Media | Press
Media & Publications

The Hollywood Times - "The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam", by Geoffrey Maingart, August 23, 2014
Markee 2.0 Magazine, "Snake Oil Sam", by Tom Inglesby, Fall Issue, 2014.
Success Stalkers, Ioana Garrett interviews writer/director Arlene Bogna, Ep. 60, September 30, 2014
Max It Magazine - "The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam", August 11, 2014.
Broadway World, "Indie Film THE BALLAD OF SNAKE OIL SAM to Screen in Madrid, New Hope This Summer", July 25, 2014
Fanboy Comics - "Dances With Films 2014: 'The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam" - Film Review, by Steven W. Alloway, June 12, 2014
YOUnique - Susan Stackpole's Internet Radio Interview with Director Arlene Bogna, June 9, 2014.
Influx Magazine - “Dances With Films 17" - by Paul Booth, June 18, 2014
Broadway World, "THE BALLAD OF SNAKE OIL SAM to Premiere at Dances With Films Festival", May 27, 2014
LA Arts Examiner, "17th annual Dance with Films Festival starts this weekend", May 28, 2014
The Wrap, "Dances With Films Announces 2014 Lineup, Distribution for Award Winners", May 2014
Home Planet News: A Literary Magazine, "Indian Dance" (fiction) written by Arlene Bogna, (upcoming).
NBC Newsletter, "Marketing Award Win for Bertolli", May 2011.
Backstage, "Who Got the Part" by Nia Renee Hill, Jan 2009.
ArtScene, "Arlene Bogna and Barbara Blatt" by Suvan Geer, July 2008.
Los Angeles Times, "The List" Critic’s Preview by Christopher Knight Times Art Critic, July, 2008.
Los Angeles Times, "The List: Art Openings" Compiled by Grace Krilanovich, June 19, 2008.
Metromix,"Art attack: Arlene Bogna's Safari" by Kimberly Waid & Alie Ward, June 18, 2008.
AWBW Artist Spotlight, "Arlene Bogna"
SCWCA, "Women Around Town" By Suvan Geer, June 2008.
ExperienceLA, "The Hot List" July 15, 2008.
Moving Pictures Magazine, "Arlene Bogna's Canvas" by RaeAnne Marsh, July 2007.
DCA Connections, "Women In Film wins award for artistic collaboration w/AWBW", Jan 2007.
Focal Points, Sierra Club Camera Committee Newsletter, 2006. (photo credit)


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* * *



THE BALLAD OF SNAKE OIL SAM

By Geoffrey Maingart

Hollywood, CA. (The Hollywood Times) 8/23/2014. ~

The art of the short film is a challenge for any fine filmmaker. A career can be launched quickly when an artist can make a profound statement in a short span of time. Arlene Bogna has surely made her mark with this brilliant and surreal film that tells a wonderful story completely and solely visually.

The tale is about “a desert traveler driven by desire and ambition who embarks on a mystical journey in pursuit of redemption.” Snake Oil Sam is a maker of potions and magical elixirs who in the story is frustrated to the point of exhaustion to create the perfect potion and win the approval of an eclectic group of desert dwellers. He is visited by ethereal spirits portrayed by three muses and wakes to divine inspiration.

Arlene describes the film as a desert steampunk fantasy featuring the music of West Indian Girl. The music has as much to do with the story as the tale itself. The film was shot entirely in the desert in Joshua Tree in Southern California when it was 110 degrees in the shade. Even the camera had to be cooled down between takes with ice. Originally pitched as a music video, Arlene saw immediately that this was a much bigger story and could become a visual fantasy. The film evokes tones of the Sergio Leone westerns and for this writer it brings back memories of the commune scene from Easy Rider. Arlene was also inspired by the desert scenes in the 1970 film; Vanishing Point. The scenery is harsh and the characters are otherworldly.

As Arlene writes, “To make the film feel both anachronistic and timeless, I experiment with dreamlike visuals, time, and costume. The style is influenced by Steampunk with just a hint of Burning Man, a love letter to the tribal dance community and its subculture, music and the self expression it encourages, the sincere attempt to reconnect with earth and a sense of tribe.” Great moments happen without words.

