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Best in Fest

Media & Entertainment Podcasts

Host Leslie LaPage, Director of LaFemme International Film Festival uncovers the Secrets of Filmmaking with her lineup of industry professional guests. In every episode you will learn things like how to make the most out of the film festival circuit, how to find a great distribution partner, how to attract A list talent, finding the perfect representation, the dirty little secrets of Hollywood and much more.


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Host Leslie LaPage, Director of LaFemme International Film Festival uncovers the Secrets of Filmmaking with her lineup of industry professional guests. In every episode you will learn things like how to make the most out of the film festival circuit, how to find a great distribution partner, how to attract A list talent, finding the perfect representation, the dirty little secrets of Hollywood and much more.




The Best Of Best in Fest - #Ep 132

Welcome to the Best OF Best in Fest!


Bringing the Children's Hour Radio Show to the Masses with Katie Stone - Ep #130

Katie Stone is Executive Director and Producer of The Children’s Hour radio show and podcast and has been described as the “Mr. Rogers of public radio.” She began producing The Children’s Hour 22 years ago as a volunteer at her local NPR affiliate, KUNM-fm. In 2018 Katie started a nonprofit, The Children’s Hour Inc. and has taken the radio show to international syndication. Katie and her husband live and work in Albuquerque, New Mexico in a handmade adobe home on a solar powered organic farm near the Rio Grande.


Directing TV: Tricks of the Trade with Nikki Hevesy- Ep #130

Nikki Hevesy is an award-winning director and producer who has worked on documentaries, shorts, multi-camera presentations, promotional and music videos. She began her career in theatre, and as the founding artistic director of the City of Performing Arts company in San Francisco, has directed more than 50 stage productions, including writing and directing two critically-acclaimed musicals that premiered in San Francisco, as well as a small musical for the National Theatre of Uganda, Africa. As a writer, director and producer, Hevesy has won a slew of awards, including multiple TELLY, Aurora and CINE Golden Eagle Awards. She also nabbed recognition for her work on “Joined Together,” an award-winning, one-hour special on interfaith marriages, which aired on PAX TV. Hevesy has a Master’s of Fine Arts in directing from the University of Southern California (USC) and a degree in theology from Simpson University. She has taught directing, acting and sit-com production both privately and as a faculty member at various colleges and universities, including Pepperdine University, Los Angeles Valley College and Azusa Pacific University – just to name a few. A year to life - social impact short Hevesy’s scripted series, based on her gang intervention documentary was one of four TV projects selected for the highly-competitive Producers Guild of America’s (PGA) diversity development program. During the pandemic, Hevesy wrote (and attached to direct) the feature film, LIFE LIKE THAT, for producer Anne Marie Gillen (FRIED GREEN TOMATOES, UNDER SUSPICION and INTO TEMPTATION) under the shingle, Gillen Group LLC. Currently, Hevesy is working on her true crime journal docu-series, titled “Inside Justice: Getting Out,” which examines a current wrongful conviction, as well as developing TV and film projects under her production company, Through the Glass Productions.


Women Advancing in Corporate America with Genna Rosenberg - Ep #129

Genna Rosenberg is CEO of GennComm, a global PR & Marketing agency representing many of the most powerful classic and new brands of our time, Chief Ideator at ImaGENNation, a Think Tank focused on licensing and connections in the consumer product space, and Executive Producer at Upbeat Entertainment Group, bringing music and content focused on empowerment, diversity and inclusion to life through powerhouse partnerships with giants.


Developing and Marketing Graphic Novels with John Shableski - Ep #128

John Shableski is a nationally recognized expert in the development of the graphic novel/manga/comics category for the publishing industry including trade, library and educational markets. Along with editorial development, design and strategic planning, his scope of expertise includes the study of industry trends and market development for the educational, public library and retail categories for book publishing along with classroom application of graphic novels. John currently serves as president for Reading With Pictures, a global literacy organization focused on improving the learning experience for students of all ages and abilities.


