New Series Asks: What Do You BU-Lieve?

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Anna Krasner

Filmed, directed and produced by 21 Mile Films in Malibu, a new short-form docuseries is the collaboration of husband and wife team Jules Williams and Alison Pothier—”I BUlieve.” In it, they so far have documented five Malibu residents who have not only accomplished extraordinary things, but are able to identify personal core beliefs based on their life experiences. The couple hopes the docu-series will inspire others to take the time to look inward and identify their own core beliefs.

“These are people that seem to champion everyone else but themselves,” the couple said—”the unsung heroes. You don’t have to live in Malibu to get a lot out of their stories.”

Deepak Ramapriyan, who performs and records with his band Robot Nature, is influenced by Western and Indian cultures. He sings, writes music and plays the guitar and violin—and is deeply spiritual. His philosophy is “be you” in your music.

Catherine Malcolm Brickman, a former chair of the Malibu Cultural Arts Commission and co-producer of two highly successful “Concert on the Bluffs” events, has been a concert flutist, documentary filmmaker, photographer and film festival producer, among other things. She believes deeply in the bringing the arts to the people.

Shoshana Kuttner, actor and founder of the Young Actors Project, has overseen 50 theatrical productions since 2006. One of her core beliefs is the power of acting “as a conduit to healing our emotional vulnerabilities,” especially for children and young adults experiencing anxiety, fear and emotional repression.

Anna Krasner, a Russian refugee, former mathematician and world-class artist, creates paintings, sculptures and ceramics while listening to music. One of her core beliefs is that “the best way to enlighten the world is to brighten the world.”  

William Close created the Earth Harp—the longest musical instrument in the world, inspired by the noises made by the rigging, lanyards and whipping sails of his family’s sailboat. He composes music for his instruments and plays them around the world. 

“We started ‘I BUlieve’ because we wanted to pass on inspirational stories about people in Malibu, and show how their lives define their beliefs,” Pothier said in a phone interview.

“It’s definitely a challenge for anybody to say what you believe in,” Williams added. “We asked them to condense their life experiences down to one or two statements. Few people spend the time to decide what they really believe in. It’s a community story about Malibu, but it’s also everybody’s story.”

“So much of the way we define ourselves comes from external things that we buy into,” Pothier explained. “But we’re looking for actual self-awareness that turns into self-actualization.”

Although the “I BUlieve” project started before the Malibu fires, Williams and Pothier believe it is now even more relevant. 

“The fire took Malibu out of what was going on in the world and brought us into a bubble,” Alison observed. “Neighbors have gotten closer. People can now ponder what they feel and what they’ve learned from the fire.”

“Malibu is now going through a redefinition of its identity,” the couple said. “We need this project now more than ever—these inspirational stories … to help Malibu’s rebuilding.”

“There’s a lot of creativity in Malibu, and now a lot of pain and anger,” Williams explained. “Maybe the beauty and creativity that can come out of the fire will inspire the community to go back to a ‘life cycle’ instead of a death cycle.”

Williams and Pothier hope to expand their content at some point by “asking people to send in their own one-minute and 30-second video clips.” They feel that “anything that stimulates a person to take stock of themselves amid all the daily distractions of life” is a good thing.”

People should ask themselves, “What’s close to my heart? What makes me tick?” Jules said.

The couple describes “I BUlieve” as a passion project—a legacy on which to build and champion Malibu—and hope to set it up as a nonprofit organization. 

At the point when there are enough episodes of inspiring Malibu people, the couple will transform it into a documentary format, incorporating film footage that includes the fire. 

Williams is a director/filmmaker, drone cinematographer, writer and intuitive coach. He did 35 episodes of the UK talk show “Living the Life,” various documentaries and wrote “The Weigh Forward.” 

Pothier is a filmmaker, cinematographer, transformational/ executive coach, writer and intuitive practitioner featured in the “Choice Point” film. Previously a COO in investment banking, she also established Inside Out Retreats and edits “Magic Glasses” novels.