Las Vegas Film Fest Features Outstanding films

Written and photographs by Nikki Artale

The Las Vegas Film Fest will be show casing 60 films in downtown Las Vegas and the Brenden Theaters on April 28-May 5, 2019 that will feature documentaries, short films, music videos, parties and Q&A sessions. Work from local, national filmmakers, from Sundance and UNLV film students will be shown in this 12th Annual FF that is sponsored by Zappo, under the direction of Executive Director Milo Kostelecky. 

The festival opened with the feature film “Untitled the Amazing Jonathan”, a documentary of the Amazing Jonathan who was diagnosed with a heart disease and given one year to live. Three years later he was on tour filming his last hurray of magic and comedy. Director Ben Berman was trying to separate the truth from illusion, shock and deception as he filmed his epic comeback tour.  
                                                Ben Berman Amazing Johnathon  Anastasia Synn)
In an interview with his wife Anastasia Synn after the Q&A, I asked what has kept him alive and she said it was all the loving good care she has given him. This is a must see film and after being shown at Sundance, Hulu has picked up the rights for $2 million worldwide distribution.
                                             (Anastasia Synn the Amazing Johnathon

Action on Film Megafest Celebrates 14 years Honoring Filmmakers and Writers


Written and Photographs by Nikki Artale

Action on Film (AOF) brought together filmmakers, producers, writers and actors from all over the world to have their work honored. The International film festival was once again held in Las Vegas NV for the second time in a row on August 16-25, 2018 at the Palms Hotel. AOF is in the top 2% of all film festivals. I personally think it is the best film festival in Las Vegas.  

Where do I begin in saying that AOL is more than just an award show, it is a show of heart and love that is displayed by Del Weston, founder, writer, producer and director as he shows each and every one that attends the festival his love.  He cares about every person and welcomes them with open arms and hugs. There were more than 600 films shown and many informative seminars given by the best talented filmmakers, writers and actors. Del’s wife Theresa and Zin worked hand in hand with Del and put together a fabulous nine day event.   

For a second consecutive year Annabelle Munro was named AOF Queen and this year she led a seminar with the First Lady of Film Kathrina Miccio and Elizabeth Blake Thomas in discussing Women in Film. Annabelle is an award winning actress, writer, producer and director from Los Angeles. Her talks highlight and inspire female filmmakers to support each other and own their own space and power.
                                                               (Annabelle Munro)   
Kathrina Miccio a 12 time award winning actress was part of the panel and won Best Woman Filmmaker LAIFFA 2018 for her film St. Joseph Do Your Thing. She wrote directed and starred in the film. Kathrina spoke about her life in films and to go live your dreams.
                                                             Kathrina Miccio

Elizabeth Blake-Thomas has written and directed 6 feature films in two years and rounded off the panel, sharing her knowledge of raising funds to shooting and getting distribution. She says that creativity happens in all formats. 
                                       Kathrina Miccio..Elizabeth Blake..Annabelle Munro)

Other seminars during Megafest were held by Harold L Brown, Matt DeGennaro and Antonio Fargas, actor and screenwriters. Del Weston creator of AOF and Hollywood Dreamz Film Festival held two informative seminars on “Make your Movie Now” and Write the Script Now sharing how he made it all happen and how to make it a reality.

I could not see every film but the outstanding films I did see were St. Joseph, Little Milo, Miracle in a Spiny Bur, Friday the 13th, all winners in their categories. I loved St Joseph which was written, produced and directed by Kathrina Miccio who starred in the film.
In a Spiny Bur, Friday the 13th, all winners in their categories. I loved St Joseph, a story that tells an Italian tale that is 500 years old that if the statue of St Joseph is buried head down with the face facing a house it will sell quickly. Great story, great acting and it is funny. I believe it.
                                                             Kathrina Miccio

Another favorite of mine was Little Milo starring Ian Slade, produced by Daniel Drescher, directed by Drago Lazetich and Marianne Kaulima producer and manager. All did a splendid job in bringing the message of free speech, positivity and hope. Ian Slade was outstanding and I knew it was a winner. The film won for best LGBTQ award. 

A heartwarming story, filmed in Japan is Miracle in a Spiny Bur, starring Mau Nishio, Producer Hayato Mitsuishi, Yuko Nishio, Executive Producer. Also staring in the film were two members of the boy band in Japan “Boys and Men”, Yahi and Takami Tsuchiya. They are wonderful young men that any mother would be proud of.  Miracle in a Spiny Bur tells the story of a young boy that is raised by his grandparents, the Chestnut Family of Kasama and it will bring you to tears. I loved meeting the entire cast. They were all wonderful loving people who warmed my heart.  

