! It premieres next month on April 29th at NFFTY in Seattle, WA. NFFTY, as I’ll say time and time again, is one of my favorite film festivals. I absolutely can’t wait to go for the 3rd year in a row. I have over 15 friends that will be there. It’s gonna be a party like no other to say the least. Last year I ended up in a room cuddling with a bunch of people. That, my friend, is what I call the meaning of life. In the meantime, here are the videos to the trailer as well as the behind the scene music recording session (recorded in Majorca, Spain by my composer Nicolas Martin) for Really Looking:

Pre-Production for “Desire Film”

Really Looking was produced by Massada Eyewear’s Massada Art Project. I am excited to announce I’ll be doing a second film collaboration with Massada Eyewear. This next film will be exploring the themes of desire, polyamory and indulging in your fantasies through art. I absolutely cannot wait to make this film. More info soon… Will be casting this project in the next few months. 

Feature Films

Sorting through camera batteries
on the set of Aaah Roach!
I’ve said this a million times, but I am planning on making my first feature film very soon. I just need to write it! But I keep getting distracted by other projects and fun opportunities. So I decided that it’s time to commit myself to taking the next steps. First off, I’ve been getting involved with other filmmaker’s feature length productions so that I’m more prepared when I make my first one. A few months ago I went out to LA to work on a creature feature called “Aaah Roach!” where I at first was working as a PA (mostly in the art department) but then I was promoted to 2nd AC. My goodness. I loved working with the lenses. There is something so exhilarating about holding really expenses lenses. I hope to 2nd AC on more projects in the future! Anywho: on set I had the chance to pet cockroaches. They were… extremely cute. Yes, I said it.

Kira, Assistant Art Director (me), handing out the prop guns to the actors on the set of Obamaland.

My Donald Trump painting...
Last month I worked on the set of an absurd, satirical comedy called Obamaland. I served as Assistant Art Director. For one month I lived with the cast and crew in a lake house off of Lake Norman. I have so many fun stories about this set… let’s just say I had to rig fake rats to be milked, photoshop logos like “Jim Beam” to be “Obama Beam,” and paint Donald Trump. Yes, I painted a portrait of Donald Trump. It was disturbing staring into his eyes for so long. I’m still recovering. 

Obamabucks that I made!
So with these new experiences under my belt (and hopefully some more soon), the next step is locking in a committed date to write it. As of today I submitted an application for a grant to an artist residency in France. If I get it, I’ll be spending one month this summer in a 17th century French convent. I’ll be applying to some other residencies soon. But none-the-less: the plan is to indeed write my feature this summer. No. Matter. What. Prepare for a story of circus day dream worlds… creepy ringleaders… polyamory… fairytale romance… and quirkiness. 

Film Festivals & Traveling

So I’ve competed in over ten 48 Hour Film Projects, with the goal of not stopping until winning Best in City so that I could travel to Filmapalooza. Well, that win finally came with Adulthood (the Seattle 48 Hour Horror film that I co-directed with my bestie Abbey Sacks this past October). So I finally attended Filmapalooza after 6+ years of attempts. It was [lucky for me] in Atlanta, so I was able to drive to the festival. I met up with my lead actor, Dan Crisafulli, who traveled from Seattle. He’s actually moving to Atlanta next month (meaning: more creepy film collaborations between the two of us coming on up). I had such a fun time meeting teams from all over the world. I have a new batch of friends. Attending Filmapalooza has triggered inside of me a desire to compete in 48 Hour Film Projects forever. I can barely wait for the next one. I’m, without a doubt, addicted. We released Adulthood online! Here ya go!:

I traveled to Ruby Slipper Fringe Festival in Winston-Salem for a screening of Tree Hugger. A few cool things: 1) Ruby Slipper Fringe Festival is an all women’s art festival. 2) It’s in NC! 3) The lead of my film, Thatcher Johnson-Welden, is from Winston-Salem, so she was able to attend! It was a great night and I ate so much dessert with Thatcher and her family afterwards. Funny how I’m eating a butternut squash shortbread cookie now. I can’t resist the goods.

I was asked to be a juror for Scout Film Festival, a high school film festival taking place in June in Vermont. So far I’ve watched & judged the top docs and comedy films. I’m so impressed by the vulnerability in so many of the docs. A few of them had my mom and I in tears. There was one comedy in particular that had me cracking up. It’s so cool to see how much raw talent these young folks have. I may be attending the festival to be a speaker / be on a panel- will know for sure soon. I was also just asked [today] to judge for another high school film festival through Blue Ridge Community College. With this festival I may be a guest speaker as well. This festival takes play May 5th (the day before my birthday!) in Asheville, NC.

Next month I have three trips in the works: 
1) I have a freelance job for a self-tinting glass company. I will be flying up to Grand Rapids, MI to shoot it.
2) I have a separate, additional trip to Michigan! I have been asked by my old high school, Interlochen Arts Academy, to be on an alumni panel at their Future of Cinema Film Festival April 21-23rd. I cannot wait to return!
3) After the Future of Cinema Film Festival I’ll be flying to Seattle to attend NFFTY. I’ll be rooming in a 1 bedroom condo with 5 of the best girls I’ve ever met. I’m crying tears of joy just thinking about it.


In the past few months I’ve started experimenting with photography and lighting. Here are a few of my favorite shots.

Various Updates

-I taught a 3-day Teen Green Screening class through Asheville School of Film!
-Serving as Director of Photography on a music video for artist Tyler Mingo and director Keema Mingo next week in Charlotte, NC.
Kira (me) teaching After Effects to teens.
-In post-production on a short currently called “Fix You” (title TBD) that I co-directed with Abbey Sacks. 
-“It's Just You," a film I co-directed with Abbey Sacks, was accepted to ZOOM-ZBLIŻENIA Międzynarodowy Festiwal Filmowy in Jelenia-Gora, Poland and took place from February 16-21. 
-“Hattie" was accepted to the Portland Women's Film Festival (aka POW Fest) in Portland, OR and screened at the festival March 3-6.
-Tree Hugger was accepted to the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival and screened March 3-5 in Florence, Alabama. It won for Best Youth Filmmaker!
-Tree Hugger was accepted to the Ruby Slipper Fringe Festival in Winston-Salem, NC where it screened February 18th.
-Tree Hugger and Really Looking will be screening at NFFTY in Seattle April 28th-May 1st.
-I acted as the role of a Newscaster in "Friends Like Me" directed by Sam Coppage.

In Conclusion...

Okay, I’m probably forgetting a bunch of big things happening in my life, but, I’m gonna stop reflecting for now and get back to work. I have a lot to plan, interviews to conduct, a laptop to buy (yeah… my laptop died off due to a heart attack and so I’ve been rendezvousing with my mother’s laptop in the secrecy of the shadows… shhhh…), plane tickets to purchase, plays to plan out… and so much more. And my coconut macaroon cookie patiently awaits my lips— that’s my gift to myself for finishing this blog post.

Lots of love, y’all. Remember to tell the people who are important to you that you love them. And stare them in the eyes when you do it. Maybe even take their hands. Just make sure it gets through to them. Oh, and remind them to stay hydrated of course! Water or coconut water or carrot juice or hazelnut milk. I'll leave that choice up to you.