'Dames' of Happy Canyon is an abstract/comedic piece. It's heavily influenced by the1966 Czech feminist comedy "Daisies"...a film where two women rebel against societal norms. It's speak to me as a piece where:

  • There's a realization that the world is not anymore crazy than it has already ever been in the history of our existence. 
  • As women we should enjoy being feminine on our own terms. 
  • Removing ourselves from the pressures of society & going into nature helps us tap into our own femininity as we see fit. 

SUBMISSION DESCRIPTION (Share a little about your background, influence, and why this topic is important to you): 

I went through a bit of a dark period this past winter. I was transfixed by fear. I would be lying if I didn't mention it may or may not have been brought on by some political happenings. I think the results of the car accident in my teens exacerbated the battle I have with fear. Fear that when things are good they won't last...that at any moment something may come and take away something that I love most.  This winter I became obssessed with the idea that the world was doomed.  It turned out to be a terrible way to live my life! Theatre/film being the steadfast companions they always have been, were my outlets to exploring a means to calm these fears. "Dames of Happy Canyon" was made out of a necessity to explore how I felt coming out of that dark period. I read and became obsessed with "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" a novel by the mystic Tom Robbins. Written in 1976, I found such a correlation between what was happening during the 60/70s and what has been happening in our world 50 years later. A hysteria of sorts...fear seeping out of every pore of every person. After a couple months of some good therapy, self work, and a stellar book I came to the conclusion that these dark periods are beneficial to the cleansing and learning we need to go through to further our awareness and to learn more self-compassion. Today I feel more steady. I feel like I have won some battles with fear. Fear isn't this rain cloud over my life...it has been a benefactor in evolving a deeper and more connected version of myself. 

Flash-forward to my womanhood. Another major inspiration for this piece. My mother is my wise-woman. Growing up she celebrated my body, my curves, and my freedom to be open and creative.  I feel like there is such a place in our society, especially now, for women to own their femininity...however they see fit.  As women we should enjoy being feminine on our own terms...even if that means getting funky with some flowers, cake and champagne in a beautiful canyon like wild women! When I am immersed with my women, when we are raw, eating, talking, sharing wine...when we're naked!...I feel so powerful. I feel like I have my tribe. The acts of being immersed in a group of strong women always brings up this nostalgia...this feeling that I'm connected to all women from all points of time that have joined together in such tribe-like settings.

Nature, lastly, is a major part of this film. Removing myself from the pressures of society and going out into nature helps me tap into femininity and my consciousness. I run a non-profit organization in memory of my sister,  the 'Alexandra Rose Tozzi Memorial Foundation'. A majority of our efforts support nature conservation and environmental work. I firmly believe that when one becomes close to nature anxieties lower, fears lower, and one's overall health improves. Secret side note: we filmed the piece in 'Happy Canyon', Santa Barbara...but I do love that the audience isn't given the exact location.

All of the work I do feels so important to me because I genuinely want to promote strength and human compassion. This is my purpose, everything in my life has brought me here.  I don't believe that man's primary problems are political, I believe they are philosophical. There is a root to madness...it is so important for me to continue to make art because I want to constantly explore that root. I want to share that.

TELL US YOUR GOALS AS A FILMMAKER: My goal as a filmmaker is to facilitate people dipping into their own consciousness. Does that sound manipulative? I'm not sure. Perhaps what I mean is that I'd love to present something aesthetically pleasing...that touches all of the senses, that disrupts the emotions in a way that has an audience thinking. I want people to walk away from work that I've created feeling powerful and vulnerable and closer to a place of self-compassion or human compassion. As actors and filmmakers we are trained to be in tune with the scary parts of ourselves, the dark parts and the parts we hide from others...that's where our beauty lies! If you bring forth what is within you it could save you, if not it could destroy you. That's how I feel. I feel that my job is to create work that has people feeling without jamming it down their throats. There is a perfect balance (for me at least) of nature, comedy, raw emotion, and powerful self-compassion...which if mixed well, can have an astounding affect on a person. 

I stated a lot of this in my submission description, but again,  my work feels important to me because I genuinely want to promote strength and human compassion. We watch a film to connect with the actor we see on the screen, we go to experience what they experience. We naturally, as a race, want to connect. I want to continue this beautiful expression of connecting humans to other humans. Perhaps then we would love each other more. Simple. Simple.