A letter to the Academy on the occasion of our tiny Oscars 2020 Contender “eVe N’god this female is not yet rated “© which is our “seabiscuit” of a project, hoping to create a positive effect for women, the LGBTQ community, civil rights and climate change — all the while — surviving gentrification + other pushback since I began this all female crew project as my version of a productive response to “Me-Too” experiences along with that of my Crew. I set out to ‘be the change I wished to see’ — by simply doing what I do best.
A letter that reflected my meditations – regarding my work and how the industry has affected my life as a female, lgbtq, culturally mixed artist who has been very concerned about climate change and who’s work is extra challenging due to the status quo of our industry and what I call the ”gentrification of culture.”
Enclosing the letter below, maybe some day, it might make a difference…. Along with my movie and album…
As I review my own letter from 2018, writing this now in 2022, from my upcycled, hand-built, SurfShackLoFt™️ which is where I work, my 21st Century Girl-Owned SustainableStudi0™️ I am remembering my initial wariness of all forms of ”supremacy/dominance” in arts, reflecting our supremacy based cultures.
Today I’d add many concepts to my original impulse for a micro-budget movie category. I’d add that we need a category for every category.
Moving Forward 2022
A Declaration Of IndiePenDance™️ Continued
by Cali Lili
As I see the real-world effects of cultures bereft of their humanity, stolen from 99 percent of living beings, afforded only to the 1% who misuse it or are ignorant of it’s true meaning, I have arrived at the conclusion that only those rare cultures who cherish the arts and humanities AND SUPPORT THE AUTHENTIC LIVING ARTIST are equipped to thrive on our spinning interplanetary swimming pool, our big blue, Mother Earth, SisterOcean™️.
I now consider it important for arts lovers to look beyond the museums of corporate art & seek out your own Van Goghs. Even in a museum, I never follow the map, its SO much more fun to discover. But right outside the halls of the so-called curated, is the living breathing artist who’s oxygen nourishes the culture as a whole. She too needs nourishment and I now make this plea to arts lovers and lovers of humanity, along with my fellow artists, let us build the New “Belle Epoque,” lets embrace the ”Age Of Aquarius” and ”let the sun shine in“ on the musty galleries, let us find each other beyond all the middle-men who keep us apart and let us SupportTheARTSustainTheARTiST™️
In fact, please let us remove any middle-men-women who don’t support the artist and her art! Let’s ALL embrace 21st Century MomAndPopUpCultureZ™️ that allow us all to be MakinALivinNotAKillin™️ EVEN the middle-men-women who CARE! let us have the equivalent of farmers markets and cafe society conference rooms so we can find each other and ourselves, so we can nourish the planet, rather than plunder her till nothing’s left except the ravenous crooked egos of the narcissistic gate-keepers hoarding in vain.
The power of Humanity must not be left in the greedy hands of the realtor, agent or broker lest it continue to be twisted into the ultimate weapon of mass destruction.
The sacred mystery weaving the life of every authentic artist, deserves far more respect than our gentrified corporate arts cultures allow.
I continue my work and it is once again, to the movie lovers, music lovers and lovers of all the arts, to whom my attention gladly returns.
I ask you all to support my projects and teams, where-ever you can, however you can, “every penny of support from you, is priceless for us.”
Always “HandMadeToMakeADifference” ™️©
By Cali Lili
Dear Academy Associates,
I know that you have many things to do in preps for the upcoming awards season … and I appreciate you taking a moment to consider the below.
I must begin with a bit of background, so I will try to deliver that succinctly :
I am an actress / filmmaker and singer-songwriter who has built my unique tiny film / music studio in Venice Beach – in order to create projects that address social justice issues in a particular style and in accordance with a methodology I began formulating in graduate school.
Having been skipped several grades and then earned an early admission scholarship to NYU, and having been blessed with some amazing educators along the way (all of whom made up for the abusive childhood I survived) I decided that I would do good works in honor of the trust, faith, and love – shown to me by my teachers and by the mysteries of talent and passion.
My teachers believed in me, so I pledged – that no matter what – I would dedicate myself to exceptional work, in honor of the exceptional care I was shown.