The main character is wonderfully portrayed Zane Byrdy, who landed the role shortly after moving to Los Angeles. The role contains no dialogue and the actor visually has to show with intensity his need for redemption. His character captures you from the beginning. The impressionistic performance by everyone is totally captivating. The costume design is completely eclectic. The original score by Vivek Maddala drives the film. The film allowed for amazing artistic freedom, musical colors and a visual tone that is truly unique. Put together by a dedicated band of filmmakers, the caravan escaped to the wilderness of Joshua Tree and in days shot a poetic, surreal canvas that is The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam.

The film has already participated in the 2014 Cannes Film Festival at the prestigious Cannes Short Film Corner, Dances with Films, and the Madrid International Film Festival.

It is always fascinating to have a chance to speak with the director of any film and understand the choices, back stories and anecdotes about the production process. I was able to spend a couple of hours with director and writer, Arlene Bogna. Besides being a delightful and fascinating person, she provided an insight into the film making process that became The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam. First and foremost was the passion by all involved in participating in an indie film project that everyone believed in. The original idea came from Anthony Ferranti who co-wrote the script and along with Romell Foster-Owens produced the film. The story was inspired by the music of West Indian Girl and Taboo. That and the solitude of the desert created the perfect place emotionally. As Arlene explained, it was a safe haven or sanctuary and the perfect rugged location in Joshua Tree. They scouted the desert and found two spots that were used for the film.

Arlene storyboarded the whole shoot and some things changed with opportunity. Originally Sam’s shack was to be a building and they had a chance to find a teepee that provided the perfect location for his laboratory. Producers agreed with the change even though the shooting space was somewhat limited.

As in most film shoots many decisions are made with the question “what if.” Light had a lot to do with the answers as they wanted to have the long road to the commune and the golden and blue natural light added to the sense of the passage of time. It also creates the feeling of going to nowhere. Turquoise is the color of the film and is an important color in Indian culture. The color of Sam’s truck was turquoise. At the end of the film Sam has to make a choice of direction when they get to a fork in the road and Arlene leaves the reason for the choice up to the audience. Always remembering that the film is about redemption and acceptance Sam’s purpose is to win over the tribe. Arlene said that the position of the sun had a lot to do with the style of filming at each location and the limited time shoot often was about chasing the sun as everyone had to make the film in the middle of nowhere in harsh conditions.

Billy Peake provided the final magic as the editor of the film and brilliantly created the story without words. It was the editing and the wonderful musical score that drives the story. As Arlene stated, it was important to let emotion play itself out. Scenes can be longer or shorter depending on the musical score and the pacing changes with song.

Arlene explained that short films are shown mostly at film festivals and that one of the most exciting moments was the showing here at the Chinese Theater. Most everyone donated time and equipment to make the film and it was a true labor of love and a testament to the filmmaker. When you have finite resources, one has to make the best use of the assets. There was a short window to do the shoot because of availability of people. Arlene is planning a feature film about an Apache trained warrior avenging the death of her family. She plans to bring back the character of Snake Oil Sam in the feature.

For more information, Go to www.TheBalladofSnakeOilSam.com , www.VistaPointPictures.com and The film trailer is available for viewing at http://www.arlenebogna.com/The-Ballad-of-Snake-Oil-Sam

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Dances With Films 2014: ‘The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam’ - Film Review
Written by Steven W. Alloway, Fanboy Comics Contributor

The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam is a surreal, colorful, and somewhat fantastical short film. The official description hails it as a “desert Steampunk fantasy,” but I wouldn’t really call it Steampunk. Still, it’s very visually striking and mesmerizing to watch all the way through.

The 13-minute film by Arlene Bogna is entirely wordless, except for a few haunting whispers. We follow Snake Oil Sam as he prepares to do a medicine show in the desert. He experiments meticulously with potions and elixirs, trying to find the exact mixture that he’s looking for . . . but he seems to be suffering from Potion Block.

