Monday, October 26, 2015

Have you faced your own mortality?

Originally published on

This question has been bouncing around in my head for the last two weeks as I reflect on life and the end game of goals and planning for the future.  This question was asked by an individual that was in the process of interviewing a patient that was probably facing the likelihood they could be dying from a fatal disease.  It was part of the story being told about a pastoral caregiver, Dr. Will Alexander, working within the medical community presenting the idea behind whole caregiving and transforming a generation of new healthcare servants and caregivers in the hospital system of Loma Linda University Health Center.

The documentary, "A Certain Kind of Light", was shown most recently at the Laughlin International Film Festival, on October 17, 2015 and has forever changed the way I will think about this question.  You might be wondering why this question and why does it matter.  Two reasons, this particular weekend I was attending this event specifically so that I could be part of a memorial / celebration that was going to be about remembering a very close friend that passed last December 2014 and I had a personal dedication I was doing on behalf of another friend that just past a way in September unexpectedly.  When considering the grand scheme of life and what you do daily to survive, operate day to day, make an income, and even possibly make a difference in others lives, the idea of mortality does not often cross your mind.  However, due to the closeness of death, that question, when asked by Dr. Will Alexander in the documentary, seemed to resonate loud and clear; that no matter your current situation and position in life, you should ask and consider this as you never know when your time may come.

This story of Dr. Will as they called him, showed how important it was in patient care, to not just diagnose and treat the symptoms, illness, or disease, but how it was of the most critical importance to include the patient in their own approach and decisions of the care they would be given or receive based on their own story of why they were in the current health situation they faced and/or the other circumstances of their life affecting them.  The key critical piece mentioned here is the story.  It is the story of the patient's life in their own words and the audience of the caregivers and the medical professionals who were listening to that story.  It's about their ability to really HEAR what the patient was saying and then allowing them that time to release and express what in most cases no one ever heard before or got from them in all the prior doctor visits or appointments or treatments they attended.  Loma Linda University Health embraces this philosophy / methodology of transforming lives through whole person care and has seen much growing success with this being integrated and taught to their health / medical professionals.

You may be wondering what this has to do with PR, marketing, or business.  It is the story and the idea of really listening. As I live and breath with my clients, if I did not know their story, I would not be able to be effective in presenting who they are to the world and their demographics or audience.  This requires the essential skill of listening and interpreting what their needs are and really helping them with their needs.  Often times a client just needs to be heard and given the opportunity to speak and share and then you take from them and recolor, reorganize, reaffirm, and recreate that story so that others can also hear and grasp their message.  It's easy to want to tell people what to and how to do it, but to engage them in their own telling of their story and sharing it in a meaningful way can make all the difference.  

I've seen businesses come and go and individuals in businesses reach a pinnacle and then fall.  Many of these occurrences have happened because they could not share their story in a way that others could get connected and so their dream, their business, the life they thought they wanted, essentially died.  This is the mortality that applies the same way.  If you cannot connect others to your dreams or your ideas and there are no audiences or clients or other business partners around to hear your story, the chances of survival are slim.  In this business of marketing, PR, promotions and advertising, this is our job to help others get their message out, their story told, and then to help with those connections so collaboratively or through business development or sales, these businesses can continue to live and survive.  As a marketing professional, if you can understand and hear your client's story then you can serve them or help them get to where they need to be faster.  On the flip side of that, if you have clients that don't have a story or anything that can be held on to meaningfully, then you can also make smarter decisions on long-term or short-term engagements as these clients may not be mature enough for you to even help. With the client's story known, this can help you decide that too.

On a personal level, this question of mortality was and is still a very big question.  It is something that I will continue to think about every day.  As it relates to my clients and those who need their story told in business, the focus will be on really hearing the clients and working with them to tell their story and message it on their behalf to create those meaningful connections to help the businesses achieve their goals and last.  Lessons learned everyday.  I hope that in your business journey you will consider these ideas and apply them whole-heartedly as you approach doing better business for those you serve.

