Meet The Woman Behind The Latest Issue Of FilmCentral Magazine: The Amazing Lili Liu

A classically trained musician who happens to have a flair for theatrics is a killer combination. This combination resides in Lili Liu, an upcoming actress from Melbourne who plays an exciting role as the confident and ambitious young woman, Pinyuan Xue in her upcoming musical drama “Life as a Summer Flower,” which was originally written by her good friend, Xiaolin Shen.

Produced by Liu Entertainment (L Enter Pty Ltd), and starring Lili Liu, the musical comedy is centered during the Liang period of Wei Jing and Northern and Southern Dynasties (220-589) in ancient China. The family-oriented narrative of this series focuses on a heroine called Pingyuan Xue who originally hails from a peasant family but later emerges as a warrior who is determined to find her true love. After being overcome with a powerful vision, she becomes a legendary female warrior, meeting the Emperor whom she falls in love with, but then she eventually discovers she’s just being used for a different motive which leads her to go on a journey of discovering herself. While the series is supposed to be a musical comedy, at the heart of it is a message of determination and hope.

FilmCentral Magazine recently caught up with Lili Liu to discuss her journey in the entertainment industry and her latest project and here’s what went down:

Can you tell us more about yourself? How did you get started in the entertainment industry?

I’m a classically trained musician. I did my piano recital in Sydney Opera House and many other concert venues. But I have always wanted to write my own songs and share my love for storytelling. When my good friend Xiaolin Shen showed me her novel Life as a Summer Flower, I immediately felt I need to turn the story into a musical drama. It’s a story people need to see!

What do you like most about acting?

To become the other person. To think, act, and see the world from another person’s perspective allows me to see the world differently. When I act, I can give the voice to that character, that soul. To help that soul to express herself, to bring that soul to physical life is what I enjoy the most.

Can you tell us about your recent role in your drama series?

Pinyuan Xue is a very confident, independent, and ambitious young woman. She almost never doubts her own ability. She has lots of challenges in her life. She faced many setbacks. But she seems always to have the power to rise from the ashes, like a phoenix reborn from the ashes. I’m learning a lot from her, her brightness, positivity, and her ability to turn her vision into reality are very admirable.

What sort of person is going to relate to this character?

Everyone who begins with a humble beginning, and fights their way to achieve their dreams can relate to Pinyuan Xue. The scriptwriter Xiaolin Shen told me Pinyuan Xue is her ideal character. She is also my ideal. I hope I can be more and more like her.

How is this character like you? Different?

We both have big dreams and visions in life. We both do our best to achieve them. However, Pinyuan is more confident. She is almost always certain, and she doesn’t have many doubts. I have much more fear and doubts. I enjoy being her in the show, she taught me how to face challenges and fear, and how to win the battle fair and square.

Besides yourself, what celebrity would you like to see tackle this character?

I would like to think I’m the most suitable person for the role. I love this role. The role of Pinyuan Xue and her story really inspires me. It’s a story I have to tell. It took the scriptwriter Xiaolin Shen many years to write the story and develop the characters. I feel very blessed for the trust Xiaolin placed in me, and I will do my best to deliver a performance that even in many years’ time, I can still be proud of. Hopefully, the audience will feel inspired and entertained too.

What’s the biggest challenge to taking on this role?

Singing the monologues and act at the same time. Because it’s a musical, there are many dialogues we need to sing. When I sing and act alongside others, it’s much easier. There is a scene that I need to sing a monologue, like a self-reflection song by myself, I found it takes a lot of skills to make it natural and impactful. That’s something I’m working on at the moment.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

There are a lot of interesting people in my life. Lately, I’ve been thinking about my homestay mum a lot. When I come to Australia for high school, I had an Australian homestay mum, Daphne. Daphne encouraged me to be independent, self-reliant, and to pursue my piano dream! I stayed with her for two years and a half. She drove me to all piano lessons, introduced me to Thai food and Spaghetti Carbonara… Her love and support made the pursuit of my dream a much easier journey. I’m very grateful to her!

How active are you on social media?

Not very active… I try to keep my distance from social media. I use it mainly for work. I prefer spending time with real people. In-person.

What are your plans? Inside your career or out of it.

I want to inspire people to follow their passion and their highest calling. I believe when each of us finds and does what we truly love doing, the world will be a much happier place, we can all fulfill our missions here on earth. I have always been attracted to music, art, and storytelling, everything that beautifies the world, that allows me to express myself creatively. I will continue to create new works in the future. Both music and screen productions. I feel very alive when I’m in the creative process of bringing an idea to life. The creative energy is what drives me every day. My current plan is to do all I can, with my team to create Life as a Summer Flower one that we are truly proud of. Art and music have great powers to break barriers and enhance understanding between people – that’s what I want to do through music and storytelling, to open people’s hearts and create channels for understanding.

The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:

1. Last good movie I’ve seen: Howl’s Moving Castle by Hayao Miyazaki. “They say that the best blaze burns the brightest when circumstances are at their worst.” This is one of my favourite movie quotes of all time.

2. What do you consider beautiful and why? Helping others. I consider people helping each other, be kind and compassionate to each other to be the most beautiful act.

3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? Start a family and have at least two children.

4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d….”

If I had no fear, I’d sit down and write out my life story. Then, I could understand how I have come to be who I am and where there is next for me to go with my career. I reflect on the events of my life often, and I would like to put them into a narrative structure.

5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself?

I always whole heartily go after what I want. I don’t have a backup plan. So when things don’t go the way I want, I can feel hurt and disappointed. But I like to stay this way. Because in order for me to go beyond myself, I need to give whatever I do my devotion, my 200% focus. As Rumi said “You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens”, I consider any setback or heartbreak on the way are opportunities for me to upgrade myself. So, I wouldn’t change that ‘flaw’ of myself.

“Life as a Summer Flower,” the musical series will be filming in Bendigo in July, so be sure to follow this space to find out more details about this amazing project.

Nicole Kidman Leads an All-Star Cast In The Trailer For Hulu Miniseries Nine Perfect Strangers

Screenshot from Movie Coverage

Nicole Kidman is back on the small screen in Hulu miniseries Nine Perfect Strangers – and it looks very intriguing indeed.

Nine Perfect Strangers is an upcoming drama streaming television miniseries based on the 2018 novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty. The series is created by David E. Kelley and John Henry Butterworth that is supposed to be slated to be released on August 18, 2021, on Hulu.

Here’s the synopsis of the movie:

“Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty (Melissa McCarthy), the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House, Masha (Nicole Kidman). Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer—or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.”

Check out the official trailer below:

PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE…Watch Your Favourite Heroic Pups In The Brand-New Trailer!

L-R: Zuma (voiced by Shayle Simons), Rocky (voiced by Callum Shoniker), Skye (voiced by Lilly Bartlam), Chase (voiced by Iain Armitage), Marshall (voiced by Kingsley Marshall), and Rubble (voiced by Keegan Hedley) in PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE from Paramount Pictures. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Spin Master.

 

Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies, and Spin Master Entertainment Present

A Spin Master Entertainment Production.

Directed by: Cal Brunker

Screenplay by: Billy Frolick and Cal Brunker & Bob Barlen

Story by: Billy Frolick

Based on the television series created by Keith Chapman

Produced by: Jennifer Dodge, p.g.a.

Executive Producers: Ronnen Harary, Adam Beder, and Peter Schlessel

VOICE CAST:

Iain Armitage, Marsai Martin, Ron Pardo, Yara Shahidi, Kim Kardashian West, Randall Park, Dax Shepard with Tyler Perry and Jimmy Kimmel introducing Will Brisbin

SYNOPSIS:

The PAW Patrol is on a roll! When their biggest rival, Humdinger, becomes Mayor of nearby Adventure City and starts wreaking havoc, Ryder and everyone’s favourite heroic pups kick into high gear to face the challenge head-onf. While one pup must face his past in Adventure City, the team finds help from a new ally, the savvy dachshund Liberty. Together, armed with exciting new gadgets and gear, the PAW Patrol fights to save the citizens of Adventure City! Joining the PAW Patrol in their thrilling first big-screen adventure are members from the original series’ cast along with Iain Armitage, Marsai Martin, Yara Shahidi, Kim Kardashian West, Randall Park, Dax Shepard, with Tyler Perry and Jimmy Kimmel and introducing Will Brisbin.

The Verdict On The Courier: Is It Worth Your Time And Money??

There are some actors who are so talented, they can make any bad movie or bad line come off as natural and impressive and it’s not a quality every actor possesses. Sometimes an actor can carry a whole movie on their own and even though you don’t want one person to carry the whole production, it’s nice knowing their talent can take you quite a bit of distance. Benedict Cumberbatch is definitely talented enough to carry a film by himself, I have never seen him give a bad performance before and today’s film is no exception. However, the entertainment and investment in a film also depend largely on how the rest of the content flows, and that brings us to the contradictory conundrum problem of how to view/rate a movie like “The Courier.”

Set during the upcoming threat of the Cuban Missile Crisis, in the shadow of the Cold War a letter from Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) an agency of the Soviet Union received by M16 stating the concern of Penkovsky about world safety and his anxiety about nuclear war, So Emily Donovan (Rachel Brosnahan) a CIA Agent reached out to MI6 Agent Dickie Franks (Angus Wright), who recruited British salesman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) to be their spy and uncover information that can stop the Cuban Missile Crisis before it’s too late; based on a true story.

