In the midst of writing my first paragraph of my blog yesterday, I got a tweet back from Brooke Kroeger, author of a biography on Nellie Bly . If you’ve been reading my blog of late, then you know that I had planned my next film projects (a short and a feature) around the life of Nellie Bly for 2014. I got some disappointing news – there is a film casting as we speak in LA also based on her experiences at the insane asylum. This is all very strangely timed… as last week I got another tweet from someone doing internet research on Andrew Sheffield, asking if I was still planning on doing a film on her story. When I first started blogging under a different URL & premise about four or five years ago, she was my main focus for a feature film. Andrew, a woman named after her father, was also put into an insane asylum, falsely accused of being crazy. While Nellie Bly was an undercover reporter with a 10 day timetable, Andrew stayed for a much longer period of time under tragic circumstances. It would be a much darker story. Like Nellie, Andrew also documented her experiences, the biggest difference being that it was through letters pleading for her release (which are now published in a book). So much to think about right now. I am glad that I’ve given myself breathing room before I jump in head first, but I still want a clear direction in the very near future.

We had an AMAZING time at Cucalorus – our very last festival of 2013. I saw some great films – Lawrence Anyways, See You Next Tuesday, The Bounceback, and many fantastic shorts. I missed even more great films that I really regret… especially The Animal Project by Ingrid Veninger. Hopefully I can make this happen soon! I made some dear new friends at this festival, ones that I think I will keep for a lifetime. There is nothing more inspiring, or intimidating, than seeing a really badass independent feature film. They are such monster projects that require supreme creative vision and execution. I left Cucalorus with a tremendous feeling of awe. Thanks to everyone at this fest for having Bubble play with such high-caliber programming. And to our film family – see you in 2014!

This past weekend was also very special in two other ways: It was my parent’s 35th anniversary, and the Lily Bean’s 3rd birthday!!! It’s weekends like this that I wish I had two Jen West representatives. 🙂 My mom sent me the most precious video of everyone singing happy birthday to Lily, and the expression on her little face brought tears to my eyes. So grateful and happy to have all of them.

Cape Fear

Cape Fear

My usual step & repeat pose.

My usual step & repeat pose.

Awesome party pics in abundance.

Awesome party pics in abundance.

Cucalorus!

Cucalorus!

Q&A after Bubble

Q&A after Bubble

Me & Cassie (Cucalorus Social Media Queen, & now sweet friend)

Me & Cassie (Cucalorus Social Media Queen, & now sweet friend)

Ash (Cucalorus heroine) & Drew (Director of See You Next Tuesday)

Ash (Cucalorus heroine) & Drew (Director of See You Next Tuesday)

Cucalorus during one of my favorite nights.

Cucalorus during one of my favorite nights.

Happy Birthday to the Beaner Wiener!

Happy Birthday to the Beaner Wiener!

Happy Anniversary mom & dad!

Happy Anniversary mom & dad!

Some of the Sidewalk Film Fest family at Cucalorus

Some of the Sidewalk Film Fest family at Cucalorus