Secrets of Animation and NFT's with Rob Feldman - Ep #127

Rob Feldman is a Ringo-Award nominated comic book creator, animation producer and NFT artist best known for his print and online comic, Cyko KO and web animated series, Dr. Shroud. Having produced content for the likes of Warner Brothers, Fangoria, Starlog, Top Cow and Mystery Science Theater, Rob's recent work of NFT drops and streaming through the blockchain-based partner Theta Network have proven to be the most innovative and utility-driven to date. In addition to producing, Rob serves as CTO of the publishing powerhouse Rocketship Entertainment where he helps brainstorm, source product and manage content. When he's not exploring the emerging blockchain landscape of digital collectibles,


Children's Book Turns to a Series - Ep #126

Linda Malik is a writer/screenwriter/storyteller living in Los Angeles, CA. Originally from Denmark, she worked as a professional ballet dancer for 12 years before an injury put a stop to her career. She went back to school in the U.S., where she earned a B.A and M.A in Radio and Television (Screenwriting) from San Francisco State University. She has written several screenplays, mostly dramas - she placed as a semi-finalist at the Academy Nicholl Fellowships Screenwriting competition - children's animated series pitch bibles, short stories. Presently, she has one optioned script for a dark animated feature film, self-published children's picture books in the series of "Willow's Tale" that are inspired by her real-life rescue cat, Willow. She has written/ produced 2 short animations based on the Willow books that premiered in October at CatCon 2022, Pasadena. Established in 2002, The Center for Learning Unlimited (CLU) reconnects complex learners with their academic, social, and emotional potential. CLU serves kindergarten - 12th grade students with learning challenges. CLU also is home to a swiftly growing animation career training program for adults on the autism spectrum. As CLU sister studio, Brainstorm Productions offers paid workplace experience for CLU animation alumni.


Amanda's Action Club with Amanda Frolich - Ep #125

Amanda Frolich, aka Action Amanda, is an award-winning children’s entertainer, early years educator, health and fitness expert, best-selling author and Government advisor. This year marks Amanda’s 30th year in business as the CEO of Amanda’s Action Club. From starting in a small community centre, Amanda has grown to working globally. Her impressive client list includes some well-known stars including; Brad and Angelina and The Beckhams… Peter Jones, Amanda Holden, The Beautiful South’s Alison Wheeler, Take That’s Mark Owen, Declan Donnelly, Sarah Beeny, Catherine Tate, Olympian Matthew Pincent… and many more… In 2020, Amanda was invited to become a UK Children’s First Champion in Parliament, encouraging policymakers to put children first at the heart of all decision making. She previously worked as a children’s fitness consultant on the government’s Change4Life programme and was selected to run classes, events and training for Sure Start. Over the last 30 years Amanda has won multiple awards for her work, she is a number one best-selling author and iTunes number one chart topper — beating Baby Shark to the number one spot!


Mastering Every Aspect of Producing a Documentary Film with Judy Korin - Ep #124

Judy Korin fuses her backgrounds in graphic design and filmmaking to contribute to visually powerful and socially impactful works. In addition to producing REBEL HEARTS (2021, max/discovery+) which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, she is a producer of the documentary series THE LINCOLN PROJECT (2022, Showtime) and the Netflix original documentary THE GREAT HACK (2019, Sundance premiere), which made the Academy Award shortlist, was BAFTA-, Grierson- and Emmy-nominated, and won a Cinema Eye Honors Award. She also co-produced BENDING THE ARC (2017), directed the International Documentary Association and Emmy Award nominee A CENTURY OF WOMEN (1994) and produced the indie scripted feature FINDING NEIGHBORS (2013, AppleTV, Amazon). Judy has directed and produced many short-form documentaries and branded content films for social justice and educational non-profits such as the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Community Action Network. In addition to her filmmaking, she teaches documentary production to the next generation of storytellers at California State University, Northridge.


What Does A Line Producer Really Do? - Ep #122

A Line Producer is the unsung hero of a film production. Full of responsibility and, of course, stress, the job of a line producer is crucial and really challenging. In this episode Leslie breaks down the whole job from beginning to the end leaving no stone unturned. This is a must listen!


