Michelle JohnsonActor | Producer
Michelle grew up in Los Angeles but spent her summers on her family’’s South Dakota farm which influenced her work with naive characters navigating through a corrupt world. Michelle has consistently shown a mastery of bringing magical worlds convincingly to the screen.
Her first 16MM film, SILENCE made at Los Angeles City College, won at the Dore Schary Festival in New York. It was featured in two screenings at The Director’’s Guild Theater, at The Los Feliz Theater, at the L.A. Film Forum, and at Laemle’’s Royal Theater. SILENCE was also screened at benefit for the Foundation for Art Resources at the Pacific Design Center. Most importantly, SILENCE provided an entrée to The American Film Institute where, under the mentorship and undying support of Desjo Magyar who was Director of CAFTS, Michelle continued to develop her brilliant, unique filmmaking style.
While a Directing Fellow at AFI, Michelle received the Mary Pickford Foundation Grant in her first year and the Remy Martin Foundation Grant in her second year for thesis film, PINFEATHERS. She was also featured in the Life Achievement Award broadcast that year.
Joan Hubbell for The American Film Magazine interviewed Michelle. When asked why so many people apply to film school in an unstable economy, Michelle said, ""Do something you’’re excited about.""
William Grimes at the New York Times described PINFEATHERS as being the least like the typical L.A. product.
Scarecrow Video, described by Bernardo Bertolucci as being the best video store in the world, called PINFEATHERS – ""Disturbing and dreamlike.""
PINFEATHERS went on to receive the Silver Platter at the Chicago Film Festival.
It has also been picked up for distribution by Dark’’s Art Parlour and is offered for sale on their web site – darksartparlour.com.
Since film school, Michelle spent time holed up in a Mexican Border town at The Motel Casa Blanca, home to car thieves, hired killers and drug dealers. She then lived in Guadalajara and wrote a novel and subsequently a screenplay about Motel Casa Blanca.
She is writing her second novel and lighting fires in an old pot-bellied stove with the entire L.A. basin in view from the ranch where she lives surrounded by the artwork of its patrone who is an L.A. art legend.
Oh yeah, there was that original one act play a few years back – WHEN RENT IS DUE directed and produced by Michelle and very well received at The New City Theater in Seattle.