Writer: Kelly Winsa/Hi Honey

Huffington Post Column by Jen Grisanti


06/13/2012 07:28 pm ET Updated Aug 13, 2012

Art Inspiring Art on the Big Island

By Jen Grisanti

It is amazing how art inspires art, in particular when you attend a film festival, take in each artist’s perspective, and you see what works and why it works. The experience awakens something inside of you that can help you further define your own art. This was an invaluable part of my experience at The Big Island Film Festival this past Memorial Day weekend. Whether I was watching a short film or feature length film, I could see the heart of each artist was out in the open, ready to be absorbed by those who were open to receiving the message behind the art. One of the incredibly talented filmmakers I met while there was Korrina Sehringer. Her feature length film, Shouting Secrets received The Audience Feature Choice Award. The film revolves around a gathering of an Indian family due to the illness of their mother. The Audience Short Choice Award went to the short film Hi Honey by Peter A.M. Henderson and Kelly Winsa; it’s a comedy that centers around a woman turning 40 who reflects on a romantic life of waiting and asking permission for what she needs. Both films were my favorites of the festival. It was inspiring seeing the films and the filmmakers gathered there to celebrate their accomplishments with one another.


I have been working as a writer since 2002, when I began 'Aiti' at my cottage. Since then, I have written; 'The Flower Girl' based on the senior marriage of  my grandmother, Sylvia, who raised me when I was young, Rialto, a screenplay about mental illness, Hi Honey, an award winning 20 minute comedy about a woman who leaves her boyfriend for a dog. I have written a series based on this film.
'Hi Honey' went on to win the Golden Honu People's Choice Award at the Big Island Film Festival,  and the Critics' Choice at the Blue Water Film Festival in Michigan.
Recently I traveled to France to research Black Madonnas for the series 'Robi's Flying Saucer Drive-In.'
Blogging and writing creative content is a natural transition for me. I was a Canadian Fashion designer for 10 years, working on film projects, with Diane Ladd, Shari Belafonte, Tea Leone and others, while creating a fashion line for loyal clients. Before this I designed a Canadian Fashion line called Wesley and Winsa which sold in stores across Canada.

Wesley and Winsa was featured on the cover of Women's Wear Daily Best of Canada, and was featured in Flare Magazine, Toronto Life Fashion, and Chatelaine. Our line won the Woolmark Award. My partner James Wesley Smith and I won the contract to design the first uniforms for the Skydome, now called Roger's Centre.
When I had children, I started teaching art, in Toronto and in Hawaii, to children. This has given me a unique sight into the world of children.

I studied energy therapy for 3 years and received a diploma. The courses included a pre requisite year of study of the 'The Good Enough Mother' and 'Oneness and Separateness'. The study looked deeply within the early childhood years. 
I have worked with several brilliant editors and teachers including Susan Hughes, Dimitra Chronopolous, Dara Marks, and Jen Grisanti. I studied writing with Gotham Writers Workshop in New York, online.
I went to school at Ryerson in Toronto for fashion, and to Laurentian University for history. My world expanded living in Hawaii for many years, where an artist taught me that the meaning of black and blue black, the shades of darkness, are within Hawaiian chant. 
I invite you to contact me about any project which interests you. One may be in revision, but several are ready and have been developed. 
I blogged the Waimea Ocean Film Festival for the first five years, and met many luminaries, who gave me direction for my projects. 

I would say that I have been an entrepreneur my entire life working with teams of students and partners. I look forward to working with students once again, in film. This will be both in my own projects and in theirs. I did this with Ryerson students while I worked in Toronto as a fashion designer, hiring two of them to be part of Tequila Mockingbird.