I hesitate to get into too much more detail about the plot, since the film is so short. But, honestly, the plot itself hardly matters here. The film is very stylized and rather abstract, to the point where a full description of the events from beginning to end wouldn’t actually ruin anything. You won’t really get it until you see it for yourself.

It’s definitely a film worth seeing, too. Everything about it is strange and beautiful, from the costumes to the soundtrack (by West Indian Girl) to the desert setting itself. There’s a lot to take in, but don’t waste too much time trying to figure out exactly what’s going on at any given time. Just let it wash over you like a warm desert wind, and experience it as it is. You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll probably want to watch it again.



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PRESS RELEASE:
Indie Film by Female Director, The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam on a Global Film Festival Tour from Madrid, Los Angeles, Cannes to New Hope, PA July 25th, 2014 http://www.prurgent.com/2014-07-16/pressrelease353248.htm
http://issuu.com/nicolettefontaine/docs/balladofsnakeoilsamnewhopefilmfest2

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Contact:
Nicolette Fontaine, Publicist/Social Media Manager
Email: nicolettefontaine@comcast.net Tel. 561.302.7782

*MEDIA ALERT*
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THE BALLAD OF SNAKE OIL SAM, A WILD WILD WEST STEAMPUNK FANTASY, JOURNEYS TO DANCES WITH FILMS AND CANNES FILM FESTIVAL

A desert traveler embarks on a mystical journey in pursuit of redemption.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (May 20, 2014) – Vista Point Pictures in association with Jowharah Films announces the U.S. Premiere of an Arlene Bogna Film, The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam, on May 31st, 2014 at the Dances With Films Festival in the Chinese Theater, Hollywood, California. The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam made its debut on May 16th, 2014 at the Cannes Film Festival, Short Film Corner in Cannes, France.

The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam captivates an audience of young and old alike, transporting you into the Wild Wild West with the inspiring mystical story of a desert traveler, inventor, alchemist and magical elixir salesman in pursuit of redemption. Emerging Filmmaker and Director, Arlene Bogna, had a unique vision for her undeniably daring, artistic and harmonious cast of actors to portray many emotional states of mind without words and to explore the meaning of trust, divine inspiration and the belief of redemption, relying solely on subtext and visuals.

Arlene Bogna exclaims, “I literally cannot wait for our U.S. Premiere in Los Angeles; I can feel the excitement and energy already! I know Dances With Films is a very special filmmaker-centric festival, which is why I am so honored to have our film accepted into DWF’s Competitive Selection of festival screenings.”

Dances With Films was the only Los Angeles based festival to reach Moviemaker Magazine’s Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals list on the planet. It is evident, The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam unites with the festival’s mission in seeking films that are compelling and captivating.

The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam pays tribute to Sergio Leone’s “Spaghetti Western” genre through the film’s moments-in-between-moments with the actors and frontier cinematography. The film, shot entirely on location outside of Joshua Tree, California, also is an ode to famous director, Michelangelo Antonioni, with its remote scenery of the desert wilderness reflecting Snake Oil Sam’s inner struggles. The director Bogna says, “Our film crew went on a desert camping adventure, braving all the elements together as a strong tribe, in order to make it all happen!” It features the music of Los Angeles psychedelic rock band, West Indian Girl, from their latest album Shangri-La. The film’s original score is by Acclaimed film composer, Vivek Maddala. The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam stars Zane Byrdy, Gladys Nyoth, Gabriel Voss, Cristina Balmores, and Eva Zeva.

Arlene Bogna brings this film to life by uncovering the influence of snake oil and shamanic medicine that promises transformation and new beginnings, to the pivotal moment in Sam’s stirring realization of redemption, only to be gained through trust and acceptance of himself and his tribe. The story told is a love letter to music subculture and the dance community, depicted with steampunk costuming and Native American jewelry and artifacts. Local designer, Evelyn Hanna from Funky Desert Apparel in Yucca Valley worked on the costume design.

