APRIL 16 - 25, 2021



WORLDFEST 2021 – The 54th WorldFest-Houston





By Theresa Pisula
April 15, 2021


Yes, ‘tis the sign of the times.  I got tested earlier this year, just to alleviate the fears and prove I didn’t contract the pandemic virus.  As of this writing, I am fully vaccinated, having received my second Covid19 (Pfizer) shot over a week ago.  Yes, I am older now than I’ve ever been in my life.  But to me, life is just starting all over again.  I feel that I am at the beginning of an exciting, wonderful journey and the best is yet to come.  Within the last couple of years, the world community was turned upside down due to the pandemic.  Though I feel, we are on our way to getting back to our lives, a “new” normal. 



On January 27, 2021 I attended an online Zoom discussion of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City.  Andrew Bolton, the curator in charge was speaking about a recent exhibition at The Met entitled About Time: Fashion and Duration.  He was interviewed by Joy Sewing, the Lifestyle and Culture Columnist for the Houston Chronicle.  The fashion exhibit which ran from October 29, 2020 through February 7, 2021 used excerpts from the writings of Virginia Woolf, who serves as the “ghost narrator.”  Mr. Bolton relates the experience of how the voices of Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore could be heard through the exhibit reciting from the literature of Virginia Woolf’s writings on Time.  As you may know, these three actresses starred in the 2002 movie The Hours, which relates the story of how Virginia Woolf, played by Nicole Kidman, commits suicide by drowning herself by the River Ouse behind her house.  Kidman, by the way, won the 2003 Oscar award for her performance.

On December 22, 2020 British model and fashion designer Stella Tennant died shortly after turning 50 years old on December 17th.  At the time, the exact cause of death was vague and the lingering mystery piqued my curiosity.  A few weeks later, the supermodel’s family confirmed that her death was by suicide.  She is survived by her four children, whom she had, with French-born photographer David Lasnet.  They were married in 1999, but announced their separation in 2020.  Upon learning of this misfortune, I immediately opened a cherished book sitting by my bedside table entitled Wait for Me! Memoirs.  It is a book written by Deborah Mitford, the Duchess of Devonshire.  The late Duchess lovingly wrote her biography which recounts her life spanning from growing up as a little girl in Oxfordshire, England to a photo taken with her seventeen great grandchildren, seen in the back of the book . Quite interestingly, in addition to the fact that the almost six-foot-tall supermodel lived a glamorous life of fashion, Stella Tennant is of blue blood.  In the book, Duchess Deborah Mitford shares a picture with her famous granddaughter Stella Tennant in happier times.

My mind quietly recalled the traumatic times I have been shocked by the news of the suicide of fashion celebrities in the past decade.  On June 5th, 2018, I was appalled when I heard of the death of Kate Spade.  She was found by her housekeeper, hanging by a scarf at her Manhattan apartment, a note found at the scene.  Kate Spade married her husband Andy Spade in 1994.  Andy is the brother of comedian David Spade.  A statement was released acknowledging that the couple had been living separately for the ten months prior to her death, though not legally separated.  They have one child, Frances Beatrix, of whom the Frances Valentine Kate Spade collection was named after.  The Kate Spade brand started as a collection of handbags.  The business developed a loyal following, and morphed into an international success valued at $2.4 billion.  Personally, Kate Spade’s estimated net worth is $200 million at the time of her death.


“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”  -- Anne Frank



Another celebrity model and fashion designer L’Wren Scott was found dead in her New York apartment in March 2014.  The body of the 6-foot 4-inch statuesque beauty was discovered, also hanging by a scarf.  She was 49 years old and the officials ruled the death a suicide.  It boggles the mind why these fashion icons would want to commit to such a heinous end.  They had fame and fortune, these often-coveted qualities that are quite difficult to obtain.  Notably, Scott’s designer clothes have been worn by such famous celebrities as Madonna and Julia Roberts.  She dated Mick Jagger for more than a decade, and created the looks for the Rolling Stone’s 50th anniversary tour.  She left her entire $9 million estate to the 70-year-old Rolling Stone front man.  Jagger is worth $328 million.

