Thursday, June 21, 2012


Procrastination by thy name; the name of the game in which I cannot pass 'Go' and collect the precious yellow $200. To strive for improvement, quality over continuation has left me lacking luster and at a loss over treasured words. I hold myself accountable; it's time to dive in.
 Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Nice girls finish first

*Originally written for and posted on The Clackamas Print website as a web exclusive.*

Anna Axelson, Web Editor
Sunday, March 11, 2010
Arts & Culture

I was three when Kimberly McCullough first appeared on the screen, a bright smile on her lips as she captured the hearts of countless viewers with the first utterance of the word “Hi.” I can guarantee you that at least one television in my home was tuned to ABC that day, even if I wasn’t quite aware of it – yet.
Years later, we’ve both grown up – adults (I know, can you believe it?) – and she’s showing the world that there is so much more to then that sweet little girl we all grew so quickly to love. As a college student, I can emphasize with that goal.
Saturday, March 10, I attended the Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival, which ran March 8-11, is now in its fifth year features over sixty 60 films with many of the directors in attendance.  As stated on their website, “POWFest empowers women to find their voice and to share their stories through innovative and quality filmmaking.”  In addition, each year they honor someone considered to be a pioneer for women in film, and this year was no exception as “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” director Amy Heckerling made an appearance during a showing of her cult classic.
While so many amazing women were honored and showcased (and rightfully so), I admittedly went with a particular hope: to see McCullough.  Through the addiction that is Twitter, for quite some time now I had heard little tidbits about a project of hers, a labor of love. I was certainly curious. Then I found out this year’s POW Fest was showing it, and she would be there. 
For the last 38 years, the American Film Institute has offered a Directing Workshop for Women, which each year gives several lucky students the opportunity, knowledge and training to create a short film.  This process has launched the careers of many notable women in film. In 2010, McCullough was able to participate in this esteemed workshop, and the result was a short film that she not only directed, but also wrote, “Nice Guys Finish Last.”
After so many years of McCullough visiting my home on a regular basis (of course only via the miracle that is daytime television), I was ecstatic at the opportunity of a semi-exclusive viewing of the film and to learn of another facet of the talent she undoubtedly holds.
We grew up together, in a way (at least her alter-ego and I did). It’s hard not to take notice of someone who for the last few weeks has turned my mother into a blubbering idiot (her words, not mine), along with mild yet choked up claims of devastation (rest in peace Robin; though forgive me if I hold out hope of a miraculous soap opera resurrection – a devious evil twin perhaps?).
With all of this weighing on my mind as I took my seat in front of the main stage of the Hollywood Theatre, imagine my surprise when McCullough took a seat directly behind me. I couldn’t help but squirm a little, cheeks flushed pink and without the courage to say “hello.”
When the lights dimmed, I was itching with anticipation. This was my first film festival and the “Mature Themes” title to the session promised intriguing things to follow. There were eight films, all by women directors: “Little Larry” by Jill Cater; “Park” by Liz Cambron; “Hunting” by Laura Maxfield; “Veterans” by Valerie Bischoff; “Summer of the Zombies” by Ashleigh Nichols and Eddie Beasley; “Nice Guys Finish Last” by McCullough; “Scenes From an Adult Nature” by Samantha Whittaker and Darwin Shaw and “Oh Baby, I Love You” by Mary Angelica Molina. (I recommend trying to see all of them, by the way; all were thrilling, thought-evoking and/or hilarious in one way or another.)
Nice Guys Finish Last” tells the brief, yet heavy tale of Kori, a delightfully dark character personified beautifully by actress Danielle Harris. With a turmoiled history with bad boys, Kori is faced with the prospect of a genuinely nice guy who is actually what one would call “good” for her but curiously finds herself desperately unsatisfied. With a tagline that clearly states “when a guy is so nice, you wanna kill him,” one can only imagine the direction this morbidly funny short film would take. (I won’t spoil the details; you should certainly see it for yourself!)
I was honestly impressed (bias aside). Not only was the plot well thought out and well told, but many of the scenes appeared to be so thoughtfully constructed that it was easy to get sucked in, searching the shadows for more. The antagonist and protagonist in this story are one, and it’s with deliberate staccato steps that the story is told.  When the credits rolled (fitted with their own twist of provocative humor and depth) applause echoed throughout the theater and I was amazed only 13 minutes had passed.
Once all eight films had been shown, the three directors in attendance stood and gathered by the stage to receive their due praise. Along with McCullough, Maxfield (“Hunting”) and Nichols (“Summer of the Zombies”) spoke of their films, which all were the obvious favorites of not only myself, but the crowd.
When asked where she got her inspiration, McCullough smiled and said “my twenties, and my friends.” The repeated complaint of some guys being just TOO nice may seem like an odd one, but show me one woman who hasn’t said it, or at least heard it and I’d be surprised. You know what I’m talking about ladies. Keeping that in mind brings the story that much more to life and you can see where its roots take hold.
Once the Q&A had run its course, the directors were thanked and most of the crowd made their way towards the exit. After one last prodding from the person I had so dutifully drug along to the theater (and a threat to tattle my cowardice to my mother), I approached McCullough.
What can I say? I was star-struck. I don’t get the chance meet nifty people very often with the majority of my time spent in the Print lab (my apologies to The Print staff for this comment).
I shook her hand, told her how honored I was to see her film and how great it was to meet her.
She asked my name, asked if I was from Portland, and smiled that familiar smile.
My mom would have cried.
In the end, I walked away with a DVD of “Nice Guys Finish Last,” a desire to learn more about not just the film industry – but the growing role of women within it, a giddy anticipation for what we will see next from McCullough and an awesome experience that I will likely never forget.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Perhaps if I gave up sleep... I'd have enough time to blog.  (Just a thought.)