I’m always iffy about true story films and even more so about ones based on my least favorite genre of film: war stories. Granted, “The Courier” is a spy movie at heart and while all of its heavy-handed dialogue and dramatic political tension may engage others, it only served to alienate and bore me as the movie drudged on and on. I mean no disrespect to anyone who worked on this film or the real-life people and events it’s based on, but no matter how many dramatic music cues, close-ups or theatrical gestures the characters make; some things just aren’t that thrilling and don’t translate interestingly enough to film. At no point did I care much about what anyone was saying or doing. More than half the movie was just a bunch of shifty people walking in shadows in trench coats and having supposedly serious conversations in dramatic fashions.

I know very little about how authentic or accurate Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Greville Wynne was but I can certainly say he played the role with masterful effort and class. In a lot of ways, it felt like I was watching his character/role from “Black Mass” expanded into the leading role (even though they are obviously completely different roles.) The problem is, as great as he is, it wasn’t enough to alleviate the cloud of dull dust that had settled on every other minor and major supporting character. It looks beautiful, it’s shot very well and framed excellently…but it doesn’t help if everything that is being framed is exhaustingly boring. Nothing really happens, just a lot of deep conversations about being a spy, risks spies are exposed to and it just keeps dragging on and on with little variation.

I can’t help but feel if I would have understood things faster and clearer if I just read a history book and find out what happened in a condensed fashion instead of watching this. Least then it would have been over faster and I would have gotten the accurate story (not sure how accurate any of this film is.) I understand Hollywood’s need to spice things up with flare and all that, but there are only so many times you can have someone talk intensely about the same subject for 2 hours straight before it feels tiresome and you lost whatever fragment of interest you had left. I can’t even remember anything that really happened in the movie or anyone’s name outside of Cumberbatch. I remember it was shot well and I remember it was about the Cuban Missile Crisis but that’s about it.

Overall, “The Courier” just can’t keep up with the thematic edge it’s framing this information around; it’s just not that interesting. Cumberbatch is, as always, a delight to watch and the cinematography is admirably well done. But what good is a movie if you can’t remember it a few hours after seeing it? That’s the problem I have with “The Courier.” I remember the history and I remember Benedict Cumberbatch but anything and anyone else in the film quickly fades away into afterthoughts not worth revisiting. The star power of Cumberbatch cannot turn a boring film into an exciting one and I hope the portrayals here were accurate to real-life because otherwise, I honestly don’t know what else this movie has going for it.

Rating: I give “The Courier” 2 stars out of 4.

The Verdict On Wrath Of Man: Is It Worth Your Time And Money??

Jason Statham has made a name for himself; well, two names actually. On the one hand, he’s a freshly bruised face to the action movie genre and knows how to put his physical skills to the test in explosion fashion (The Transporter trilogy, Safe). On the other hand, he’s also dabbled in the wackier, stranger side of action films that make little sense; except an excuse for him to do some crazy stuff on screen and somehow make it stupid and equally entertaining with ease (The Crank films, Hobbs and Shaw). “Wrath of Man” definitely skews more towards the former despite the flashy presentation and editing work (thanks to “Sherlock Holmes” director, Guy Ritchie). In some ways, it’s a typical Jason Statham movie and in some ways, it’s not typical at all…but in a good way.

Our story follows the mysterious one-man army known simply as H (Jason Statham). He’s recently started working as an armored car driver at a cash truck company in Los Angeles. His co-workers and would-be robbers learn painfully and quickly how dangerous H can be and that he is far more than a mere truck driver. H nearly died in a shootout years earlier that cost him the life of his son. Now he’s using the armored car job to lure criminals out in hopes of finding the people responsible for killing his son and making them pay with their lives.

Jason Statham has this habit of always playing himself (or an exaggerated badass version of himself) in all his movies; it’s the same role every time essentially. However, it’s a role he does well and there’s hardly been a single film he’s starred in that didn’t deliver on the action side of things. “Wrath of Man” is a different breed of film for Statham and his unique set of physical talents as it takes him on a much darker ride than most people are used to. Much like “Safe,” Statham is put into a harsher, more violent, and grim story/situation that kind of sucker punches you out of nowhere. To say too much more about the story would delve too deeply into spoiler territories and there is much within the plot that can be easily spoiled if one is not careful.

I think a lot of people write Statham off as a one-note action star that can’t branch out into many other fields/genres and I think that’s an unfair and inaccurate depiction. “Wrath of Man” proves he is capable of handling and taking on much more than people give him credit for. Guy Ritchie is known for this stylistic sense of flare and distinct action sequences; his work always carries that distinctive edge that makes a Guy Ritchie movie feel like a Guy Ritchie movie. The story here jumps around erratically; using a similar mixed-up narrative that Quentin Tarantino is known for. It works more than it fails in this film’s case but it does make you stop and wonder where this scene fits in the timeline if you’re seeing it for the first time.

