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2014 Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge Participant

*All 31 "Prompts" might not be featured on this blog; I have my own schedule and topics to adhere to.

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Monday Movie Meme - Raising Capital

Chris Ponder and his Mother Cindy are served a hot meal by Red Cross emergency response vehicle (ERV) volunteer Erica Tenpenny after a tornado that ripped through areas of Arkansas in the Spring 2014. Before paying tribute to servicemen of the U.S. Military who died in the line of duty, we covered fire damage to inanimate objects, highlighting one of many disasters that The American Red Cross responds to everyday.

Going forward, I invite you all to join me in raising awareness for this organization, as I take some time this year to host a fundraiser for the services they provide to survivors of disasters, big and small.

Long story short, one of the folks who worked on my film “ABYSS: The Greatest Proposal Ever” lost a home to a disaster while we were making the movie – not long after Hurricane Sandy had already caused a delay in the completion of this project.

Since Red Cross was there for one of my staff/crew members, I find it fitting to use this movie to support the Red Cross, in an effort to help them help other people who suffer losses or damages in the wake of a natural, environmental or man-made disaster. It is my pleasure to present to you the theme for this week’s Monday Movie Meme as also being the first installment of the themed weeks that we discussed back in the Spring: Raising Capital: Raising Capital.

Share on your blog or in the comments section, movies featuring people doing some sort of fundraising activity for a particular cause or to solve a problem. Here are my selections for this week’s Raising Capital theme.

My Tehran for Sale

An underground theatre actress sells all of her belongings in order to get money to pay for being smuggled into Australia, where she seeks to find better opportunities for artistic freedom and a healthier life, in this Australian-Iranian drama starring Marzieh Vafamehr and Amir Chegini.

The Full Monty

A group of blue collar workers form an all-male revue show after being laid off from their job, in this British comedy-drama starring Tom Wilkinson.


Waiting to Exhale

A housewife sells her cheating husband’s belongings in a yard sale, right on their front lawn, in this romantic comedy-drama starring Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine and Whitney Houston.

*Side note: Yeah, it seems that I’ve been getting a lot of “Monday Movie Meme” mileage out of this particular movie lately. Oh well. If it works, it works, right?! Ha!


What movies have YOU seen featuring people who participate in some type of fundraising activity?

**Photo (above at top) by Jason Colston/American Red Cross 


Flashback Friday #7 - Why We Make Movies from A to Z

For those who may have missed any, here is a quick rundown of blog posts discussing the many reasons behind why people make independent films. Written by me during the 2014 A-to-Z Challenge in April, some topics have brought a larger response than others. As I prepare to adjust the Monday Movie Meme schedule by turning it into a bi-weekly series (I apologize for any inconvenience that the skipping of a Movie Meme has caused earlier this week) and organize the upcoming continuation of my interview with L.A. based actress Nydia Simone, these #atozchallenge posts are an overview of what transpired during the biggest blog hop on the net.

To win Awards.

To be Brave.

To exceed the Competition.

To Do it Like DeNiro

Because we have to put Everything on the line.

For the Fame

Because we’re one of the Good Guys

Because we hope they help us live out fantasies of Hollywood

Because we’re already In too deep.

Because somebody’s got to do the Job

Because it’s how we learn the art of Killing our Babies.

For the Love

For the Money

To get Noticed.

For the Opportunity

For the Prestige

Because that’s how we find the answers to big questions.

Because they provide a Rush

For the Satisfaction

For that Theatrical Treatment

Because we Understand that the future is Up to Us

For the Validation

To create a brighter World

Sometimes we need to X out of it

Because it’s all about You

It’s just Zany 

We've chatted a great deal about why producers and directors make movies. Tell me this...

Why do YOU watch movies?


From Street Hustling to Cannes – Actress Nydia Simone on a Natural Hair Documentary Mission

Film director/actor Mario Van Peebles is the first celebrity to donate to actress Nydia Simone's Cannes Film Festival trip, on the street during her IndieGoGo campaign.Less than 10 months ago, New York City native Nydia Simone moved to Los Angeles with one bag, a carry-on and her sights set on becoming a television actress for the Nickelodeon or Disney channel. This aspiring Hollywood player soon leaped at an opportunity that would help her make a documentary film about a topic she and many ladies can relate to – natural hair.

