Catch Cat play the cheeky socialite, on season 2 of Graves on Epix, episode 3, "The Opposite of People."
My second directorial project, Seagull, was an official selection at the LA Femme International Film Festival. The festival was fantastic! I watched documentaries I learned from and still thinking about and narrative shorts and features that gave me new insight and pathways for story telling. The filmmakers themselves were friendly and engaging. The panels were best part of the festival. In particular, the How to Pitch Panel, in which audience members had the opportunity to practice pitching to the panelists. I pitched The Vendetta of Felipe Espinosa, the novel about America's first serial killer and foreign terrorist. I received positive feedback and excellent pointers I can take with me in the future. Thank you panelists :)
I also had the immense pleasure of seeing old friends! Treasured the festival experience and look forward to the next one.
Seagull, the WWII film Cat directed and acted in, has been chosen as as official selection for the 2017 LA Femme International Film Festival! LA Femme is one of the premiere film festivals that supports female writer, producers, and directors from around the world. Cat and the team are so honored to get into this festival!
Courtesy of Boothe Global Perspectives: bootheglobalperspectives.com/business
Catharine Pilafas recounts a story when, as a child, whe was on stage with her mother in the audience. In the above video, you will see why the phrase "Hair on fire". Cat describes how her purse somehow caught a spark and was afire, as her mother was almost having a heart attack, watching in the audience Cat continued to speak her lines. Amazingly, she put out the fire, she never lost a beat. She recalled that the thought hit her: "I was on fire, and I managed to finish my lines. I can do this!" She went on to college in Colorado, studied acting and dance, and then was invited to do some off-Broadway productions in New York City. See Video here: https://youtu.be/DzCetAUmDh0
As she puts it, she has always been a climber, always seeking to penetrate the next level, achieve the next goal, overcome the next barrier. So she has been a successful actress with movies under her belt. She has done dance and choreography. She has written books and screenplays. She has produced her own film and then went on to win an international director-producer award. She sings, and she mentors and teaches upcoming actors.
If you have never had the pleasure to meet her or work with her, this interview will give you a sample of this amazing, upbeat personality.
We at BigSkyVoices (You Tube) invite you to take a look.
Cat has already achieved more than many in the movie industry, and we have no doubt that her path is strong and focused, and we can't wait to see what happens next in her career.
As for us, Ben Boothe at www.benboothe.com or www.bootheglobalperspectives.com and Victor Waumett at www.storytellerfilms.com, we will be rooting for you Cat!
Video features the original song OM+ME, written by Catharine Pilafas, recorded and produced at Timbojo Productions studio in Albuquerque, N.M. and features vocals from: Adam Burch, Monique Candelaria, Tiffany Neeley, and Catharine Pilafas.
"My eyes had gradually adapted to the dwindling light outside as the horse stumbled through stones and gorse, so it was a shock to step from near-dark into what seemed a blaze of light inside. As the dazzle receded, I could see that in fact the single room was lit only by a fire, several candlesticks, and a dangerously old-fashioned-looking oil lamp.
“What is it ye have there, Murtagh?”
The weasel-faced man grabbed me by the arm and urged me blinking into the firelight.
“A Sassenach wench, Dougal, by her speech.”
- excerpt from Diana Gabaldon's series, Outlander
On a solo road trip to Phoenix to spend my mother's birthday with her, I discovered I wanted to be nothing more than a "Sassenach." All thanks to Diana Gabaldon's series, Outlander. Audio booking is rather a precious past time of mine. Like I am earning a currency that feels like I am buying back time. Read by Davina Porter, a master of the United Kingdom dialects, I was in love, lust, and adventure blushed by the books end. Summoned to parrot back the dialogue and descriptions read aloud in British, Scottish, and all of the delightful in between, I soon realized I must teach Voice and Dialects again. Below is information about how you too, can be a bonny lass, Scottish highlander, an Irish spirit and beyond.
In Voice + Speech and Introduction to Dialects, actors will explore and garner the tools to free their natural human voice. Actors will learn the Kristin Linklater and Rudolf Laban methods and develop awareness to recognize and shift unnecessary tension in the face, voice and body to evoke “relaxed readiness.” The class will also introduce the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) which is the basis of learning dialects. The dialects that will be taught: British, Irish, Russian, and German. Actors will practice a dialect of their choice in an assigned scene or monologue to be performed for the final class.
