IT’S SIMPLY FILMMAKING: A Conversation with Internationally Bestselling Author and Tower 15 Productions Founder Cali Gilbert
Cali Gilbert is an International bestselling author, award winning photographer, and filmmaker. She has travelled the globe as a former figure skater and magazine publisher, and has contributed to the Huffington Post. With an extensive background in event management, Cali assisted the Canadian Olympic Committee at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, and most recently served as an Event Ambassador for the 34th America’s Cup sailing regatta in San Francisco. Cali is an accomplished photographer, whose work has been showcased in galleries across the United States. As the creator of the IT’S SIMPLY book series, Cali has published several bestselling books of her own and now serves other writers through her company, Tower 15 Productions. In addition to continuing to write and publish books, Cali is now adapting some of her books to film and supports others as a social impact filmmaker. Cali resides in Santa Monica, California where she enjoys serving her community, especially women in transition and youth programs.
The Fan Carpet’s Marc Jason Ali had the pleasure of speaking to Cali following the launch of Tower 15 Productions, we talk in depth about her driving force to get into the industry, her writing and what she plans to do with Tower 15 Productions…
If we go back to the beginning, was there a defining moment for you to get into the Creative Industry?
Oh ABSOLUTELY! I've always been an artist, yet it was never something I thought of in terms of a career. It was a hobby that I simply loved. I was groomed to go to university, get the fancy degree, get the top job with the best title, etc. I did all of that, and then ended up homeless because all of the sudden I was deemed "over-qualified". I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area at the time and trying to survive off of saving, which didn't last very long. In 2011 I lost everything (child, car, relationship, money, home). After spending endless hours sending out resumes trying to find a job, I didn't know what else to do. I looked to the heavens and asked. The answer I got was DO WHAT YOU LOVE! That is when I decided to shift gears and focus on my writing and photography which were my passions. That's when everything changed.
You’re known as an author with your Simply series, the latest being It’s Simply Filmmaking, was this something that you always wanted to do?
Yes. I've always loved to write and share stories, but it was a hobby. When I wrote and published my first book IT'S SIMPLY SAUSALITO: An Inspirational Journey, I needed an outlet for my pain to fill the void from all the loss I had experienced in 2011. The photographs and words of inspiration became that outlet. I ended up writing and publishing four books in one year when I started out. It was something I loved and filled me with hope.
You recently launched Tower 15 Productions, what can you tell us about the company?
Tower 15 Productions has been a dream I've had for a few years now. When I arrived in L.A. in 2013, I met my very first friend and now partner at Tower 15 on Santa Monica beach. He's also a very gifted writer/photographer. We collaborated on one of my books together in 2016, and it seemed only fitting to name the company after where our story first began. Tower 15 is a platform for inspiring creatives through education and collaboration in the areas of publishing, photography and filmmaking. We share resources for the aspiring and emerging filmmaker as well as offer classes for those interested in writing/publishing books. We currently have three film projects in the works and eager to connect with other creatives we can either support or collaborate with.
What is your preferred genre, and do you have any favourite films?
I enjoy drama, romantic comedies and musicals. I like to laugh. Some of my favourite films are SOMEWHERE IN TIME with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve, MARY POPPINS, and THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Some of my favourite current films have been GREEN BOOK, MARY POPPINS RETURNS, LA LA LAND and BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY.