Friday, August 24, 2018

HollyShorts: A Night in Jail - Amy Williams Interview

Photo Credit: Joe Gaffney - © Amy Williams

Amy Morrison Williams was born in Memphis, Tenn but moved as baby and grew up on New York City's Lower East Side in the days when it was notorious for drugs and crime. it was still home to neighborhoods, including hers East 10th Street and Avenue C, PS 61 on East 12th Street, JHS 56 on Clinton and Henry streets, and IS 17 in Chelsea.

Her father, a college professor, was a Ph.D. in German literature; a poet, writer and photographer, he had a wide range of gifts and interests, including films and movie making. Her mother worked as a transcriber and typesetter before becoming an accidental journalist and writer. Dr. Morrison was writing a critical work about Franz Kafka when he was severely injured in 1970 in Manhattan. Much of this story was told in Williams' first film, "The Morrison Project," which won Best Documentary and the Golden Starfish Award at The Hamptons Film Festival in 2003.

With enormous passion for film and storytelling in her blood, even as a girl Williams gravitated to movie theaters as an escape from her childhood demons, and voraciously consuming movies before she was in double digits. She was unaware of her own eye for photography until she was an adult, when she learned to use the tools of the trade,working as a wedding photographer and videographer.

But it was when she was living in Chapel Hill, N.C., that her thirst to make films grew, and she studied at Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies with the idea of making a documentary and beyond. Since her best documentary win at The Hamptons Film Festival, she has written her first screenplay and is working to build a topnotch team to bring the script to the screen and to life. While she has other projects completed and in the works, making this feature film is a most important goal in her life.

Williams counts Martin Scorsese , Lee Daniels, Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers as some of her biggest influences.

Simultaneously, she has been working as a producer, raising 95 percent of the multi-million dollar funding for "Mothers and Daughters" while also acquiring domestic distribution and sales for the film, which stars Susan Sarandon, Sharon Stone, Christina Ricci, Courteney Cox and others. She also closed funding for "The Last Treasure Hunt," a festival film, and helped fund and produce "Respire," Directed by Williams winning a best director award at the California women's film festival This powerful short film also won best narrative short at California international film festival and is presently submitted to other festivals . Williams raised the full multi million dollar Horror 80s throw back Rock Paper Dead single handedly acquiring sales for domestic set to be released in March 2019 Lions Gate /Grindstone. Amy also financed feature in post in which she directed Title TBD. Williams next feature Red River starring Jason Patrick and Jackson Rathbone will be shooting very soon late fall . Williams just packaged and wrapped a feature length film The Great Illusion a Noir Horror Thriller with a monumental cast and brilliant female director Maga Cardones a dear friend who has worked a lot with Williams in the past. Recently a short film Williams helped finance, produce and direct starring Michael Madsen and his son Max got into first official selection the LA Shorts film fest and Holly shorts and is making its way through festival circuits. Williams is working on two children's films with producer/writer Heidi Swan, "Fourth of July Weekend," and "Kickback. "Williams is producing and in development for many new project's and pilots , also some Off Broadway theater and musicals. Williams produces and directs music Videos as well with a very large connection to top dancers and musical talent ,truly love collaborating with up and coming bands or seasoned ones looking to do something different with name actors and more , creating edgy modern concepts or any style one wishes. Over the course of twenty years is an independent female filmmaker in every sense of the word ... At this stage of the game started new production company Little Axe Productions recently and Galileo

Other projects include Floating Bridge to be shot soon as well In Seattle

On the documentary side, Williams has shot and directed most of her film about life and death, "In the End," which is currently in post.

Williams is a hardworking mom, a professional photographer , producer, director and writer. She runs, enjoys yoga and exercise, loves to cook and paint for fun, and is an ardent advocate for animals. She and her husband, Neil Williams, live in Malibu, California and have two daughters. Her eldest daughter is a writer , singer , dancer and actress, she graduated Emerson College for film production. The youngest daughter Coco Joelle also loves to sing act and is preparing to become professional dancer and performer off to NYU this fall for Dance major and writing .


