HOLLYWOOD OUTLAW: DIVERSITY AND DEFYING LABELS provides a great learning experience for all students on personal growth and the journeys we must take in life while discovering who we are and our places in society. It also provides a truly raw, honest, and shocking look at the love, heartache, and business of making an indie film.
ARTICLE IN THE APCA NATIONAL JOURNAL- “HOLLYWOODOUTLAW: DIVERSITY AND DEFYING LABELS”
Whether it is cultural, racial, spiritual, or other differences that separate us from our surroundings, we have a deserved desire to be accepted for who we are. However, it often seems that everyone wants to confine us to a label. What if we don’t fit the label? Are we supposed to lie to fit in? Is it too much to ask society to accept us for who we are? When who we are defines what we do and the dreams we follow, are we supposed to give up on those dreams because society can’t define us? What happens when we stand our ground, are unapologetic, and follow our desires regardless of the opinions of everyone around us? What happens when diversity is a popular sound bite, but not necessarily an actual reality?
Maija Di Giorgio, critically acclaimed film director and comedienne, examines the conflicts of an individual determined to discover and maintain her individuality against all odds, whether it is the cultural confusion of being half Italian and half black or just trying to control her own creative destiny and in turn her happiness in life. Through her film, Hollywood Outlaw, and her stand-up comedy, Maija invites the audience to reckon with themselves and society’s idea of who they should be as opposed to who they are. As a racially mixed female comic, Maija has been challenging audiences with her fearless and honest humor. Maija’s life experiences have helped to cultivate her unique style and distinctive take on the world and herself.
Hollywood Outlaw, Maija’s second film, is the direct result of her determination to control her life, her comedy, and her voice after she nearly lost it all during the making of her first film Bitter Jester. The film tells the story of Maija’s rapid rise to become a mainstay in the New York comedy world, mentored by people like Dave Chappelle, Russell Simmons and others with appearances on Showtime at the Apollo, Def Comedy Jam, co-host of morning show on the number one radio in the country, Hot 97, TV pilots and featured at HBO’s Aspen Comedy Festival. A major Hollywood executive tells her “I get you- you’re a young kid raised in the ghetto, you have a fire in your belly from all the hard times you have seen”, when in fact Maija went to boarding school in Greenwich Connecticut. The only ghetto Maija had ever seen was watching “Goodtimes”. This fast paced rise leads to a creative and personal cross road of being true to herself or being pigeon holed by an industry that tried to tell her who she was and who she should be. Maija chooses to walk away from it all and start over.
The film is a journey to find her voice. Along the way she meets with some of the greatest comics of our time including George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg, Lewis Black, Bill Maher, and dozens more. In the end Maija realizes that what she had always feared she would lose by not acquiescing to the demands of others was worth nothing compared to losing herself. When she creates Hollywood Outlaw, Maija redefines herself on her own terms.
“There is a price you pay for being an individual. If you are willing to pay that price, you will be fine’- Whoopi Goldberg, from Hollywood Outlaw.
Through her comedy and her film, Maija DiGiorgio provides a vital opportunity for transformative education. She helps people understand the importance of being true to yourself, true to what you believe in, and living a life without compromise.
Written, Directed and Edited by Maija Di Giorgio, Executive Produced by Maija Di Giorgio & Kenneth Simmons, Co-Produced by Heather Mc Connell
The film stars Maija Di Giorgio & Ken Simmons with special appearances by Joy Behar, Lewis Black, Peter Boyle, George Carlin, Chevy Chase, Dave Chappelle, Norm Crosby, Phyllis Diller, Susie Essman, Judah Friedlander, Ardie Fuqua, Michelle Garb, Godfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Gilbert Gottfried, Harry Hill, DL Hughley, Dom Irrera, Kevin James, Terry Jones, Richard Kind, Robert Klein, Lisa Lampenelli, Barry Manilow, Heather McConnell, Colin Mochrie, Paul Mooney, Michael Moore, Jim Norton, Paul Provenzano, Colin Quinn, Joey Reynolds, Tony Roberts, Keith Robinson, Tony Rock, Ray Romano, Rita Rudner, Vincent Shiavelli, George Schlatter, Paul Shaffer, Ryan Stiles, Jerry Stiller, Nicole Sullivan, Judy Tenuta, Chris Titus, Rich Vos and many more.