I work with themes of environmental justice, saving endangered species, casting talent with disabilities, women’s empowerment, LGBTQ, & diversity, says Kat Kramer
#KatKramer; #Webseries; #MothersDayMemories; #Actress; #Singer; #Dancer #Journalist; #Influencer; #SoloPerformer;
Los Angeles (US)/Canadian-Media: Kat Kramer, daughter of the late legendary producer/director Stanley Kramer, is an actress, singer, journalist, producer & Influencer. As an actress, she appeared on stage and screen, and starred in one-woman-shows and appeared in films including “Going Shopping,” “Hollywood Dreams,” “What Just Happened?,” “Little Fockers,” and currently co-stars in Seasons 3 and 4 of the popular Web series “CHILD OF THE ’70s.”. Kat also performed special musical Tributes and serving on the dais, she opened the program at the Pacific Pioneers Broadcaster’s Awards, and received a standing ovation from her idol with the original parody “Dear Lily Tomlin.”
Asha Bajaj, Editorial-Director of Canadian-Media had an opportunity to discuss with Kat Kramer by E-mail her career as an actress, singer, and an influencer as well as what inspired her to act in the short film, “Mother’s Day Memories”.
Asha Bajaj: When was ‘Kat Kramer’s Films That Change the World’ founded and what purpose did this serve?
Kat Kramer: “Kat Kramer’s Films That Change The World” is a unique cinema series in April 2009 at the Stanley Kramer Theatre at Sunset-Gower Studios to showcase motion pictures and documentaries that raise awareness about important social issues and to give new filmmakers a “voice.” It was during Women’s History Month, and I selected Barbra Streisand’s masterpiece YENTL as my first film to introduce future generations to a unique story about women’s equality. I was fortunate that Barbra “broke the glass ceiling” for women in film by directing, producing, writing, and starring in a feature film. With the realization, that female empowerment still has a long way to go, I chose to benefit Raise Hope For Congo and The Enough Project, and flew in women from the Congo as guest speakers. While the character of “Yentl” had to disguise herself as a male in order to study the Yeshiva during the Turn of the Century, women in the Congo today have to disguise themselves because they are female, so they don’t get raped and murdered. It proves we haven’t come that far. Since that premiere event, my series has presented films that focus on animal-rights, environmental issues, LGBTQ bullying, women’s reproductive rights, and nuclear issues, to name a few.
What motivated you to act in the short film, ‘Mother’s Day Memories’?
I had been filming “TURNOVER” (streaming on Amazon Prime) an indie film about diversity, inclusion, community, and acceptance. My character of “Fran” is the woman you love to hate. So I was looking for a change of place. The role of “Michelle” in “Mother’s Day Memories”, a college professor, and the “voice of reason” in the piece attracted me. So when the co-writer/director, Matthew Michael Ross, offered me to play the role of “Michelle.” I was pleased because the story of “Mother’s Day Memories” is also an issue film “that spreads awareness about a major disease,” which has affected so many lives in the world.
Tell us a little bit about your late father, the legendary producer/director Stanley Kramer.
My father Stanley Kramer had made 35 social justice films, many of them classics. “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” was groundbreaking because when it was made, inter-racial marriage was against the law in 16 states. When it was released in 1967, it was on the heels of the “Loving VS. Virginia” landmark Supreme Court case. My father’s film helped change the law. It was also an Academy Award winner, starring Spencer Tracy, my Godmother Katharine Hepburn, and Sidney Poitier. Stanley Kramer has 85 Oscar nominations for his films, 16 wins in various categories, and he was honored by the Academy with the prestigious Irving J. Thalberg Award. He also discovered – and gave a chance to – many of our finest actors, writers, and filmmakers. Our family has established the ‘Stanley Kramer Award” at the Producer’s Guild Of America” and the “Stanley Kramer Social Justice Award” at the African American Film Critics Association. Besides “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner”, his films include “High Noon” “The Defiant Ones” “Judgment At Nuremberg” “Inherit The Wind” “Ship Of Fools” “On The Beach” “Champion” “The Men” “The Wild One” “ Bless The Beasts And Children” and ‘It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”
What are the most popular themes followed by you?
Environmental Justice, Saving Endangered Species, Authenticity in Casting Talent with Disabilities, Women’s Empowerment, LGBTQ Pioneers, Diversity
Give a few examples of your selection of screening series with a brief description of each. Which did you consider the best?
I launched my cinema series with “YENTL.” The 2nd installment was “THE COVE” which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. That was about the slaughtering of the dolphins in Taiji, Japan, a cruel practice that still goes on, unfortunately.
