LETTERS TO NO ONE: A Creative Writing Blog Series

LETTERS TO NO ONE: A Creative Writing Blog Series
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Podcast: LETS TALK...With ThisFunktional

Apr 29, 2021


(Photo from the VanGoghLA.com website)

Written by Jesus Figueroa
@ThisFunktional of ThisFunktional.com

One of the most recognized and influential artist, Vincent van Gogh, comes to Los Angeles in a manner which art is rarely seen.

The “Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit Los Angeles” opens in the heart of LA on May 27.

The 500,000 cubic ft. installation includes the Mangeurs de pommes de terre (The Potato Eaters, 1885), the Nuit étoilée (Starry Night, 1889), Les Tournesols (Sunflowers, 1888), and La Chambre à coucher (The Bedroom, 1889), and so much more.

Unlike the regular art exhibits of paintings hanging on walls, the “Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit” projects the incredible artwork onto the walls, which helps the exhibit visitors feel a part of the art.

Designed and conceived by Massimiliano Siccardi, with soundtrack by Luca Longobardi, who both pioneered immersive digital art experiences in France, the “Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit” takes CDC guidelines serious to provide the upmost safety for all visitors.

During the pandemic, the Toronto stop of the exhibit had more than 170,000 visitors and no reported cases associated with the exhibit.

On the “Immersive Van Gogh Exhibition” website, it states that:
To ensure your safety, and based on guidance from the CDC and other government agencies, our walk-in exhibition will operate with enhanced safety measures including:
  • Reduced capacity in line with state guidelines, to ensure all guests have enough space to safely enjoy the experience 
  • Temperature checks for staff and guests on arrival
  • Touchless hand sanitization stations placed throughout the venue 
  • Plexiglass barriers at all payment locations
  • Contactless payment encouraged throughout the venue
  • Face coverings required for all staff and guests
  • Floor markings throughout the venue to assist in six-foot social distancing limit
  • Social distancing circles projected throughout the entire exhibition gallery space
  • Enhanced, regular cleaning throughout the day on each floor
  • Contact tracing for all staff and guests
We will continue to closely monitor the situation daily, and adjust our safety measures accordingly, in readiness for our opening.

For more information, visit vangoghla.com.

Apr 26, 2021

Watch the trailer for documentary film RITA MORENO: JUST A GIRL WHO DECIDED TO GO FOR IT

Written by Jesus Figueroa
@ThisFunktional of ThisFunktional.com

One of the most recognized names for Latina celebrities, Rita Moreno, gets a documentary film which captures a multitude of talents of Moreno, both as a celebrity and activist.

Take a look at the trailer for Roadside Attractions' "Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to go for it," in theaters June 18.

Over a 70+ year career, Rita Moreno defied both her humble upbringing and relentless racism to become a celebrated and beloved actor, one of the rare EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) Award Winners of our time.  Born into poverty on a Puerto Rican farm, Moreno and her seamstress mother immigrated to New York City when Moreno was five years old. After studying dance and performing on Broadway, Moreno was cast as any ethnic minority the Hollywood studios needed filled, be it Polynesian, Native American or Egyptian. Despite becoming the first Latina actress to win an Academy Award for her role as Anita in “West Side Story” (1961), the studios continued to offer Moreno lesser roles as stereotypical ethnic minorities, ignoring her proven talent.

RITA MORENO: JUST A GIRL WHO DECIDED TO GO FOR IT illuminates the humor and the grace of Moreno, as well as lesser-known struggles faced on her path to stardom, including pernicious Hollywood sexism and abuse, a toxic relationship with Marlon Brando, and serious depression a year before she emerged an Oscar winner. Moreno’s talent and resilience triumphed over adversity, as she broke barriers, fought for representation and forged the path for new generations of artists.

"Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to go for it" is directed by Mariem Pérez Riera and featuring Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, Héctor Elizondo, Gloria Estefan, Tom Fontana, Morgan Freeman, Mitzi Gaynor, Whoopi Goldberg, Norman Lear, Eva Longoria, Justina Machado, Terrence McNally, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Karen Olivo.

The documentary is produced by Brent Miller, p.g.a, and Mariem Pérez Riera, executive produced by Michael Kantor, Lyn Davis Lear, Norman Lear,
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Regina K. Scully.

