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VOA Live

VOA Live is a non-profit organization.  The podcast is an introduction to TILFA as we interview filmmakers and performing artists from around the world.  We discuss the critical role of the Voice of the Artist™  and the importance of each unique voice within the global storytelling industry.  

 

Season one explores the threat facing the voice of storytellers.  Each voice matters in establishing the genuine legacy of humanity for future generations.  Storytellers are the orchestrators of this legacy putting to art and film the creative stories of humanity.   We examine issues and challenges that endanger the Voice of the Artist™. 

ENDANGERED: The Voice of the Artist™ 

Season 1

Episode 1

Three revolutionary millennial trailblazing Hollywood film executives come together to introduce Season One: ENDANGERED of the new podcast Voice of the Artist.  ENDANGERED examines the Voice of the Artist from the world and how each voice speaks on issues analogous to an endangered species list.  As a Haitian-American film exec, TILFA Founder Jean-Que M. Dar introduces the issues of each episode faced by artists.  Co-hosted by TILFA Executive Directors Sunny Vachher and Daria German, global filmmakers and artists from around the world are invited to join the discussion.  Through our similar issues, the VOA discovers impactful solutions for artists and discuss how to make these resolutions universal and further advance the works of filmmakers.

Perspective Episode Guests:

Jean-Que M. Dar, Founder of TILFA and VOA Live

Daria German, TILFA Executive Director of Europe

Sunny Vachher, TILFA Executive Director of Asia

Your Agent says: "Go Fix Your Accent"

Season 1

Episode 2

Accents speaks louder than words. In fact, they are a true reflection of the authenticity of storytellers despite where they perform in-front and behind the camera in the film industry. Mexican directors have a certain directing style, now favored owing to their several Oscar wins in the category Best Director. This has cast a favorable light on the ethnic group to direct all types of genres. Whereas Russian talents are marginalized to play a specific role unless they change their identity, namely their accent. When a person is told to go fix their in any other professional industry, it could be considered as discrimination. Why is this not the case in the film industry? Is it ok for a Chinese actress to play a Japanese actress? Or an Indian-American to play an African-American? Seemingly so, why do some filmmakers leave their country, give up their identity to establish a filmmaking career in Hollywood?  

Perspective Episode Guests:

Sofia Vergara, Award-Winning Actress

Djimon Hounsou, Award-Winning Actor

Elena Baranova, Producer and Dialect/Accent Coach to Keanu Reeves

John Essay, Producer and Manager

Victor Kruglov, Talent Manager 

Final-Cut to Streaming: The Theatrical Release battle

Season 1

Episode 3

The emergence of online streaming platforms has severally disrupted the film industry in just about every film market in a neutral position. For the good, it allows a greater opportunity for indie filmmakers around the world acquire distribution to showcase their craft. On a bad note, its considered unfair competition for awards season. Recently, Steven Spielberg did not shy away from hosting a public campaign against Roma’s Best Picture industry wide nominations, despite is $50m awards season campaign expenses. However, is this the new normal of the industry? If only the studios can afford a theatrical release 

Perspective Episode Guests:

Anne Thompson, Editor-in-Chief, IndieWire

Hamed Watt, Co-Founder of MoviePass

Pamela McClintock, Senior Film Writer, Hollywood Reporter

Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst, Comscore 

Gideon Raff, Director

Story v. Box Office: Dangers of Celebrity-washing 

Season 1

Episode 4

Whitewashing, ethnic washing, orientation washing, etc. – name any marginalized community and it is being played by people that are not apart of that community.  This is known as Celebrity-washing.  In this episode, we discuss the necessity of an “available” A-list celebrity to star in films with a box office budget. The battle of authentic casting has been ongoing since the mid-’50s and this has emerged to be a serious threat against the VOA where we reveal the inauthentic traits of storytelling and expose why we see the same actors playing a wide range of different nationalities, groups, and even races.

 

The threat is so severe that ethnic infighting not only hurts the film but causes the public to lose sight of the legacy of the story. Zoe Saldana a predominate Hispanic actress portrayed the beloved Nina Simon, an African-American jazz artist in Nina. Nina was produced by a slate of star-studded African-American producers but received much backlash from the African-American community because Saldana had to be “blackfaced” to play the role because she was not black and fair-skinned. and how this suppresses the authentic filmmaker and lessens the credibility of the story. Celebrity Name v. Story – can they coexist and why can’t they?

Gender, Race, and Media Representation is generally discussed after film previews surface.  Even before a film is released, audiences argue that the way individuals are being casted is inauthentic and this disrupts the story.  A film is a social tool that impacts lives and society is known to shape or reconstruct the social identities of communities by what's portrayed in media productions. The way people come to understand what it means to be white, black, Hispanic, male, female, heterosexual, homosexual, rural, or urban is all heavily influenced by the way those social categories are defined and interpreted in popular media channels.   Why do we cast non-disabled actors to play disabled actors when there are disabled actors available that can accurately portray the role?  Today, diversity sells at the box office but do we now simply blackface celebrities to sell tickets? How can we preserve the authenticity of filmmaking with authentic characters?

