Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Interview with Michelle Ann Farrell

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Michelle Ann Farrell, an American independent filmmaker, known for her work on Safehouse (2008), Bigfoot at Holler Creek Canyon (2006) and On Top (2012) and several other feature films. She has been DP on 17 feature films and has written, produced and sold scripts and has established herself as a professional filmmaker. Hello Michelle Ann!
Michelle Ann: Hello Monika, I’m honored to do this interview. Thank you.
Monika: Were you born with a video camera in your hand?
Michelle Ann: Although I’ve always enjoyed photography and personally owned a video camera once many years back I was not one of those people who made movies as a child. I’ve always enjoyed being creative writing story lines and poetry but not until I was 40 years old did I decide that I was to shoot a movie. That movie of course was “Franky’s Heaven”.
Monika: Before you worked in independent films, she had run a wedding business which involved video…
Michelle Ann: Yes, soon after Franky’s Heaven I had bought my business partners out and decided to use the movie gear and start my own business. In the beginning weddings were the day job but my goal was to one day leave that and do production full time. That’s what I do now, work production 7 days a week either in the office or out making money.
Monika: In 2004 you took part in such movie projects as "The Derby Stallion" and "JuJu". 
Michelle Ann: Yes I was DP on Juju and worked electric on Derby Stallion which had Zach Efron on it and Bill Cobbs and Billy Preston.

"Unravelling Michelle".

Monika: The next year witnessed your participation in such project as: "Safehouse", "Smalltimore", "Law & Disorder", "Gray Matters" and the documentary "Unraveling Michelle"…
Michelle Ann: Yes, I was DP on all of those movies then did my own biological documentary “Unraveling Michelle”. It won many awards and is true and honest. More women/men need to come out and it is our time. I WON’T accept the ignorance or prejudice. I now wish to use it to my advantage on my own next feature titled “Potato Girl”.
Monika: What is your general view on transgender stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers or books so far?
Michelle Ann: In Potato Girl we have me as director, my Rachel Dunn DP, one of my investors Mara Drummond and one of my actresses Ashley Sky in the movie. We are here and proud of it.
Monika: Is there anything like transgender art? What does it mean to be a transgender artist?
Michelle Ann: I am a filmmaker who happens to be transgender – that’s all that to it.
Monika: At that time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you followed?
Michelle Ann: Yes, I had my friend in my documentary who said to me “do people like you”? I said “yes”. And there were some issues but I have overcame. I refuse to loose or be defeated.
Monika: What was the hardest things about your coming out?
Michelle Ann: Facing people, my own self doubt and be ashamed of myself. I’m over that.
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in the American society?
Michelle Ann: They need to come out. Period. We are here and not going away. 
Monika: Could transgenderism be the new frontier for human rights?
Michelle Ann: Yes, I coined it “the last prejudice”.
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Michelle Ann: No, I am a walking coming out. My friends do but I’m busy making a living and surviving. Movies like Unraveling Michelle is my obvious politics.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Michelle Ann: I think God was bored and needed someone/something to love to love and created us. Yes John Lennon was right “Love is is all you need”. Although paying the bills is pretty damned important also.
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colours or trends?
Michelle Ann: I am not a fashion person – I wear what I like and what is appropriated for the occasion. Period.

At work.

Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Michelle Ann: No, I simply did my documentary.
Monika: Are you working on any new projects now?
Michelle Ann: Potato Girl and various other projects. Hey girls, do you need a cinematographer? LOL We are also looking for investors in my film Potato Girl. Anyone interested? Email me and Ill get you the information.
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls, dreaming about being a film director?
Michelle Ann: I say this “be anyone, anything you wish to be and be proud. Support the arts. Get active and be a nice person. Imagine if all the people didn’t care what or who you were but simply can you do the job.
Hey girls/guys, Facebook friend me at Michelle Ann Farrell and let's stand up for ourselves. We are here and proud of it. Support trans people and movies and get the word out. We can only overcome if we stand up together. Michelle has left the building. LOL That’s an Elvis thing.
Monika: Michelle Ann, thank you for the interview!

Links to Michelle's pages:

All the photos: courtesy of Michelle Ann Farrell.
© 2014 - Monika Kowalska

Michelle Ann Farrell has passed to the other side. May she find the happiness and love she gave to others. Thank you for all you have done ... Rest in Peace.
27 December 2015

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