Head Above Water - A Filmmaking & Mental Health Podcast

Head Above Water - A Filmmaking & Mental Health Podcast

With Head Above Water, host and filmmaker Jason Charnick takes listeners on a deep dive with intimate and thought-provoking conversations with some of today's most influential independent filmmakers and creatives. In the vein of WTF with Marc Maron, each episode will focus on in-depth discussions with filmmakers, performers, and creators to discuss the mental challenges of expressing one's self creatively in such hypersensitive times. We get personal with our guests, talking about their fears and personal struggles, what they worry about when they go to sleep, and how they work overcome their own self-imposed limitations.


January 22, 2021 68 min

Today's episode we chat with filmmaking duo Jack Gravina & Diliana Deltcheva. Separately, they've been successful filmmakers working for Discovery Channel and marketing/branding production company Framework Studio, and together they're a powerhouse couple running Gravina Films, their own production company.

This conversation took place before Covid, so while we don't discuss the effects of a global pandemic had o...

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Welcome to Season 3 of Head Above Water!

We have lots of big plans for our third season, and we open with a very special episode! Today we talk with actor and producer Tanna Frederick, star of the new film Two Ways Home, available to watch now on VOD (links below).

Two Ways Home is very unique in that its portrayal of mental illness and mental health issues has been approved by NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI'...

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December 24, 2020 57 min

Greetings friends, and happy holiday wishes to you all!

We're bringing season 2 to a close with a fantastic conversation with microbudget indie director, Evan Kidd! Based in North Carolina, Evan has been on the cutting edge of microbudgets for a while now, culminating in his current feature, Panda Bear It, which cost only $500 to make and is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video right now!

Making a feature film for such a limi...

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November 19, 2020 63 min

On today's episode, we talk with Alex Ferrari (IMDb), filmmaker, entrepreneur, and creator of Indie Film Hustle, one of the premiere destinations anywhere for information, advice and encouragement for independent filmmakers all of all kinds.

Alex has blazed a path in independent film that saw him running his own post studio, starting the YouTube film tutorial phenomenon, writing two books, and directing two features, both after ...

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September 24, 2020 73 min

Greetings friends!

On this week's episode, we talk with Liz Manashil, writer & director of Bread and Butter and Speed of Life.

Liz has worked with some the industry's finest acting talents, including Ann Dowd (The Handmaid's Tale), Jeff Perry (Scandal) and Allison Tolman (Emergence). She is active in the independent film community, specifically microbudget films, and is as knowledgeable and talented a filmmaker as I&#...

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September 17, 2020 65 min

Greetings friends!

This week's episode is our Atlanta Film Festival special! On today's episode we talk with director Cat Rhinehart from the documentary What's Eating Ralphie May, playing in this year's festival at Dad's Garage Drive-in theater next Thursday, September 24! If you're in the Atlanta area, you can purchase tickets to the screening at the link below:


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September 10, 2020 73 min

Greetings, friends!

This week's episode is a San Francisco DocFest special!

Today we talk with our first documentary director on the show, Chelsea Christer from the SF DocFest closing night film, Bleeding Audio!

SF DocFest runs a little different than other virtual festivals in that all the films streaming online are available for the entire run of the festival, rather than at specific times. That means that even though Bleeding A...

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Season 2 of Head Above Water rolls on!

This week's episode is a Dances With Films festival special!

On today's show, we talk with Megan Petersen & Hannah Black from the film Drought about being first-time feature filmmakers, the excitement and subsequent pressure of winning crowdfunding platform Seed & Spark's Hometown Heroes contest, working with Mark & Jay Duplass, and why their filmmaking home will always ...

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July 16, 2020 68 min

Welcome to Season 2 of Head Above Water!

On the season premiere, we talk with veteran Hollywood writer, producer & director Peter Sullivan! Peter graduated from the prestigious NYU Tisch School for the Arts, but don't let the early pedigree fool you. Peter's journey from film student to today has been filled with many challenges, both internal and external, and Peter discusses some those obstacles that he's had to ov...