This article is written and shared by Eva Louis who is a writer, marketing professional, and works to serve others and make a difference everyday.  You can find other articles of her's at and find her business information at  

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Film Festival That Just Keeps Giving - 2015 LIFF

Don't tell me it's already over, but the memories will last a lifetime and you'll want to come back next year, and the year after that, and forever.  

What are we talking about?  Why of course, it's the Laughlin International Film Festival (LIFF).  The fourth annual event just concluded on Sunday, October 18th and this year brought together filmmakers from all over the world and introduced them into the family.  

Once you've attended one festival, the overwhelming feeling is that you will come back for more.  Erik Puhm and Mara Karsen (co-founders of LIFF) always find ways to put on one spectacular event.  For the attendees this year, it was like another 'family reunion' but even better than most because along with the fun with friends and getting reacquainted, attendees had the chance to see 100 films screened over four days, attend related film workshops, and finally attend all the parties and after-parties.  

Thursday night began with the *Opening Night Film* showing of "Crossing Streets", directed by Marc A. Hutchins.  The film tells the story of Marcus Williams, a city detective, who is unwillingly thrust into a partnership with Minister Samuel Gray to solve a gang-related shooting. As the mismatched duo begin their journey, they soon discover the incident is part of something bigger, and catching the killer means stopping an all-out gang war. Through the investigation, Marcus and Samuel both learn that saving lives means learning to work together in this buddy cop dramedy.

Following was the opening night mixer of the event at the host hotel, Tropicana Laughlin located on Casino Drive.  Since the beginning of LIFF, the Tropicana has been a huge supporter and this year was no different.  They opened up Trellis Bar for the filmmakers to enjoy their first night by moonlight with the convenience of hor d'oeuvres and libations.  In addition to giving the filmmakers a place to dream about films,  the Tropicana coordinated with LIFF to host the festival registration, workshops, breakfasts, lunches, and finally the Awards Show.  Tropicana Laughlin supports their local businesses and events and has developed a strong relationship with LIFF and everyone is looking forward already to 2016 LIFF.

Now, what everyone has been waiting for, here is the announcement of the winners for this year's LIFF Awards.  The list includes approximately 14 different film categories and additional film awards which brings the total to 36+ awards.  WOW!! That's what we said too. 

This is a special award this year and this is the first lifetime achievement award given out. LIFF could think of no one else so deserving of this award for this year and they were graced with her presence and poise as the distinguished guest and recipient for the awards show. In addition to Lee's award, the film Sunny in the Dark (where Lee was also part of the cast) was presented with two other awards so they have the special spotlight for this year.

  • Best Spoof Film - Directors on Directing, Damien Patrik
  • Best Lead Actor - Ross McCall, The Beautiful Ones
  • Best Lead Actress - Hannah Ward, Sunny in the Dark
  • Best Ensemble Cast - Non-Stop to Comic-Con, Directed by Randy Van Dyke
  • Best Storytelling - The Boy with a Camera for a Face, Directed by Spencer Brown
  • Best Cinematic Achievement - Kandiyohi, Directed by Nicholas A. Engen
  • Outstanding Production Value - Battalion, Directed by Dmitriy Meskhiev
  • Best Music Video - Lessons in Life, Directed by Michael Nicklin
  • Best Experiemental Work - Glimpse, Arnon Shorr
  • Best Animation - Fallen Angel, Directed by Robbie Robertson
  • Best Soundtrack - Best Man in the Dark, Directed by Alfred Padilla
  • Best Web-Series - The Source, Directed by Vincenzo Carubia
  • Best Local Film - Hitman, Elona Lorraine
  • Honorable Mention - Benjamin Troubles, Directed by Kai Ephron

  • Special Recognition - The Third Love, Directed by Michael Tanji
  • Filmmaking for Humanity Award - Picking up the Pieces, Directed by Joshua Tebeau
  • LIFF "Big Dreams" Award in memory of Dave Davidson - Brian Brown

The winners for these categories are posted following the conclusion of the festival showings.  This will be updated once announcements are made.
Audience Choice Award - Feature Film
Audience Choice Award - Short Film

"Stay tuned for more updates and information and if you have films, shorts, music videos, or any other film productions, YOU MUST SUBMIT to this festival because you have no idea what you are missing until you attend and participate.  This is going to be on our calendar for as long as this festival will exist.  Hopefully that will be forever!!!" - And this is exactly what we said last year and we still feel the same.

