We had the good fortune of connecting with Christie Conochalla and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christie, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Oh man, this is the question, the ultimate question! We are not raised to have a balance here in this country, at least I wasn’t. I was raised to Work and for many many years work ruled my life and I felt successful because I was endlessly tired with no time for myself. It took the pandemic to really open my eyes. I was one of the millions of people who suddenly had no access to work, which to me at the time was my purpose and my life force. When I woke up day in and day out seeing that I’d spent a decade feeling success from outward sources with little to nothing to show for it all, it changed my entire perspective. I saw that all the time and effort was going into this vision of my life next year or five years from now or fifty years from now but I wasn’t putting any energy into what was going into my day-to-day. When I was fortunate enough to go back to set last summer after months of wondering what will come of my life but the difference now is the moment to moment gratitude for the basic luxury of earning a living doing something I love with people I admire, respect, and who are supportive of my growth but the more amazing thing is, when I leave there I’m now seeing gratitude for every moment of the rest of my life. I’m creating amazing art with people who have become some of my best friends and feeling amazing support from the film community for work which truly inspires me. There are no more thoughts about how this moment doesn’t matter because the future will have a bigger film project for me to be on with more money than I have now. What I have now is amazing and what will come will come because of the joy I feel in every moment during this moment.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a writer/producer/director who has a passion for telling widely relatable lesbian stories. This is possibly one of the most difficult paths to walk and if I could stop I would! Every time I feel down about the constant opening of doors just to find brick walls I want to walk away but then I get this infernal idea in my head about something that would bring me, and hopefully an audience, so much joy that before I know it I’m in the editing suite toiling away at something new. But this year something changed. I was always working toward that big project and now I am having so much fun working with Marie Gibeault and Sarah Durham on a lesbian-driven sitcom. It started as a holiday short, an outlet from a difficult holiday season, and it turned into day-to-day joy. It all goes back to finding joy in the here and now. When I stopped taking everything I did so seriously, I started seeing why people create art through film, it is so inspiring, wonderful, and collaborative. I realized every challenge was a figment of my mind. When I started seeing challenges as experiences, I started feeling gratitude for what a fun and interesting life I lead. We all need to open our eyes to the amazing things we do! Every moment of our lives are a creative experience and the faster you see that, the faster you’ll see how amazing it all really is! I hope my films and series bring a little joy to everyone’s life who watches, and they can all be seen on the LesFlicks streaming platform.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh wow! Los Angeles is so chalk-filled with amazing experiences. If I were taking them on a day that would embody an adventure that is quintessentially me we would being at Alfred’s Coffee in Studio City where I would order an oat milk Matcha latte and have an existential conversation about man’s ultimate struggle between time and death on their lovely patio while we watch the passersby. We would hop in the car and stop at Follow Your Heart in Canoga Park where we’d get some delicious vegan/vegetarian treats from their cafe and market, pack it all up and hop in the car to take a drive through the Santa Monica Mountains, stopping at every inspiring turn off, possibly hiking in one of the state parks, ultimately leading to the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu where we’d drive north through Ventura until we got hungry then stop at the nearest beach for a picnic. We’d take the long way back where I’d stop at Wine and More on Topanga Canyon Road to buy some Glenngassaugh Evolution scotch and we could head to my friend Cynde’s house to meet up with friends to sing, dance, and libate! I have a very simple life and I love every moment.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many! I’ll start personal with: Kacy who is one of my very best friends and who Executive Produced my first project “Once Upon A Zipper” which really was the project that opened so many doors.
Lisa Tedesco who has supported every second of my journey and who I know can count on every single day.
Jessica Harcourt who has been my producing partner-in-crime since 2016. Anyone who makes movies knows how vital that kind of friend is.
Thich Nhat Hahn who evolved the entire view of life and the world.
My mother who is and will always be my very best friend.
And my family who has always been an unending fountain of support from the moment I arrived in this life.
More credit: Cynde Casey, Marina Rice Bader, Jane Clark, Mandahla Rose
Other: Subscribe today to LesFlicks and the Reel Women Network to watch a collection of my shorts, my feature, and two episodes of my new sitcom “Welcome Home” more episodes coming soon! www.lesflicks.com www.reelwomennetwork.com
Ashutosh Gangwar (Chandler Film Festival) Elesha Barnett (headshot/interview photo) Arthur Khoshaba (Forever Not Maybe poster)