A fabulous woman I knew from UCLA Film School had just gotten a job as an Executive Producer at American Girl, and I just impulsively shot her an email and told her how much I’d always loved the AG books. And incredibly, a month or so later she emailed me and said they were looking for a writer who could help out on a book.—Kellen Hertz, Author
American Girl executive producer Julie Ann Sipos surprised Gray with the news that she had been chosen to be the voice of Melody Ellison, a 9-year-old growing up in Detroit during the civil rights era. And Gray’s reaction was priceless.
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JULIE ANN SIPOS (M.F.A. '04) was the executive producer of Lea to the Rescue, the first-ever live-action adventure movie from American Girl. Sipos also hired KELLEN HERTZ (M.F.A. '02) to write the third Lea Clark novel, Lea and Camila. Hertz was subsequently offered a three-book deal to create a new American Girl character.
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“She would hold little luncheons; you felt like you were part of this literary salon,” said Julie Ann Sipos, a two-time Dini Ostrov scholarship recipient. "She would come to graduation with these beautiful Mont Blanc fountain pens and say she wanted us to sign our first big movie script with it some day. I did.”
American Girl: Lea to the Rescue is a bright movie: Lea sparkles, Brazil is colorful and vibrant, and the animals are beautifully photographed. What's more, Lea uncovers a wonderful truth about her grandmother and spends quality time with Aki (Storm Reid), an adorable counterpart in a world far from her own. It's nice to see the American Girl people developing adventure stories for their characters.
It was the material Patrick Perez produced in Julie Ann Sipos’ class that earned him a College Emmy in 2005. And it was that award that eventually gave him the ammunition to convince the president of MyNetworkTV that he was ready to direct content. “I’m quite sure I’ll be going to him for a job some day, says Sipos.
What mattered was making it all the way to freaking Oz and hanging with the wizard! Whatever happens next, simply by virtue of having made the defining journey of my life, I’ll never have to look back and wonder, what if?
Step back in time to Paris between the wars among the glitterati and literati at Romani guitarist Django Reinhardt’s sizzling hot gypsy jazz club — alive with literary legends, musicians and artists of Ernest Hemingway’s “moveable feast.” MSOL's Julie Ann Sipos hosts with co-sponsor Paoli Schoolhouse.