EARLY BIRD PRICE- $241.88
(ENDS September 18th at 11:59PM)
REGULAR PRICE - $295.63
It is a huge honor to win the Chimaera Project's In (H)er (D)irection Film Competition! Co-Executive Directors of the Chimaera Project, Shana Betz and America Young, created a contest for female filmmakers to make a 2 minute film about why we direct, what we bring to directing, and any challenges we have faced as a filmmaker. The film could be interview style and include clips from our work. The Chimaera Project's powerful team has advisory board members with notable powerhouses, Anjelica Houston and Octavia Spencer. "The Chimaera Project is dedicated to empowering women to reach their highest potential in the film, television and media industries. We are inspired to support filmmakers that are actively carving their mark into the developing entertainment landscape."
Check out my wining submission below. For a full list of awardees and their great films go to: chimaeraproject.org
Cat's second directorial work is the WWII drama, SEAGULL. The film's new site: www.seagullthefilm.com, has production stills, bios of the cast, and more about 2 Cats Productions. More about SEAGULL: During World War Two, a mysterious Frenchwoman who arrives on the English coast with an important message for the resistance encounters both aid and suspicion. SEAGULL has been submitted to festivals worldwide, more news about an international premiere, coming soon!
We made movies. We passed the Bechdel Test. We made connection at the first annual Different Faces Different Voices Film Festival, and cheered on our Flicks4Chicks (F4C) competition films. The "we" I refer to are the (mainly) female filmmakers I bonded with this weekend from Utah, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Los Angeles, to name a few. Of the fifty teams competing in the U.S. and abroad, thirty-eight turned their films in on time, and only twenty-nine were selected to screen at the festival. Our Albuquerque team, Lumos Productions, competed and our film, Pinky Promise, made the cut to officially screen and I took home the Best Director award.
Rewind back to when we found out we were selected to screen and that we had won an award. Not sure which award, as the awards were announced at the festival, I had a decision to make about going to the festival to support our film. I've never attended a film festival a 2,200 miles away, or attended one without the comfort of having friends I already know there, or even attended a film festival as a filmmaker. What was I saying yes to by going? The process to decide to go was like straddling a fence that held my ability to grow up on each side. In the end, I took a chance and went because it felt like so much “yes” around me to go. Once there, I admitted my hesitation about attending to the directors I met. I also admitted that the F4C competition was my first time solo-directing. Guard down, and ding-ding! The gates of connection and truth found their channel to share. I discovered one of the unspoken aspects of this festival was that it assembled filmmakers like me, I was not the exception, I was the rule. Most all of us were director virgins. F4C contest was our coming out.
We arrived at the festival already silently bonded through our shared commitment of the festival’s tag line to - Tell Her Story on Film. Then, upon watching the films it ignited a unique sisterhood-quality interaction between the filmmakers. After we consumed the hours of content we created, we proceeded to communion this rite of passage with something women excel at - talk/express/share ideas about all da shizz. Light bulb ah-ha's going off, loud Catharine laughs, and high fives were some of the memory snap shots from the shizz sessions. It was eye opening to learn how these filmmakers worked through the evitable challenges of making a film in thirty days. I absorbed how their state resources differed from mine, and ultimately how their state politics make the process of filmmaking work for them (or not) in their communities. It put in perspective how damn good I have it here in New Mexico.
Do you know what it's like to feel the inner click of creating in the moment? The divine alignment of operating from true center? When you are in flow and faith? This kind of connection is undeniable. It's like God is saying "yes!" back to your artist's pursuit. On my artist’s journey, I had known this distinct feeling of inner expansion as an actor and dancer. And then to feel in flow as a director on Pinky Promise sealed the deal - I must direct. I am deeply honored to have won Best Director at F4C and even if I didn't, I have drank the kool aid to direct more. My next directing project is the WWII short film, Seagull, written and starring my friend and fellow Women in Film member, Catherine Fridey. With an all female cast, the story is centered around the newest refugee brought into the British and French resistance camp. More details coming soon!