Casting, Directing and the Marvels of Virtual Production with Dianah Wynter - Ep #122

Today Ledslie talks to Dianah Wynter. Wynter was born and raised in New York. She directed Intimate Betrayal (1999), HappySAD (2009), and Daddy's Girl (1996), for which she received an Emmy nomination. Her stage directing credits include the world premiere of The Interrogation of Nathan Hale at South Coast Rep, Mules at San Francisco's Magic Theatre and American Conservatory Theatre (ACT), the latter starring Anika Noni Rose. She was a regular director for the Mark Taper's New Work Fest, and NEA Director Fellow for The Goodman Theatre. At Princeton, she composed music for Triangle club comedy revues, collaborating with classmates such as Douglas McGrath, David E. Kelley, Eric Schlosser and John Seabrook. A graduate of the Yale school of drama. She was asst director for Lloyd Richards on the world premieres of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Fences. She mounted the second company of Fences at Seattle Rep starring Frances Foster and Samuel L. Jackson. Dianah is an author and co-editor of Referentiality and the Films of Woody Allen (Palgrave Macmillan). Her most recent book is The Post Soul Cinema of Kasi Lemmons. In 2019, she was elected Chair of the Cinema & Television Arts department at Cal State Northridge (CSUN), which consistently ranks in the Hollywood Reporters Top 25 film schools. She is the first black woman to head a Top film school. During her term as Chair, she initiated the virtual production initiative, with the support of strategic partner, Halon Entertainment; by 2021, CSUN made it into the top 20 of The Wraps Top 50 Film Schools, breaking in at #17.


The Greatest Financing System for Independent Films with Patrick Rizzotti - Ep #120

Patrick Rizzotti, is a veteran film producer and founder of Crossroad Productions. Crossroad's finds projects that can crossover to multiple entertainment platforms during its lifespan. Rizzotti originally co-founded Fortress Features in 2004 - 2017 and developed over 100 feature film and television projects during the next 14 years. The goal of Fortress was to create a environment where filmmakers could develop material outside of the studio system. Rizzotti has produced major internationally successful films including the critically acclaimed "Pride" (Lionsgate), starring Academy Award Nominee Terrence Howard (Empire, Iron man) and Bernie Mac (Oceans Eleven, Charlie's Angels). "The Collector", co-written and directed by Marcus Dunstan (co-writer of Saw 4-7), spawned a sequel called "The Collection", both of which were released wide theatrically. "The Super", a psychological thriller starring Val Kilmer (Top Gun, The Doors) and financed by television producer Dick Wolf and most recently "Malicious" starring Josh Stewart (The Dark Night Rises, The Collector), Delroy Lindo (Heat, Get Shorty) and Bojana Novakovic (i-Tonya, Shameless).


Creating Your Opportunities as a Black Woman in Hollywood with McKenzie Chinn - Ep #119

McKenzie is a filmmaker, actor, and poet based in Chicago. Driven by a revolutionary sensibility, her work uses rich imagery and a deeply personal lens to explore the lives, relationships, and dreams of those who experience marginalization based on their identities, frequently returning to themes around longing and ambition, with her storytelling rooted in sensuality, everyday magic, and the beauty of the ordinary. She was recently named IFA Chicago’s inaugural Breakthrough Voice Award recipient, and is a 2021 Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Lab Fellow with her next feature A Real One, currently in late development. She is also the writer, producer, and lead actor of Olympia, which premiered at the 2018 LA Film Festival and won the Audience Award at the 2019 Bentonville Film Festival. She recently made her stage directing debut with ALAIYO by Micah Ariel Watson at Definition Theatre. As an actor, her on-camera credits include recurring and guest star roles on the FOX series The Big Leap, ABC's Will Trent, CBS’s The Red Line, and others. Onstage she has worked with Steppenwolf and Goodman Theatres, The Second City, Woolly Mammoth, Definition Theatre, and others.