In February 11, 2010 I was stunned by the death of Alexander McQueen.  Born on March 17, 1969 in Lewisham, London, he was the youngest of 6 children.  His father was a taxi driver and his mother was a teacher.  He was the creative director of Givenchy from 1996 to 2001.  He won the 1996 British Designer of the year award, and won it 3x more in his career.  When he married George Forsyth in Ibiza, Kate Moss served as his bridesmaid.  In 2003, he won the CFDA Award for International Designer of the year.  In 2003, he received the CBE, the highest-ranking order for the British Empire (excluding Knighthood) from the Queen of England. The English fashion designer and couturier’s final collection was the Fall-Winter 2009 – 2010 where he made his last runway show appearance. There were 16 pieces, and sadly the collection was only 80% complete. 

A few days before his death, he announced on Twitter that his mother had died.  He reportedly willed his $19+ million fortune to his family, his favorite charities and more importantly, to his dogs.  His suicide note read “Look after my dogs, sorry, I love you, Lee.”  McQueen was HIV positive. Besides the obvious reasons, such as depression and struggles with mental health, we continue to search for other credible reasons on why these icons would want to kill themselves.  Loss of love and suffering from a broken heart, they were probably searching for reasons to live and found none.  No matter how complicated their lives are, it would be easier for me to understand, that for them, there is only one option.  The choice is simple.


Putting aside my morbid fascination, steeling my courage and gathering the will to move on, I decided to forge towards the future. Definitely! It is time to get out of quarantine, venture outside my home to attend the 54th Worldfest Houston International Film Festival from April 16 – 25, 2021. Started in 1961, it is described as the third oldest film festival in North America, right after New York and San Francisco. “The oldest Independent film festival in the world and we are fiercely independent!” as Founder Hunter Todd would say.


Click on image to view the YouTube Trailer video.  Enjoy the 54th Annual Worldfest Houston from April 16 - 25, 2021.  Worldfest Houston is the third oldest international film festival in North America and the oldest independent film festival in the world.  For more information, click on

What: Beautiful Lure - A Modern Tale of "Painted Skin" Panorama Asia Opening ~ (Japan)

Where: Cinemark Theatre – 310 Memorial City Mall, Houston, TX 77024

When: Thursday 4/22/2021 at 7:15 pm Theaters 13 and 14

Synopsis: Maiko Yamamoto works as a secretary to the vice president of a major bank. With both beauty and wit, she is the target of everybody’s attention and admiration, but she has a hidden side. At night, she works as a hostess at a high-class club in Ginza and looks for men who are worthy of her beauty. Finally, one night, the man who she has been waiting for comes in. Taro Shiomura is the most hopeful candidate to become the next prime minister of Japan. Taro quickly falls in love with Maiko. All goes well as Maiko’s plan, and preparations for their marriage get steadily underway. However, Taro’s life mentor and the spiritual leader Katsuko Tachibana tells him that Maiko is a youma. who is possessed by the nine-tailed fox. A “youma” is a foxy demon wearing a “human skin” – “painted skin”. As told in the ancient Chinese fantasy story, “Painted Skin” is a human skin painted to look like a beautiful woman. Youma wears this skin to seduce men. During the Tang Dynasty, Emperor Xuanzong of Tang is seized by Yan Guifei who had the ethereal beauty and caused the dynasty’s ruin. In the film, Maiko Yamamoto can only satisfy herself by destroying the country with her beauty. Yet Taro struggles because he wants to believe that she has a conscience. On the day of the wedding, what does fate fold for them?

Official website:



Click on image to view the YouTube Trailer video.  Enjoy the 54th Annual Worldfest Houston from April 16 - 25, 2021.  Worldfest Houston is the third oldest international film festival in North America and the oldest independent film festival in the world.  For more information, click on


What:                    NARCO SUB (U.S.A.)

