Home #Hwoodtimes First-time Filmmaker to Screen Indie About Hollywood Fails for the Industry

First-time Filmmaker to Screen Indie About Hollywood Fails for the Industry

Bay Area Filmmaker to Screen First Indie About Hollywood for the Industry

Does Hollywood have a sense of humor?

Fresh off the heels of her lively film debut and press tour in Northern California, Bay Area first-time filmmaker C.M. Conway is about to find out. Her groundbreaking new film “ How to Successfully Fail in Hollywood” is poised to screen at the American Film Market (AFM) in Santa Monica the first week of November, for the entertainment industry’s top movers and shakers.

The event is a remarkable full-circle moment, as her bootstrapped indie about friends, fantasies and fails is inspired by her (mis)adventures as an actress in Los Angeles. Attendees at the screening and  AFM can also take fun photos with Cassie, the fantastical dog in the film created by Nancy Winn.

The witty and poignant film is a social agent of change, breaks barriers and embraces colossal failures; while authentically representing the LGBTQIA+ community. A champion of gender equity and diversity, the movie was shot on a shoe-string budget in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, including in front of the iconic Hollywood Sign. A community grassroots effort of a skeleton crew, large cast and local businesses providing locations made the film possible. Award-winning cinematographer Lisa Stoll and sound recording veteran Daniel Hess were key crew and mentors.

Beneath the tales touting how to succeed in Hollywood, hides the crucial information of what NOT to do. That’s where the gold is buried, uncovering the pitfalls and pratfalls. Time to unearth the treasure. A cinematic ode to the 95% of struggling artists trying to make it against all odds, on their terms; while navigating truth, fantasy and identity in Tinseltown.

Who better to tell this story, than those who know Tinseltown the best – the outsiders.  Because face it, failure is funny. Especially when it’s not happening to you.

Synopsis: Ellie (C.M. Conway) is a bottom-feeder actress at the end of her rope in Hollywood, when a life-changing event happens with her gay, Latinx friend, Ben (Adrian Gilbert). A surreal twist unfolds with comedic results, blurring the lines of fantasy and reality, as she unwittingly becomes the key to a new take on Tinseltown where failure is the star. Their queer friends Kiki (Karla Acosta) and Dee Dee (Deniese D.B. Garner) help guide the way, mouths agape. The race is on!

Who/What: “How to Successfully Fail in Hollywood” to screen at the American Film Market.

Where: AFM: Loews Beach Hotel, 1700 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401.

When: American Film Market occurs Nov. 1st-6th, 2022 and screens films the first four days.

Notes: Specific date, time and location of AFM theater screening determined the first week of October, 2022. Film was recently selected by Sonoma Film Institute, known for presenting Sundance and Academy Award winning films and filmmakers; and awarded “Hot Film in the Making” by the Roy W. Dean Grant.

Filmmaker Bio: Bay Area filmmaker C.M. Conway combines roles as first-time executive producer, director, screenwriter, editor and protagonist. Ms. Conway has been interviewed on various media outlets. Her storytelling series was internationally acquired by Audible (a subsidiary of Amazon, Inc.). Specializing in folklore and storytelling, she’s overseen multimedia projects from $160,000 – 1.7 million, with an unerring eye of unearthing unique stories of women, marginalized cultures and communities. High-profile brands also tap her expertise to hone their storytelling style. She’s also been known to work a puppet. But who hasn’t? 

The American Film Market is the most efficient film acquisition, development and networking event in the world. More than $1 billion in deals are sealed every year — on both completed films and those in every stage of development and production. Thousands of industry professionals from more than 80 countries converge in Santa Monica every November. At AFM, participants can discover the entire global catalogue of available films and projects, attend 30+ world class conferences and panels, and connect with the independent film community’s decision makers.

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at TheHollywoodTimes.today, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.