It has always been a struggle for women to be treated with equality. Today I am speaking to a women that is making a name for herself and taking the entertainment industry by storm. She is first time director Magi Avila. Read on as she shares her journey in the tv and film world.
Magi congratulations on your film Altitude Not Attitude. Tell me what inspired you to make it?
Hello David, thank you very much. ALTITUDE NOT ATTITUDE is my first film as a director, and it tells the story of Michael Warkentkin, a successful businessman who may be the happiest quadriplegic you will ever meet. We tell Michael’s remarkable story and chronicle his journey around the world as he shares life’s greatest lessons.
From the very first time we met, I saw that Michael wasn’t just the perfect example of recovery from one of life‘s biggest challenges, he was so much more. In exhibiting the ability to adapt to a new normal, he became a different version of himself and is continually developing and growing to this day.
We all experience trouble in life, sometimes we become scarred or even broken on the inside though it may not be as obvious as in the case of Michael, who suffered a tragic accident that left him quadriplegic. Michael is living proof that as long as we are alive, we get to choose to have hope, to become happy, and to be a person that contributes to society. We should all set our minds to constantly work towards achieving our full potential because we can all overcome whatever happens in life. That is why the film includes interview segments with board certified therapist, Dr. Nancy Irwin! We worked together so that the documentary could explain and illustrate the six phases of recovery we all experience after adversity. I want people to know that there’s always help available to all, and while we will always have challenges, we can always come back stronger; regardless of the circumstances. Just as Michael did.
In your opinion, what is the biggest struggle for women in entertainment?
That there’s still a lot of macho-man mentality. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by respectful men now. But that hasn’t always been the case. One guy actually once said “I saw you were cute and immediately assumed you were another dumb actress. You have proven yourself to be different.” Ummm, thank you? The mentality of that man is simply unacceptable. We all need to be treated with kindness and respect regardless of gender or appearance. We must be treated as equals and given credit for our efforts towards achieving our goals. Nobody knows the challenges, trials or obstacles faced in any aspect of others’ lives. Everyone has something they are either trying to achieve or overcome. The females with whom I am surrounded are amazing and empowering and I constantly make an effort to share about them so the women that follow me on my social media platforms feel empowered and inspired.
But women also have a responsibility to teach men. We really must be patient. I have encountered men that have never been put in a situation where they were compelled to stop and consider what is right and what is wrong. We still have a long way to go in regards to educating men. I am so grateful for the films and TV shows being made that contribute to those efforts such as A Promising Young Woman or Queen’s Gambit.
What is your ultimate goal as a director?
I plan to deliver top quality entertainment while being effective at making people conscious of ways to make their lives better. I want everyone that watches my films to become happier and become empowered to believe, to expand their vision and to make things better for their world.
What are subjects or stories that you think the entertainment industry lack?
1. Hispanic females with hero’s journey.
2. Stories like ALTITUDE NOT ATTITUDE that feature people with disabilities adapting to a new normal and understanding that they can still become whole.
3. Stories that show that people that have been deeply scarred or broken inside can recover to become mentally healthy and also whole.
4. Stories of women supporting other women.
Who are some actors you would love to work with?
- Nicolas Cage
- Viola Davis
- Diego Luna
- Adriana Barraza
- Joaquin Phoenix
- Salma Hayek
- Johnny Depp
- Russel Crowe
- Mads Mikkelsen
- Sarah Paulson
Oh, the list can go on forever!
What advice do you have for people trying to break into entertainment?
Get as much information as you can about everything you can. Get mentors. Prepare. Be consistent. Stay away from the nay-sayers. Be fearless. Learn to be resilient. Never take anything personal. Even when you are having self-doubts, act as if you believe in yourself. Always believe in yourself and that you deserve to make your dreams come true, just as anyone else. Be logical. Always set up goals. Observe, read and constantly learn from those that have made it. Exceed expectations. Always strive to be and deliver your absolute best in everything you do. Take my online course: My Six Steps Formula To Becoming A Working Actor. There are six modules for aspiring actors, containing acting crafts techniques, business strategy and the most sophisticated mindset techniques to make you a working actor right away . It’ll change your life!
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Zero hunger. No poverty, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, uff… why only one??? Haha
What are some future projects you will be working on?
I’m currently a series regular on the Amazon Prime Cannes World Film Festival award winning series, My American Family, starring Danny Trejo for which there is a second season in the works. I’ve also been cast in a feature film called Del Gringo a la Tumba, by Jacob Steward. And I’m currently filming a comedy Web series called Theater Tube, produced by Will Ahrens.
As a director/producer I have a few projects, some for which I am getting all logistics in place, and others in pre-selection. In other words, reading scripts. There’s financing coming my way, and I am hoping to play / direct a few empowering and inspiring Hispanic female roles.
Thank you for your time. Any words of wisdom to all the readers?
Yes, keep reading Splash Magazine! Find the way to be your happiest, most productive, and most grateful every day.
Photos are courtesy of Magi Avila