One of Valerie Mich’El’s earliest, prominent childhood memories is of her mother dragging her back, further away, from the television screen on a daily basis while Valerie was watching the programs and movies that captivated her. The worst punishment her mother could think of to keep her in line was the threat of “No television!” or “No going to the movies!” Most of the time it worked like a charm.
Valerie attended undergraduate school at Bloomfield College in New Jersey and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English-Communications. She received an internship at New Jersey Network and worked as a camera operator for “NJ Network News”, and as an assistant director for live performing arts programming. Three years later, on her way to the graduate Creative Writing Program at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, she got off the elevator on the wrong floor, had an impromptu interview with the Chair of the new Interactive Telecommunications Program, and left that office with a scholarship and immediate acceptance to the program.
During her years at Tisch, Valerie became known for her strong leadership, creative, and visionary abilities; excellent communication, motivational and writing skills; and a gift for generating innovative ideas while being open to those of others. She put these skills into practice while serving as assistant director and programming editor for a crime-suspense-dark-comedy interactive video (I’d Rather Be Lucky Than Good), in which the viewer became the “director” by making decisions about the “gumshoe” protagonist’s behavior through selecting alternate scene footage for the story. Another was an interactive video project focused on how to recognize physical indicators of child abuse that included interview footage with the director of the National Burn Victim Foundation. In effect, Valerie was using and further developing the factors necessary to be a director-producer-writer helping to tell stories.
She continued to make valuable contributions in her career relationships as the assistant art director at Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York City during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic; award-winning editor (Outstanding Media Coverage Award, Heritage of Pride, 1998), art director (Outstanding Media Coverage Award, Heritage of Pride, 1998); writer (Best Music Scribing Award, Superior Silver Medal Winner, Popmatters, 2007) and (Top Child Abuse Blog, “Reach 4 Freedom: Heal Child Abuse Music Project”, PsychologyDegree.net, 2010); and e-mail campaign marketer (All-Star Award Winner, Constant Contact, 2011) spanning 15 years. In particular, Valerie shined in conditions that required directing and working with teams (including writers, editors, graphic designers, illustrators, filmmakers).
Due to her love for songwriting, independent films, and education, Valerie launched two Business-Education Partnership Programs at higher education institutions. The first was at her undergraduate alma mater, Bloomfield College in New Jersey, where talented students worked on producing, arranging, and performing her music under the executive direction of the Chair of the Music Department, veteran Jazz Bassist and Composer, Christopher White (formerly with international recording artist, Nina Simone).
Val launched her second one at Gibbs College in New Jersey while teaching full-time in the Visual Communications program. This one was created for indie filmmakers who needed support marketing their projects. She worked very closely with directors and producers (and talented college students) to get their films accepted by multiple film festivals and to acquire distribution through cable TV, Blockbuster, and Netflix (e.g., Zombie Honeymoon, Black Wine). Through these relationships, Valerie stayed centered and focused on the best interests of the projects while being aware of and sensitive to the value of each member of the team to co-manifest them.
Her talent as an editor, art director, writer, electronic publisher, and interest in the shamanic and healing arts led Valerie to a long-term contractual relationship with Sacred Center for the Healing Arts (and the owner, Eleanora Amendolara) for multiple projects. These projects included website revisions, newsletters, and co-authoring Eleanora’s creative non-fiction memoir, Standing Naked In Rose Petals–that required accompanying her client on a trip to sacred spaces in Cusco, Peru where Valerie almost lost her life and had a near-death experience. This led to her studying at Eleanora’s Mystery School for two-years to become a healing artist and CHILL practitioner with a palette of creative, innovative, and spiritual tools to help individuals needing new approaches to their challenges and difficulties. Her identity as a healing artist is naturally integrated into her perspective and work as a creator/producer/writer/director.
An executive producer/investor once called her an “evangelist” for a TV series she was producing in 2010, because she was able to get him to support the project within a two-hour conversation on Skype, though it was the first time they met. In 2011, Val was invited to become a partner in and Executive Development Producer of Media Classics, Ltd, in the U.K. who had a film about Vivien Leigh in pre-production being produced with Michael Robinson-MGR Films (“We Need To Talk About Kevin”, “The Sea”) and Constellations Entertainment. Also, a period-drama-crime-mystery TV miniseries that she originated and co-created received an option offer from a U.K. production company.
Valerie was selected to direct the drama-thriller TUCHT after reading the script and providing director’s notes. Alex Molina (writer/director) called her notes “brilliant” and “inspiring” following his search for a director that lasted over a year. Also, received a query to direct a feature film (Family/Sports) and a Web-to-TV series (Action/Western/Sci-Fi, some actor attachments included: Danny Trejo, Luke Goss, Daryl Hannah).
She enjoys investing as a crowdfunder in arts, entertainment, and visionary healing projects based on her personal and professional interests. Projects successfully funded include: “An Affair Remains” New Asian & American Collaboration by Ray Robison (Film, IndieGoGo, 2017),
“Candace: The Story of Candida Royalle” by Sheona McDonald (Film, Kickstarter, 2014), “Advantageous: The Feature” by Jennifer Phang (Film, Kickstarter, 2013); “Big Little Girl” by Viki Posidis (Film, IndieGoGo, 2013); “Lava Mae: Mobile Showers for the Homeless” by Zero1 (Community Service, IndieGoGo, 2013); “Lily on Saturday” by Christine Autrand Mitchell (Film, IndieGoGo, 2014), and Bring Reading Rainbow Back for Every Child!” by Levon Burton (Literary, Kickstarter, 2014).