The CineCares Foundation at CineSpace Chicago Film Studios is devoted to empowering Chicago residents from underserved communities on the west and south sides through education and job training in TV & Film and has one of the most successful job training programs, the Mirkopoulos Internship Program, in the film industry. The Executive Director of the foundation is Sheila R. Brown and she stopped by this week for an entertaining round of Five Questions with SCREEN, let’s get to it!
SCREEN: Your best summer vacation ever?
SHEILA: I actually just returned from my best summer vacation ever. I spent 10 days at a wellness spa on the Hawaiian island of Lānaʻi. It was the first time that I carved out 10 days to focus on getting back to my center, relaxing, and releasing the day-to-day stress that builds up. Spending multiple days being pampered at the spa, doing yoga, walking through beautiful gardens, lounging by the lake one day and at the beach the next day, and flying on private planes proved to be the right ingredients for my restoration.
SCREEN: Celebrity crush?
SHEILA: It is a tie between Robert De Niro and Chris Gardner (the inspiration for The Pursuit of Happyness movie). I tell my husband that he should feel lucky that he got to me first because I love Robert De Niro’s cool confidence and his ability to embody all of his characters. As for Chris, I found his story compelling and he is another one with that cool confidence. Being handsome works in both of their favors, too! Neither seems flappable and both are intelligent, successful, and appear to have strong character.
[Editor’s Note: We all know Mr. DeNiro so let’s hear from Mr. Chris Gardner…]
SCREEN: If you could fix one thing, what would you fix?
SHEILA: The disparities that exist in the United States and around the world. I would make it where everyone starts life with equal opportunities and privileges… an equal playing field. And for those of us who were not fortunate enough to have been born into equality, I would provide equity.
SCREEN: Your greatest athletic achievement?
SHEILA: I taught myself to swim at age 45! I have always been afraid of drowning so I never even tried. I am so glad that I did it because I absolutely love it! I currently swim for an hour three days a week.
SCREEN: Your go-to karaoke song?
SHEILA: I have never performed a karaoke song but it would be any classic Michael Jackson song. Likely “Rock with you” because I know all of the words, it was a solo video so the choreography was simple, and there is no moonwalking required!
SCREEN: Worst job ever?
SHEILA: Only one of my previous jobs fall into this category and it was being a telephone salesperson for a national newspaper. It was my first job and I SUCKED! I could not call people that I did not know and try to convince them to buy something that they likely did not need. If they told me they could not afford it or did not want it, I would say “I understand” and then I’d be done. WRONG! I was supposed to go from selling a weekly subscription to just the weekend and then to only Sunday. I could not do it. However, I was a hard worker so the District Manager made me her assistant instead of trying to sell newspapers. So, there was a good outcome.
SCREEN: What’s inspiring you today?
SHEILA: My work. I have been in entertainment for over 30 years now. To be able to dedicate this phase of my career to providing access to people who are often marginalized in the TV/film business is a dream come true. I am inspired by their hard work and determination to succeed in this industry!