Busted for using drugs and forced to spend the night in jail, college-bound Danny thinks he has nothing in common with his cellmate who is a mentally ill, homeless drug addict. As the hours sink deeper into the night, he discovers he is horribly mistaken. Inspired by true events.

Katherine Hernacki ― Officer Green
Katherine Hernacki is an actor and producer, known for A Night in Jail (2017).

Max Madsen ― Danny
Max Madsen was born on March 16, 1994 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Maximilian Soren Madsen. He is an actor, known for Rock Paper Dead (2019), Rock Paper Dead: Betrayal and A Night in Jail (2017).

Michael Madsen ― Captain
Michael Madsen's long career spans 25 years and more than 170 films in which he has played memorable characters in myriad box office hits, including: Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) Sin City (2005), Hell Ride (2008), Die Another Day (2002), Donnie Brasco (1997), Species (1995), The Getaway (1994), Thelma & Louise (1991), and Free Willy (1993). Michael is notably recognized for his role as Mr. Blonde, in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (1992).

Michael was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Elaine Madsen (née Melson), an Emmy-winning writer, producer, and poet, and Calvin Madsen, a firefighter. He is the brother of actress Virginia Madsen. His paternal grandparents were Danish.

In recent years, Madsen has received Best Actor awards for his role in the Irish boxing film Strength and Honour, from the New York International Film Festival, the Boston Film Festival and the Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival. Madsen received the Golden Dolphin Award at the 25th Festroia Festival in Portugal, an award also given to veterans Kirk Douglas and Robert Mitchum. In 2012, Madsen was named President of the first annual Champs Elysees Film Festival in France which honored producer Harvey Weinstein. Recent television appearances include guest starring roles on The Mob Doctor (2012), Golden Boy (2013)and Blue Bloods (2010).

Madsen is well recognized as an accomplished poet. His first book "Burning In Paradise" with a Foreword by Dennis Hopper, won the Independent Firecracker Award and was later translated into Norwegian. He has a world-wide following with his work, honored at International Poetry Festivals in Genoa, Italy and Mexico . He was recently the Guest of Honor at the Crossing Border Festival in Netherlands. His "The Complete Poetic Works" is an international bestseller. This was followed by his "Signs of Life" dedicated to Chris Penn. This unique work combined his new poetry with his own original photography. His next book of poetry "American Badass"was dedicated to the memory of the late David Carradine, his friend and Kill Bill co-star. His newest book "Expecting Rain" has a Foreword by Jerry Hopkins.

Cooper Ramsey ― Steve
Cooper Ramsey is an actor, known for Kickback, V, Accountable (2019) and Franky(2019).

Amy Williams on the Red Carpet with JBN Journalist, Rachel Litfin at The Chinese Theater.

Amy Williams and  Rachel Litfin at HollyShorts.


HollyShorts takes place August 9-18, 2018 at the TCL Chinese Theater, Harmony Gold Theater and other locations in Hollywood. Nearly 400 short films will compete for the festival’s top prizes. Last year HollyShorts finalists included 3 out of the 5 Live Action Oscar nominees and the winning short Silent Child from Rachel Shenton and Chris Overton. This year, HollyShorts received an all-time record 5,000 submissions from over 80 countries. The competition will feature Live Action, Animation and Documentary Shorts as well as web series, student shorts, music videos, TV pilots, and VR. The festival also features a screenplay competition where the winning short gets greenlit, shot and shown at next year’s festival courtesy of Seattle Film Summit.

Video/Edit: James Vallesteros (@jamesvallesteros), Audio: Edward Chung

HollyShorts Film Festival is an organization devoted to showcasing the best and brightest short films from around the globe, advancing the careers of filmmakers through screenings, networking events, and various panel and forums. The Oscar Qualifying HollyShorts Film Festival showcases the top short films produced 40- minutes or less. Categories include Short Animation, Short Live Action, Short Documentary, Music Video, Webisode, Commercials, TV, and Digital Microbudget.
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