Friday, January 13, 2017

For Your Consideration: "Celebrate Life" – Best Song in a Film

The touching theme & end credit song for the acclaimed documentary about a 90 year old homeless woman who is filled with spirit for living, that has touched many people.

"Celebrate Life" Written by Ralph Stevens and Deana Carter
Performed by Deana Carter –
Published by Ralph Stevens Music -ASCAP & Little Nugget Music- ASCAP
The Song :

Deana Carter, GRAMMY nominated & CMA 'Song Of The Year' Award winning artist, comments on the experience of making "Celebrate Life" for the "QUEEN MIMI" film:

"It's another one of those blessings that comes across your path, you show up & say 'Yes' & open your heart & let it in your life!"

"It happened so fast & it all clicked, collaborating with Ralph Stevens on the song, cut the vocal & the next thing I know it's in the film & the director loved it – now it's taken on a life of it's own."

"It's so moving for me to see someone that's down on their luck, to think they may be a parent or have children, & you wonder what their story is…. how they get here. To have this amazing opportunity to be included in a film that connects with my processes of people & Mimi in particular, is a beautiful example of how we connect with someone who had a different life, & how things can turn on a dime & through the process you can still be OK through the love of others. To me that's our life story, & is so inspiring!" Deana Carter interview:

LA TIMES: 'Queen Mimi' is at home on the red carpet -- and in a strip-mall laundromat Huffington Post:

'QUEEN MIMI' - Starring: MARIE "MIMI" HAIST with Special Appearances by ZACH GALIFIANAKIS and RENÉE ZELLWEGER Directed by: YANIV ROKAH Opened in Theaters: 4/22/16 by Xlrator Media Publicity Materials:

SYNOPSIS: Forced onto the streets in her 50s, Mimi found "home" at a Santa Monica laundromat. Taking shelter there for 20 years, Mimi's passion for pink, and living without looking back, has taken her from homelessness to Hollywood's red carpets. This is the fascinating and moving story of one incredibly strong woman's survival against all odds.

When you feel like a queen, even a laundromat can be a palace. Marie "Mimi" Haist defied her adulterous husband and moved onto the streets in her 50s, living in parking lots and doorways until finding her "home" one stormy night between rows of washers in a Californian laundromat. Encouraged to stay by a more than generous laundry owner, Mimi's 'the past is the past' philosophy endeared her to regular fluff and fold clients and, after more than 20 years, Mimi has made some unlikely friends, ranging from local loves to Hollywood A-listers Zach Galifianakis and Renee Zellweger. Filmed over 5 years by barista/actor/director Yaniv Rokah while he worked at a cafe across the street, Queen Mimi is the story of an unlikely hero. Now 90, Mimi reminds us to never give in and never give up, and that if you ever find yourself in the gutter, to never stop looking at the stars.

DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT Before I moved to the United States from Israel to study acting in New York, I had never encountered homelessness. So when I saw people living on the streets, I didn't understand. Why don't these people have a place to stay? Why doesn't their family, the government, anyone take care of them? When I came to Los Angeles to pursue my dream to make it in Hollywood, I quickly realized that part of the reason for the rampant homelessness must be the high cost of living. To survive, you need a day job, so like many aspiring actors, I got a job as a barista. I was working at Caffe Luxxe in Santa Monica. Across the street was a laundromat. Every morning when I opened up the coffee shop at 5 am, I noticed how this elderly woman in her 80s inside the laundromat seemed to get up from spending the night there to start her day working at the laundromat, seven days a week. It got my curiosity going. How did she end up living there? Why is she all alone in the world? How did she become homeless? I'd make Mimi's coffee every day and we became friends. I was amazed that despite her circumstances, Mimi was full of optimism, humor and joy. I was instantly captivated and I knew that I had to capture her magic and strength and preserve it. Maybe deep down I wanted to be as resilient and positive as she was. So it all started with me shooting short videos of Mimi on my iPhone. And Mimi loved the attention, introducing me to people as "her photographer." The documentary Queen Mimi was born.

Everyone in Santa Monica had seen Mimi but no one really knew who she was or made the effort to find out. I still wonder why in a city of storytellers nobody else picked up a camera to tell Mimi's story. Why did it take an actor from a foreign country to start making a film about someone who was living right under everyone's noses all along? I think it was a case of one outsider recognizing another across the street. And in the process, Mimi turned me into a filmmaker. I quickly realized that I was not making a film about a homeless person. Queen Mimi is a film about the human spirit, a film about one strong woman who happens to be homeless but who will inspire every person who comes her way. Filming Queen Mimi was a process of 5 years. It took time for our friendship to build for Mimi to completely trust me, open up to me, and allow me uncover the many layers of her incredible life story. Sometimes it was very challenging to get Mimi to talk about her past, but I was patient. I wasn't rushing to make a film for the sake of making one. The project grew and grew until suddenly I had 60 hours of footage on 10 different types of cameras and devices. A complex life puzzle takes a long time to turn into a documentary feature. I'm proud that Queen Mimi does justice to our journey together.

Mimi taught me about friendship, perseverance and living life to the fullest without any regrets. One of her most famous Mimi-isms is, "Yesterday is gone, leave it there". Mimi also made me realize that time is an illusion. At 90, she is still relentlessly young of heart and an inspiration to all of us. There is so much to learn from the elderly. I believe that we don't take enough advantage of the wisdom of the elderly or give them enough credit. Back in ancient times the elderly were the most prominent people in society, the sages, the priests, the artists. Why don't we take enough time to listen and learn?

Viewers relate to Queen Mimi in their own personal way, because the documentary touches on universal themes of home, family and the purpose of life. I hope that viewers will be inspired by Mimi's optimism, resilience and love of life. Mimi's wish would be for us to help each other, to have fun together, and to make the most of every day. In her unique way, Mimi is a prophet and I feel like by making this film I'm just the messenger of her gospel that everything will work out fine if you can keep a positive outlook. Mimi would say that when life deals you lemons, just make a lemon drop martini. I also hope that viewers will take away from Queen Mimi that we need to stop judging people for who they are or how they seem to appear. We need to celebrate our differences instead of separating ourselves from one another.


* "I like being happy and free, not having some guy over me telling me what to do and what not to do."

* "You stick your nose in your butt and I'll stick mine in mine."

* "Life in a laundromat isn't just fluff."

* "When life deals you lemons, make lemon-drop martinis."

* "Yesterday is gone, tomorrow isn't here, live now."

* "Friends are better than a piece of steak."

Marie "Mimi" Haist -- Now 90 years young, Haist has been homeless for 35 years. On a stormy night 25 years ago, she walked into a Laundromat and the owner let her stay the night, on a plastic chair between the 2nd and 3rd row of washer/dryers. Soon entrusted with the keys to the store, Marie transformed into the predominantly pink-wearing, dancing & singing "Mimi" with a past as mysterious as her ability to survive. Mimi offered laundry services to young actors, creatives and professionals living in and around Santa Monica and, as their careers ascended, some also took the time to ensure they helped their friend. It's never too late to find your family, or yourself.

For additional info on "Celebrate Life" song for 'QUEEN MIMI', or interview requests with main writer-producer Ralph Stevens contact JAY WARSINSKE at INDIEPOWER at 818-505-1836


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