Bogna challenges herself as a film director to tell the story without depending on words and experiments with creating metonymy for her characters in the middle of a desert. She crosses over from being a successful commercial director into narrative, and also breaks the mold of what time period this film is supposed to take place in. She makes her movie feel anachronistic and timeless with imaginative sequences, dreamlike visuals and costumes. She believes in the Hero’s journey as a timeless structure of mythmaking and cinema. Arlene Bogna wants to make her contribution to film in an “Ars Longa, Vita Brevis” way and figure out whether Art imitates life or not.

While soaking up picturesque desert scenery, fantasy characters and frontier-dream images with a hippy like vibe is a story told mostly with no dialogue but only distinct emotional events. Truly a work of art, this Arlene Bogna Film will make your creative imagination soar and open it up to your own interpretation. The themes in the film keep you thinking about big life questions of trust; redemption and what will Snake Oil Sam do next? Hungry for more? The filmmaker purposely did this to bring in the character of Snake Oil Sam as a cameo in her next feature western, Amaryllis Bang! Bang! The director envisions her upcoming film productions to convey sweeping epic vistas, mind-blowing moments, and colorful dynamic shots. Arlene Bogna is ready to take this show on the road, and she already is.

To purchase tickets for the U.S. film premiere at Dances with Films, visit the DWF festival website at http://www.danceswithfilms.com/slt_ballad_snake_oil_sam.html

"Dances With Films is thrilled to present the exciting, exotic, hallucinogenic trip of the Wild Wild West from the highly creative mind of director/writer, Arlene Bogna and Producers, Romell Foster-Owens & Anthony Ferranti Jr., to the Hollywood Industry. An exciting envisioning of a story untold, this production promises a story that yearns to uncoil.”
Dances With Films Fest Co-Founder, Leslee Scallon

The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam is an official selection and nominated for 4 Awards at the 2014 Madrid International Film Festival for: Best Short Film, Best Director of a Short Film, Best Music in Film and Best Costume. It is also an official selection at the cutting edge, global, 2014 New Hope Film Festival in Pennsylvania. Bogna is planning to get international distribution of this film, on cable and digitally. View all film updates at http://www.TheBalladofSnakeOilSam.com
Watch the trailer on Vimeo at
http://arlenebogna.com/The-Ballad-of-Snake-Oil-Sam

About Arlene Bogna and Vista Point Pictures
Arlene Bogna is an award-winning writer/director with a passion for character-driven storytelling and compelling visuals. Visit her website at http://www.arlenebogna.com Vista Point Pictures is an award-winning production boutique committed to narrative films, visually compelling commercials, new media, promos and viral campaigns. For more information, visit http://www.vistapointpictures.com Jowharah Films is an award-winning production company of which Romell Foster-Owens is President. For more information, visit http://www.jowharahfilms.com The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam is directed by Arlene Bogna and Produced by Romell Foster-Owens and Anthony Ferranti; the Cast stars: Actors, Zane Byrdy, Gladys Nyoth, Gabriel Voss, Cristina Balmores, and Eva Zeva.

#####

For media inquiries and interview opportunities, Contact:
Nicolette J. Fontaine
Publicist/Social Media Manager
Tel. 561.302.7782
Email: nicolettefontaine@comcast.net


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MOVING PICTURES MAGAZINE
Arlene Bogna's Canvas
By RaeAnne Marsh


"The
 Little 
PSA 
That
 Could"
 is 
what 
filmmaker 
Arlene 
Bogna 
calls 
her 
Women 
In 
Film‐produced 
project 
for 
A 
Window 
Between 
Worlds.


Shot 
like 
a 
narrative 
film, 
the 
PSA 
Canvas 
shows 
one 
woman 
as 
a 
complex 
and 
strong 
character 
‐ 
a 
role 
notoriously 
rare
 in
 feature 
films. 
The 
film 
benefits 
from
 the 
practiced 
hand 
of 
film
 editor 
Paul 
Hirsch, 
whose 
filmography 
glitters 
with 
Oscar 
gold 
for 
his 
editing 
of 
Star 
Wars. 
"He 
has 
an 
emotional 
sensitivity," 
Bogna 
notes. 
Also 
important: 
"He 
has 
a 
narrative
 background. 
What 
we 
were 
doing 
was 
more 
like 
a 
feature 
than 
a 
commercial. 
He 
understood 
how 
to 
bring 
out 
characters' 
emotions."