The only downside with Ritchie’s narrative style here is that it ends up making the film feel longer than it actually is and that is not a good thing to have. Usually, the longer a film feels the worse the experience is even though that is not the case here. Perhaps if some cues or signs indicating when and where this scene was happening could have helped clear up a few of those misunderstandings, but these are minor gripes at best. There’s also a great yet underrated supporting cast to talk about with the likes of Josh Hartnett, Scott Eastwood, and Eddie Marsan filling in some deeply interesting supporting roles. Again, can’t say too much without giving away too much. Rest assured this is definitely not an action movie I would call predictable.

If anything comes from “Wrath of Man” beyond box office bucks, I hope this gives directors and producers a new sense of appreciation and foresight when hiring Jason Statham for roles meatier than just a generic bad-ass kicking guy with a new name/film/location, etc. This film clearly shows he can go dark and badass without missing a beat and is capable of much more with the right amount of artistic direction. “Wrath of Man” doesn’t always know what its timeline is or its tone but it knows how to make excellent use of Statham’s skills that other films have not and I hope this trend continues because this is a side of him I don’t think anyone can get sick of.

Rating: 2 ½ stars out of 4

The Verdict On Nobody: Is It Worth Your Time And Money??

Many people remember Bob Odenkirk from his time on the hit AMC show “Better Call Saul.” Me, personally, I never saw that show or “Breaking Bad” and always remembered him as that voice in “Incredibles 2” and not much else. The idea of him as a badass action star didn’t carry much shock value to it so I didn’t have high or many expectations for this new action vehicle for him. Granted, I didn’t think Liam Neeson was much of an action star and he’s become one of today’s leading action stars ever since he starred in “Taken.” “Nobody” does for Odenkirk what “Taken” did for Neeson and it does so in spectacular fashion. This is more than just another action flick, this is something that takes you by surprise and blows you away.

Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk) is an ordinary, everyday average guy who works a boring job, comes off as bland and dull to his family, and lives the same day over and over without complaining once. Things change when robbers break into his house. After failing to stop the robbery, he blows off steam beating on punks harassing a woman on a public bus. One of the punks is the younger brother of a crazed Russian mafia boss (Aleksey Serebryakov) who comes after Mansell for injuring his family. However, he learns the hard way that Mansell isn’t an ordinary guy. Mansell has a destructive set of lethal skills and the fighting awaken dark secrets and strengths Mansell hasn’t used in years; doing everything he can to protect his family.

There is something to be said about the fine art of simplicity. Not everything has to be excessively complicated, loaded with political stakes, or be a metaphor for some deep meaningful issue. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best one and that perfectly sums up “Nobody”, it may be simple but it’s the best at what it does. The story is a dime a dozen: an old retired badass cop/warrior/FBI agent etc. gets dragged back into the ghoulish game when something threatens his peaceful life and innocent family. What works so well here is the fact Odenkirk truly is cemented as nobody. The narrative hammers in his mundane, daily routines and low opinions from his family perfectly; so much so that you join the characters in the film in their collective surprise and gasp when he busts out the skills and fights through horde after horde of thugs.

“Nobody” is a gritty, very human, and family-themed action film that grounds its character and its fight scenes in reality. Never going too bombastic but never allowing any standoff to feel like it’s too low-key either. Every piece, performance, and executed sequence plays out perfectly; I never once felt an ounce of disappointment from start to finish. Odenkirk probably delivers the best performance of his career here. He truly embodies the character and his fighting skills feel perfectly natural for someone like him so every scene feels that much more sincere and genuinely intense. There’s a subtle, subdued sense of authority and power in his voice that makes his return to form feel that more natural when the fighting really starts.

This isn’t a cheese-fest like say “Commando” or “True Lies,” this is a gritty, bloody knuckled bullet fest that relies on authenticity and gravitas to compliment the violent shootouts; no cheesy one-liners required. I especially loved the supporting cast like Christopher Lloyd, RZA, Connie Nielson, and Michael Ironside. They didn’t feel like stand-ins, they knew how to be just as memorable and Lloyd is in one of my favorite scenes in the whole movie towards the end. The only thing that could have benefitted from a little additional polish was Odenkirk’s family. We see just enough of them to understand his awkward relationship with them but not enough to feel like they were worth giving up his old career/lifestyle. They weren’t badly written or portrayed; they just needed a tad bit more exposure to remind us what Odenkirk is fighting for.

Overall, “Nobody” is a crack shot of a film that hits nearly every mark and level with little to no difficulty. Odenkirk was born for this role and he’s created a new action hero icon that could deliver more top-notch films if he decided to run with it. The story is simple but powerfully effective, the action sequences are unforgettable and the supporting cast just rounds up every last bit of excellence and smashes it all together in flawless fashion. This is one of the best films I’ve seen this year and a must-own for me. I recommend a rental at the very least because this is the surprise hit you don’t want to miss out on.

