On Saturday, November 19, 2022, Film Fest LA at LA Live provided inspiration, knowledge, and most importantly; a sense of community for LA filmmakers and industry creatives. In keeping with the festival's belief that cultivating an active community in Hollywood helps to foster filmmakers/careers the evening kicked off with Emmy award-winning actress and Producer Kira Lorsch hosting the "Women in Media" panel, while Kash Hovey hosted the Kash Hovey and Friends film block. Kira hosted a fantastic panel and the only regret is that there was not more time. It's motivating when such a diverse and creative group come together to share ideas on the film industry and the media -- which is what Film Fest LA is about.
The "Women in Media" was filled with a variety of Hollywood luminaries. Every woman who on the panel is extremely accomplished. The panel included dynamic speakers from all facets of the entertainment industry, including Valerie Brandy (Justified), Jillian Claire (Whimsical Entertainment), Darcy Donavan (Dr. Doolittle 3), Gloria Garayua (Fun with Dick and Jane), Kweighbaye Kotee (Director Bushwick Diaries), Kate Linder (The Young and the Restless), Roxy Ren (Social Media Star), Nicole Vernarec (Rumors), and Genevieve Wong (The Proof is Out There).
Gemma Magazine had the fantastic opportunity to speak with both Kira Lorsch and Kash Hovey regarding hosting for Film Fest LA, their inspiration, and what they see for the future for upcoming filmmakers and various creatives. Let's get started!
How did you enjoy hosting the “Women in Media” panel?
I was thrilled Kash asked me to host the “Women in Media” panel this year at Film Fest LA at LA Live. I was on the panel last year during his Kash Hovey and Friends film block and was honored to invite women I know and admire this year. Some of the ladies are new friends and colleagues and some are longtime collaborators. All the women I selected (Valerie Brandy, Jillian Clare, Darcy Donovan, Gloria Garayua, Kweighbaye Kotee, Kate Linder, Michelle Murad, Roxy Ren, Nicole Vernarec, and Genevieve Wong) I like and respect on a personal and professional level.
What did you find inspiring about the panel?
I am inspired by women with talent and a dream that don’t just talk about their ideas and possible projects but bring them to fruition. Women who discover a unique niche for themselves, take unexpected routes to success and create their content inspire me. If it were easy to write and direct a first feature or television show, make a profitable social media brand, found a film festival, or have longevity as an actor or producer - everyone would do it. It’s not easy. It’s a lot like work. The women chosen to be on the panel put in the work and are making their dreams a reality. Plus, they’re all lovely people who make a point of giving back and helping others on their way up. It’s not all just about them.
Do you feel women are making strides within the entertainment industry in terms of inequality?
Yes. We women are making strides for sure. I have been around long enough to have been the only woman at the production meeting on several occasions. We’ve come a long way. There is still a “boy’s club” in show business that can sometimes be hard to join. But frankly, we don’t need to try to be one of the guys. Entertainment doesn’t have to be a cutthroat dog-eat-dog (or cat-fight) business. I approach projects with the: What can I bring to it, and how can my specific set of skills or assets be or service? As a producer, giving, nurturing, and supporting a project may be considered a feminine quality. However, that softness of approach is a strength for artists and collaborators. In all forms of media, more women are seen for their talents and work ethic. They are respected for what they bring to the table. There is a more potent than ever web of women that support each other and want to see each other succeed. In recent years there have been fewer token women roles and more opportunities in front of and behind the lens. After all, we have proven ourselves time and again to be capable and valuable.
Who are some women in the media that you admire?
I am a big fan of Kelly Clarkson. She transformed from a reality star to a superstar with her incredible singing voice to win the first American Idol. She went on to flip the perception of “popstar” on its face before becoming “Queen of All Media” as a judge on The Voice and now a hit namesake talk show – all the while juggling motherhood and powering out the other side of divorce better than ever. Just like her song says: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” she is a beacon. She is a great role model for my generation. Also, I just attended an event where I witnessed Michelle Obama interviewed by Tyler Perry while on her book tour for The Light We Carry. I was humbly honored to attend the Obama inauguration in Washington DC in 2009 and have been a fan of hers since experiencing her dignity, grace, and powerful yet loving presence. Her fierce conviction to go high when they go low is an anthem for the kindness that will echo for years to come. Her dedication to her faith and family is a beautiful example of living from a solid foundation. Her conviction when writing and delivering speeches on the campaign trail, as our first lady and beyond, is always laced with empathy, personal connection, and making others feel seen. I hope she will consider Becoming our first female President of the United States.
What was an important lesson you took from the panel?
We need more time for the panel next year because we have so much to discuss. I invited ten female friends, the first that came to mind, thinking only half would be available or willing to participate, and I would continue asking more women to fill the panel as we got closer. But ten said yes! They all came prepared, were fantastic fun, and went with the flow of a live event. The ladies shared their unique stories and experiences in their specific expertise, and several premiered their projects on the big screen for the first time. Everyone brought great energy and was supportive of each other. It was a terrific mix of women. I am happy to know them and get to work with them, and I am grateful they said yes and showed up for me.