Besides how much I enjoyed refining my edge as a director, my favorite detail about F4C was the fierce love and admiration I developed for the cast and crew we assembled. Each of us contributed to an environment on set that honored our profession while simultaneously elevating our craft. I want to especially commend my fellow producers: Amy Baklini, Lauren Myers, and Elizabeth Dwyer Sandlin – dubbed the #QuadForce. We were an ambitious film producing machine whose fuel was pure and unabashed empowerment. Yummy doses of yes you can, yes I can, yes we can. We tested the rules set out for a group of women creating art. Which, what are those rules, by the way? I know the stereotypes, but what’s the example to follow? I am confident that we set an example, which is a simple rule I aim to follow on all my projects: champion female creative energy at every turn. That has been the deepest truth revealed to me by making Pinky Promise.
Of all the seeds that were planted and sowed because F4C, I know because of it, I am delivered to my next level of story telling.
Cole Porter. Aliens. Me.
What is the common denominator here? [Answer] My experience filming Independence Day: Resurgence (IDR), the sequel to the beloved Independence Day from 1996.
Booking the role of Flight Officer #3 on this sequel has hands down been the most exciting experience I have ever had on set. Never before had I been this close to world-class special effects, pyro technics, and exploding walls. I had the opportunity to work alongside actors I deeply respect –Jeff Goldblum and William Fichtner – and alongside local actors I, also, respect – Monique Candelaria, Stafford Douglas, Nate Warren, and Robert Washington. My fellow flight officers and I worked on set for a week and cherished all of it, creating a bond that felt as unique as believing we were truly fighting aliens. Albeit, this tale is more memorable because of working with Mr. Goldblum. He is as eccentric and playful as you may have read about him. Between takes he would play instrumental music from his phone right next to his ear, waltz with background actors, and read to me theories about child development from a psychology book he has stashed just within in reach. He was mesmerizing, silly, and damn impossible to figure out his next move. I learned this first hand, that’s a pun you’ll get a minute…keep reading. During the close-up camera coverage of my character’s lines, which involved reporting intense losses for our troops, I felt a calm hand placed on mine in the middle of my delivery. This hand was out of sight of the camera frame. This was Mr. Goldblum’s hand. Kind of stricken by this never before rehearsed moment from the other camera angles, I sorted myself milliseconds. I allowed it to become a way for my character to get grounded with the high stakes. Was Mr. Goldblum:
a) providing comfort to my character,
b) testing my actor spontaneity, or
c) f*cking with me?
It’s all of the above. Either way, it was an excellent practice in staying invested in the circumstance and using what the moment provided.
But that wasn’t the only surprise I had on set.
Actors typically sit in cast chairs to wait to go on set (see below). Cast chairs can be a quiet corner, the place to nervously go over lines, awkwardly wonder if any of the other actors will talk to you, and eventually an oblivion of waiting. However, the void of sitting in the cast chairs had a whole new meaning once Jeff Goldblum joined us. When we finished filming scenes with him (including his hand placed on mine moment) we were instructed to wait in the cast chairs. Mr. Goldblum didn’t go back to base camp and wait in his trailer, he waited with us flight officers in the cast chairs. Then the next moment, he asks if any of us can sing (!) Most all of us nod yes (totally true), and then he asks if we know Cole Porter (less nods, but still YES). With Goldblum himself leading, we started singing Night and Day, which then transmuted into songs from Man of La Mancha, then other show tune melodies ( which were all for the better with Nate Warren’s harmonizing and keeping the key). We were making a musical review with Goldblum, in the cast chairs on set of IDR. Upon our jovial and impromptu performances, a production assistant comes kindly, but swiftly over to Mr. Goldblum’s chair. He whispers something, Mr. Goldblum nods, turns to us and says "show’s over." It was exhilarating and so equalizing to search for the same singing notes as my friends and Mr. Goldblum.
Recently, my IMDb credit for the film was just reduced to (uncredited), which means my lines were cut. Definitely not heartbroken, as this is the part of the plight of the actor cast in a project vs. making a project. I am still looking forward to catching the scenes I was in, knowing what happened between the takes created an unforgettable and maturing chapter in my film career. The rumors have been flying around that the film may come back to shoot in NM for it’s third installment.
For now, I will brush up on my mezzo-soprano range for the next cast chair musical review and beyond.
Independence Day: Resurgence opens worldwide 6/24/16. Go see it and support an immense project that hired many local actors and crew in New Mexico.
The infamous cast chairs!
Bringing a little more Xanadu into the world.