In Theaters June 18

Apr 25, 2021

Watch the trailer for SIBERIA

Written by Jesus Figueroa
@ThisFunktional of ThisFunktional.com

Take a look at the trailer for "Siberia," in theaters June 18 and on DVD June 22, it is one of the most bizarre yet captivating trailers.

Clint tends a bar at a snowbound roadhouse whose patrons speak a language he doesn’t understand, and things may not be what they seem. Desperate for answers, he drives a sled team to a nearby cave, but finds no peace. Are the spirits that confront him mere figments of his imagination — or will they slowly tear his body and soul to pieces? This mind-blowing psychological thriller is directed by Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant) and stars Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man).

The cast includes Willem Dafoe, Dounia Sichov, Simon McBurney, Cristina Chiriac, Daniel Giménez Cacho.

"Siberia" is directed by Abel Ferrara from a screen play by Ferrara Christ Zois.

The movie is rated R for strong sexual content, nudity/graphic nudity, some disturbing violence, and bloody images.
Opens In Theaters June 18
On DVD June 22

Apr 12, 2021

Watch the trailer for AMERICAN FIGHTER

Written by Jesus Figueroa
@ThisFunktional of ThisFunktional.com

The exciting trailer for Lionsgate’s “American Fighter” is out now.

“American Fighter” will be out in theaters May 21 and on DVD May 25.

Desperate for cash to save his deathly ill mother, college wrestler Ali (George Kosturos, American Wrestler: The Wizard) enters the hidden world of underground fighting. Ali shows promise, but he lacks skills, and gets beaten bloody. Duke (Sean Patrick Flanery, The Boondock Saints), a troubled handler, takes pity on the boy and trains him to be a fierce competitor — but is it enough to make Ali a winner? Based on a true story, this gritty action tale also stars Tommy Flanagan (“Sons of Anarchy”).

“American Fighter” stars George Kosturos, Tommy Flanagan, Bryan Craig, Allison Paige and Sean Patrick Flanery, directed by Shaun Piccinino, and written by Brian Rudnick and Carl Morris and Shaun Piccinino.

In Theaters May 21,
On DVD May 25

Lionsgate’s VANQUISH gets updated release date

Written by Jesus Figueroa
@ThisFunktional of ThisFunktional.com

Lionsgate’s upcoming film “Vanquish” has updated release dates.

“Vanquish” will be in select theaters April 16, On Demand
April 20, and on BLU-ray April 27.

From the director of Double Take, Middle Men, and The Poison Rose comes this stylish, glossy action-thriller starring Morgan Freeman (Se7en) and Ruby Rose ("Orange Is the New Black") that shows what desperation can drive a person to do. A mother, Victoria (Rose), is trying to put her dark past as a Russian drug courier behind her, but retired cop Damon (Freeman) forces Victoria to do his bidding by holding her daughter hostage. Now, Victoria must use guns, guts, and a motorcycle to take out a series of violent gangsters — or she may never see her child again.

“Vanquish” stars Morgan Freeman and Ruby Rose, directed by George Gallo from a screenplay by Gallo and Sam Bartlett.

In Select Theaters April 16,
On Demand April 20,
On BLU-Ray April 27

Global action hero Liam Neeson stars as the ultimate protector in the pulse-pounding action thriller THE MARKSMAN now available to own for the first time

(Info from press release)