Rating: 3 ½ stars out of 4

The Verdict On Godzilla vs. Kong: Is It Worth Your Time And Money??

Screenshot from Warner Bros. Pictures’ YouTube Channel

Decades ago, these two gigantic monstrous creatures battled it out in an epic crossover film and left fans starved for years and years to see them duke it out in an updated cinematic slugfest. Warner Bros had found new success by rebooting Godzilla and King Kong by starting their own cinematic monster universe. All the previous 3 films had built up to this moment when Kong and Godzilla would meet and fight and update the legendary clash of titans with today’s modern technology and effects. Despite speed bumps here and there and the last Godzilla film, “King of the Monsters” being the most financially disappointing; Warner Bros and horror director Adam Wingard brought their last hurrah to life and closed out their ‘Monsterverse’ with the grandest of grand finales in the Godzilla, long believed to be the protector of the human world, has been lashing out at a tech company and destroying anything and anyone in his way; seemingly without rhyme or reason. A researcher and a Titan expert (Alexander Skarsgård and Rebecca Hall) are tasked with bringing King Kong from Skull Island to the mainland in hopes of returning him home to the fabled home of the titans ‘Hidden earth’ before Godzilla finds him and starts an epic battle that will decimate everything. When the two titans clash, questions are answered and new mysteries discovered. A research team discovers a dark secret that could prove to be even worse than Godzilla or Kong and must be stopped before all of humanity falls to the Titan’s path of destruction.

I had high hopes for this battle. Crossover monster fight films are a rare genre but one that I enjoy when it comes up (Freddy vs. Jason, Alien vs. Predator, etc). However, I also had high hopes for the second r4eboot of Godzilla when Warner Bros first announced they were doing another American Godzilla film and in both cases, I was sorely disappointed. “Godzilla vs. Kong” is, in a way, everything you hoped from a film like this but it’s also everything that is horribly wrong with this whole ‘Monsterverse’ amplified over 9000. Make no mistake, this is a fight focused movie so you expect the fighting to be pretty epic and grandiose, and it is. When Godzilla and Kong do throw down it lives up to your expectations, the environment and creativity behind their bombastic brawling is a spectacle to enjoy on every possible level.

The trouble is, you still have to wade your way through some substandard human characters spouting jacked-up exposition gibberish as they gawk and watch the monsters fight. Everyone is here for the monsters, not the human characters, that is painfully clear from the beginning and it never gets any better. People don’t feel like people in this film, they act like 3rd rate clichés who serve no purpose except to explain what is happening or why it’s happening. There’s no depth or humanity to any one of these so-called characters. I don’t remember anyone’s name or what they were like or even what their motive was, nor do I care. It also doesn’t help that they are written in a way where they talk about such absurdly stupid concepts like having a dragon skull operate a robot or energy sources in hidden kingdoms inside of Earth in such a serious and dramatic way.

The film overcomplicates the simplest things, as if having two giant animals beat the crap out of each other wasn’t compelling enough. The original film from the 1970’s simplified things in such a way that it made sense but it also didn’t take itself too seriously and admitted how silly things could and should get. There was never a need to make Godzilla and Kong species natural rivals, the film just extends itself to create explanations that come off as stupid rather than logical. If there’s one thing the original monster movies got it’s that less is more. You don’t need epic reasons or anything sensible like that, just a decent, tolerable cast and two monsters fighting and boom: you got yourself a good time. But this, this failed attempt to replicate and escalate the magic of the original film just proves that you don’t always need everything explained. Sometimes you just want to see two monsters fight and sadly, “Godzilla vs. Kong” clearly never understood that.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4 

It’s Official: Buddy-Comedy ‘Carmen and Bolude’ Receives Development Funding

“Best friends Carmen and Bolude travel from Harlem, NYC to Sydney, Australia, where they have ten days to collect 100 ‘welcomes’ so that Bolude’s traditional Nigerian father will agree to let her marry an Australian.”

‘Carmen & Bolude’ is not only relevant to the current public discourse on identity politics, it is also a hilariously entertaining story that showcases the unique gifts of multicultural Australia.

This might not be a biography, but it is most certainly based on true events. No doubt it was the authentic reflection of friendship and adventure that stole the hearts of Screen Australia’s decision-makers.

What makes the project even more powerful and compelling is the fact that the story is centered around how racial and cultural identity is affected by context, questions which the all-female, multicultural creative team has had to grapple with throughout their lives. The film will star Nigerian-Australian Bolude Watson and Latin American-Australian Michela Carattini, will be directed by Penelope Berkemeier and produced by Yolandi Franken and Michela Carattini.

