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Published on August 4th, 2021 | by Darren Paltrowitz


Stephanie Sanditz On The Bentonville Film Festival, Her New Pilot “The High Life,” Other Writing Projects, Missouri & More

The Bentonville Film Festival is an annual Festival and globally-recognized platform amplifying female, non-binary, LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, and people with disabilities’ voices in entertainment. The week-long Festival, as presented by the Bentonville Film Foundation in partnership with founding sponsor Walmart and presenting sponsor Coca-Cola, is known for its dedication to championing marginalized and underrepresented voices in film with 71 percent of the competition titles directed by women. This year Festival attendees enjoyed a 30th anniversary screening of Thelma & Louise at the 112 Drive-In in Fayetteville, Arkansas, as followed by an exclusive conversation with Geena Davis (the film’s Academy Award-winning star who is also a Festival Chair) and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Callie Khouri. The Bentonville Film Festival’s 2020 festival — which was held virtually — reportedly had more than 30,000 virtual attendees, showing the demand for BFF, no matter how it is presented.

Another interesting development as part of this year’s Bentonville Film Festival is that writer, actress, director and producer Stephanie Sanditz will be screening her award-winning television pilot The High Life at BFF. The show is a half-hour dramedy about a mixed religious family dealing with the death of their beloved, wealthy aunt just as their wayward, substance abusing daughter Evie (as played by Sanditz) returns home from her career as a “celebrated” high life bar and restaurant reviewer in Chicago to collect her inheritance. The plot thickens when we discover their aunt was not the materialist square she appeared to be, as her final wishes included an incredibly unique twist on a good death. The request? For the family to take her ashes on a hike in nothing but their birthday suits to the top of a Nudist Buddhist Colony and permanently lay her to rest. Additional cast members include Amy Landecker (Transparent, Jeremy Glazer (Modern Family), Linda Purl (The Office), Ron Perkins (Spiderman and Jesse Garcia (Narcos). Based on Sanditz’s own real-life experiences, The High Life was awarded “Best Pilot” and “Best Actress” at the IMDB Independent Shorts Festival and “Best Script” and “Best Actress” at both the We Make Movies Film Festival and Independent Shorts Awards.

On August 4, 2021, I had the pleasure of speaking with Stephanie Sanditz via Zoom, as embedded below. More on Sanditz and The High Life can be found by clicking here, here and here.

Stephanie Sanditz feature image photo by Johnny La Vallee Photography:

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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World,, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" series, which airs on dozens on television and digital networks. He has also co-authored 2 published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), and co-hosts the world's only known podcast about David Lee Roth, "The DLR Cast."

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