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Check Out Lynn Holley’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lynn Holley.

Hi Lynn, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I am originally from New York, more upstate than the city, but born from Irish immigrants on Long Island, on my father’s side. My mother’s side is pure British and leaning toward decorum and good genes and scholarship. I grew up in Ithaca, NY, attended a number of colleges including my home town university of Cornell; and I still consider the roots of my life, my adventures, my childhood dreams to be rooted in Ithaca. (we all come from childhood). Ithaca jumped started my insatiable intellect, curiosity and desire to know as much as I can about everything. It also gave me a love of nature and a desire to see the world. This led me to becoming a journalist, writer, art curator and currently the owner and founding director of two international film festivals — the 3-Minute Film Festival in its 9th season and the International Fine Arts Film Festival in its 5th season. Screened originally in Santa Barbara, but now screening on-line. I am long-time divorced and have three adult children and four grandchildren.

I recently moved from Santa Barbara, CA, where I still do some business, to the center of Hollywood, although I have lived in LA Country prior to my move back down to LA. If someone asks me how I got to where I am today, I would say a combination of street smarts and education (I have an MA in Museum Studies), with extreme grit and adaptability. The frosting on my cake would be I like people; everyone has a story and everyone I have ever met would like to tell it. No one has a corner on a life-story. We all have them. I have stories I don’t tell and others I love to share — some funny, some sad. I mostly share interesting ones that either people relate to or find astonishing that I survived. I am not about to write a book about them, but I do use them in various scenarios to entertain or get a point across. Politics interests me, as well as sports. I am a liberal democrat and an avid ice Hockey spectator. I used to be a professional ice figure skater who won a Gold medal in an event; and I am a very bad skier who tumbled down Jackson Hole after learning to ski in Austria.

Recently, my middle daughter (LA) and I, along with her daughter (age seven) wrote and published a Children’s Christmas book, the story of which I wrote 20 years ago. My daughter did all the illustrations now and re-wrote the story to be more contemporary, and it has been successfully even though it was just published. Next year we will market it too pedantic dentist and offers financial support for the care of children’s teeth; and hopefully it will go to animation. I am a woman who speaks up and out for injustice and to help younger woman continue to strive and be as resilient as possible in hard times, which seems to plague us right now.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I have never met anyone who has had a smooth road — money does not make it more easy, necessarily. I have been down and up financially, emotionally but rarely physically. I say health is wealth. Take care of your health and believe in yourself and that you will be successful. If you can visualize it, most likely you can make it happen. Roadblocks are less blocks; it is more like Robert Frost shows in his poem of “Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood.” Usually roadblocks are making bad choices or not knowing which way to go, what to do. And, sometimes it is just a crapshoot if you choose the wrong road. Of course, there are barriers that are put up; being a woman I fought many, won some and lost some. I am not a woman of color; that is even more of a hardship and roadblock. I can’t speak to that other than to say, change is in the air and I am glad both for men and woman.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am an older woman who starts film festivals; I taught myself programs and the way to hold a festival. It all started when I became a resident curator of SBCAST in Santa Barbara, CA. The Center for Arts, Science & Technology. It is a live-work studio life. I met people who were from extremely different background and ages. I learned from the younger ones in their 20s to manage films on-line and how to operate all equipment to screen them in studios and outdoors. In turn, they learned from me; understood what a story was and how life is a story moment to moment. There was great reciprocal interaction. I was there three years — the time limit in this experiment of SBCAST. I have always loved films, and one of my first writing jobs was to review films for a daily newspaper in Florida, which led to writing for magazines and newspapers in Georgia and New York; and continuing on to publish work that included more far reaching issues and events. I am proud not only of my film festivals but also for becoming an art curator for a Jewish Federation; working with Holocaust Survivors and their artwork. For that work, I am blest to understand the struggles many have been through and to use them as a base for rising above my own issues.

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
I was a Tom-boy who also played with dolls (I still have my dolls and my train). I climbed trees, played baseball, and became a fine ice-figure skater. I played board games and raised rabbits and had dogs, cats, birds and hamsters. Most importantly to my growing up was that I also played in the woods nearby and swam and sailed in the large lake. I was a girl scoot, sang in a church choir, and was the leader of the marching band. Basically, I was not popular, but I was known and usually out front. However, academically I was average, which changed as I got older. I was too wrapped up in my sports and playtime. Yet, I don’t regret a thing. My childhood was pretty grand in one of the best places in New York — Ithaca.

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