How to Succeed As a Filmmaking Team with Corey Grant & Lanett Tachel - Ep #119

Corey Grant was born in Joliet, Illinois. He attended Norfolk State University and Virginia where he received his BA in Communications. After graduating and working for NBC, he decided that film was his ultimate goal and he moved to Washington, DC to attend Howard University to receive his Masters in Film. While attending Howard, he founded New Breed Entertainment and wrote, produced and directed his first feature film, HIP HOP TASK FORCE. The film was picked up fro domestic distribution after a limited theatrical run all funded by scholarship money. It proved successful and set up the next step in advancing both Grant and New Breed Entertainment. After graduation he moved to Hollywood to take his film career to the next level. He wrote, produced and directed the follow up to Hip Hop Task Force with the sequel STUDIO which was picked up by Warner Bros Home Video and released in 2007. Looking to take things to the next level, Corey wrote and and directed DYSFUNCTIONAL FRIENDS, his third feature which was released theatrically and has garnered rave reviews and success on DVD and VOD. The movie has gone on to cult hit status among African Americans for the all star cast and it's high end comedy with lightly placed drama. His follow up BIGFOOT: THE LOST COAST TAPES, saw Grant go in a completely different direction as he entered the mainstream horror arena. The found footage thriller was received well as it was picked up for worldwide distribution and was released in the fall of 2012. This filmmaker prides himself on quality, commercial stories that are cutting edge and original LANETT TACHEL IS A PRODUCER, WRITER, AND ACTRESS FROM PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY MARYLAND. SHE RECEIVED HER BFA FROM HOWARD UNIVERSITY AND MOVED TO LOS ANGELES WHERE SHE MET LEGENDARY WRITER/PRODUCER, ED WEINBERGER (TAXI, THE COSBY SHOW) WHO ASKED HER TO SERVE AS A CONSULTANT FOR THE 6 EPISODE SERIES, BELLE’S, STARRING KEITH DAVID AND ELLA JOYCE. AFTER CONSULTING ON THE PILOT WHERE SHE LATER EARNED A TITLE ROLE, LANETT QUICKLY LEARNED THAT THE BEST WAY TO KEEP WORKING WAS TO CREATE THE WORK HERSELF. FOLLOWING THE SERIES, LANETT PRODUCED AN AWARD WINNING SHORT, SISTER SISTER SISTER FOLLOWED BY A SERIES OF NARRATIVE DRIVEN MUSIC VIDEOS FOR A UNIVERSAL RECORDING ARTIST. SHE THEN TEAMED UP WITH COREY GRANT AND WITH THEIR PRODUCTION COMPANY, “NEW BREED ENTERTAINMENT” SHE WENT ON TO WRITE AND PRODUCE FEATURE FILMS SUCH AS THE SUSPENSE/THRILLER -ILLICIT (AMAZON/BET 2017), I GOT THE HOOK UP 2 (2019 THEATRICAL RELEASE) AND MOST RECENTLY SHE HAS PRODUCED AND COWRITTEN THE BRAND NEW SCRIPTED SERIES, PUMP, WHERE SHE ALSO STARS ALONGSIDE RAY J, JENNIFER FREEMAN, MICHAEL JAI WHITE AND MORE. THE SERIES RELEASED TO A STREAMING PLATFORM TO RAVE REVIEWS AND IS CURRENTLY IN THE PROCESS OF RE-RELEASING TO A NEW, LARGER PLATFORM LATER THIS YEAR.


The Power of Grief in Film with Grant Garry - Ep #118

Grant Garry is a filmmaker, actor, and owner of the production company Wesley Curtis Productions. He is the director of the new documentary Meet Me Where I Am - Which explores the topic of grief through individual stories of loss, love, and hope. Grant earned his degree in Theatre Arts from Loyola Marymount University. He has studied improv at The Groundlings School, acting in musical theater with Jason Alexander, and is a Certified Grief Educator. He has a passion for singing, long-form conversations, nonfiction literature, meditation, writing, coffee, and cars. He previously produced and acted in Black Cat, currently available on Amazon Prime. Other acting credits include NCIS: Los Angeles, Night of the Living Deb, Sweeney Todd, and Cinderella. His upcoming documentary film, Room for Cream: The Coffee Experience, will explore how humans experience coffee.


A Perfect Team: Heidi Nyburg & Kristin Tegtmeier Higgins - Ep #117

Heidi Nyburg After a career in tech as a product manager for Netflix, Heidi pivoted to screenwriting for television and film. A 2022 HUMANITAS finalist, & WIF top 10, Heidi’s writing focuses on female-driven dramas and dark comedies that explore themes of motherhood, having/not having it all, and sometimes, murder. She’s won several respected contests, has been featured on The Blacklist for pilots & has two scripts in Coverfly’s Top 1% of all time. She’s also a mother and a director, and those two things feel the same most of the time. Kristin Tegtmeier Higgins is an independent film producer having discovered a passion for making movies after growing up with her family’s rural movie theater business. She began to makefilms alongside raising a family and a successful career in enterprise software marketing in Silicon Valley. Kristin studied screenwriting at UCLA and finally film production at San Francisco Film School. She has gone on to make multiple short films and now the narrative feature film, ClearMind, as well as directing and producing a feature documentary on the topic of women and ultra running, which is in post production.