Women have many roles in life. Do you feel women can have it all?
You can have it all if that’s what you want. Even better: we can pick and choose what we want and what we don’t enjoy. Women don’t have to “have it all” to be successful. “All” is relative to what all You want. Self-awareness and self-knowledge of what is authentically best for me is my goal. The good news is we don’t all want the same things. There is plenty of room for everyone to get what they want and need to be successful in their own right – on their terms.
What did the event tell you about the importance of having a strong LA Film Community and having a common goal?
It is invigorating to be a part of Film Fest LA for LA Live. Kash does a terrific job putting positive people together and shining a spotlight on rising stars. Kash Hovey and Friends celebrates and inspires us all to keep collaborating and creating in fresh new ways by bringing well-known Hollywood veterans of the entertainment business with new, young multi-media stars.
Closing out the 2022 Film Fest LA at LA live was the Kash Hovey & Friends Film Block. Kash Hovey is an award -winning actor, producer, and podcast host. In 2021, Kash launched his talk show, "On Air with Ka$h," on YouTube, where he interviews celebrities about their upcoming film and tv roles. The talk show is produced by Kash Hovey and Michelle Beaulieu. He has featured interviews with Whitney Cummings, Beverly D'Angelo, Cary Elwes, Brian Austin Green, JackyLai, Kristos Andrews, Olivia d'abo, Cassie Scerbo, Mike Manning, Carolyn Hennessy nd many more. Kash's breakthrough performance was as the lead in the feature film "Jack and Cocaine," which he produced and had its theatrical premiere at the Valley Film Festival. The Kash Hovey and Friends film block included "On Air with Ka$h," "A Work of Art," "Diamonds," "The Listening," "Violence," "Young Love," "Rumors," "The Charlotte Chronicles," "Hey Han with Hannah Fletcher," and "Parallels."
"Film Fest LA has always encouraged talent to pick up cameras and start creating content. The festival has been the year's highlight where we come together, celebrate with our colleagues and establish new relationships for future projects." (Kash Hovey)
What inspired your interest in hosting? Previously, your primary focus has been acting, correct? That's correct. Acting and producing have been my main focus. I've found that every job or experience opens the door to a new opportunity in the industry. I was doing press and hosting events for film projects I was involved in, and then I started receiving requests to host at other events and festivals in Hollywood. In early 2020, I began taking stand-up comedy classes and got into podcasts. A few months after, when everything closed due to the pandemic, doing things virtually was the only option. I had years of experience in the Voice Over world and decided to create my home studio, and that's how "On Air with Ka$h" was born.
In the beginning, did it feel strange? Or more of an excitement? It comes naturally to you.
The early interviews I did in 2020 were on Instagram Live, and they involved talking for 30 mins to an hour about our careers and new challenges with so much uncertainty in the industry at the time. It was very therapeutic, and we found it an excellent way to connect while working from home. It was an exciting feeling to start this new chapter.
What do you love most about interviewing others? I get inspired talking with other artists I admire, so the whole process of doing the interview, talking about a film or performance that moved me, and connecting with my guest is what I love most.
What have you learned about yourself throughout this process? In the past, I was hesitant about opening up publicly about my experiences growing up in the industry and my struggles. Someone told me that the less people know about you as an actor is better, so your perfumes are more believable. I understand and respect that, but I've found that I like being open and expressing myself.
Do you have a favorite or "memorable guest moment?" Beverly D'Angelo was an exceptional guest, and our interview was so memorable. I've known Beverly for years; she has been a very supportive and inspirational person. She shared so much about her career and life experiences with me. The conversation we had helped me gain some closure and insight into my early experiences in the industry.
Congratulations on all your wins at the Film Fest LA. What factors do you think contributed to the win? Also, what was it like to host the film block? Thank you. Teamwork is essential. I believe in the people I work with, and when things line up, it's magic. Film Fest LA has asked me to host a block at their festival four times. It's been a great way to connect with some new up-and-coming artists and to celebrate the work we have done the past year.
What or Who are you inspired by? My close friends, family, and other artists who I admire.
Dream guest? Michael Rosenbaum was one of my motivations for creating "On Air with Ka$h." It would be great to have him on some time.
What is your next acting project about? I'm currently working on "The Listening," about an ancient Egyptian demon terrorizing a High School. It was written by Jax Malcolm, who is starring in it along with myself, Kira Reed Lorsch, Samantha Bailey, Lance Alexander, and Gloria Garayua.
Any hints for 2023 for upcoming projects? There is a new project I can start talking about in the Spring of 2023. I also worked on a horror film this past year that will be released in 2023, co-starring Kansas Bowling, a featured artist at Film Fest LA.
What did the event tell you about the importance of having an LA film community that can come together for common goal? Film Fest LA has always encouraged talent to pick up cameras and start creating content. The festival has been the year's highlight where we come together, celebrate with our colleagues and establish new relationships for future projects.
To keep up with both Kash and Kira -- Follow the on their social media platforms!