“We’re excited because we know of no feature film which similarly represents mixed-race experiences, despite people with multiracial backgrounds making up a significant portion of the world’s population. To our knowledge, neither have the African female or Latina experiences been represented in an Australian feature,” says Carattini.

The film is fresh and funny, as it follows the two protagonists who, in the course of the film, learn to successfully integrate multiple cultural and race identities within themselves, their relationships and their intergenerational and international communities.

The screenplay for Carmen & Bolude was born when friends Carattini and Watson, an AACTA Award candidate and nominee respectively, teamed up to write their story which, shortly after, won the Mango Tree Story/Hubscript Live Read Session. Now having received Generate Development Funding from Screen Australia for the 2020/2021 round, the film is expected to go into production next year.

Not since ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ has there been a film which normalises close, contemporary relationships (“sisterhood”) between women of different races on equal footing, and not since ‘Crocodile Dundee’ has there been a film that geographically plays into the highly influential cultural relationship between America and Australia – but this time the experience is turned on its head through the perspectives of multicultural women. The film is fresh and funny, as it follows the two strong female protagonists who, in the course of the film, learn to successfully integrate multiple cultural and race identities within themselves, their relationships and their intergenerational and international communities.

While likely being Australia’s first film to incorporate Nollywood (Nigerian Hollywood) story concepts, this film does not whitewash the BIPOC experience, rather it integrates realism and empathy with comedy and adventure. The film responds to the current racially charged environment with the accessibility of ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ and ‘The Bird Cage’. Furthermore, the film reflects Australia as it truly is, one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world, by way of a unique, story-driven tour of Sydney’s unseen geographies and ethnicities.

“The story of ‘Carmen & Bolude’, as well as the project itself, brings together all cultures and all races into one umbrella of humanity. It sets an example of equality and unity among us ALL. It is a story about what COULD and SHOULD happen in the middle, where all cultures come together,” says Franken.

Rising Star To Watch Out For In 2021: Introducing The Beautiful Rupanty Akid

Rupanty Akid is a Sydney-based actress and model. Her acting agent is PG’s, and modelling agent is Royalle Modelling. Although residing in Australia, she’s filmed several notable works overseas consisting of TV shows and telefilms, such as ‘Hello Bangladesh’. In Australia, she is currently filming for Marvel’s next Thor movie which is set to release in 2022.’

FilmCentral Magazine recently caught up with Rupanty to discuss her journey as an actress and here’s what went down:

What do you like most about acting?

I love that through me, other creatives are able to present their work. The writers get to see their character come to life, the directors get to experiment with different ways for me to portray a scene. The DOP sees me through their lens for an aesthetic shot. For me, the best thing about being an actor is to become many people’s medium to express their creativity.

How did you get started in the entertainment industry?

To be honest, in one word – nepotism. I grew up on sets and backstages as most of my relatives were working in the media. But that was just how I got started and interested. The rest was up to me to put in the hard work and hours to get myself jobs here in Australia. I think a lot of people just see the word “nepotism” and immediately have negative associations with it, but they don’t understand the number of auditions, castings, training, and working on sets that you actually have to experience yourself before you might start to get noticed.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

I recently filmed for Marvel’s “Thor: Love and Thunder” and that was a great learning experience for me. There was such a huge crew and everyone worked so efficiently together. Myself and other actors were managed really well during the very long shoot days. I’m not allowed to talk about my role or the amazing costumes and cool set, but definitely will be worth the wait when Thor releases in 2022!

What are your weak points when it comes to acting? How do you try to improve them?

My biggest challenge when acting overseas in another language is that it’s hard to improvise on the spot, whereas I can easily improvise in English. In many projects, I had to speak Bengali and the native speakers can always tell I have an accent. This has led to me being “typecast” into roles of the foreigner or tourist etc. so I am now improving my accent through a lot of conversations with some great friends and also watching Kolkata-made films. But just as people can’t pick up an “Aussie” accent overnight, it’s the same with me trying to practice another language.

What are your strong points as an actor?

I’m very adaptable to any situation and I can really understand what the directors want out of me, even when they don’t know how to explain it properly. It’s really important for any actor to be able to take any direction asked of you. I think also physically, I have a face that is extremely versatile with looks. I can look like a totally badass villain if I want to, but I can also look like a naive innocent if needed.

What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career?

I guess the biggest lesson I learned was “never go to acting school”. It’s something no course provider wants people to know as it is nowadays pitched as a necessity. Honestly from my experience, I have learned so much from being on sets than all the courses I took as a child. Including learning from all the bad experiences. For example, I once worked with a director who was absolutely drunk and still kept us working until 3 am most mornings, but I learned a lot from that which I wouldn’t have experienced in a class. There are so many different skill sets and traits you pick up from just constantly working with different personalities, different mentalities – and I don’t think there are any shortcuts to gaining real-life experience by packing it into materials for a semester.