Where:                 Cinemark Theatre – 310 Memorial City Mall, Houston, TX 77024

When:                  Thursday 4/22/2021 at 7:05pm and 7:10pm Theaters 11 and 12


Premiering on Opening Night is the action / adventure film NARCO SUB.  This crime drama is about a former U. S. Marine who is forced to become the International criminal he once fought against.  When a powerful and violent drug cartel kidnaps his wife and daughter, he has no choice but to pilot a submarine with a large shipment of cocaine in order for them to release his family.  In the process, he discovers much worse are smuggled into the U. S.  NARCO SUB is directed by Shawn Welling, written by Derek Potts and produced by Deepwater Productions. 

Born in Houston, Texas director Shawn Welling’s career began as a dancer / choreographer.  He has worked with the NBA, NFL, NHL and Cirque du Soleil among others.  The success of his career then catapulted when he moved onto independent films, where he has won numerous awards.  As a director, his first film “The House of Dreams” won a gold and a platinum Remi at the 2006 Worldfest International Film Festival.  His second film is the emotionally powerful “The Messenger: 360 Days of Bolivar.”  Welling proceeded to win awards for films such as “Project Aether”, the web series “AXI: Avengers of Extreme Illusions”; short films such as “If I Could Talk” (2014); the true to life family feature “The Blimp Trap”.  Another collaboration with Derek Potts is the sci-fi drama “The Last Astronaut”.  He resides in Houston with his wife Michelle Simmons and their daughter Emma Rain Welling.

NARCO SUB is produced and written by Derek H. Potts, founder of Deepwater Productions.  As a trial lawyer, Potts is the national managing partner of Potts Law Firm LLP. He wrote NARCO SUB after learning about real life Narcotics Trafficking in submarines in Key West, Florida. 




Enjoy the 54th Annual Worldfest Houston from April 16 - 25, 2021.  Worldfest Houston is the third oldest international film festival in North America and the oldest independent film festival in the world.  For more information, click on


What:                    Truth Makes Free from Poland (ZIEJA)

IMDB link: 

Where:                 Cinemark Theatre – 310 Memorial City Mall, Houston, TX 77024

When:                  Friday 4/23/2021 at 4:50pm Theater 14


In the 1970s, a Security Service Major wishes to buy gullible priest Zieja and turn him into an agent who will discredit the opposition. The priest's interrogations become a natural pretext for a journey through the history of Poland in the twentieth century: from the Bolshevik war of 1920, through World War II, up to modern times.

DirectorRobert Gliński

ProducerWłodzimierz Niderhaus

ScreenplayWojciech Lepianka

Music composed byCezary Skubiszewski

Enjoy the 54th Annual Worldfest Houston from April 16 - 25, 2021.  Worldfest Houston is the third oldest international film festival in North America and the oldest independent film festival in the world.  For more information, click on




Enjoy the 54th Annual Worldfest Houston from April 16 - 25, 2021.  Worldfest Houston is the third oldest international film festival in North America and the oldest independent film festival in the world.  For more information, click on


What:                    WE WANT THE AIRWAVES


IMDB link:           We Want the Airwaves (


Where:                 Cinemark Theatre – 310 Memorial City Mall, Houston, TX 77024

When:                  Friday 4/23/2021 at 7:10pm Theater 12

Directed by:        Scott Ryan


Starring:               Amber Arbucci, Charmel Green, Scott Ryan, Cory B. Clay, Scott Harrison


Synopsis:             Filmed over the course of 10 years, "We Want the Airwaves" chronicles the journey of a trio of first time TV makers as they set forth on a daring adventure. The group creates and films an activist focused docuseries ("Manifesto!") in the year 2005, with the goal of launching the first citizen’s platform on network television.