Oscar®nominee Liam Neeson is Jim Hanson, a former Marine turned rancher who defies the law to save a young boy’s life from a group of merciless cartel assassins in the suspenseful and powerful action-packed film, THE MARKSMAN, available to own for the first time on Digital April 27 and Blu-ray™, DVD and On Demand on May 11 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
From Open Road Films and Briarcliff Entertainment, THE MARKSMAN is a tense thriller that follows one man and the boy he promised to protect on a dangerous cat-and-mouse race across America that leaves audiences on the edge of their seat from start to finish. The film is directed by Academy Award® nominee Robert Lorenz (American Sniper, Mystic River) and showcases remarkable performances by Neeson (Taken franchise, The Grey) and the film’s supporting cast including Katheryn Winnick (The Dark Tower, “Big Sky”), Juan Pablo Raba (Peppermint, “Narcos”), Teresa Ruiz (“Narcos: Mexico,” “Here on Earth”) and Jacob Perez (Papa Bear, Willy Goes Way Back). Featuring never-before-seen bonus content with cast and crew, THE MARKSMAN on digital, Blu-ray™ and DVD includes an exclusive behind-the-scenes piece that dives deeper into the deadly cross-country road trip of the captivating story.
Ex-Marine and hardened Arizona rancher Jim Hanson (Neeson) simply wants to be left alone as he tries to make a living on an isolated stretch of borderland. But everything changes when he witnesses 11-year-old migrant Miguel (Perez) and his mother (Ruiz) fleeing from a band of assassins sent by a ruthless drug cartel. After being caught in a shoot-out, Miguel’s mother begs Jim to take her son to the safety of their family in Chicago. Defying law-enforcement, Jim and Miguel hit the road and slowly begin to forge an unlikely friendship, while the cartel’s relentless assassins blaze a bloody trail, hot on their heels.
With the purchase of THE MARKSMAN on disc or digital, fans are eligible to earn points towards special rewards via the Universal All-Access Rewards program. Members can redeem their points for digital movies, signed collectables, box sets, win exclusive prizes and more! For FREE registration and details please visit MyUniversalRewards.com.   
  • THE MAKING OF THE MARKSMAN – Filmmakers and cast discuss the richness of the story and characters, as well as their experiences working with legendary actor Liam Neeson.
THE MARKSMAN will be available on Blu-rayTM, DVD and Digital.
  • Blu-ray™ unleashes the power of your HDTV and is the best way to watch movies at home, featuring 6X the picture resolution of DVD, exclusive extras and theater-quality surround sound.
  • Digital lets fans watch movies anywhere on their favorite devices. Users can instantly stream or download.
  • The Movies Anywhere Digital App simplifies and enhances the digital movie collection and viewing experience by allowing consumers to access their favorite digital movies in one place when purchased or redeemed through participating digital retailers. Consumers can also redeem digital copy codes found in eligible Blu-rayTM and DVD disc packages from participating studios and stream or download them through Movies Anywhere.  Movies Anywhere is available only in the United States. 
Facebook: @TheMarksmanMov
Twitter: @TheMarksmanMov
Instagram: @TheMarksmanMov

Apr 7, 2021

Watch the trailer for National Geographic’s SECRETS OF THE WHALES

Written by Jesus Figueroa
@ThisFunktional of ThisFunktional.com

Watch the beautiful trailer for National Geographic’s “Secrets of the Whales,” coming to Disney+ on April 22.

The incredible images in the trailer build excitement for viewers.

Four-Part Special from National Geographic 
Premieres Earth Day – Thursday, April 22 – on Disney+
Epic, revealing and emotional, that’s what you get when immersed in the secretive world of whales and see life and love from their perspectives. From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker and conservationist James Cameron, SECRETS OF THE WHALES plunges viewers deep within the epicenter of whale culture to experience the extraordinary communication skills and intricate social structures of five different whale species: orcas, humpbacks, belugas, narwhals and sperm whales. Featuring the expansive knowledge and skill of acclaimed National Geographic Explorer and Photographer Brian Skerry, the four-part Earth Day special-event series unveils new science and technology to spotlight whales as they make lifelong friendships, teach clan heritage and traditions to their young, and grieve deeply for the loss of loved ones. Filmed over three years in 24 global locations, throughout this epic journey, we learn that whales are far more complex and more like us than ever imagined. This is a personal story that very few are lucky enough to witness … until now.
SECRETS OF THE WHALES is narrated by award-winning actress and conservationist Sigourney Weaver (“Alien,” “Avatar,” “Gorillas in the Mist”) and scored by French composer Raphaelle Thibaut (“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” “The Act”). The special is created by Red Rock Films.

Streaming on Disney+ On April 22

Watch the trailer for THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD

Written by Jesus Figueroa
@ThisFunktional of ThisFunktional.com

Watch the exciting trailer for Warner Bros. “Those Who Wish Me Dead,” coming to theaters and HBO Max May 14.

A teenage murder witness finds himself pursued by twin assassins in the Montana wilderness with a survival expert tasked with protecting him and a forest fire threatening to consume them all.

The cast includes Angelina Jolie, Jon Bernthal, Nicholas Hoult, Tyler Perry, and Finn Little.

“Those Who Wish Me Dead,” is directed by Taylor Sheridan from a screenplay written by Sheridan, Michael Koryta, and Charles Leavitt.

In Theaters And On HBO Max May 14

Watch the trailer for National Geographic’s docuseries IMPACT WITH GAL GADOT

Written by Jesus Figueroa
@ThisFunktional of ThisFunktional.com

National Geographic gives the spotlight to six incredible stories of women making an impact in their community in the docuseries “Impact with Gal Gadot,” premiering April 26.

Watch the teaser trailer for a small glimpse at these magnificent stories that are changing the world.

National Geographic Presents IMPACT with Gal Gadot a short-form documentary series that follows the powerful stories of six women who are making an extraordinary impact on their communities around the world. Despite living in areas marred by violence, poverty, trauma, discrimination, oppression, and natural disasters, these brave women remain undeterred as they dare to dream, stand out, speak up and lead.

In the heart of the most dangerous cities in the world, there exist beacons of hope. National Geographic Presents: IMPACT with Gal Gadot is a compelling new six-part short-form documentary series from executive producers Gal Gadot (“Wonder Woman”), Jaron Varsano (“My Dearest Fidel”) and Academy Award®-winning director Vanessa Roth (“Freehold”) that follows the powerful stories of resilient young women around the world who overcome obstacles and do extraordinary things. IMPACT will follow inspiring young women living in communities marred by genocide, gang violence, poverty, discrimination and oppression, and yet, against all odds, dare to dream, stand out, speak up and lead.

Premieres April 26 On National Geographic’s YouTube Channel

Mar 10, 2021

Grammy award winner Ashanti, Tessa Brooks to star in Build-A-Bear Entertainment's live action film HONEY GIRLS

(Info from press release)

Award-winning music video director Trey Fanjoy to make her directorial debut

Production is soon to be completed on Build-A-Bear Entertainment’s live-action feature film “HONEY GIRLS,” starring Grammy Award winning, multi-platinum singer/songwriter and actress Ashanti and digital star Tessa Brooks, and based on the top-selling product line from Build-A-Bear Workshop. Multi-award winning music video director Trey Fanjoy will make her feature film directorial debut. Aliyah Mastin, Ava Grace and Frankie McNellis will bring the Honey Girls to life with original songs and electric dancing.  


Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has worldwide rights.  Expected to release in fall 2021, “HONEY GIRLS,” features high-energy music as a central part of the storyline. 


Three young musicians participate in a talent competition to discover the next great solo artist, hosted by global pop-star Fancy G (Ashanti). The competitors quickly discover that they are “better together” and form a secret band called HONEY GIRLS that has an immediate viral mega hit. Performing in disguise to avoid detection and elimination by Fancy G, these three competitors must ultimately decide what is more important – fame or friendship.


Grammy Award winner Julia Michels is serving as the Music Supervisor with original songs by Grammy Award winner Mark Nilan, Jr., a frequent Lady Gaga collaborator who produced and wrote many of the songs on the A Star is Born soundtrack and on which Michels also served as Music Supervisor. The screenplay was written byacclaimed writer, producer and director Mike Mariano and Cindy McCreery.  

“The Honey Girls story uses the power of music as a catalyst to both encourage the celebration of individuality while recognizing that we can also be ‘better together,’ wrapped in a fun girl-empowerment story of discovery,” said Sharon Price John, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer. 

The film is produced through Foundation Media Partners with Patrick Hughes acting as the producer; in addition, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. CEO Sharon Price John is serving as executive producer of the project.  


Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter and actor Ashanti starred in Coach Carter, opposite Samuel L. Jackson, box office hit Resident Evil Extinction, John Tucker Must Die, Lifetime’s seriesArmy Wives, as well as appearing in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and starred as Dorothy in The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz.  Her self-titled debut album “Ashanti,” landed the #1 spot on both the Billboard Top 200 and R&B album charts. The album won the Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Album, 8 Billboard awards, 2 American Music Awards and the Soul Train Aretha Franklin Entertainer of the Year Award, granting her a spot in Guinness Book of World Records.  Over the course of her music career, Ashanti went on to release four more albums and has sold over 27 million records worldwide. 