What are some of the difficulties of the acting business?

Definitely the rejections. But you just have to remember not to take it personally, or else you will break. In most jobs, you get paid by the hour from when you start working. With acting, you have to constantly travel to auditions and castings which you’ll rarely hear back from. Spend hours on casting websites applying everywhere. Often work for student films or other unpaid gigs which may get you showreel material and potentially paid roles. In the creative industry, there’s a lot more time spent honing your craft and getting your work out there, before hoping to make a living out of it.

What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?

Interpretation. It’s amazing how words on a script have no meaning by themselves, but different people will interpret them in different ways. It comes down to my perspective of the character and the director’s vision of it, then finding a middle ground that works best for the project. The most challenging part is the whole process and work going behind the character being built, before actually standing in front of the camera.

What do you do when you’re not filming?

I’m always working even when I’m chilling on my phone. For example; researching all the casting directors around the world for open calls, noting the trending “actor” hashtags of the day for higher engagement, jotting down ideas for my own scripts further down the line, scheduling future posts, editing videos for Reels/Showreel, etc. There’s always something I’m doing related to the media, even when I’m not actually working.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

There have been many but most recently. I just finished a course at Modelle Academy and I was very inspired by George Bastoli, especially as we had both been introduced to the media as kids through a relative and then stayed interested enough to make a career out of it. George taught us, students, a lot about the modelling industry whereas previously, I was only familiar with the acting side of things. He is very motivating, has accomplished huge things and at a young age so it was very interesting.

What are your future plans?

Currently, I am sponsoring one child in Bangladesh through Jaago Foundation, and my goal is to extend this in the future to help many more children when I’m able to. I would love to continue growing my career through media works; with hopefully bigger projects in Hollywood and also, modelling for bigger brands in the fashion industry. Eventually, I think I’ll end up working behind the camera, either producing or creating but still staying connected to the media world.

Meet The Rising Star Behind The Latest Issue Of FilmCentral Magazine: The Incredible Ruensito

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Growing up in between the favelas of Mexico City and Michoacán de Ocampo, this Latin artist got rhythm in his veins. Selena, Thalia, and other Latin pop stars helped him survive his surroundings and dream of stardom like his worldwide idols. Dancing in front of the mirror since he was 3 years old, a career in entertainment was the obvious choice for this loud kid.

Now living in Beirut, in the heart of the Middle East, this happy-go-lucky artist is creating a unique mix of hot Latin and chill Mediterranean vibes and building bridges between cultures by telling the stories of a global community united through his music.

As 2020 went down in history, it seemed the more the hardships, the more Ruensito was determined to be creative and push back the negativity. The year saw Ruensito’s dream become reality after the launch of his first song “Me Corono” which rose to the top quite fast and positioned in the Top #4 Latino chart on Anghami. The song also went around the world on Spotify accumulating more than 250 thousand reproductions around 85 countries. An amazing international audience that during the same year also welcomed his first book “Seven Moms” and that now is ready to receive all the love put on his latest song “Mi casa es tu casa.”

“With a laid-back vibe and acoustic sound, “Mi casa es su casa” it’s a reminder for us of what being home feels like” – Ruensito.

The song is a catchy Latin anthem characterized by traditional mariachi trumpets and mellow acoustic guitars. It’s an invitation for everyone to celebrate Mexican culture, its traditions, and its people, and it will transport you all the way to the warm streets of Ruensito’s busy town where you will shout ¡VIVA MEXICO!

What is this artist about? Love, friendship, and a good time wherever you may be on earth. If you want to know where that inspiration drives for life this versatile artist read between the lines on his blog “My Life Story” on www.ruensito.com.

FilmCentral magazine recently caught up with Ruensito to discuss his journey in the entertainment industry and here’s what went down:

How did you get started in the music industry?

It all started 10 years ago while I was still in school, I released my first single “Adorarte” accompanied by a music video that went viral on YouTube, at the dawn of the social media age.

But even though it did well I decided to take it down after not having the strength to deal with some bullying comments around it. I had wrongly focused more on the negative comments than the actual positive ones, and it literally put a stop to my dream of a music career. Instead, I focused on what I knew I was good at, which back then was studying. And it wasn’t till May 2020 during the lockdown that I decided to stop the little voices in my head and go for it with my first song “Me corono”. That’s when the real fun began.

How were you actually discovered?

Funny story, but I think that during the Corona lockdown last year while I was forced to fill my time between four walls, I started concentrating on singing again. I just couldn’t stop thinking about what I wanted to do with my life and my dreams of singing. So after some work, in collaboration with La Kate studio in Mataro Barcelona, we brought to life my first single “Me corono”.