To find out what you missed and to get involved with the awesome Laughlin International Film Festival for next year 2016 (October 13 - 16, 2016 - yes we know the dates already), go to their sponsor page or send a direct email to,, .

Coverage by Eva Louis

Saturday, October 10, 2015

4th Annual Laughlin International Film Festival (LIFF) to Salute New Up-and-Coming Filmmakers


4th Annual Laughlin International Film Festival (LIFF)
to Salute New Up-and-Coming Filmmakers

Laughlin NV, August 15, 2015 --- The organizers of the 2015 Laughlin International Film Festival (LIFF), which is scheduled to be held October 15th – 18th in Laughlin, NV,  are excited to announce that once again as part of the 4 day event,  they will be focusing on,  recognizing and encouraging new up-and-coming filmmakers.   The film festival will once again be screening a diverse line-up of independent films (feature length and short films) at the state-of-the art Phoenix 9 Cinemas at the Laughlin Outlet Center beginning with an opening night film (to be announced) and Red Carpet on Thursday evening, and continuing all day Friday through Sunday.    

As in the past 3 years, the LIFF program will include a full day program designed for young filmmakers, this year known as: “Young Filmmaker Super Saturday”, on October 17th.  The program will include a workshop at the Tropicana casino lead by local independent filmmaker Brian Brown along with LaJaun Johnson, an independent filmmaker from Moreno Valley, Ca. Both Brown and Johnson will share their personal stories about how they delved into the world of filmmaking and followed their dreams, after finding themselves at cross-roads in their lives.  They will provide a keen insight into how young people can become filmmakers – all they need is passion and a dream.  Following the morning workshop, the day will include a networking lunch with some additional talented independent filmmakers, and the program will conclude with an afternoon immersion into viewing specially selected short films and a feature film at the Phoenix 9 Cinemas.  

“Having a young filmmaker program as part of LIFF each year is very near and dear to my heart”, said Dagmar “Mara” Karsen, co-founder and Executive Director of LIFF.  “If we can encourage even one young person to try their hand at filmmaking, we have succeeded.  To see the excitement and passion of filmmaking come alive in a young person makes our work at LIFF a total success”. 

In addition to the Youth workshop, the glitzy LIFF Awards Ceremony, to be held for the 4th year in the Tropicana Pavilion Theater on Saturday evening, October 17th, will include a series of special awards to be presented to new up-and-coming filmmakers. 

The Harry “Bud” Holland award,  in memory of local Bullhead City resident Bud Holland,  who was a 2-time Emmy winning cameraman during his lifetime and who was instrumental in creating the television / media program at Mohave Accelerated Learning Center (MALC),  will be presented for a 3rd time.  This award is presented to honor a young or new filmmaker who exemplifies Bud’s passion for filmmaking, and who thereby strives to create something original and compelling.  Last year's winner of the Bud Holland award was local filmmaker,  Andrea Zindel Smith, for her short documentary “Victims”.  

LIFF is also happy to again be able to honor one special University Filmmaker who will be chosen as the winner of the Tropicana’s Pick - University Film Award.  Selected staff of the Tropicana casino will, for a 3rd year, be viewing all of the LIFF film submissions in the University film category, making their final choice and presenting the award.  In addition to the award, the Tropicana will be giving $250 in cash to the recipient.  The winner of last year’s Tropicana award was the international short film “Into the Silent Sea” (Sweden), which has gone on to much acclaim on the film festival circuit. 

New this year will the LIFF’s Cofounders’ “Big Dreams” award, in memory of Dave Davidson.  Davidson, one of the original co-founders of LIFF, unexpectedly passed away after LIFF 2014.  “He was always considered to be a man who had “big dreams” and made them come true” said Karsen.  “LIFF would most likely not be a reality today, if it wasn’t for his belief in the project”. The award will be given to a filmmaker who exhibits this same “never-say-die” attitude, according to Karsen.  “Dave would be so proud of this”, she said.  “He was always very big on helping to encourage people to live their dreams”.    

