Join me online November 12th and 16th at 7pm PST for a streaming video and Q&A for a play I wrote and directed called Night Falls. The play was choreographed by Deborah Slater and debuted at the ODC Theater in San Fransisco California in October 2011. I am excited to chat with the collaborators about our time bringing Night Falls to life on stage as we watch the play together with you in real time.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver, poet
Peregrine can’t sleep. The following day she’s turning sixty and has to give a speech which she’s not yet written… so she bounces off the walls of her apartment in the middle of the night trying to figure out what to do about getting older and what the hell she’s going to say to a bunch of young people looking for advice. Peregrine– played by several performers– excavates her life for clues. What has she done wrong? What has she done right? What should she do now? And then, an unexpected visitor alters the course of the night.
I was delighted to participate in this documentary film about current-day Cajuns in America. I first met the director, Monique LeBlanc, when she arrived with her small crew in Tennessee where I was directing an episode of Nashville. As soon as I saw her, I called her “Cousin!” because she looked (and felt…) like a part of my family. They shot a bit of me working as a director that day, and I suppose some of that footage will end up in the documentary; but mainly, it was just a kick to have them around — the French cousins. They all spoke French to one another, and English to the rest of us.
Later Monique and the crew interviewed me at my home in Los Angeles about memories of my Acadian grandparents and family, and how their influence has played out in my work as a writer and in my life in general. I was most proud to show them my collection of fine art by Louisiana artists. Last August I went to New Brunswick for about ten days on a self-created writing retreat among the small towns and villages of my Acadian ancestors. It was a tremendous experience in so many ways. First of all, the lobster was a-mazing… but feeling the connection to the warm, open, sassy people I met, most of whom had French names that echoed the families I grew up among, recognizing their culture, their food, their physical characteristics as my own was kind of mind-blowing. I loved it. And in the course of writing while there, I remembered French phrases that my grandparents used, phrases I hadn’t thought about in fifty years. I am so grateful to Monique for bringing me back to this homeland.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the film and hearing about the other artistic Cajuns spread throughout our American culture. I’ll post when I know more about where the film will be aired/screened. Here is Monique’s description of the documentary:
DEVENIR AMERICAIN – BECOMING AMERICAN
BECOMING AMERICAN is a one-hour documentary produced by the independent production company CinImage Productions for Radio-Canada, the French Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) for the World Acadian Congress. The film focusses on the Acadian presence in the United States.
The documentary begins by exploring the lives of Acadians who remained in America after they were deported from French Canada by the English, men who went on to play significant roles in the military, business and political spheres of the newborn nation.
But the film is far more about present-day Americans with Acadian ancestry, a discovery of their work and contribution to the country they call home. From Maine to South Carolina, from New York to Montana, from Louisiana to California, we criss cross the territory on a quest to meet , discuss with and celebrate a people of talent, conviction and determination.
Here are a few pictures of my time in Canada:
View from my window
The Cormiers next door to where I stayed.
Grand-Pré Acadian National Historic Site – Nova Scotia
Grand-Pré Acadian National Historic Site – Nova Scotia
So much fun. This month my old friend, Damon Robison, invited me to answer a questionnaire about growing up in our home town of Berwick, Louisiana. He then wrote a short article for the town newsletter, the Berwick Beacon. Here’s the link to the newsletter:
It has spawned a volley of e-mails among some of my dear friends from childhood (featured in the photo above, sitting on the car from l to r: David Luck, Jan Taylor, me, Jody Barbier; standing: Melanie Wallace) where we’re remembering all kinds of rogue activities, including stuffing our science teacher’s beloved Ford Galaxie 500 with newspaper. He didn’t find it funny and made us wear sandwich boards to school the following day, apologizing and promising to wash and wax his car. Such wild kids. Both my parents passed away this year, and that brought me back to Berwick quite a lot, where I’ve been reminded of the value of being from a place where everyone knows you… even all these decades later. So many lovely friends, schoolmates, teachers and parents, have shown support to our family this year, and I am utterly grateful.
One year ago today my beautiful daughter Alexis and her beloved Aaron made their wedding vows to one another in a charming and meaningful ceremony, witnessed by all of us who love them. A tremendous and memorable day, which fills my heart when I recall it. We wish them a Happy First Anniversary and many, many more to come.
Just got back from Austin where I was working on my episode of American Crime, the new series created by John Ridley, Academy-Award winning screenwriter of 12 Years a Slave. The show will air in March 2015, but meanwhile we’re all working like crazy to bring this powerful, subtle story to life.
