Fast Forward Friday with Maxi Cohen

maxi(headshot)For this week’s Fast Forward Friday, we interviewed award-winning artist-filmmaker Maxi Cohen. Her films, photographs and multimedia installations have been exhibited internationally and are in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Whitney Museum for American Art, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Her films have played in movie theaters, film festivals and television around the world. For more about Maxi go to:

Q: What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a major art installation. A Movement in Water is a traveling, interactive mobile museum, with the intention of educating adults and children, while also  instilling a greater reverence for our precious resource, water.  

Q: What was the inspiration and impetus for doing this project?

A Movement in Water was conceptualized after spending years shooting and filming lush abstractions of water. I spent an immense amount of time in desert hot springs, meditating, writing. I felt a connection with water, its beauty, calmness, importance. As I photographed more I was inspired to take it a step further. With the impending water crisis, I knew it was time to use my footage to make a difference.

Q: Who are your artistic heroes – who have had an impact on you and your work?

My artistic heroes are those who bravely voice the truth in ways singular and authentic to themselves that are luminously catalytic and transcendent. I admire Eve Ensler, writer/performer of the Vagina Monologues, for not only doing that, but as a consequence creating huge social change. V Day raised over 70 million dollars to combat violence against women and girls. Artists like her raise the bar.

Q: What keeps you motivated and inspired as an artist?

Discovery. A moment of creativity, an idea, the smallest note of color can be an inspiration, a savior, an opening to the next small step or big idea.

Q: What other projects would you like to tell us about?

For more than three decades I have been photographing and filming in Ladies’ Rooms Around the World, from the Australian aboriginal outback to Zambian discos, the Cannes Film Festival to New York and Tel Aviv, from Rio to Bombay. Ladies’ Rooms Around the World celebrates the power and beauty of women. While for some, the ladies room is the only refuge of solitude and safety, for many the tribal dance of the ladies room is familiar.  To men, it is a world of mystery they are curious to know.

Q: Ladies Room in a Sentence?

A celebration of the beauty, power and mystery of women. 

Q: What is one instance of knowing you are living in your vision?

When you read something terrific or see a magnificent photograph and it is your own work but you have no memory of writing or photographing, this is when you are so in the moment. You are out of time.

Q: If there were no barriers to entry, what is one thing you would be doing?

Well, actually, taking a Sabbatical as I miss the time of quiet when nothing constrains, when writing is discovery, dreaming is receiving and communing with the gods brings direction.

If there were no barriers I would be creating the ideas I have had for years – work that I believe is in a new language in both works of art and film. These works are meant to provoke, catalyze emotions, be transcendent, entertain and show us something in a new way.

Q: What has been your biggest obstacle in achieving your vision?


Q: What do you do to stay connected to your creative self?

Take a bath, meditate.

Q: If you could let go of something that has held you back, what would it be?

The entanglements and subsequent consequences of not listening to my own intuition – It is a waste of time, energy, effort, cost …

Q: What is your favorite piece of art?

Clean lakes for swimming, hot spring, sun.

Q: If you could be known and celebrated for one thing, what would it be?

Changing minds.

Q: If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be?


Q: What is your guilty pleasure?

Taking a bath, silence, lying in the sun.

Q: If you could sit down with yourself 15 years ago, what would you say?

Stop listening to what you don’t want to hear, be vigilantly honest with yourself, and give as much respect and intelligence to what you do in your life as you do to your work where you strive for perfection.

Q: Where would you most like to live?

By the sea.

Q: What is your idea of success?

Being able to do my work without asking anyone for funding.  Being asked and supported to do what I envision.

Q: What is your idea of happiness?

Being in love – with work and play.



Katherine Hinchey – Casting Director & Producer

Casting Director, Katherine Hinchey, works across all artistic genres including features, shorts, television, commercials, and theater.

She recently cast the independent feature Found In Time (dir. Arthur Vincie,, premiering October 2012 at Shriekfest in LA) as well as two short films, One Last Time (dir. Dhimitri Ismailaj, premiering September 2012 at The Golden Boll International Film Festival in Turkey), and Red Tulips (dir. Shanti Thakur, premiering October 2012 at LA Shortsfest). Katherine was also the casting director for Ice Grill U.S.A. (dir. Mark Bernardi, currently touring festivals) and Bye Bi Love (dir. Giovanna Chesler, currently in touring festivals). She was the production manager and provided additional casting for the film Winter of Frozen Dreams (dir. Eric Mandelbaum, starring Thora Birch and Keith Carradine).

Prior to casting these films, Katherine co-founded the production company ABC Film and Video, where she served as producer, casting director and COO. The company cast films, produced several shorts and films, and offered courses in production and postproduction. While at ABC Katherine produced the feature film Exposed (dir Burke Heffner) and numerous award-winning shorts.

Shari Berman – Filmmaker

Award-winning filmmaker Shari Berman focuses on making innovative pictures with unique styles. For example, she combined the style of the 1920s expressionists with the anaglyph technology predominantly used in the 1950s to create her 3-D Expressionist short “The Trial of Jack”.

Shari believes in pushing the boundaries of filmmaking and not relying on formulaic methods.  Her non-linear feature film, My Life as Abraham Lincoln, won an Award of Excellence from The Indie Fest and the Audience Choice Award at The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival.

My Life as Abraham Lincoln, opens at Cinema Village in New York City on September 28th for a two-week run. Shari is currently working on two new scripts. More details about her latest film and her thoughts about it, can be found here:

Debra Kirschner – Writer-Director

Debra Kirschner is a film and television writer and director, who specializes in telling honest stories about believable, funny, flawed characters.

She is best known for writing, directing and producing the acclaimed indie feature THE TOLLBOOTH starring Marla Sokolof, Rob McElhenney, Idina Menzel  and Tovah Feldshuh. A prolific writer, Debra has written several screenplays and original pilots, and has written, directed and produced a web series MOM ENOUGH FOR YA?!, which will be released online later this year. For more information, please see  Her TV comedy series FROG-KISSERS recently was an official entry of the LA Television Festival.FROG-KISSERS chronicles the ups and downs of a group of single women who vow to kiss 100 frogs until they find their prince. Her newest project SKETCH is an hour-long drama about a young woman artist whose psychic abilities draw her into the world of police detective work as a sketch artist.