This is when the magic happened. This song brought so much joy to my life. It travelled to more than 90 countries and rose to the top quite fast on Anghami, TV shows, radio, billboards and it put me in the spotlight not only in Mexico but in Lebanon too.

What do you like the most about being a singer?

I am a storyteller, and I believe that each song is a story to be shared. And I’m just in love with the whole process. From the excitement of having the initial idea of the song, to how it develops and then completed and recorded – It’s unbelievable! The excitement of recording in the studio… this excitement just increases especially if there is a video clip involved. The whole experience is like being high 24/7. You never get tired and you feel just like a kid having fun. The whole creative process gives me life, it’s really something that fulfills me in every way.

Can you tell us about your latest release?

Well If you haven’t been cheated on before, with this song you’ll know exactly how it feels like. CIEN X CIEN (100 x 100) is a Latin Urban / Romantic Ballad track that talks about love’s hurtful side. It’s about a guy who just got cheated on and goes through a rollercoaster of emotions. First the anger, and then to an “I don’t care” “ok it’s fine”, ending up asking for forgiveness to get his love back. It’s a whole journey not only in the lyrics but also in the melody. You go from the rock to the soft chill beats to a delightful melody that slows down the whole track and then takes you back to the ecstasy of our beating hearts.

What sort of person is going to love your music?

My music is for everyone who’s young and fun. But if I have to label it then I can tell you that I connect with anyone who loves life, lives life to the fullest, dreams big, and loves to dance and laugh. You know the saying the best things in life are free? That’s how it feels whenever you listen to my music. I think that my music can speak to anyone who has no judgment and no boundaries – they live their lives without giving a sh*t about what others are doing with their own. How do you call them? Free spirits? Yeah, free spirits.

What inspires you to be creative?

Having fun! Most of the time I feel more creative when I’m just having fun, laughing, and being free. Also traveling is another thing that helps my mind to get out of its cage. Reading, people… inspiration can come from anywhere. We just have to pay attention.

Is there anything special that you do to get into a creative mindset?

I don’t have any creative process I follow. Things just pop up in my head. But I like to feel; whichever emotion I’m feeling, I try to feel it to the max. By doing this, by never repressing my emotions, I learned how to completely let myself go and live in the moment. That is how I connect with everything around me, with my true self. It’s a double-edged sword, but it’s also the mark of a creative artist.

What message, if any, do you try to put into your work?

Positivity, love, and kindness. I know every person out there has their own struggles, even If we don’t get to see them. And I know from my own experience that behind every smile there is plenty of sad moments, hurt, and unhealed wounds, so I try to be a kind human being.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

So far, each moment of this career is coming with different surprises. Each song has brought different experiences that I try to live to the maximum. I’ve met new people, connected with fans, and discovered how much Latin music is really loved around the world. But most importantly, each song has taught me a lot… and for me, this is something memorable – constant learning and constant growth.

Do you ever find yourself unable to express your creativity to the fullest? What kinds of things inhibit you?

Yes, I’m no different than any person, insecurities are present all the time. But day by day I try to fight them and get more secure in my artistic decisions. I also try to surround myself with people that love me and that I trust. So in them, I also find the strength required sometimes to overcome fear.

Who is your greatest influence?

The love of my life. Being in a relationship with the most incredible person has been by far my greatest influence. It has taught me about the real meaning of love, partnership, comprehension, support and so many more values that mold me to be the human being I am now. And the best thing is, I still have plenty of time to learn from it.

Do you feel that you chose your passion or did it choose you?

I think it goes both ways. Singing has been a dream of mine since I can remember, it chose me a long time ago. But life circumstances were always getting in my way every time I tried to follow my dream and that kept me apart from it. But now, I’ve decided to choose it too. We finally merge and coincide in time. Because now I’ve come to realize that I have no other option but to do whatever it is that makes me happy.

If you hadn’t chosen your field, what would your alternate field have been?

I’m DRAMA personified. Acting absolutely!

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it

For now, I wanna keep exploring the arts. Keep writing and singing and at some point, I want to direct a music video. Who knows? Even do a movie adaptation of my book.

The ‘Lightning Fast’ round:

What do you consider beautiful and why? Sunset… it means that another day will come tomorrow.

What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? Acting. I used to do musical theater but I stopped and now I still dream of being in a movie or a series and hopefully one day I’m going to be able to do it.

Complete this sentence: if I had no fear I’d …” Be the best version of myself.

What is one flaw you wouldn’t change about yourself? Thinking with my heart. Being extremely emotional and exposing myself that much to emotions. I think a lot with my heart, and I let emotions control my actions. This can sometimes be such a stupid way to go for things, leaving the reasoning on the side can make you do big mistakes. But you know what? I love being that way, because that’s how I’m able to understand emotions the way I do.