Tessa Brooks is an actress, dancer, and digital star, who has choreographed and danced on The Voice, Kids Choice Awards, The Teen Choice Awards and Radio Disney. Brooks has amassed over 20M+ followers while producing content that crosses dance, lifestyle, fashion and vlogs. As a top creator, Brooks has partnered with brands such as Revlon and Marc Jacobs. 


With well over a hundred major awards and nominations including Billboard, MTV, VH-1, Academy of Country Music, as well as several Director of The Year titles with the CMT network, Trey Fanjoy is the most recognized director in CMA history with 18 nominations and a recent third win. Her client roster includes Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Dolly Parton, Paul McCartney, Steven Tyler, and Reba McEntire. Fanjoy made history as the first woman to capture the coveted CMA Video of the Year Award with Taylor Swift for the international smash Love Story and is currently nominated with multi-platinum superstar, Miranda Lambert, for a record breaking 17th time for their collaboration on the Billboard certified #1, Bluebird, at the upcoming Academy of Country Music Awards.


Frankie McNellis previously appeared on ABC’s hit sitcom Black-ish and DreamWorks TV’s Play Anything. She published her first song at the age of 9 and has since went on to have a successful recording career. She has performed the national anthem for both the NBA and the MLB.


Ava Grace is an accomplished recording artist who is currently working on new music to be released later this year on all streaming platforms and she trained at the audition-only intensive summer vocal music program A Cappella Academy. Actor, singer, dancer, Broadway veteran, Aliyah Mastin has recorded with the kids acapella group Acapop! KIDS and lent her voice to many charitable causes including Broadway Kids Against Bullying. 


Mike Mariano is an executive producer, writer and director for season 4 of The Last O.G. Mariano executive produced, directed and was the showrunner for Raising Hope and was a writer/director on My Name Is Earl and a writer on yes, dear and The Mike O’Malley Show. He has directed several episodes of STARZ’s Survivor’s Remorseand Disney Channel’s Stuck In The Middle, as well as Hallmark Christmas movie Deliver by Christmas. 


Cindy McCreery was a staff writer on the SyFy series Haven and wrote Free Willy Escape from Pirates Cove for Warner Brothers.  In 2020, she produced the original podcast series Quaranteen’d available on Spotify and iTunes.  


Julia Michels is a Grammy Winning Music Supervisor who won a Grammy for the A Star Is Born soundtrack as well as a Billboard Music Award, an American Music Award, and Grammy nomination for her work on Pitch Perfect 2. Her other film credits include Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, The Old Guard, The Greatest Showman, The Pitch Perfect Franchise, Trolls, Bad Moms, The Devil Wears Prada, and Sex & The City box office hit films, and the Academy Award Nominated (Best Song) and Grammy Nominated (Best Soundtrack) August Rush. 


Mark Nilan Jr. is a Grammy winning multi-platinum record producer and songwriter, who has served as producer for Lady Gaga’s Grammy winning performance of Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin?) as well as her multi-platinum Grammy winning A Star Is Born soundtrack.  Nilan produced the classic Scooby Doo theme song for the 2020 release of SCOOB! and was co-executive music producer for the My Little Pony The Moviesoundtrack.


Patrick Hughes has produced films including the family comedy, Picture This, for MGM and most recently, Delivered by Christmas for Hallmark. He is currently executive producing animated film, Bad Guys, for DreamWorks Animation and Thelma The Unicorn for Netflix. Hughes represents global IP company Build-A-Bear Workshop and is partnered with Build-A-Bear Entertainment and its Build-A-Bear Records and Build-A-Bear Radio with IHEART ventures.


Ashanti is represented by Tina Douglas, Momanger LLC, Stephan Dweck Esq., William Archer Esq. and GVA Talent Agency. Brooks is repped by Leanne Perice. Fanjoy is repped by Jon Levin.McNellis is repped by Mattie Management, Take 3 Talent and Imprint PR. Grace is repped by Take 3 Talent and Imprint PR. Mastin is repped by Carson Kolker and Calli Company. McCreery is repped by Underground and Rothman Brecher Ehrich Livingston.   Nilan is repped by Josh Kaplan from 10Q Management and Troglia Kaplan, LLC.

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