My episode (108, we’re not using titles, just numbers…) focuses heavily on a character played by the amazing Felicity Huffman, who was a dream to work with. I also had a tremendous time working with Tim Hutton and Regina King. Truly, the entire cast of this show is stellar; everyone attends the work with such intelligence and seriousness that it’s inspirational. In fact, all of us – cast, crew, writers, producers – have the feeling that this is a special experience and everyone is bringing their A-game.
The crew is kick-ass, including our first-time director Rachel Morrison (cinematographer of Fruitvale Station, among other indy movies) who did a great job on the biggest episode of the series so far. Here she is in the scout van, working away in anticipation of our GIGANTIC shoot in San Marcos, which included hundreds of extras, SWAT teams, stunts, weapons firing, tear gas, horses, dogs and children. We threw everything we had at Rachel and she handled it with grace, toughness and humor, getting the job done like the pro she is.
A few photos of our days on set:
Julie with Director of Photography Ramsey Nickell
During my (brief!) downtime, I was able to explore Austin a bit. Great food, great people. Love this city. Here are a couple of favorite photos:
The dome of the state capitol building:
A Saturday festival on Sixth Street:
Then back to set before dawn on most days.
I am thrilled to be working on this series with these wonderful people. Keep a look out for American Crime in March 2015.
And of course, you can read the About section where Julie shares her journey from the deep south of Louisiana to the west coast of California. Learn about how she started off as a theater director in San Francisco and found her way into television and film while still staying close to her theater roots: http://juliehebert.com/about-julie-hebert/
We would LOVE for you to check out the site and let us know what you think. We’ve put a lot of work and thought into making it interactive and fun and will be uploading more video and texts as time goes on. Check back often.
Sunday September 7th 2014 was the first official shoot for Julie’s new backyard video project Look What She Did! Julie Interviewed four kick-ass gals talking about women who have inspired them, women who have done amazing things to improve our world, but who are not as well-known as they should be.
Look What She Did! was created by Julie and Jill Klein after they served on jury duty at the Clara Shortridge Folts Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles, and began to wonder who the heck is Clara Shortridge Foltz and why haven’t we heard of her??? They researched her, discovered Clara’s many accomplishments, the foremost of which is that she was the first person to envision and establish the Public Defender system in the United States. Crazy. Naturally the next thought was… imagine how many other amazing women are out there, past and present, who have done incredible things for our society but somehow are lost to history. Julie and Jill have set out to celebrate these unknown powerhouses by asking interesting women to talk about the women who have inspired them with their achievements, their fearlessness, their dedication to making the world better. We want to know about these women, we want to discuss them, we want to remember them. We are in the process of editing our first set of interviews with Jill Klein, Brighde Mullins, Zakiyyah Alexander, and Laurel Ollstein, and will let you know when you watch them online; meanwhile Julie invites you to take a behind-the-scenes peek at Look What She Did!
This is the first installment of our journey through the lives of fascinating, accomplished women. Send us suggestions for interviews on the Julie Hebert Facebook page, we are collecting names!
We are excited to announce that Julie Hébert is the Co-Executive Producer of the new television series “American Crime” created by John Ridley, the Academy Award winning screenwriter of 12 Years a Slave. The series films in Austin, Texas, and will air on ABC in March of 2015. American Crime is set in small-town California and centers around a racially charged murder and the repercussions for all the families involved. ABC directed the creative team to “Be bold.” and that’s what they’re doing. Julie says, “I’m very happy to be working on this deep and nuanced story with such brave, talented people.” The series features an ensemble cast including Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton.
Check out the trailer below for the first look into American Crime:
Julie’s family inaugurated a scholarship to support the growth of talented young Louisiana artists in honor of her brother Mitch Hebert.
The scholarship gives an annual award to a student majoring in Artat Julie’s alma mater, Nicholls State University. The Hebert family is currently raising an endowment to ensure the scholarship will be permanently funded.
“Your Wild Life’s Gonna Get You Down” is Julie’s third time to direct an episode of Nashville. The show follows the travails and triumphs of country music stars in the center of this famous city.
Julie loves returning to her native South to work on the show; lately she’s been to the Bluebird Cafe, The Grand Ole Opry, and the Ryman and can’t wait to go back. Nashville airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on ABC.
You can read an episode recap on Entertainment Weekly here You can watch this episode on Hulu here