Interview with Filmmaker Diane Leslie Kaufman (MARBLE ME FREE)

Directed by Diane Leslie Kaufman
How do we cope and what do we do when physical and emotional pain, obstacles, and hardship block our way forward? This “dark night of the soul” journey is powerfully depicted in the “Marble Me Free” animated film.

Get to know the director:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

When Starlit Swann read me her poem, “The Marble Block,” I immediately knew I had to make this film to help all those in physical pain and/or emotional pain. I’ve attached an essay by Starlit (birthname is Cristina, but she prefers the name Startlit) which describes the amazing story of how we met, her life journey with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, and how “Marble Me Free” came to be.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

8-9 months.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Deeply Moving.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

No obstacles, really. We met online almost every Friday. Starlit is in Texas and Lucia is in Colombia, South America. I am in Portland, Oregon.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I felt like crying in response to seeing and hearing how emotionally moved they were by the film. I also felt proud of doing something good in the world for the sake of goodness, itself, through creative outreach and collaboration with Starlit, Crisitina, and Jean-Marc.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

It wasn’t a conscious decision. It was more so wanting to take the creative idea to where she needed to go to be the best she could be.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Probably “The Wizard of Oz” with Judy Garland.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

It would be nice to have a personal connection – maybe a zoom meeting – just to say hello face to face. It would be wonderful if a festival could make suggestions on how we can further promote the film to new audiences.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

My experience has been overall great but for right now in that “Marble Me Free” was still listed as just “selected” on the site whereas it was an award winner. Otherwise, everything has been excellent with FilmFreeway.

10. What is your favorite meal?

I love sushi.

11. What is next for you? A new film?

We want to do arts & healing workshops using “Marble Me Free” at healthcare settings, mental health sites, and conferences. I am presenting with colleague Karen Corona, LCSW (who is a therapist and expressive artist) at the Oregon Suicide Prevention Conference next week (October 12th). Our presentation is “Creative Resilience: Arts, Music, & Poetry for Suicide Prevention.” I also want to share my poem poster (artist Amanda Meador) with schools and mental health/substance abuse programs. I’ve attached the poster to this email. In March 2023 I’ll be 70 years old and as of July 1st 2023, I will retire from seeing patients (I’m a child psychiatrist) so I dedicate myself full time to being the founder-director of the Arts & Healing Resiliency Center at Mind Matters, PC.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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