Piano Practice: Heart Asks Pleasure First by Michael Nyman

As filmmakers, we need to take good care of ourselves to avoid drama in our lives. Simply put, drama is great for in front of the camera only, but best avoided in all other situations, especially on the film set.

Of course, over the course of one’s day that involves a lot of “happenings”, stress builds up, and therefore it is essential to release that stress somehow. Some of the things I like to do to release stress include: going for a quick jog outside, drawing, meditating or watching a movie by myself.

However, hands down my FAVORITE thing to do to release stress is playing the piano.

Here is a session of my piano practice: me playing “Heart Asks Pleasure First” by Michael Nyman. This is still my favorite piano piece of all time.

With Love, Jessie

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Thank you Fireweed Film Challenge 2017 for Best Actress Award!

Last night I attended the 2nd Annual Fireweed Film Challenge 2017 Film Premiere, organized by the Seawolf Student Filmmaking Group at University of Alaska, Anchorage (UAA). It is so inspiring to see our young filmmakers taking an active role in stimulating our local film industry here in Alaska.

The film competition was open to everyone in the community – students and professionals alike. A Producer/Director friend of mine, Charles Baird, registered for the competition and was kind enough to ask me to act in his film “The Ouroboros”. He told me a bit about the story and the character he wanted me to play – a psychotic woman on a destructive path chasing after her cheating husband – and I was hooked. It sounded exactly like the type of out-of-the-ordinary roles I love to play in films. So I said “yes”!

And am I glad I did! Last night at the screening, I was honored with the Best Actor award. This is the first time I have ever won an award for acting, and needless to say, I will cherish this forever. Acting is such a significant part of my life, my soul, and to even be in the presence of our talented filmmakers is an honor.

My first ever Best Actress Award (Fireweed Film Challenge 2017). Thank you Seawolf Student Filmmaking Group @ UAA!

So, I want to say:

Thank you Seawolf Student Filmmaking Group for this pleasant surprise!

Thank you to the organizers and presenters of this event Yoshina Okamoto, Dikeos Foudeas, Darrian Traw and Gabriela Riquelme for making this night happen and for continuing doing what you do!

Thank you Charles “Chuck” Baird for Writing, Directing and Producing this film and letting me be a part of it!

Thank you Levi Nilsson for the awesome cinematography work!

Thank you Sabrina Willis for being an awesome Assistant Director and Script Supervisor, and being there for me when I couldn’t remember my lines!

Thank you to my talented Co-Stars April Beardslee and Stephen Waalkes for being such awesome people to work with.

I dedicate this award to all the artists out there who never stop working for their dreams.
Our Art is everything. Never forget that. Don’t stop. NEVER STOP. IMPROVE EVERYDAY.

I’m so blessed to know all of you!

With Love,
Jessie Wei

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My screenplay made the Beverly Hills Film Festival 2017 Screenplay Official Selection List!

I am so honored and delighted when I heard the news that my screenplay “In The Now” made the Screenplay Official Selection list at the 17th Annual Beverly Hills Film Festival this year, to be held in LA. Of course, I will be going!!!

I am also happy to announce that the actual film is 99% complete, and as soon as it is ready, we will submit it without delay to many film festivals around the world.

 

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Celebrating Sisterhood

Today was a significant day.

Millions of women and men around the world came together to participate in our democracy, to let our leaders know the issues that are important to us. In Alaska, we had a blizzard, and yet thousands of women and men (and furbabies) still came together to participate in the Great Women’s March. I was very sad that I couldn’t participate in person due to a few things my husband and I had to work on, and when we got done, it was almost impossible to drive anywhere due to the huge piled up snow and the persistent blizzard. However, what I saw from the videos and the photos that poured out on social media were truly inspirational. There is so much passion among my fellow sisters, and the men who support us, that I am once again hopeful about the future.

There is a lot of work still to do, and one of the biggest things that we must focus on going forward is to inspire more women to be confident individuals. I believe that one of the biggest challenges facing women in our society is that many women don’t appreciate themselves. Many women are workers, mothers, caretakers, cooks, and many other roles all rolled into one, and have gotten so used to setting such high expectations for themselves that they not only under-appreciate themselves, but also subsequently under-appreciate other women. What this creates is a vicious cycle that decreases opportunities for all women, because it perpetuates less respect and value for women’s labor in our economy, which contributes to issues like pay inequality. Women must recognize this, and recognize their own biases in terms of setting expectations for themselves and other women. It is only until we see this that we can start work on improving ourselves and stop perpetuating this vicious cycle. Additionally, women in leadership positions must work extra hard to nurture and encourage other women to succeed and achieve their full potential, whether if that is in the workplace or at home or anywhere else.

Many women work so hard in our society and it is about time that we all properly recognize them for their contribution to our society.  As many amazing men and women, including one of my favorite and most respected film directors, Hayao Miyazaki, have said: When women succeed, we all succeed. Success breeds success, and when every member of our society actively participates to create a better society for all of us, together, we grow an ever-giving forest of fruitful trees.

On that note, I shall conclude by announcing that I am proud to be performing in the upcoming 2017 production of the award-winning play The Vagina Monologues directed by our very own, Alaskan, super-prolific female director Colby Bleicher.

We will have two performances:
1st performance – Saturday February 18th at 7pm at the Anchorage Hilton Hotel 
2nd performance – Thursday February 23rd at 8pm at the Bear Tooth Theatrepub

This production is proudly presented by STAR.

With Love,
Jessie

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