Thrilled
 by 
the 
opportunity 
to
 work 
with 
a 
talent 
she 
refers 
to 
as
 "a 
legend," 
Bogna 
also 
found 
him
 respectful 
of 
her 
vision
 for 
the 
PSA. 
And 
Hirsch 
helped 
her 
create 
the 
temp 
music 
to 
communicate 
that 
vision 
to 
composer 
Rob 
Simonsen, 
who 
then 
wrote 
a 
composition 
specifically 
for 
the 
piece. 
Women 
In 
Film
 (WIF) 
produces 
four 
public 
service 
announcements 
(PSAs) 
per 
year, 
and 
there 
is 
keen 
competition 
to
 be 
selected 
a 
director. 
The 
organization 
was 
founded 
to
 promote 
women 
in 
the 
entertainment 
and 
media 
industries, 
so 
it
 is
 not 
surprising
 that 
most 
of 
the 
organizations 
it 
chooses
 for 
the 
PSA 
program
 are
 charities 
that 
also 
benefit
 women 
and 
children.



A 
WIF 
of 
Opportunity


Bogna's 
industry 
experience 
began 
with 
motion 
graphic 
design 
and
 visual effects. 
A
 second
 assistant 
director 
for 
Killers 
(1997) 
and 
set 
dresser 
for 
Gone 
Postal 
(2005), 
she 
directed 
and 
produced 
the 
short 
film 
Patriot 
Johnny 
(also 
in 
2005). 
The 
bulk 
of 
her 
experience
 has 
been 
in 
motion 
picture 
advertising 
(for 
Disney, 
Paramount, 
Warner
Bros., 
Universal 
and 
DreamWorks) 
and 
Bogna
 was 
recognized 
in 
2002 
with 
a 
Golden
 Trailer 
Award 
nomination 
for 
Best 
Art 
Direction
 on
 the
 trailer 
for 
M. 
Night 
Shyamalan's 
Signs. 
For 
the 
UCLA 
film
 school 
grad,
 the
 thrill 
of 
being 
selected 
a
 director 
for 
WIF's 
PSA
 program
 was 
the
 opportunity
 it 
afforded
 her
 "to 
show 
my
 work, 
to
 do
 my
 craft, 
to 
meet 
people,"
 she 
says.



The 
Role
 and 
the 
Goal


Bogna 
is 
also 
an 
exhibiting 
painter 
and 
photographer, 
and 
discovered 
a 
shared 
passion 
in 
A
 Window
 Between
 Worlds, 
a 
non‐profit 
that 
helps 
abused 
women 
and 
children 
gain 
a 
sense 
of 
renewal 
and 
power
 through
 artistic 
expression. 
In 
Canvas, 
the 
paintbrush 
is 
as 
much 
the
 star
 as 
lead 
Giselle 
Tongi, 
of 
whom
 Bogna 
says, 
"I
 asked
 her 
to 
bare 
her 
soul 
for 
this 
project." 
Behind 
the 
reverie 
of 
a 
voice‐over, 
 fragmented 
close‐ups 
go
 back
 and
 forth 
from
 paintbrush 
to 
Tongi's 
eyes 
in
 shielded
 introspection.
 Explains 
Bogna, 
"You
 don't 
get 
the 
whole 
picture 
until 
the 
end" 
‐ 
when 
she 
brings 
it 
all 
together 
to
 drive
 home
 the 
epiphany 
the 
project 
produced 
in 
her: 
"We
 discovered 
the 
soul 
is 
beyond 
abuse."



