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Julia L. Rosengren is the writer and star of 'Leaves'. Get inspired by learning how she creates films that are dedicated to making a difference.

Julia L. Rosengren: Making a difference with her film ‘Leaves’

Julia L. Rosengren is a self-made success, an entrepreneur who’s dedicated herself to helping as many causes as possible. Rosengren started as a model, and her talents have taken her around the world and into roles like show host, actress, writer, and philanthropist. There’s seemingly nothing Rosengren can’t accomplish when she sets her mind to it.

Currently, Rosengren lives in Florida with her husband, and she’s working harder than ever. She’s committed to creating films which highlight the needs of our environment and push back against climate change. With MoviesMakingADifference, a company Rosengren supports, she combines entertainment with the fight for a cause.

We spoke with Rosengren about her current film project, Leaves, as well as the road she took to get to this point. Dive right in, and learn how filmmakers really can change the world.

What sparked your interest in filmmaking?

I always felt comfortable in front of the camera, as a model, but quickly became very interested in what went on behind the camera. What it was that went into creating those images. Later I had a chance to be on set as a body-double for Kate Beckinsale for the film Pearl Harbor and I was just fascinated by all of it. I loved being around it. Shortly after that I moved to LA and did a lot of extra and body double work. I became very curious about the process of film so I started to think maybe I could make a film one day.

Tell us about your life before film. How did your upbringing help to form your creative voice?

I was fortunate enough to travel the world when I worked as a model and I made a point of learning the language in as many of the countries I traveled to as I could. I didn’t know it at the time but I think that experience of immersing myself in different languages and cultures, seeing what common connections there were, very much formed my creative voice.

How was working on Leaves? What was the process of making the film like?

Leaves is my baby ahaha.. I have been in love with nature since an early age, but mostly I have always been fascinated with trees. I woke up one night at 3 in the morning and started writing a story about trees.

I called my friend, the writer and director, PAUL DAVIS, told him the idea, which he loved and then created a script. Soon we were in Texas filming, it was a beautiful experience, lots of creative minds coming together and Leaves was born.

How did you come to work with director Paul Davis?

I met Paul through a friend of mine, Diana, who had started a non-profit called MoviesMakingADifference. I thought it was a great cause, highlighting issues and giving back to those affected and I had been involved with them for a while, helping in any way I could. Then, in their next film, Cult Cartel, I was given a chance to appear in the film, which was written and directed by Paul.

I was cast to play a cartel boss! I had not really done any acting but Paul gave me so much courage and confidence on the set and it all came out very well. Today we are great friends. (He just received a deserved Honorable Mention for the Cult Cartel script from the 2021 Los Angeles Film and Script Festival.)

Tell us about the role you play in Leaves.

I play two characters, Antonia, who begins to rediscover a special connection she has with a tree near her home. I also play her mother in a flashback to 1975 when the mother finds Antonia under the tree.

What was the most challenging part of the filmmaking process?

The film was very challenging, as we had to do a lot of special effects for a short film and you are always having to interact with images that are not yet there, which is harder than it might sound.

It was worth it though as there is an amazing part of the film where I believe many in the world will feel more of a connection to Nature, after they see the scene. I believe the film sends a strong message to the world.

Tell us about Before Sunrise. Was it difficult to play multiple characters?

Before Sunrise was my first solo film and the first one filmed on an i-Phone and remotely directed from Brazil during the Pandemic lockdown, so I am very proud of it. Playing five characters was not easy, but I am a little of each one of them , it was one of the biggest challenges for me. but after Cult Cartel, I felt comfortable that I could do it.

You’ve lived in quite a few different places. How has that affected your worldview?

I remember when I was in Japan, I went to Fukushima to work on a book with the photographer Mitsuru Yamaguchi.

In this place that had been so poisoned by the nuclear disaster, I found myself in very close touch with nature, the beaches, the roads full of dry trees. I remember wishing that I could just bring the trees back to life but also realizing that at some points, we can be so damaging to the earth that it cannot heal itself.

I hope that after Leaves that at least some people will see our planet in a different way. See that they are part of it, not apart from it.

What’s your mission as an actor? Name the most important thing you want viewers to experience when watching your projects.

I always dream of making an impact in somebody’s life in any way. With Leaves, one of my goals is to hopefully make the world see things differently and perhaps inspire people about loving Nature. I want the viewers to think more about our home “ the Planet” not just as a place to live now, but to teach the next generation on how to love our planet.

My mission as an actor is to make that experience as real and convincing as possible.

Tell us about your work with MoviesMakingADifference.

I met Diana Davis the founder of MMAD about 6 years ago. She was working with some of the victims of a polygamous offshoot cult that practiced forced marriages of underage girls and also forced labor for the young boys.

It was almost bizarre finding out that something like that was going on in this day and age in America. These kids need therapy, re-education and all the help they can get to make a new life for themselves. My husband, James and I were shocked by all of it and started to help her with her work.

As mentioned earlier, I then got to participate in their film, Cult Cartel.

What filmmakers or artists are you inspired by?

I admire many of the amazing artists in this world. I love the work of Quantin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Michael Bay, also Selton Mello a Brasilian Actor/ Director, and Wagner Moura, an actor from Brasil.

What music inspires you to create?

I am not a musician, but I am a fan of music from different countries, India, Brasil, Japan, Italy and many others.

I am lucky to have great friends in the music industry, and for ‘Leaves’ I had one of the most famous and respected performers in Brasil, Kiko Zambianchi to help. He wrote the original song for ‘Leaves’ with the help of Gary O.C and it is performed by both Kiko and Deborah Blando who is not only a wonderful singer but also my greatest friend.

Talk us through your creative process.

I’m not totally conscious of it. Like with Leaves, it started as an idea that I started to sketch out at 3am and a few months later it was a film. That idea probably started within me many years ago but for whatever reason, it chose that moment to emerge.

I don’t think I want to analyze that too much. I just hope it continues to happen! Once you have the idea then a lot of it is just hard work and determination, overcoming whatever obstacles stand in your way, be they internal or external.

What tips do you have for new actors?

I think some old advice I read is still good. Trust the material, trust the director but, most of all, trust yourself. I am new to acting, but I know I always believe in myself. Even if you make a mistake, so what? Learn something from it. It’s part of the journey.

If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?

It would probably be Auto da Compadecida from 2000. The English title was A Dog’s Will. It’s a comedy that was made in my hometown and has a special place in my heart.

Moving forward do you see yourself more as a writer or actor?

Well, I know I am not a writer but I see my role in the process as an actor and producer as a very creative one. I just want to continue creating films to make a difference.

What’s your next project?

I have maybe two or three projects on the way, but Leaves 2 is picking up fast on paper, and I didn’t even have to wait for 3am this time!!

What has been your biggest success?

Success for me is being able to work and collaborate with incredible professionals in accomplishing a dream. Before Sunrise, my first completed film, gave me the taste of success during a pandemic so I say it is my biggest success.

What’s your five-year plan?

Be healthy, happy like I am, and make films to help the planet in some way!

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