When I first experienced the Hollywood world as a teenager traveling back and forth between NYC and LA – I was surprised by the pervasive and aggressive lack of opportunity for someone like me, with my education, background and drive.
As time went on, I realized, that this was the “culture” I would inherit, as a multi-cultural female artist, a member of the lgbtq community and a filmmaker with passion. Hollywood was reflecting American culture and some of our cultural socio-economic “difficulties” with diversity, inclusion, justice, merit.
I remember the exact moment I decided to refuse to be angry and to choose to “be the change i wished to see.”
I am proud to say that my first completely indie feature length motion picture “eVe N’god this female is not yet rated ™” is now complete – made with an all female production crew before that became a popular “thing” to “tout.” I promoted the concept of an all female crew, way back in 2012 because I felt it would be an empowering goal – and we did it. Not only did we do it, we got imitated LOL.
My mixed gender / mixed orientation music crew and I made the soundtrack to the film, which is also my debut album. I was able to employ fellow craftspersons in the making of these projects – and this is extremely moving for me, as it allowed me to provide opportunities for others, without losing momentum on moving forward with my own purpose, in spite of my difficult childhood and in spite of roadblocks in the status quo.
As technology provided for the means to make my projects – I soon found out that blocked avenues of distribution lay in wait for us.
Distribution Companies including those posing as indies – proudly, boldly – post on their company website pages – that if they haven’t ever worked with you before – there is no point in approaching them for distribution. This is depressingly similar to how agents function.
Other companies “invited” us to send them all our ideas … – and just like in the “system” – we would be supplying our marketing ideas, our movie, all of my original content and intellectual property – to a company for which there was no oversight. We soon realized that some of those very same companies, to whom we turned for distribution, were behaving more like competitors, than as champions of the artists / art of the motion picture.
Now that we had the means to make a movie – we were shut out of releasing.
Business is business … but at some point … just as “Willy Loman” says … ” Attention Must Be Paid. ”
Willy might get trolled on social media these days … perhaps people might consider him too “touchy feely” … too “naive” ? But I posit that good ole Willy might find some supporters, including me. I don’t want to see Willy shut out anymore. I don’t want to see any more shelving / grounding for young or old Billy Wilders, and Orson Welles – and the countless indie / female / lgbtq / multicultural artists, like me – who may never have even dared to dream. As the partner of someone in the industry who is already accomplished – I am doing what Ginger Rogers described as ” backwards and in high heels.” I know there were many girls before me – who wished for a chance to simply do the work they were born to do.
Now – to my idea.
I am annoying you with all of this – because I was hoping to discuss my idea with somebody who stands for standards and merit in Hollywood.
One of my ideas is to create an Academy category for the purely indie – the truly indie … the DIY filmmakers such as myself. This would of-course – not only be excellent for “movies” and “movie culture” – but … it would be great for the Academy.
I’d like to submit the movie I made for that category – and I’d also like to help pave a road for others. I’d like to help the “movie culture” because i love movies. I believe in the power of movies to improve the world. It’s a personal quest for me – but meant to be be paid forward.
I know exactly how to put together such a category for films like mine … as I have spent several years now, not only making the movie and album – but also communicating with our growing audience on social media etc … !
After reaping the benefits of advancement in technologies – the one door which has been shut squarely in the face of so many filmmakers like myself is : distribution.
Additionally, with the advances of the technology, the standards have dropped on DIY / Indie films – but not for all those films. I have made a film within my modest budget, that looks like a far more expensive film. My team and I worked to make the very best film we could make … – not just a viral sample to be shared on social media.
The “film festival circuit” – is widely known by young filmmakers – to hold very little promise for most.
I’d like to make a difference – not only for my special project and team – but also to pave the way forward for others … and pave the way backwards to honor those who came before me without a voice !
I wonder if we might correspond about this idea ?
I think we can do something outrageously healthy for our culture and our community !
I’ve enclosed links about my project – below the signature line …
Enclosing an interview I was asked to do with an Australian film journalist :
BandCamp Tip Jar https://calililiindies.bandcamp.com/
FB Band Page https://www.facebook.com/calililiband/
Music Singles Also on Amazon, Google Play, Youtube and all major music platforms
Movie Trailers / Music Videos https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOo3oJVjWZYRiDartBwKLpq2Nj35uUj5I
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