“We Want the Airwaves” is a thoughtful exploration of the power of our collective first amendment. It's also a rare, unvarnished glimpse of the dark underside of unscripted Hollywood. Cut from countless hours of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with TV & Cultural insiders and outsiders, we follow the making of "Manifesto!" all while exposing the harsh realities of the ethically challenged unscripted television world.



ZERO GRAVITY.  For more information, click on



What:                    ZERO GRAVITY

Where:                    Cinemark Theatre – 310 Memorial City Mall, Houston, TX 77024

When:                    Friday 4/23/2021 at 7:05pm Theater 11

Directed by:           Thomas Verrette

Starring:                 Tanner Marcoida, Advik Gonugunta, Carol Gonzalez, Adrien Engelder, Steve Smith, Cady Coleman, Jack Fischer

Official Website:    ZERO GRAVITY – The journey to space is just a code away. (

Synopsis:                    ZERO GRAVITY follows a diverse group of middle-school students from San Jose, CA, who compete in a nationwide tournament sponsored by NASA and MIT to code satellites aboard the International Space Station.


“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”  --  Anne Frank



Zoe Leigh Hopkiins



What:                    RUN WOMAN RUN

IMDB link: 

Where:                 Cinemark Theatre – 310 Memorial City Mall, Houston, TX 77024

Where:                 Friday 4/23/2021 at 4:35pm Theater 12, E -11

Directed by:        Zoe Leigh Hopkins

Written by:         Zoe Leigh Hopkins

Synopsis:             Beck, a single mom who learns how to reclaim her life, dreams, family and honor.  All thanks to an unlikely coach.

Starring:               Lorne Cardinal, Braeden Clarke, Gary Farmer








“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”  -- Anne Frank



To get back to the subject of suicide, here is one, of the ten-gallon hat variety.  A Covid19 tragedy that shocked, not only my husband Pawel and I, but our entire community.  Texas Roadhouse is an American chain restaurant, a steakhouse that specializes in Southwestern cuisine style.  Founded by Wayne Kent Taylor, its revenues amount to $2.8 billion and its headquarters is in Louisville, Kentucky.  Pawel and I visited the one off of FM 1960 and 290 Freeway for his birthday one year.  I, personally, love the bread-and-butter rolls that the servers bring to you as soon as you get seated.  I’m not kidding, these rolls are as fluffy as the clouds in the sky, and just as heavenly as the flavor melts in your mouth.

Well, last month on March, 2021 CEO Kent Taylor died by suicide at the age of 65.  His family described it as a “battle with post-Covid related symptoms, including severe tinnitus.”  What does that mean?  He couldn’t stand the ringing in his ears, so he decided to just end it all? 

The previous year, on March 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic spread through the land, Kent Taylor gave up his salary and bonus to fund and support the front-line hourly restaurant workers.  Right before his death, his generosity extended to a commitment to finance a clinical study to help members of the military experiencing tinnitus, linked to Covid19 research.

So, no.  He didn’t end it all.  In fact, his magnanimous efforts were exemplified by his formidable unselfishness.  A most successful restaurant chain, Texas Roadhouse has 611 locations in 49 states and 28 international spots in 10 foreign countries.  Having started his conglomerate empire from scratch, Wayne Kent Taylor was a true maverick entrepreneur and a great role model whose honorable legacy will last for a long time.




Oh, and this just happened.  This next unfortunate incident can fall under the category of mass execution.  Near Dallas, this month of April 2021, 19-year-old Farhan Towhid posted on Instagram “Hey everyone, I killed myself and my family.”  After the police was called, they found the lifeless bodies of six members of his family inside the Towhid home: his mother and father who are in their 50s; his 77-year-old grandmother, who is visiting from India; Farhan and his twin sister and their older brother Tanvir Towhid.

