September 25, 2020
Born in Kenya, Peres Owino is a storyteller of two cultures. From a script she co-wrote being produced by Taraji P Henson and being nominated for an NAACP image award to her International Screenwriting Association Fast Track Fellowship for another script, Peres’ work focuses powerfully on the experience of the African Diaspora. She’s proven she’s an artist with something to say and the means to say it. We’ll talk about what inspires her and what she’s saying next.
Peres and I talk about Wanjiru Njendu's film, Boxed, in which she acts.
Her film Bound
Here's her full credits to date
We also discuss game changing content from the perspective of underdogs, outsiders, or previously discounted points of view:
I May Destroy You
September 18, 2020
Zaki Rubenstein is a director in television. Her creativity, knack for story, and imaginative approach has kept her in steady employment on true crime shows for years. Since the pandemic shut down production, she’s turned back to writing and is flexing her comedy chops to look at the absurdity of life, love, and family. We’ll talk about how she got here and what inspires her now.
Watch Zaki's reel
Watch her movie The Concessionaires Must Die
Other movies and series we talk about include Wild Wild Country, The Vow, The Commune Movie, and the podcast Undiscovered
September 8, 2020
Three actors waiting tables in Hollywood. You know the story: finding work is hard. Breaking in is hard. So they say they’ll make their own luck. A lot of people say that. But then they actually do it. I talk with the creators of the new pilot No Actor Parking on how they pulled it off and what comes next.
Here's more about their show
More about the guys: Tom Albanese, Francisco Froes, and Tiago Felizardo.
Their guest star Joachim de Almieda
Clips discussed including a glimpse of the seagull and Sam's dilemma. (*note clip contains adult language)
The WeHo Bistro
August 26, 2020
Wanjiru Njendu is a story teller by nature and a filmmaker who takes a stand. She grew up in Kenya where her documentary was used to provide evidence against the British Government by the MAU MAU colonial war survivors. Her latest short, BOXED, tells the true story of an enslaved African American who mailed himself to freedom in 1849. And this is just a part of what earned Wanjiru membership in the 2020 class of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. We’ll talk about film, race, and responsibility and risk in storytelling.
Wanjiru's film Boxed
Her production company
And her IMDB
August 20, 2020
Writer Tricia Nelson knows there are more black stories that need to be told than narratives of suffering or criminality. She’s written several pieces offering both classic and current black stories that you may have missed, or should watch again. We’ll talk about the importance of representation, the issue of the Magical Negro, and what makes a worthwhile love story.
Tricia's pieces on Medium are:
Justice Then Poetic Justice
The Watch List Part Deux
August 13, 2020
Ellen Gerstein is everyone’s aunt. She’s played supporting characters in many of your favorite things. She startled her family by coming to acting later in life and going against the grain. As a student in Georgia in the 60s she also dealt with anti-semitism and helped form Georgia Students for Human Rights, a Black and white student alliance to address the racism she saw there. We’ll talk about creating your life by imagining a more perfect world.
Check out Ellen's formidable IMDB resume
Learn more about her film work with neuro-atypical folks in Waiting for Ronald
And if you haven't seen it, check out the excellent film Warrior which we discuss as one of very few examples of a dual-protagonist film.
August 3, 2020
Paul’s life is driven by “projects of worth.” This double Emmy-nominated writer and producer delivers projects for things like BBC, Channel 4, Nickelodeon but he’s also a passionate comic book collector and creator with The Chimeran, featuring a future where humanity's mass-production needs are served by a purpose bred race. Now he’s helping save the world with a green new initiative poised for a major shift in storytelling and engagement.
Paul and I talk about:
The World Land Trust
The concept of Rewilding land both in Europe and in the UK in particular with Knepp Estate (see for yourself at Knepp Safaris with Charlie and Isabella)
The viral Little Mo comic
Paul's company Aerian
Boyans Slat and Ocean Cleanup
And of course, Eastenders
July 14, 2020
Monia Ayachi understands being between worlds. This Belgian-Tunisian actress, singer, writer grew up in Brussels working in English, Dutch, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. She moved to LA chasing a dream like so many of us, and landed recurring roles on Days of our Lives and General Hospital. She’s best known as Anais Fontaine in Wolfenstein Youngblood. Her work as a writer/director challenges cultural, religious, gender, and generational stereotypes and invites us to open our eyes.
For more on Monia's work, you can visit her site, Her IMDB, or her Vimeo.
She's on Instagram @moniaayachi
Articles on her include two on Wolfenstein Youngblood, (the second one) and a Voyage LA profile.
Here's more on Wolfenstein Youngblood
Here's more on her films: Ignofear and For the Love of Hate
And here's how we met: some music videos. She's a bad ass ringleader who won't take her friend's acceptance of abuse, she's an intergalactic explorer, and she's a Victorian lady in a difficult relationship.
June 27, 2020
Beside breaking boundaries as the first black Romulan in Star Trek history, Michael Mack led a life of service and craft. From a family with preacher roots, Michael grew up ministering to the less fortunate. When he returned to the DC area he became renowned for his work with at-risk youth in communities of color. His method was using theatre training to allow kids access to speak their truths. He talks about theatre from the ancient Greeks onward as social policy and how many historical atrocities were not based in difference but in sameness. He shares how the Man of La Mancha unlocks the central truth: the way forward is not to think of life as it is but life as it should be.
Michael discusses Septimius Severus, the first African senator in Rome, in this "family portrait"
Michael discusses the film Becket as an example of the Saxons versus the Normans
Michael recommends the book Racism: A Short History
We discuss his favorite teaching tool: Don Quixote/The Man Of La Mancha, book and film
Michael's film about MLK: The Drum Major
The influence of the Roots miniseries
Trisha Nelson's Black stories essential viewing lists articles one and two