Author: Satu Runa

Actor/Director, Musician

Satu Runa, creator of "Hessians of Burbank"

Pollen Pictures Teams Up with Satu Runa for 1/2 Hour Comedy Series

LOS ANGELES, July 17, 2017- Producers Amanda W. Timpson  and Andrea M. Reyes of Pollen Pictures have teamed up with actress-writer Satu Runa to develop a 1⁄2 hour comedy series, Hessians of Burbank, for television.

Hessians of Burbank centers around Miriam: a thirty-something metal-head who escapes her soul-sucking desk job and heads for Hollywood on a quest to realize her lifelong dream of becoming a VJ. The show, created by and starring Runa, follows the lives of aging metal-heads refusing to evolve for anyone or anything as the world passes them by. It is an insightful, poignant homage to the bygone years of VJs and music videos- when heavy metal ruled the Earth.

“The minute Satu pitched this project to us we were interested. There’s something so universal about Miriam’s journey. Not everyone dreams of being a VJ, but everyone struggles with these ideas about identity, especially at a time when so many are encouraged to “follow their passion” at all costs. Hessians explores that cost with humor, honesty, and an unapologetically metal attitude. We’re thrilled to be working together on this project and can’t wait to introduce the world to Miriam.” -Amanda W. Timpson
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Hessians is a reflection of the MTV generation. What happens to our idols after they fall? What does it mean to return to your roots after you’ve settled for conformity? Pollen Pictures understands the story I want to tell, and I’m honored to work them.” –Satu Runa

With a character-driven point of view in the style of Amazon’s FleabagHessians’ biting humor ties in the musical humor and fantasy elements of Mozart in the Jungle with the playful snobbery and philosophical musings of High Fidelity (2000). This is the first joint venture of Pollen Pictures and Ms. Runa.


About Satu Runa: Actress Satu Runa (The Coalition, Rizzoli & Isles) started out interviewing rock bands on public access in Jersey City, NJ. She worked in production at Fuse Networks, Vh1, and has been on-camera talent for Fangoria TV. A graduate of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, Satu directed and starred in the pilot for 1⁄2 hour comedy Queen Gorya (2014) after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Official Site: www.saturuna.com Twitter: @SatuRuna

About Pollen Pictures: Pollen Pictures is an independent production company developing and producing engaging, provocative projects for TV, film, and digital platforms. Founded with the belief that storytelling is our most powerful tool for inciting change, Pollen Pictures is dedicated to diverse and inclusive storytelling both in front of the camera and behind. Official Site: www.pollen-pictures.com


Official Press Release: http://www.saturuna.com/hessians/

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A Canadian Immigrant’s Arranged Marriage with America

My relationship with the United States is like an arranged marriage. I didn’t choose to be here, and my love for this country grew with time. As I came to terms with my circumstances at a young age, I began to understand the American psyche over the years. But it took a long time. I came from a land of peace, gratitude, and snow. I went to a place full of anger, hatred, and pride. My defenses went up immediately. After 22 yrs, only since November 8th, 2016 had I truly began to understand why America is the way she is. And it took a protest to do it. Yes, this land is chaos. The people are crazy. The history is fascinating, tragic, and beautiful. But what America *could* be is marvelous. And, as a proud citizen of two countries, until they come for me, I will fight for her. #Resist

-Satu

Rogue Waves and Wipe Outs

Women make waves.

In troubled political and career times I think of Mary Ann Hawkins. A pioneer in American surfing, Hawkins caught the world’s attention after a feature in Time Magazine lead to her work as a Hollywood stunt double for Lana Turner. She broke a world record for holding her breath for 2 minutes and 15 seconds.

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Mary Ann Hawkins, from the Encyclopedia of Surfing (by Matt Warshaw)

She toppled wave after wave and opened a swimming school, having taught over 10,000 people to swim. She quit surfing in 1983, shortly after her son drowned while working.

Life is unpredictable and strangely coincidental. It can be beyond cruel, but it can also be rewarding. All you can do is give your best to the world, and not worry about if the world will give back to you. You are here for a purpose.

The everyday strife that an actor experiences is not unlike surfers. Athletes either win the game, or they don’t. They sink, or they swim. But they keep playing, they keep chasing wave after wave- despite knowing the life-threatening risks. We ride the feeling of hope and wrangle that euphoria while it lasts like the drug that it is, knowing that we will crash eventually. But my recovery rate is phenomenal, and that only came after years and years of rejection beatings and flaky promises.

I want to spare new actors from pain. I want them to learn from my mistakes. But my mistakes have made me bullet proof, and I wouldn’t trade this life for any other life in the world. Strength is earned, not given.

Get out there and own it, like Mary Ann Hawkins did. Manipulate it. Ride it… then crash, knowing that another wave will surely form, but this time you are ready and waiting to catch it.