Sean Richards, Producer, writer, actor bought Friday the 13th back to the screen and it was scary and brought back many memories of the past  

The Megafest ended with a black tie dinner where more awards were given out. The Young Story Tellers awards were special as the young writers were recognized and honored for their talent. 

The Icon candidate is a person who has excelled in his/her craft and also gives back to his/her community. Randy Couture a six time world UFC fighting champion was one of the honorees.  

Hosting the evening along with Del was AOF’s own royalty, the Queen of AOF, Annabelle Munro and the First Lady of AOF, Kathrina Miccio. 

It was an exciting 10 days and we look forward to seeing everyone next year.

I’ll Push You Is a True test of Humanity

Written by Nikki Artale

I’ll Push You tells the story of life long best friends who go on a 500 mile journey across mountains, deserts, valleys and hills traveling 10 to 15 hours a day for a 34 day wheel chair journey. Patrick Gray pushed Justin Skeesuck, who was in a wheelchair, in El Camino de Santiago, Spain. Justin watched a Travel Channel episode on the ancient pilgrimage and wanted to go on this journey and he asked his best friend Patrick if he would like to go and Patrick said “Yes I’ll Push You” and that is how it all began.
                                                  Patrick Gray and Justin Skeesuck  

This inspirational documentary shows the support of family and friends, their friendship, their love for each other and the adventure they shared. It is an emotional story with heart and soul and many other pilgrims who were also hiking helped push and pull Justin Skeesuck through the many obstacles along the 500 mile journey. Along the path they inspired friends and people to carry them up the mountains. www.I’ 

Fathom Events along with the Muscular Dystrophy Association presented this message of love and friendship between Patrick and Justin who is strong, positive and optimistic and who has restored our faith in humanity with all the many good people in this world.  

Fathom Events is the nation’s largest live cinema network providing access to over 1300 screens in over 875 theaters across the country. 

Dancing With the Stars 25th Season Was the Best

Cindy Doumani  Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Tony Dovlani  Cindy Doumani  Val Chmerkovskiy

Written and Photography by Nikki Artale

This season of Dancing with the Stars had a wonderful cast of stars and professional dancers. A select group of us gathered once again at the home of Cindy Doumani to watch the season unfold and select the Mirror Ball Champion. The winners were Jordan Fisher and Pro Lindsey Arnold and I was excited as they were my pick, making this the fourth winners that I picked. Winners received a bottle of Champagne to celebrate the win. The judges were entertaining as usual, Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba. Guest judges appear during some episodes and my favorite is Julianne Hough who I must say is fabulous. 

                                                    Cindy Doumani   Carrie Ann Inaba  

It is such an enjoyable evening when we meet on Monday nights to watch the show on the huge TV and have a catered Vegan meal with our special friends and hosted by Cindy Doumani who we all love so much. It was a special time to see Tempest Storm who has recovered from a fall a few months ago and as always, looking fabulous.

                                              Tempest Storm                    
Our guest entertainer for the evening was Joe Angel performing his magic and his Showgirl Puppets that he created. The Showgirl puppets are original, one of a kind and special to watch.

Joe Angel also featured his Liberace puppet and the Liberace piano that is a duplicate of the piano 
Liberace played. The show was entertaining and one that everyone should see.  

We all want to thank Cindy Doumani who is the best friend and hostess to all of us who love her. Dondino and Donna Melchiore are producing  her documentary “Cowgirl to Showgirl Just Like That” and will be completed in 2018 and we are anxiously awaiting the premiere. It will be an exceptional documentary.    Watch the clip          PASSWORD:   Liberace  (Cap L)

Jay White is America’s Diamond

Written & Photos by Nikki Artale

Jay White took the stage at the Suncoast Hotel Casino in Las Vegas Nevada on May 13, 2018 to the delight of his many fans and friends. As always Jay White mesmerized the crowd with his electrifying and incredible performance and tribute to Neil Diamond. 

It was exciting to see percussionist King Errisson who has been performing in the Neil Diamond band for over 40 years and still playing for Jay White all these years.  As a session musician King has also worked with many famous artist, recorded many albums and CD’s and recently published his autobiography “My Life, My Loves”. He demonstrates how it is Good to be King as he lives his dream. 

King Errisson     Nikki Artale

One of the high lights of the show was singing with his daughter whose voice sounded like an angel. Jay’s talent has passed onto both his daughter Stephanie and his son Neil White who plays the guitar in the show. It is a fabulous show. 

King Errisson  Stephanie White  Jay White  Pam White

Jay delivers an amazing and exciting performance as he travels nationwide and around the world. He has the look, the sound, the feel and the heart of Neil Diamond who told him many years ago to keep singing so he can stay home and relax. We love you Jay white.