…It needs to happen for many reasons. I’ve seen some change, but not enough. For kids especially, seeing themselves represented on screen is so important. Having positive role models and the possibility of them being the superheroes of their own stories makes it more real. The idea of inclusion needs to happen and not just in film. All of sudden stories become more interesting, more balanced and it’s a beautiful thing.
As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing British-American film producer, Karina Michel Feld. She has been in the entertainment industry for the last twenty three years. Her early experiences range from working as a model (The Ford Agency, Otto Models) and SAG actress in New York and Los Angeles, to later on writing and producing content for television networks and feature films. She is a proud member of the Producers Guild of America. In 2010 she accepted an offer in Miami to work on the Lifetime network’s morning show, “The Balancing Act” where she focused on women’s issues. In 2011 Karina worked with the prestigious Art Basel Fairs and in business development at Art Miami.TV where she helped create a series of short documentaries on local and International artists. She went on to work as a Casting Producer for Demand Media in Santa Monica where she produced short videos. She co-produced the short film “Enough” 2017 which received “Official Selection” at The Lady Filmmaker’s Festival in Beverly Hills, CA and The California Women’s Festival. That same year, she Co-Produced “The US Festival 1982: The US Generation Documentary” By Glenn Avenni and Steve Wozniak (Apple). More recently Karina was the executive Producer on “Little Miss Sumo” a film by Matt Kay. Winner of Best UK Film — Manchester Film Festival March 2019. US premiere -Tribeca Film Festival. April, 2019. “Forbes Top Five Short Films to see at Tribeca 2019”. Karina and Andrew Feld own the company Fresh Patch — As seen on Shark Tank, Oprah, Forbes, and The Today Show.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Hi Yitzi- Thanks for having me!
I grew up in England and moved to the US with my family when I was ten. I grew up in Ohio with my parents and three sisters in a town called Boardman. Not much went on there. My friends and I would all go to the mall and the movies a lot. My Dad had a friend that was working on a film close by. One day he took me to the set, which I remember as this magical mystical experience. I met Forest Whittaker and Denzel Washington, and from that point on I knew that’s where I wanted to be.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I always knew I wanted to be in the biz. For years I was a model. Then I decided to act. Then years later I decided I was a little bored with acting and felt like I wanted to do more. I started as an associate producer working for free and then later getting paid at a bigger TV network. I continued to work my way up from short films to features. Every once in a while I’d feel as if I hit a hurdle, but then you get past it. Being an EP is anything, but boring. There is always something going on. I’d say the hardest thing for me in the beginning was getting people to trust me and see me in a different role. I get mistaken for cast all of time on set. Which is OK, I get it. Sometimes I’ll just play along -it gives me a chance to see the project in a different way!
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I was fortunate to attend Tribeca this year which was incredible. I took a chance on a short film called “Little Miss Sumo” by Matt Kay, and it really took off. It’s a about a young female wrestler named Hiyori trying to find her place in the ring in Japan. It’s a great story and people just love her. The film won “Best UK Film” and premiered at Tribeca. It’ s playing at the Laemelle theater in LA this week. Some very talented people are involved and it’s still going strong at the festivals!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting?
(laughing) I’ve been pretty lucky I think. Working for years as an actor, I was able to witness a lot and be in a lot of meetings and I definitely saw some mistakes being made. Since launching Tallulah Films it’s been pretty smooth. There was one time that comes to mind. I was a total newbie at a big network. I really had to prove myself early on. I would pitch the story ideas to corporations and a theme that we were doing for a segment was “The Sandwich Generation”. I immediately started thinking of like deli meats and bread companies and you know, any kind of tie-ins to anything you put in a sandwich. Thank God before I picked up the phone it hit me. This was not for sandwiches!!
Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Never assume, and read the whole page before you jump into something!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
The family film we did this year “Where the Land Meets the Sky” will be released soon.
A new one we just took on that I’m really excited about is “To The Moon”- it’s an artsy psychological thriller set in Upstate New York. Incredible cast and crew- Filming starts in October. We’re close to scheduling “Dimming Lights”. It’s a dramedy about a dysfunctional family centered around three sisters and them dealing with the effects of their mother’s Alzheimer’s. It’s a serious film, but with strong characters and very comical parts. We’re hoping to raise money for research and raise awareness along with making the film.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
It needs to happen for many reasons. I’ve seen some change, but not enough. For kids especially, seeing themselves represented on screen is so important. Having positive role models and the possibility of them being the superheroes of their own stories makes it more real. The idea of inclusion needs to happen and not just in film. All of sudden stories become more interesting, more balanced and it’s a beautiful thing.
The last film I produced was “Where the Land Meets the Sky”. I remember saying that the thing I was most proud of in the end was the diversity we had in the film. It happened so organically and it really made me so proud to be a positive representation of that in Hollywood.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1.You don’t need to say yes to every job that comes your way. In fact your career is sometimes shaped by the jobs you don’t take. Link up with other reputable brands and surround yourself with good people.
2. Don’t dwell on situations. Life is made up of many moments. Just because you have a negative thing happen you move on and don’t let it turn into a bad day.
3. Turn negatives into positives. Nine times out of ten if someone drops out or doesn’t work out I find someone better suited for the job. I actually welcome it — you have to flexible.
4. Dream big and know that it isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. It goes back to what you were saying about burnout earlier on. Really committing to the journey and giving it time.
5. To just focus on your path and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. I tell my kids this all the time — I’m sure they’re sick of me saying this! But it really makes sense. The second you start worrying about was everyone else is doing you lose that focus that’s so important.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
It’s tough because the hours are long in this industry and it’s almost inevitable that you’re going to be tired at some point. It’s not always possible to do, but if you can be selective and to say no to projects you don’t care about.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
For me it’s to give back. To volunteer and donate anything you can. If you can help one person you’ve succeeded.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
A senior producer I remember working with early on. Her name was Kathy. She would always ask me “What’s your passion?” I think it’s such an important question and driving force with any project. So simple, but it really stuck with me.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
“Change your thoughts and you change your world.“
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)
Right now, I would have to say Sarah Jessica Parker. Lately I’ve been loving her show “Divorce”. It’s just brilliant. So real and so entertaining. I’m on the second season and I may watch it a second time, which never happens! I’m planning to go and see her on Broadway early next year. I’d love to know what she’s up to and working on next.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!
You’re so welcome! Thanks for having me back ;)