There are some I feel made a great impact. Lily Tomlin is the main Ambassador, as she has hosted many of the screenings, and even narrated one called “Teach Your Children Well.” The contribution I’m most proud of is that I advocate for the deaf community and presented the Sony Pictures Classics film GRANDMA starring Lily Tomlin as an inclusive screening event. I presented it at Sony Studios for my 8th installment and spearheaded the first open caption screening on a studio lot in 20 years. I moderated the filmmaker's panel featuring GRANDMA writer-director Paul Weitz, and deaf creatives, actor-director Troy Kotsur ( star of the 2021 break-out Sundance hit CODA), and writer-director Jevon Whetter. I had ASL interpreters and made the screening accessible for the audience which consisted of the deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing creatives, activists, the entertainment industry, and students.
You have also starred in one-woman shows. Please name them and throw more light on them.
I have been a performer since I was a toddler, focusing on the triple threat: acting, singing, and dancing. I created Cabaret/Nightclub acts, and solo theatre shows. When I moved back to Los Angeles from New York and Seattle, I debuted “The Colors Of Myself” at the Cinegrill located at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. I was the youngest performer to headline at that venue since the late Mary Martin. Since then, I performed one-woman shows a lot, from “Kriss Krossing” to “Katharine & The Kats.” My performing idol is Lily Tomlin, who was the first woman on Broadway to headline a solo show. Lily defines the genre for me. She was the first female to play male drag characters, and also created classic characters, that sprung from her imagination but are culture types. My solo show called ‘My Duet With Mick” is a theatre piece, largely inspired by Tomlin, and I’m still developing it. It’s evolving into a new solo show called “She’s A Rainbow” where I play multiple characters on a journey to meet Sir Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones. The only difference in format is that I sing in my show, and Lily doesn’t, but she has been a role model for me as an actress/comedienne/activist. I originally previewed “My Duet With Mick” for Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival. I also serve on the LAWTF Advisory Board.
You also have a singing passion. Can you throw more light on this with examples?
Well, I started singing as a child. My mother said I was born looking for my klieg light. I played Orphan Annie on the road in “Annie.” I sang with HB Radke & Friends, a big band made of kid musicians in Seattle Washington. I was their girl singer as a pre-teen. Eventually, I was the opening act for the late Jazz legend Anita O’Day, here in Los Angeles. We played the Viper Room and the Jazz Bakery. I have extensive training and experience in musical theatre. I also sing pop and rock. My favorite band of all time is The Rolling Stones. I recorded a CD of obscure Rolling Stones songs, and Mick Jagger solo material called “GEMSTONE.” I also covered a solo song by Keith Richards. I recorded a re-imagined version of ‘Bless The Beasts And Children” the theme song from my father’s film. about animal rights and gun control. I sang it “live” with Le Petit Cirque at The Avalon Theatre as a benefit for Circus PAWS. I headlined for both PAWS/LA and “All For Love” Animal Rescue.
Name some of the awards won by you.
The awards I’m the proudest of are winning Best Actress for playing Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker” on-stage in Seattle, and for my roles as Anne Frank in “The Diary Of Anne Frank” and Estella in “Great Expectations. I am also proud of being a Miss Golden Globe Ambassador Hollywood Foreign Press Association I also garnered the Compassion Award from The Braveheart Women, and Best Supporting Actress for playing “Fran” in TURNOVER from the “Love International Film Festival.” It was a highly competitive category, and I won over actresses from all over the world. It was quite an honor.
Image credit of ‘The Miracle Worker’ and ‘TURNOVER’: Pinterest
Image credit for ‘Love International Film Festival’: Website
What are your future plans?
I have 10 projects in active development for film/television and streaming. Of course, a passion project is my re-tooled solo show which I may present as a Livestream, but eventually, want to perform “live” for audiences when theatre comes back. I’m set to act in and produce “Civil Disobedience” an Anthology Series. I’m writing a Memoir. The main priority is presenting the continuing 10th Anniversary of “Kat Kramer’s Films That Change The World” and my theme is #SHEROESFORCHANGE. It will be a mini-film festival, probably presented as a virtual event. I will honor 2 activists with the awards I created. The “Hunt For Humanity Award” named in honor of the original activist Marsha Hunt, and the “Shero” Award. I’m establishing an outreach program called “New Voices For Change” where I will present new screenplays and plays with socially-conscious themes as table readings to introduce new material before it’s produced.