Upon acceptance into a filmmaking program operated by The Creative Mind Group, Simone collected over $2,400 in donations from strangers (including myself) to travel to France and pitch her movie to potential investors at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

Before heading to the festivities a few weeks ago, Simone chatted with me about her experiences so far and what she aims to bring back from Cannes.

Madlab Post: How would you describe your Natural Hair Documentary and its working title?

Nydia Simone: “Natural: Documenting the World of Natural Hair Evolution,” which completely describes my documentary because it’s all about the worldwide change and movement of the natural hair revolution.

I feel like it was so present but the media wasn’t discussing it and still, today, everyone knows about it but nobody talks about it. I was working on Broadway for the producers of “A Streetcar named Desire” when Nicole Ari Parker, Blair Underwood and Wood Harris were the lead stars. During an interview, Parker mentioned going natural because of her daughter – ‘I don’t want my daughter to look at me and feel like her hair isn’t beautiful because of what I’m doing to my hair’ and I was like ‘oh my gosh, that’s so different from why I went natural and not even close to why I did it;’ everyone has a story.

l-r: Nydia Simone with "Soul Food" & "New Jack City" actress and naturalista Vanessa Williams, at the 2014 Pan African Film FestivalMy documentary is going to feature stories of natural hair while documenting what has come from that movement – people who now have [natural hair] product lines, people who became famous such as hair gurus; I also want to talk about what it means to be natural. When you’re a kid, you really don’t have that many qualms about your hair – your mom does your hair. It’s when you’re an adult that you’re like “it has to be this way” and “no, it’s horrible, I have to figure it out.” I feel like most black women, not all, know how to do their children’s hair -- but lot of them don’t.

We’re from the East Coast, where people know how to do their hair. These West Coast people are a different story, because I see kids looking crazy. I want to go to Sweden, Paris, Brazil and different salons and talk to naturals all over the world, not just in America. I want a big portion [of the documentary] to be in New York. I want to go to L.A. as well, but definitely New York because there is a pride – you don’t just have pride in being black, there’s a pride in your hair, in a way that L.A. is not.

How much progress have you made on this Documentary so far and what will the securing of investment money mean for the project?

I have a treatment already done. Since I don’t have the awesome footage I shot, including with a celebrity hairstylist, I’m starting from square one. It’s so sad because I had a cinematographer but he’s not returning any of my calls. So, I have to create a sizzle real for my documentary, literally in like two days! I’m going to do it. I thought I had a lot and I guess that’s what happens when you get favors from people.

You have to work right with people – confirmations, etc. so that you can both be on the same page rather than communicating via informal text messages, which has led to no-shows more than once. I’m going to make a sizzle real because God got me this far and I’m going to frickin’ France with something! Video is so important. I’m asking for complete funding of $65,000 (up to $150,000 if possible) for my film. I’ll be able to hire everybody I need to hire, attract and secure talent while being able to live my life as a filmmaker without worrying about rent and not having money.

I’ll be able to go hard 100% on this film.

If you do something at 100%, you will do it well. I just learned that from fundraising. I was out there every day getting money to go to Cannes. I’m very excited and among the people I want to interview are Viola Davis and Whoopi Goldberg, which is a big deal for me because she never compromised – she’s been Whoopi! Her hair has been her hair and she doesn’t change. She’s been extremely successful being herself and I think it’s important to talk about it and I would really like to hear what she has to say about natural hair and how it’s affected her career, because I know it’s affected her career; and people like Tracy Ellis Ross, who has the more widely accepted natural hair but at the end of the day, it’s still black hair.

*Stay tuned for MORE with actress/producer Nydia Simone, including:


  • The guerilla tactics that led to her being mistaken for a homeless person in Beverly Hills
  • How she plans to balance this Natural Hair documentary with her work duties on a Saturday Morning TV show coming to FOX


Now tell me....

What influences YOUR decision on choosing the hairstyles that you wear?

How much time do YOU spend on the maintenance and styling of YOUR hair?

Of all the actors/actresses in the movie industry, whose hair do YOU favorite (or envy) most?

 *Photo(s) credit: Nydia Simone

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