They were all shot by the two boys Farhan and Tanvir who made pre-meditated plans for a period of over a month.  The Allen Texas Police was quoted as saying that “the two sons entered into an agreement” to die after forming a murder-suicide pact.  Described as a loving family, friends did not see anything wrong to indicate this was about to happen.  The grandmother was scheduled to return home to Bangladesh, but had to re-schedule her flight due to the pandemic.  His twin sister Farbin, was just accepted to New York University on a full scholarship.  There were warning signs.  Farhan admitted that he and his brother Tanvir suffered with mental illness for many years, and that it progressively got worse.  It is reported that Farhan was recently evicted from his dorm at the University of Texas in Austin.

How are we able to #StopAsianHate when the children are the ones shooting their parents dead?  Whether or not one sees the irony in this situation, one thing is certain.  This is not a joke.  One issue, however, that the shooters considered a joke, is the U. S. policy on gun control.  On the 11-page letter, Farhan commented how easily they were able to purchase guns.  When asked by the authorities if they are suffering from mental illness, they simply lied.



“I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.”  -- Anne Frank





CHRISTIAN RILEY GARCIA.  Click on image to view the Trailer.   For more information, click on

What:                    Love Thy Neighbor - The Story of Christian Riley Garcia

Directed by:        Brandon Smith



Where:                 Cinemark Theatre – 310 Memorial City Mall, Houston, TX 77024

When:                  Friday 4/23/2021 at 4:40pm Theater 12 and Sunday 4/25/2021 at 7:05pm Theater E-11



Speaking of mass executions, one of the documentaries that will premiere at this year’s Worldfest Houston International Film Festival is Love Thy Neighbor, the story of Christian Riley Garcia.  He was born on January 8th, 2003.  He died on May 18th, 2018, one of ten people that were fatally shot to death in a high school in Santa Fe, Texas.  Thirteen others were wounded.  Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old student began firing a weapon into an Art Class that morning.  The shooting is the third-deadliest high school shooting in the United States.  First is Columbine High School in 1999.  Second is the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in February 2018.


CHRISTIAN RILEY GARCIA.  Click on image to view the YouTube Trailer video.  For more information, click on


“What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again.”  -- Anne Frank



There is a pivotal scene in the Virginia Woolf movie THE HOURS wherein her husband Leonard Woolf questions his wife’s motivations as an author.  The sequence is made even more poignant as it is set by the warm and cozy fireplace, with the illuminating light romantically reflected in their face.  Their voices intimate above a whisper accompanied only by the sound of the crackling fire.

Leonard:  why does someone have to die?

Virginia:  Leonard….

Leonard:  in your book, you said someone had to die.  Why?

Virginia:  hmm…

Leonard:  Is that a stupid question?

Virginia:  no.

Leonard:  I imagine my question is stupid.

Virginia:  not at all.

Leonard:  well?

Virginia:  someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more.  It’s contrast.

Leonard:  and who will die?  (Long pause).  Tell me…

Virginia:  the poet will die.  The visionary.


"No.  There's loads I'll need explained.  But, let's just be alive for awhile."  --  THE NEVERS (TV series) created by NY film director Joss Whedon


The difference between my Covid19 test medical document and Virginia Woolf’s suicide letter is that -- one is hopeful.  The other one is not.  When you commit suicide, you surrender.  Regrettably, it is your life.  Ultimately, it is your decision.  For those of us who resolve to face the music, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  My father just turned 88 years old in March.  Today, my family celebrated my godson's birthday.  We gathered with hugs and kisses all around. The entire seven of us, received vaccinations against the Corona virus.  Birthdays, should not be associated with shame, but should be worn as a badge of honor. As a society, we must forge towards the future with as much hope as we can muster.  In these times of suffering, illness and death, there is a dire need for HOPE. To aspire for healthy growth and move towards a brilliant future.  Nowadays, it has become incessantly imperative to cling to the belief that things will be better.  We must seek the positive in everything.  As a society, let us look forward to building the present 2021, the future and beyond.  To hope is to survive.  For me, the choice is simple. 

In conclusion, I leave you more words of inspiration and hope from ANNE FRANK:


“It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.”