Eschewing 
stereotypes 
and
 endowing 
dignity
 to
 her 
characters 
is 
Bogna's 
ongoing 
focus. 
"Complex
 female 
characters 
appeal 
to 
me," 
she
 states. 
Directing
 the
 short 
Whoa
 Nellie!
 is 
her 
current 
endeavor,
 and
 she
 is
 in
 talks 
to 
direct 
a 
feature 
indie .
Bogna 
also 
stays 
busy 
with 
her 
post‐production 
company,
 Vista 
Point 
Pictures,
 founded
 this 
past
 spring
 to
 fill 
what 
she 
saw 
as 
a 
void 
in 
high‐level 
creative
 services
 for 
indie 
filmmakers.

Canvas,
 which
 screens 
at 
the
 New
 York 
International 
Independent 
Film
 and 
Video 
Festival 
this 
month,
 has 
earned 
Bogna
 two
 awards 
‐ 
an 
Aurora 
and
 a
 Telly. 
It 
also
 gained 
her 
another 
unexpected
 commendation: 
At 
this 
year's
 WIF
 Crystal/Lucy 
Awards,
 in
 the 
midst 
of 
her 
acceptance
 speech 
of 
her
 Crystal 
Award
 for
 excellence 
in 
film,
 Academy 
Award 
winner
 Renée 
Zellweger 
acknowledged 
Bogna,
 saying, 
"I 
want 
to 
congratulate 
Arlene
 Bogna 
for 
her 
PSA
 for 
A
 Window
 Between 
Worlds, 
which 
won 
the
 Platinum 
Aurora 
Award
 for 
Best 
of 
Show." 
Relates 
Bogna,
 "That 
was 
very 
special."






BACKSTAGE - NATIONAL EDITION
WHO GOT THE PART? GISELLE TONGI

By Nia Renee Hill
In the Philippines, Giselle Tongi was an award-winning actor and a veejay for MTV Philippines. But at the height of her career, which began at age 12, she left. "I wanted to legitimize my craft," she says. Tongi moved to New York, where she studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and landed an agent. But two years later, after relocating to Los Angeles, she found herself at a crossroads when she became pregnant and was dropped by her rep. "It was bad," she says. "I was sort of desperate. I thought, 'How can I get my career back in gear?' "
Tongi was at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Calif., with her new baby, contemplating the future of her acting career, when she saw a casting notice in Back Stage for a public service announcement called Canvas. It was being produced by Women in Film for the organization A Window Between Worlds, which introduces victims of domestic abuse and their children to the healing power of art and provides a safe place for them to get in touch with their emotions. When Tongi went to the audition, she brought along a crucial element: her 6-month-old daughter. "I was so embarrassed," she says. "Usually you don't bring your infant to an audition. I was so worried."
But director Arlene Bogna had no problems with Tongi's baby being in the room. "She was very gracious and professional," says Bogna of the actor. "I brought in the idea of her baby into the scene, and she delivered." Tongi was asked to imagine that she had been abused in front of her daughter.
"What she told me really struck me, and I started crying," Tongi says. "I was so concerned that my child being there would be a negative, but it helped me a lot, because all I had to do was look at her in her car seat." Bogna wanted an actor who could create "a strong, complex character," says the director. "I wanted to build her like a hero. She's somebody who has a troubled past and had strength to take her child and herself out of that and start over."
Canvas was shot in one day at a mental hospital in Norwalk, Calif. The shoot was emotional for Tongi, but with Bogna's help she made it through. "Arlene was there holding my hand the whole time," says the actor. "It was great because it was scary. The scenes that we were shooting were very emotionally charged, and without my director's faith in my talent, I couldn't have done a good job." The PSA has won multiple prizes, including Remi, Aurora, Telly, and Davey awards.
Tongi is currently studying communications at Pierce College and hopes to get an MFA in acting at UCLA. She has also found new representation with Mavrick Artists Agency and occasionally returns to act in the Philippines. "I'm very lucky, but what I really want to accomplish is to cross over my success in that country to this country," she says. "I know I'll be doing this for the rest of my life." For more information on A Window Between Worlds, visit www.awbw.org.



DCA CONNECTIONS -- Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles
Women In Film wins award for artistic collaboration with AWBW