Hamish Downie’s Five Questions With Holly Soriano

Editor Note: Hamish has another in his series of Five Questions With…

Hamish came up with this idea because he was accumulating too much material for his Famous News Sushi column and asked if he could do these mini-interviews. Why would we say no?

Thank you Hamish for being such a trooper for us. We really appreciate all for your hard work.

Let us know what you think of these interviews in the comments below.

TGG: Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

HS: I have 20+ years of caregiving people with special needs and/or mental illness and/or developmental disabilities in some capacity. They ranged from children to adults. This also included training law enforcement how to help these individuals during a crisis. And I also have the lived experience of having a psychotic break due to the wrong medication. This one-time hospitalization was illuminating and a total dumpster fire.

As I helped these individuals, I also obtained a Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting and made multiple films: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3403432/ Most were independently produced. In fact, Richard Soriano and I worked three jobs and turned our home into an Airbnb to finance our feature MY APOCALYPTIC THANKSGIVING (MAT) that won for best script and best actor at the 2022 Entr’2 Marches in Cannes.

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My scripts have also been second rounders, quarterfinalists, and finalists. They even twice made the first cut into the Sundance Feature Film Program. I also read scripts for places like the Austin Film Festival for five years including being a second-round reader. And my short film plAy Date was nominated for best short short drama at the 2022 City of Angels Film Festival.

TGG: Could you please tell us about your new film, “My Apocalyptic Thanksgiving”?

HS: Writer/Producer Richard Soriano was riding in the car one day with the guys in our care. And an advertisement came on the radio about finding your soulmate online. One guy asked if they could find his mom online too. And MY APOCALYPTIC THANKSGIVING (MAT) was born since it’s not always possible to do this. See… some guys in our care were abandoned to the “System.” And they understand this except it doesn’t stop their pain.

So, our indie feature MAT is a love letter to them. The other contributing factor was watching the “Walking Dead” on Sunday night with the guys. As the old saying goes: “A fun time was had by all.”

‘Cuz after all… Who doesn’t love zombies? Writer/Producer Richard Soriano and I love them so much that we had zombies on our wedding cake:

I digress… MAT was based on Richard’s many years of caregiving for adults with special needs and the impact on his life and family.

And our logline:

A zombie-obsessed, special needs adult searches for his absent mother; meanwhile, he teaches a Korean family and a drug-dealing gang the powerful lesson of forgiveness through his favorite TV show, Apocalyptic Zombies.


More information: https://themovieelite.com/quirky-horror-drama-my-apocalyptic-thanksgiving-on-north-american-vod-platforms-on-november-22-2022/

TGG: What was the biggest thing you learned from making the film?

HS: I don’t honestly know where to begin on the biggest lesson from making MAT. Why? I worked on it the 12 years it took to go from a basic idea all the way to being released online and every step in-between. And it feels like each phase in the process was its [own] Master of Fine Arts on top of the one that I brought with me.

But I give one invaluable lesson: Get lots of feedback on the different stages of your project. Examples are the many rounds of script notes and the 10+ technical screenings with 60+ people to give us notes on the various cuts.

The other one is to honor the fact that your film can’t be for everyone. As a result, it’s better to hone your story to meet your demographic’s interest instead of trying to please all. The reason is that it’s silly to try to make a major studio film without their resources. Letting this go gives you the freedom to make the film that you want to make rather than the film that you think you should make.

TGG: What a great answer! So, what’s next for you?

HS: I’m writing, directing, and producing 3 WISHES the feature length movie. It’s about an Asian woman having a fairy godmother grant her three wishes in a psych ward. As she grapples with her controlling father’s death, her brother involuntarily commits her to a psych ward instead of confronting that for himself.

My way of preparing is to continue to write, direct, produce, edit, and run camera for numerous short films. I already have several under my belt with three more in post-production that I’ll be finishing by January 2023. Here are some of my existing projects: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3403432/

The other area of my focus is breathwork. I have found it profound in terms of my own healing and filmmaking. Huh? It’s ultimately about becoming present and space for doing the work that I need to do. And I’m also using it to help others with their healing and artistry.

TGG: Sounds interesting! So, finally, how can we best support you?

HS: I know that MAT will be on numerous streaming platforms here in North America. But I don’t know if they’ll have geo blockers, or not. But here are some links to check out just in case:

The iTunes pre-order is live! https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/my-apocalyptic-thanksgiving/id1652139154

Apple TV https://tv.apple.com/us/movie/my-apocalyptic-thanksgiving/umc.cmc.akoe56f4gnkf7bue17wn4uhq

The Vudu pre-order is live! https://www.vudu.com/content/movies/details/My-Apocalyptic-Thanksgiving/2171122

(Go here for updates)


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