Perspective Episode Guests:

Oscar Isaac, Actor

Ben Kingsley, Actor

Mary Vernieu, Casting Director

Dr. Stacy Smith, USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative

Darnell Hunt, Director of Bunche Center
 

Female Filmmakers in 2020 – The Struggle is Real

Season 1

Episode 5

Women make up 50.8 percent of the world's leading film market – Hollywood. Yet, they are vastly underrepresented in comprising only 17 percent of directors, writers, and producers. The situation is so dire that many have either given up or taken lesser roles with hopes to break the glass ceiling. How many women have won Best Film at any film award show in the world? What about Best Director or Best Cinematography, etc. – zero. In this episode, we discuss how leading female filmmakers around the world are navigating the male-dominated industry.

 

Taking a progressively look at Female Filmmakers in 2020, TILFA addresses the struggle of female filmmakers and the massive pay gap. Why female writers are paid 7 times less as males? Why do actresses doing the same amount of work are paid twice less? How do we get to the point where it’s a norm to pay equally for an equal amount of work or are we still living in the past?

Perspective Episode Guests:

Cathy Shulman, Producer and Board President for Women in Film

Greta Gerwig, Director and Actress

Amy Adrion, Documentary Director

The Death of a Star – Examining the Mental Health 

Season 1

Episode 6

Producers, Directors, Cinematographers, and Talent have one thing in common – passion for the story.  These are the innovative leaders and groundbreaking celebrated stars of the film industry around the world. However, these storytellers literally possess an “unspoken crisis” that lies deep within each film experience.  This experience is felt by most film workers despite their position in front of or behind the camera.  Issues in the industry are thought to stem from a freelance culture that can leave workers without job security among other rights entitled to full-time employees.

 

In this episode, we navigate and discuss the life of an artist between projects.  Although filmmakers give their roles a 100% of their time and talent, what happens to them when it’s over and the phone stops ringing. Is filmmaking PTSD a thing that is commonly ignored as the “unspoken crisis?”

Perspective Episode Guests:

Sandra Buffington, UCLA Global Media Center for Social Impact

Glen Close, Actress, Founder of Bring Change to Mind
Marjan Safinia Iranian, Filmmaker

Jim Carrey, Actor

Kristen Bell, Actress

Jon Hamm, Actor

Chris Evans, Actor

Ryan Phillipe, Actor

Kerry Washington, Actress

Get your hands off my culture! 

Season 1

Episode 7

Inside the tug of war battle of the globalization of the film industry.  Filmmaking has advanced into co-producing between film markets.  Creating a film about a specific culture should be produced by filmmakers of that culture, correct?  Wrong.  The decision of who gets to tell your cultural story has been an ongoing hot topic with no leader or formula to follow.  Hollywood is making over $500m severe investment attempts to overtake Bollywood.  So major studios hire Indian screenwriters for a film to later discover that it is being directed, shot and cast by Americans.   Once the previews are released the vast majority of Indians question the motives of the inaccurate cultural misrepresentations made in film.  This insights protests and bad press for the film as these studios make an attempt to advertise their shift to be more inclusive.

 

In this episode, we explore the true motives and consequences of cultural misrepresentation in films. Discussing the apathetic approach to creating projects that should build empathy, we examine the cultural effects of co-producing among two different countries (especially a co-production with the Hollywood film market).  Blatantly obvious we tackle the stereotypes fabricated by these misrepresented films which result in stripping the cultural identity of a group of people.  It's not just about misrepresenting cultures, but also misrepresenting industry groups, unions, gender groups, etc..

Perspective Episode Guests:

Russell Boast, President, CSA, Casting Director
Robi Reed,  Casting Director
Hoang Nguyen, Data Journalist at YouGov

Mike Page, Director of Casting, HBO Max, TruTV, TNT, and TBS 

May the force [of my film] be with you 

Season 1

Episode 8

Films possess an incredible amount of social impact power to shift and set ideologies and trends.   Howsoever much positive we want these impacts, we never talk about the negative impacts of film on our global society. The resulting social climate of a film is not routinely discussed when a film is green light or the trends that may follow.  Is this something that should be considered? Does this impair the creativity of filmmakers?

 

In this episode we discuss the power and force of films on humanity.  We unveiling the level of awareness desired by some filmmakers and the adverse resulting effects. Whether it’s a Hollywood superhero blockbuster or independently-funded social realism, our need for stories has never been greater especially at a time when the need for social engagement is obvious.

Perspective Episode Guests:

Todd Lieberman, Producer and Co-Founder of Mandelville Films and Television 

Samuel Sudhakar, TEDxHyderabad, Social Impact of Films
Christie Marchese, Founder & Executive Director of Picture Motion
Eric Deegans, NPR TV Critic

The Power of the Lens from all Angles 

Season 1

Episode 9

Every major film market in the world has a film commission designed to preserve its filmmaking community and to propel the existential threat of foreign films disrupting their film economy, culture, and society.  There is something to be said the emergence of these commissions.  What does it mean to a film creator when their film is barred entry into a region for its content?  Should we question the power of the film or the region?

 

We sit down with members from each part of the film community to discuss where we are and where we are going as an endangered species.

Perspective Episode Guests:

Hanelle Culpepper, Director
Nisha Ganatra, Director
Bing Chen, Head of Creator Development, YouTube 
Richard Williams, Film Specialist, ElevenFiftyFive
Hamish Moseley, Head of Distribution, Altitude Film Distribution 
David Kapur, Co-CEO and Director of ElevenFiftyFive and Ourscreen 

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