Actress, singer and filmmaker Karuna Tanahashi. Image appears courtesy of

If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool fan, you may remember one of our featured artists Karuna Tanahashi, the remarkable torch singer whose Ballads to the Buffy Big Bads were introduced on last September.  What you might not have known is that Karuna is also an actress, and a filmmaker.  Her latest work, Lifeline debuts next month at the Cannes Short Film Corner. The Short Film Corner is part of the renowned Festival de Cannes, May 16-27, 2012 in Cannes, France.

Lifeline is the story of Eve, a technophobic social worker who can barely stand the sight of a cell phone.  After much cajoling from her peers, Eve reluctantly accepts the gift of a bright pink, uber-adorable, eerily human smartphone named Muffy. Faster than you can say “Text me,” Eve falls under Muffy’s spell– abandoning her job and loved ones. Will Eve come to her senses and salvage her humanity or give in to the tantalizing technological underworld?

“The title and story came to me on my way back from shooting Sagar, a music video with Pakistani rock star Salman Ahmad,” says Tanahashi. “I’d left the trunk of my car open, and all the contents of my backpack – including my cell phone – flew out. It was just a little flip phone with no fancy features. At the time, I hadn’t even written a single text! I’ve never pegged myself for a cell phone addict, yet I felt completely helpless without my phone; like I was stranded on a desert island with no lifeline. And if I, a virtual Luddite, felt this way, how would technophiles feel?  The addictive potential of the device flashed before me.  I wrote the script long before the iPhone 4S.  Now with Siri, it seems more relevant than ever.”

The 18-minute film was written, produced, and directed by Tanahashi, who also plays the leading role. It was shot and edited in the San Francisco Bay Area as a part of the indie film co-op, Scary Cow Productions. Tanahashi continued working on the film after moving to Los Angeles.  It has taken several years to complete.  As she looked for a suitable venue for its debut, a closed door led to an open door.  Attending a film festival that had not accepted the film, she met a director who told her about the Short Film Corner at Cannes.  Submitting the film there led to success.

The completion of Lifeline feels very momentous to the indie filmmaker Norcal native. “When I started the project, I was in a totally different place in my life and artistic development. Although part of me wishes it were done sooner, it wouldn’t be what it is today without all of the experiences I’ve had, not to mention the people I’ve met who have offered invaluable feedback and help.  I’ve come a long way; the film has come a long way; and now we are both going to France!”

Lifeline is Karuna Tanahashi’s first narrative short film, released under the auspices of  Hot Nerd Productions. She previously directed and produced the music video for Sagar, by Pakistani artist Salman Ahmad of Junoon with Scary Cow Productions. Tanahashi continues to release videos on YouTube for her musical Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan piece, Ballads to the Buffy Big Bads.  She also makes regular appearances on the webisode Move Damn You! and her music plays regularly here on For more information, visit:


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