Enterprising Italian University Professor of Psychology and Her Husband Strive to Make an Impact in the Entertainment Industry and Are Seeing Success, Starting with the 2012 Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival!
Wife and husband team, Dr. Luciana Lagana, a clinical psychologist and tenured California State University Northridge (CSUN) professor, and her businessman/actor husband, Gregory Graham, have taken on the challenge of combining two unlikely partners: academia and entertainment. While enthusiastic in pursuing their dreams, the question at hand is “Will the two (having virtually no industry connections) make it in Hollywood?”
Los Angeles, California (PRWEB) December 03, 2012
So do these creative – yet unknown – individuals have the chops to realize their ambitions? They might indeed have what it takes to do so. Dr. Luciana Lagana, who prefers to be called Luciana, will be showcasing her first short film at a prestigious film festival this evening. This friendly and tireless professional further finds time to conduct government-sponsored research on underrepresented older women's issues in the areas of physical, mental, social, and sexual health. She teaches, mentors, and inspires numerous students in the Department of Psychology at CSUN. On her off-time, Luciana juggles being a SAG/AFTRA actor, screenwriter, and producer. In response to her dedicated creative efforts, she has been given the honor to screen her experiment short, 'Klepto Wife and Woofy', at the 2012 Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival.
The screening will take place today at 6:30 pm at the New Beverly Cinema in Beverly Hills. Moreover, on Wednesday 12/5, she will be awarded as co-producer and lead of the short film at the festival's awards ceremony. Luciana produced this short with a young and upcoming director, Emanuel Hernandez. She especially enjoys and is inspired by collaborations with young aspiring directors and producers from ethnic, cultural, and other diverse backgrounds.
“Working in the entertainment industry is the best hobby ever,” she emphatically admits. “It allows me to take a break from a rather exhaustive work schedule and redirect myself toward artistic endeavors. Based on my experience, I recommend that people try to get an artistic hobby. This will likely make them enjoy their day job more and allow them to release the stress stemming from their job”. Luciana adopted this fulfilling hobby in 2006. However, she began acting much earlier, in her native Italy, as part of a touring theatrical company. Luciana proclaims that the experience of acting in Italy most influenced her artistic sense.
Interestingly, since starting her artistic hobby, Luciana's academic career has further blossomed. Evidence that her ambitious sense within academia was possibly enhanced by her involvement in artistic endeavors is provided by the numerous academic awards that she has won since 2006. They include the 2011 CSUN Preeminent Scholarly Publications Award, the 2008 CSUN Visionary Community Service-Learning Award, and the 2006 Scientific Achievement Award from Los Angeles City Councilman Smith.
It is evident that Luciana is doing what only the most ambitious artistic 'weekend warriors', so to speak, have the dedication to endeavor, which is extend themselves outside their primary vocations in order to follow their dreams. “I moved to the U.S. from Italy to attend graduate and post-graduate school and eventually become a professor like my mother. I especially targeted Los Angeles as the desired location of my work in hope of getting involved in the entertainment industry,” she said. “My mother often reminded me that acting is in our blood, as she performed in several theatrical productions in Italy. Once I became tenured at CSUN and proved that I am a hard-working professor, I felt that the time had come for me to finally become involved in the entertainment industry,” she noted. And getting involved is exactly what she did. As an actor, Luciana has so far a total of 24 IMDb credits under her belt, primarily comprised of independent film and television projects. After starting out slowly in the first few years of her artistic work, last year she wrote, produced, and acted in the majority of these projects, some of which became official selections at film festivals around the country.
“2012 has been a particularly great year for me in the entertainment industry, and I was still able to put four academic publications under my belt this year alone. This is motivating me to continue my extra-curricular work in this exciting field, be it acting, screenwriting, or producing,” said Luciana. She and her low-key husband, businessman as well as SAG/AFTRA actor and screenwriter Gregory Graham, have been finalists with their teleplay “Soup Kitchen” [“Californication” spec script] at the 2012 Los Angeles Screenplay Competition and at the 2012 Hollywood Screenplay Contest. “My husband has been my biggest supporter,” quotes Luciana.
Luciana's husband has been acting since 2000. Gregory currently has 31 IMDb credits, and has acted in many movies and TV series such as “CSI Miami” and “Trust Me.” He and Luciana have been happily married for 10 years. “I am very proud of the fact that Luciana has succeeded at everything she has done. She certainly is a workaholic, but it is well worth it, and we do our best to keep our marriage romantic. She moved to the U.S. by herself, studied at many universities, and now is an accomplished professor with research collaborators at Stanford University and at the University of Rome Italy. To see her work so hard in her spare time on acting, producing, or screenwriting, always with a smile on her face, is truly inspirational to me and to many people around us,” Gregory stated.
Luciana and Gregory have just finished writing a screenplay for a feature film, 'The Old River Road', a drama. The team hopes to start production in the near future. “We have pitched the script to some producers, but so far we have not received any financial support. We would like to make this movie with a 3 million dollar budget. If the financing does not materialize, we will have to find a way to make it ourselves on a much smaller budget. We believe that our script has value and that the story (based on true events, including bullying and environmental advocacy issues) needs to be told,” says Gregory. In spite of their financial challenges as new producers, they have received praise in recognition of the quality of this dramatic screenplay from the President of the Los Angeles Screenplay Competition [Rafael Primorac], who remarked after reading it that their screenplay is likely to become a finalist at his festival next year. “My biggest wish is to have Brad Pitt's company produce this movie. I moved to Los Angeles from Iowa to follow in his steps; he is my role model, and being able to work with him would be a dream come true,” Gregory adds. “Gregory and I both love working in the arts and are trying to make an advocacy statement with our creative efforts. Our hard work will eventually pay off as we are staying focused and positive at all times, to keep our sanity and our good health,” concludes Luciana.
She is certainly proving that her research findings can be applied to succeed in her own life; in 2010, Luciana published a peer-reviewed article showing that women who engage in positive reframing of challenging events (something that she is now an expert at) have better physical health than those who do not. One more reason to believe that combining academia and entertainment could be a winning strategy after all.
By Marcia Bell, Publicist
Luciana Lagana is a very enthusiastic, energetic, and caring clinical psychologist and an established professor at CSUN. She has authored over 30 publications and, since 2002, has been conducting government-funded research on ethnically diverse, primarily low-income older women's physical, psychological, social, and sexual health. In her spare time, she is an actor, screenwriter, and producer. Gregory Graham, her husband, is a businessman and has been an actor since 2000. He has 31 IMDb credits and has acted in many movies and TV series such as “CSI Miami” and “Trust Me.”
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