Mary Patel-Gallagher, a Philadelphia native, has transitioned from being a political journalist to an independent filmmaker based in Las Vegas. In a recent podcast interview with Floyd Marshall Junior, she discussed her journey and the challenges she faced in the film industry. Patel-Gallagher shared insights into her career change, her documentary "Electile Dysfunction," and her first feature film "Holistay," which is now streaming on various platforms.
From Political Reporter to Filmmaker
Patel-Gallagher started her career as a political journalist, working as a columnist for the Philadelphia City Paper for 13 years. Her column, "Political Notebook," covered local, statewide, and national political issues. She also served as a correspondent for the Democratic and Republican presidential conventions and appeared on the ABC affiliate political talk show, "Inside Story." Her experience in politics led her to produce and direct the documentary "Electile Dysfunction," which examined the voting culture in the US.
Transitioning to Filmmaking
After the newspaper industry faced significant changes, Patel-Gallagher decided to pursue a career change and delve into feature filmmaking. She moved to Los Angeles in 2010 to immerse herself in the film industry. While in LA, she worked on various projects and developed a strong network of contacts. Patel-Gallagher gained experience in producing debates for Comcast and served on the board of the Philadelphia Film Festival.
Creating "Electile Dysfunction"
Patel-Gallagher's documentary, "Electile Dysfunction," focused on the American voter's apathy and lack of awareness about political candidates. The film used the backdrop of a major Senate race between Rick Santorum and Bob Casey as a template. Patel-Gallagher interviewed voters from different backgrounds, including a celebrity section that explored the impact of celebrities on political campaigns. The documentary premiered at the Philadelphia Film Festival in 2008 and later secured distribution with Cinema Libre.
The Journey to "Holistay"
After her success with "Electile Dysfunction," Patel-Gallagher shifted her focus to creating her own feature film. She spent several years working on her first feature, "Holistay," a thriller psychological horror film. The movie was shot in Las Vegas, where Patel-Gallagher currently resides. Overcoming the challenges of being an independent filmmaker, she managed to complete the film, which was eventually distributed by Breaking Glass Pictures. "Holistay" is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, VOD, and Google Play.
The Move to Las Vegas
Patel-Gallagher's decision to move to Las Vegas was driven by lifestyle changes and a desire to escape the high costs associated with living in California. She found Las Vegas to be an affordable location for shooting her films. While the city may not be as established in the film industry as Los Angeles, Patel-Gallagher was able to assemble a crew and shoot her film, even utilizing her own house as a location. Las Vegas provided a new creative environment for Patel-Gallagher's filmmaking endeavors.
The Future of Independent Filmmaking
As an independent filmmaker, Patel-Gallagher acknowledged the challenges of navigating the industry dominated by corporate entities. While there are more platforms available for showcasing independent films, the competition remains fierce. Patel-Gallagher has plans for future projects, including sequels to "Holistay" and a film centered around the Jimmy Chagra Trial featuring former Las Vegas Mayor and Philadelphia Mob lawyer Oscar Goodman.
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