-Satu

 

 

Prince Dreams

I warmed up on the keys then tuned my guitar. The rest of the musicians were eagerly checking a blackboard with their names written in alphabetical order. Each name had a song written next to it, up to the S’s. I anxiously waited to see which song I would get, if I would get one at all, because if you didn’t get a song selection you were cut from the band try-outs. Waiting patiently, nervous. Did I make the cut? Was I good enough? And there it was. He had chosen “Darling Nikki” as the song I would sing for the band, and play guitar on. All of my dreams had come true with the stroke of a purple pen. Dressed in gold and yellow, he turns to look at me, smirking, black curly cue perfectly coiled on his forehead. I whispered “Thank you” as he strutted off to start rehearsals. #PrinceDreams

-Darling Satu

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I want to make art

 

I want to make art.

Feel the sun
Etch crimson blush
Crisp sea air dusting salt in my hair
Flicking, flittering, abandoning all despair

Unattached from fear
Doubt and rage. Years
Painting age on my face from
Love lost and one too many beers
Instead of one less paycheck
Tumbling all dominoes of balance
A delicate Jenga puzzle of bills
Income, and keeping my family safe from harm

I just want to live
Make art every minute, every second
Out of happiness, joy, and bliss
Capture things impossible to miss
Kissing my skin, like free-falling snow
Free and wild as nature intended
Fearing only the unknown
Instead of my own people.

©2016 Satu Runa
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photo by RonniDropBread

I am but one cipher in an army of millions.

Some things I have learned since yesterday (Stella Adler alumni may remember Ron Burrus’ daily question, “What have you been learning?”):
1. Labels can be effective.
I hate the idea of labeling yourself. As an actor, a mixed-race child, a citizen of two countries, among other things… I felt that “labels” were far too limiting and complicated for me. I want to be free from a catalogue of humanity. But labels united as a voice do matter. It’s not about me and my individualistic ideals. It’s about showing numbers. I am but one cipher in an army of millions.
 
2. Try talking to the opposition instead of ignoring them.
I have a trigger finger when it comes to unfollowing/blocking. Since watching “Arrival” (and reading Zack Stentz + William Stamey‘s posts) I have decided to listen. I will converse instead of mute. As an actor and a member of this society, it’s in my best interest to attempt to understand why someone behaves the way they do.
 
3. A movement can only be successful when the people have a common vision.

What I believe Occupy lacked, #UniteAgainstHate has gained. Whether it be a common leader like Gandhi or MLK, or a common enemy like T****- you must stand together in order to be effective.

 

may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?
O, pardon! since a crooked figure may
Attest in little place a million;
And let us, ciphers to this great accompt,
On your imaginary forces work.

HENRY V, Prologue

 

Reading the above text (O for a Muse of Fire) that we had studied in drama school relentlessly, I take away from this speech the word “cipher. This word is meant to mean, in this context, that one actor on the stage shall represent 1 million soldiers that fought at Agincourt. The Chorus asks the audience to imagine that 1 actor is actually 1 million.
I am but one cipher. There are millions who are unseen that need to be heard. We performers, public speakers, activists shall be visible for you to be heard.

What have you been learning?

-Satu

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#UnitedAgainstHate March in Los Angeles 11/12/16

I had butterflies of equal parts fear and excitement. As soon as we surfaced, thousands of people had already gathered. I saw signs:

IMMIGRANT (arrow pointed down to a white woman holding the sign)
NOT MY PRESIDENT
THIS PUSSY GRABS BACK

So I knew it was going to be at least a good protest. No opposition in sight. Cops were helping to stop traffic. People stuck in their cars waved, honked, and cheered. The numbers were there. I felt a surge of love and an unmistakable, powerful energy.

Thousands gathered to watch. Brown-skinned men in construction and trucker hats, just showing up for work that day, saw thousands of people shouting loudly:

“SAY IT LOUD, SAY IT CLEAR: IMMIGRANTS ARE WELCOME HERE!”

The brown-skinned men were crying. They were laughing. They were waving and smiling. They knew they were not alone.

“MY BODY, MY CHOICE/HER BODY, HER CHOICE”
“TRANS LIVES MATTER”
“BLACK LIVES MATTER”
“TINY HANDS CAN’T BUILD A WALL”
“HEY HEY! HO HO! DONALD TRUMP HAS GOT TO GO!”

Many see these protests as futile, that it’s “inevitable” and we must accept it. Something you may not know (unless you were there), in addition to rejecting Trump, this is a call to fight for the rights of *everyone*. When your rights are being attacked, nothing feels more empowering than the sheer volume of people making it very clear that they are willing to fight to protect you. That’s what this is about. Regardless of Trump, we will never ever stop fighting for everyone affected by the hatred from Trump’s supporters. And the world is watching.

So here is my advice, if you are feeling hurt and helpless: If you are able-bodied, stand with us. Join us.

While our actions may not change what happens on January 19th, what I learned was this: When a trans person watches the news and sees the marches, they will feel better. When a muslim person watches the news tonight, they will feel better. When an immigrant watches the news tonight, they will feel less afraid. What does this all mean?

YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You have an ally in me, and all of those people you see on the news marching. Millions are with you. I hope you can sleep a little better tonight, and smile a little knowing that.

Satu
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