Create Your Career in the Film Industry with Nadia Valencia - Ep# 116

Naida Valencia originally hails from the West Coast of the US, but holds a strong identity within her Chilean and Colombian heritage. A theater virtuoso from the age of 9, she attended The Northwest School of the Arts, as well as the acting division of UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television. Since then her career has been an eclectic mixture of marketing, management, writing, event planning and overall industry involvement. She currently works as a marketing manager for Whatevergroup, a production company in Northern Finland. Whatevergroup is a TV and film production company based in Oulu, Finland. The company was initiated in 2011 and is run by three writer producers: Antti Kaarlela, Antti Kairakari and Aleksi Puranen. A modest, yet dynamic team runs the engine of this enterprise, setting the course for unique and ambitious horizons. Whatevergroup sets itself apart as one of the primary industry players within the northern regions of Finland. Brandishing an eclectic profile of enthralling pieces, such as the Evilside thriller series for Elisa Viihde and the family feature Susikoira Roi for Cmore MTV3.


Film Making for the LGBTQ Community and Beyond - Ep #114

Mark Salyer is an award-winning producer and director whose work in the arts and multi-media explores intergenerational themes, stories and mythology of the Appalachian Mountains where he is from and the LGBTQ+ experience. As an actor and director in the theater, Mark has won numerous awards and performed across the country and abroad. His Hedwig in the Atlanta premier of Hedwig and the Angry Inch was both a critical and commercial success. He performed in the ruins of Delphi for the International Symposium on Greek Drama playing a gender-fluid Electra in Sophocles’ tragedy. In Los Angeles, he co-created the four part harmony drag show She Haw which enjoyed a long run at Largo. Directing highlights include Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer, Madama Butterfly, Sondheim’s Into the Woods, Cabaret, An Evening with Stephen Schwartz starring Ben Vereen and Corbin Bleu and the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center’s gala opening performance of Big River. In 2012, he created NewStages, a dynamic and ground-breaking performing arts program for and about LGBTQ+ seniors. NewStages has reached thousands in the Los Angeles queer community through dynamic classes and workshops, innovative intergenerational projects and an annual Pride Arts Festival production featuring the seniors of the LA LGBT Center in a performance of music, theater, and dance inspired by their remarkable life stories. In 2016, he co-founded ARAY Productions with his co-Appalachian Melissa Palmer. Since then, ARAY has produced projects that are by and about the people of Central Appalachia, including the award-winning short Ladies Most Deject directed by Martha Elcan and starring Conner Wharton. Mark lives in Palm Springs and in Los Angeles with his husband of 31 years. He is currently working on a book about art and aging.


How to Market a Killer Sports Documentary - Ep# 114

Today Leslie has on John Wayne S III, Tyawanna Smith, Kristine McPhearson the creators of the sports documentary "Ballin' Aboard" to talk about how to market a film in todays industry. Ballin Aboard is the journey of five Champion and top-tier American athletes playing basketball in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and Euro-Leagues.


Film Making in the Dominican Republic with Marianna Vargas Gurilieva - Ep #113

Marianna Vargas Gurilieva was appointed Film Commissioner of the Dominican Republic Film Commission (DGCINE) in 2021, a position dedicated to regulating, developing, and promoting the Dominican film industry. A Magna Cum Laude graduate in Law of the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM), Vargas continued her studies obtaining a L.L.M. in Business Transactions at Erasmus University Rotterdam. In 2021, she completed a master's degree in Legal Strategy from the OMG Institute of Santo Domingo. Prior to her appointment as Film Commissioner, Vargas served as a Senior Director of the Business Department at OMG, a legal firm in the Dominican Republic. From 2011 to 2016 she worked as Director of Business and Legal Affairs for Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios, where she acted as in house counsel for the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and the production team in international and national productions directed by the studio. Furthermore, Vargas participated as a representative of the Film Studios at the Intersectoral Commission for Promoting Cinematographic Activity in the Dominican Republic (CIPAC) and collaborated in the preparation, revision, and modification of Law No. 108-10 to promote Cinematographic Activity in the Dominican Republic and its applicable regulations. She has extensive knowledge and a well-established background in Corporate and Commercial Law, specializing in legal planning and entertainment.