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Writer Lisa L. Kirchner unveils her first short film

Bill DeYoung



Monday’s edition of The Catalyst Sessions began with the trailer for My Dinner With Steve, a short (10 minute) film created in St. Petersburg in March, just before the pandemic curtain fell.

At 17 seconds, the trailer is just the right length, in terms of ratio, for the film.

“It is short, and it doesn’t really give anything away,” said screenwriter Lisa L. Kirchner, “but I think it does give you a bit of a laugh, because you’ve got that grinding metal (music), and this chick in a dress and a pink scarf riding along.”

Said “chick,” astride a bicycle on the St. Pete bayfront, is Kirchner herself, playing Jen, the story’s protagonist, on her way to the titular dinner with the titular Steve.

“And by the way, I just have to say, that was right after I had my broken leg and knee surgery,” Kirchner said, “I had really just barely started walking around.”

The author of the memoir Hello American Lady Person: What I Learned as a Woman in Qatar, Kirchner is also the host of the (now virtual and produced through Creative Pinellas) local storytelling series True Stories. She is a skilled writer and humorist.

No spoilers here, but My Dinner With Steve, which has already been accepted by two global film festivals, is a dynamic blend of humor and sobering truths about people, and their relationships.

All of which is right in Lisa L. Kirchner’s wheelhouse. Her next book, Blissful Thinking, chronicles her search for enlightenment – and, as an aside, something productive to pass the time – in India.

Vignettes from that lengthy – and productive – period in Kirchner’s life are already providing fodder for her next forays into filmmaking.

“I started writing short pieces, and I’ve written several,” she explained. “And I gotta tell ya, I love them so much more than books because to some extent, they’re easier to write. At least in the short form.

“I haven’t actually tackled a full-length feature film, but I have a couple more films in this series, with this character, where the story continues. So I’m looking forward to bringing those.”


Today on The Catalyst Sessions: St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor and City Administrator Kanika Tomalin talks about the arts in her hometown, what’s changed and what’s changing, and a whole lot more.

Streaming at 7 p.m. weekdays on the Catalyst Facebook page. All episodes are archived on our YouTube channel.


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