LIFF is also excited to announce that for LIFF 2015, they have partnered with the Matthew Martino Benevolent Fund (MMBF), an international charity based in the UK, to present the MMBF Rising Star Award.  MMBF supports filmmakers, actors and individuals studying or working in performing arts worldwide.  The organization provides training grants and scholarships, funding for first time filmmakers and provides sponsorship for film related events such as film festivals and film award ceremonies.  The MMBF Rising Star award will be given to an emerging filmmaker to encourage continued success. In addition to the Award, the recipient will receive $250 in cash from MMB.  For more information about MMB, visit their website at:  
For more information about LIFF 2015, visit their website at  For a copy of the “Young Filmmaker Super Saturday” information flyer, contact the LIFF team by e-mail at, or call LIFF at (702) 755 - 8391.

For more information, contact:
Dagmar "Mara" Karsen
Executive Director / Co-founder
Laughlin International Film Festival (LIFF)

LIFF Phone:  (702) 755-8391
LIFF Fax:  (951) 824-7535   

Coverage by Eva Louis                                                                                                       

Laughlin International Film Festival (LIFF) To Present Lifetime Achievement Award to Lee Meriwether


Laughlin International Film Festival (LIFF)
To Present Lifetime Achievement Award to Lee Meriwether

Laughlin NV,  October 1, 2015 --- The organizers of the 2015 Laughlin International Film Festival (LIFF), which is scheduled to be held October 15th – 18th in Laughlin, NV,  are very proud to announce that Lee Meriwether will be the recipient of the first LIFF Lifetime Achievement Award.

Meriwether, who began her acting career in the mid-1950s, has appeared in an impressive line-up of films and television series over the last 5 decades.  She is best remembered for her role as Catwoman in “Batman:  The Movie” (1966).  In 1973-1980 she was also a regular in the popular series   “Barnaby Jones” in which she played Betty Jones, the secretary and daughter-in-law of Barnaby Jones (played by the late Buddy Ebsen).   She is also remembered for her role as Lily Munster in the television series “The Munsters Today” (1988 - 1991), and her role as Ruth Martin in the popular soap opera “All My Children” (1996-2011).  She was nominated twice for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress (Drama) and once for an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress (Drama).  In addition to her illustrious film career, Meriwether also held the titles of “Miss San Francisco” (1954), “Miss California” (1954) and “Miss America” (1955). 

“We are so honored and proud to be able to give this award to Lee Meriwether”, said Mara Karsen, LIFF co-founder and Executive Director.  “We have wanted to establish a LIFF Lifetime Achievement Award for the past 3 years, and now we are finally seeing it become a reality.  Having someone as impressive at Lee Meriwether to receive this first award is very exciting, and will be the highlight of our LIFF Awards Ceremony this year”.  The LIFF Awards Ceremony will be held at the Tropicana Pavilion Theater on Saturday, October 17th, at 8:00 PM (preceded by social hour at 7:00 PM).  This gala event is open to the public and everyone is invited to join in the celebration.  Tickets can be purchased online ($20.00) at: 

As a supporter of independent films,  Meriwether has recently lent her acting talents to the feature film  “Sunny in the Dark”,  directed by Courtney Ware of Texas,  which will be screening at the Laughlin Stadium 9 theaters as part of LIFF’s line-up of films.  “Sunny in the Dark” is an intriguing film about a  reclusive family therapist Jonah (played by Jay Huguley, “12 Years A Slave”) craving solitude, who moves into a new loft only to find that he is not the only person living in the same space.  A young homeless girl, Sunny (Hannah Ward) secretly lives in the crawlspace above him and watches his every move in order to survive.  In the film, Lee Meriwether plays the role of Jonah’s mother, Dorothy. 