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April 3, 2020 47 min

This week’s episode is a brutally honest and frank discussion with director Ben Berman. Ben has an extensive list of impressive of credits in film and television. His first feature, The Amazing Johnathan Documentary premiered at Sundance 2019 and is currently available to watch on Hulu.

He recently took advantage of being locked down at home during the current coronavirus pandemic to make and release The Follow-Up which comedically ...

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March 26, 2020 55 min

Greetings friends! All apologies for the delay between episodes, but we are back and we have a lot of fun, new interviews to share with you all! I know the world had changed significantly for all of us since the last episode, so hopefully these conversations can be a welcome distraction and get your mind off of things... for an hour at least.

On this week's episode we talk to Mike Peebler, a veteran of stage and screen, who is p...

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January 28, 2020 57 min

It is with a heavy heart that we present to you this week's Sundance special episode of Head Above Water. With the tragic, sudden loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter and friends this week, we just wanted to take a moment to send our condolences to the families that have been affected by this week's tragedy. Grief is something that affects each one of us in its own way, and Kobe meant so much to so many people, that we want...

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January 21, 2020 48 min

This week's episode - lucky number seven! - brings us New Jersey documentary producer/director, Ken Spooner. Ken co-directed the magnificent Life With Layla, a touching depiction of life as a young girl in a family struggling with the ravages of heroin addiction.

Ken's journey through a multiyear production process doesn't go without leaving an indelible impression, and we discuss the many ways spending time with a famil...

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January 7, 2020 24 min

Greetings friends and happy new year! We're back! Sorry for the long wait (across two decades!) for the second part of our interview with Jezebel writer/director, Numa Perrier, but the holidays often get hectic, and it was a good opportunity to recharge the batteries as we dive head first into 2020!

This second part of our interview with Numa is a special one, and we hit upon some really personal subjects, such as dealing with n...

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December 17, 2019 30 min

This week's episode of Head Above Water brings us the writer/director of the feature film, Jezebel, the inimitable Numa Perrier. Jezebel had its world premiere at SXSW 2019 in the avant-garde Visions category and was recently acquired by Ava DuVernay's ARRAY.

The film will be premiering in theaters and on Netflix on January 16, 2020. I was lucky and honored to moderate a Q&A for the film at its buzz screening at SXSW: a ...

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December 3, 2019 62 min

This episode features an intimate conversation with Paulina Lagudi Ulrich, the writer and director of the Showtime feature film, Mail Order Monster. We discuss a variety of interesting topics, including the dangers of social media, working with her new husband Cooper, and her struggle to finally overcome a devastating eating disorder early in her career. We lighten things up at the end by talking about the joys (and expense!) of sh...

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November 19, 2019 43 min

Part 2 with Writer and Producer Anna Keizer from the upcoming short film, She Had It Coming, continues our crowdfunding conversation with Anna telling us why she probably won't be doing another campaign in the future, while host Jason Charnick tells us why crowdfunding is probably the only way he'll be able to make another film in the future. It's a different kind of conversation on crowdfunding you won't hear anywh...

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November 4, 2019 63 min

Writer and Producer Anna Keizer from the upcoming short film, She Had It Coming, joins us for a frank conversation on her first foray into crowdfunding to raise money for her project.

Crowdfunding has been instrumental in shifting the fundraising dynamic in independent film over the past few years, putting millions of dollars and more at the fingertips of small, microbudget filmmakers. With this newfound access however, comes a lita...

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October 21, 2019 77 min

Microbudget independent filmmakers Elena Weinberg & Duncan Coe join host Jason Charnick for an in-depth and honest conversation about the challenges of being indie filmmakers in today's highly competitive entertainment industry.

Elena & Duncan moved out to Los Angeles from Austin, Texas 4 months ago as they try to take their career and their craft to the next level. We talk about the fear and anxiety that comes from maki...

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