This past year - -> WOW! We are finding our way again. Isn’t wonderful to notice more kindness, see each other in person again, and begin appreciating our human experience in a refreshed way with the pandemic slowly moving more into the rear-view mirror?! 🦋 Perseverance. Word up!
For me it feels like a rapidly shifting kaleidoscope of growth in my self-worth, self-advocacy, and self-acceptance. Fighting internal dragons that held me back and down is a brave pursuit and one that I’ve been learning to celebrate more and more. Coming to a greater sense of self-love with ease is the delightful payoff 💞
During this past year, I’ve been on a production team for Montana produced version of “Hamlet.” In the wild fields we built a castle, filmed in the St. Helena Cathedral, and shot amazing footage in the woods giving a whole new feel to this great classic script. It was an honor to bring Queen Gertrude to life. Pick up shots are scheduled later this year.
I’ve been auditioning and practicing auditioning skills. I purchased a camera, borrowed lights, set up a sweet space in the garage and the house when it’s below zero. I learned how to operate my Cannon Rebel camera.
This past year has found me in four classes. Most recently with Josh Pais (actor from Motherless Brooklyn, Joker, and Stu Feldman). He vulnerably and openly shares his process for creating character; we did scene work, monologue work, and examined deeper levels the energetics of spontaneity and creativity. I was in class with BGB Studios for an eight week study + privately coached with one of their coaches Alexandra Wright. Right now, I’m in class with Kevin Casey learning storytelling from a tremendous actor with clowning training from Italy and Turkey.
My short film 🎥 “Homestead” was officially accepted at the Montana International Film Festival, South Dakota Film Festival (garnering a best actress award for our lead actress), Bozeman Film Festival (garnering a first place short film award), and recently at the Minnesota Film Festival (home state where I was born!).
“Swing” 🎥 is on the festival tour right now. We’re officially accepted at nine festivals! It’s has garnered three nomination nods for myself as Best Actress + nominations for Best Director, Best International Featurette, Best Cinematography, Best Original Music Score, Best Featurette, Best Screenplay Short Film, and a nomination for the Juan Anchia Award for Best Cinematography. We're thrilled to be sharing our film with you! If you’re in Cheyenne, WY over the first weekend July 2023, come see our film!
Filming completed last year for "They Don't Leave" and it went through post productions and acquired a Big Sky Film Grant from the Montana Film Office. While in London last month, I had the pleasure of pre-screening 🎥 "They Don't Leave" - a unique blending of a UK and Montana storyline detailing the lineage of sexual trauma. It'll be taking off into film festivals soon!
Along with ongoing study, relationship building, helping a team advocate for raising the MT Film Tax Credit level by testifying at the 2023 Montana Legislature, I’ve been creating the next level to move into by taking what’s turned out to be a year long study of Agent Goals with Brian Patacca - -> holy smokes! I’ve been learning from the ground up waaaay deeper ways of communicating my story, inhabiting my worth, and the intricacies of gathering my materials to pitch to an Agent, which I start later this month! Wish me luck!
Late last summer the growing community, Merlin CCC - Enriching Lives through Philosophy, requested me to be a guest speaker at an innovative fund raiser titled "Food For Thought." At the fund raiser I spoke with groups of attendees about my processes as an actress and how that might apply to creativity in life. The founder has spent five years building a place where people from all walks of life can come together for conversation to elevate inclusion for the many different perspectives we each have in living life.
I belly flopped SO hard in October last year as I had way overbooked myself (actually had been doing that since forever) + had some significant shifts in my day job, I had a small break down. It took about six weeks to put myself back together resulting in me setting aside my second pursuit of audiobooks. I began an audiobook class at the beginning of last year; it was a larger undertaking than I realized. I was learning a whole new skill set, a whole new to me industry, working through a ton of homework from the class, and setting up an at home recording studio and filming, auditioning, and spreading myself very thin in my relationships. That breakdown squeezed me into doing some deep soul searching in what I really wanted. I decided to reprioritize, simplified to amplify, and that left me with more clarity and for the first time in years, more sleep. I didn't realize how sleep deprived I was! Audiobook narration is on hold indefinitely until I feel the timing is right and I'm placing my acting as -the- creative priority and allowing my day job to hold my life solid and stable. I'm exceedingly grateful for the couple of friends that really held my hands and started to track me for awhile to be sure I was rebalancing.
Harmonize. This is another great word for me this past year. Looking at my life as a whole amazing pie and figuring out where the fun in processes are for each slice. I took time for more fun!! I went to this totally AWESOME rock concert, Hairball (the bestest 80’s music reprise ever!) Saw a great film "Father Stu" where Mark Walberg came to town for the premiere! Snowboarded my ass off in great powder we had here and in Utah. Last month I made my first trip to Europe in an epic trip to Scotland for a film festival + exploring the history and culture there AND took the British Airways to London. London has had my heart, imagination, and soul forever. Some of my ancestry is from there. I’ve been obsessed with film, music, fashion from there since I was a girl. ✨
If there can be a goal, a sense of being I’m working more and more toward - - > that is adding more love. Adding more loving self-talk as I’m out there being a badass boss gorgeous talented as fuck babe. Choosing love first... over obsessive thinking and anxiety that were previously running my energy show.
Cheers for now on this short update. I love and appreciate the support. I’m grateful for people that see what I’m creating and high five me as it’s rough out there making our way on this Earth ride especially as an artist. I'm grateful for people who are kind and decent in my world and to each other out in the world.
Keep building your castles. Believe in magic. Perceive the love that’s ever so much present around us in millions of ways.
Lots of love your way on this lovely day in May 🌼 xo ~Mary
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Blog by Mary Riitano...
I'm a Montana actress on a journey sharing my heart and growth through blogging, stories, and poetry, I have faith you'll find empowerment and inspiration to create like a champion in your own life!
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