“Sunny in the Dark” has recently won awards at the Northeast Film Festival in Teaneck, New Jersey for “Best Director” (Courtney Ware), “Best Actress” (Hannah Ward), Best Actor (Jay Huguley) and a nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Lee Meriwether.  A Best Actress award was also awarded to Hannah War at the Hill Country Film Festival in Fredericksburg, Texas.  The film will be shown at the Laughlin International Film Festival on Friday, October 16th, at 5:30 PM, with Meriwether, the films’ director Courtney Ware, and the films’ producer Meredith Burke in attendance.  Tickets will be available at the LIFF Sales table, located in front of the theaters, beginning on Thursday, October 15th, at 9:00 AM.  ($10.00, $8 for students/seniors).   There will also be an encore screening of the film on Sunday, October 18th, at 6:45 (without cast and crew in attendance). 

For more information about LIFF 2015, visit their website at , or contact the LIFF team e-mail at, or call LIFF at (702) 755 - 8391.

For more information, contact:
Dagmar "Mara" Karsen
Executive Director / Co-founder
Laughlin International Film Festival (LIFF)

LIFF Phone:  (702) 755-8391
LIFF Fax:  (951) 824-7535   
Coverage by Eva Louis

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Finale--Phoenix Fashion Week

Toy Taylor [RECAP] - I'm sad it's all over. This season's Phoenix Fashion Week soiree came to a glorious end at the Talking Stick Resort this past Saturday night. This show ended on such a high note, I could still feel the energy of the crowd as they headed to the after party.

Showing Saturday night on the runway were 4 emerging designers who were looking to score the title of Couture Designer of the Year.  I expected some significant changes with a few of these designers and I'm proud to say my prediction of the winner was spot on. After naming the Designer of the Year, there would be 4 well-established designers who I hoped would bring an innovative runway performance. I was very pleased.

To add another twist to the program, Phoenix Fashion Week added a Peoples Choice Award naming a fourth designer of the year. Well your going to have read a little further to find out the results. 


ASMARA ASEFA - Architecturally infused fashion for the artist in you. Accessorized by Beltshazzar Jewels

The eye patch was

simple yet a made 

powerful statement.

LEOLA SKY - Extremely wearable fashion for the young and stylish. Accessorized by Maccimize

HUES OF EGO - For the modern woman looking to 

make a statement. Accessorized by Clutch Jewelry

MICHELLE HEBERT - One word....Ethereal. Accessorized by Clutch Jewelry

Kudos to each accessory designers of Beltshazzar Jewels, Totah Designs, and Maccimize. They kept the collections looking hot with some of the most amazing baubles to adorn the runway.

 Congratulations to Maccimize for winning Accessory Designer of the Year.


DESIGN ME - Stand 

up and take notice 

type of fashion


GLEN PLAID - Stylish mens wear for the serious man

ALBERT ANDRADA - Avant garde at its finest

Albert Andrada

ROCKY GATHERCOLE - Striking. Awe inspiring. Powerful.

Rocky Gathercole


Natasha Duran Lynch 

Natasha Duran Lynch tagline reads "unmask a bolder you". Well, ladies and gents that is exactly what Hues of Ego did. From last year's fashion week, Hues of Ego has soared to new heights taking the vast knowledge from the Phoenix Fashion Week bootcamp very serious. And that is how you land on top.

At the end of the night all guests quickly headed over to the ballroom for the crowning of the top male and female model. The will each have the title of Model of the Year and a contract with the Agency Arizona. Check out the pretty people below...


So now comes the somber moment which leaves me wanting more...C'est la vie. I am so ready for next year. The Chronic Behavior team wants to give a be congratulations and great job to all 13 emerging designers. Each one of you have shown your own individual style while bringing a cohesive collection to the runway. 

Thanks definitely goes to Brian Hill, Executive Director, and his amazingly fantastic team for this year's phenomenal runway show. See you all at the 2016 show!

Evening Designer of the Year
Lifestyle Designer of the Year
Charmosa Swimwear

Peoples Choice Award
Lily V Designs



Couture Designer of the Year
Hues of Ego

See you on the runway!

Presented by @chronicbehavior

Thanks to the Chronic Behavior team and Kate Doster Photography for their excellent coverage of the event. They are the team helping to support and promote the brand. We appreciate you for your continued support.