Film Review: BRAVE ushers in new era for fairytales

Our panelists today, Diana Quinones-Rivera, a filmmaker; Carla Rose Fisher, a songwriter and Stephanie Smith, an educator; discuss the ineffable animated feature, “Brave,” with our host, Stefanie Alleyne at the hip midtown west side restaurant, Hudson Eatery, in New York City.

Pixar’s latest animated film, “Brave” introduces us to their first female protagonist, Merida. A 21st century princess of Scottish descent, she is independent, fearless and like her wild mane of adorable curls, a force to be reckoned with. This wonderfully animated fairytale adventure was written by the team of Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell and Irene Mecchi. It was directed by Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman and Steve Purcell. Luscious and visually appealing, it is a feast for the eyes with music for your ears whose lyrics and melodies will transport you to Scotland and its ancient folkloric traditions effortlessly.

Expect to hear the sensational voices of renown British stars Emma Thompson, Julie Waters, Billy Connolly, Craig Ferguson and singer Robbi Coltrane. Scottish comedienne, Kelly McDonald has the honor of breathing life into feisty Princess Merida giving credibility to both her roots and robust persona. Reese Witherspoon had initially signed on for this role but a last minute change in director brought McDonald in to lead and this decision was probably one of the wisest of this great production.

This story offers a refreshing new approach to the usual journey down the lane to princess land. Here you will find juxtapositions of gender roles, complexities in character development and affirming and empowering messages that both young girls and boys (and much older ones, too) can appreciate, value and enjoy.

More About our Fabulous Panel

Carla Rose Fisher is a New York-based songwriter. Her song “Go On” was recorded and released by EMI artist Amy Sky on her new album, Alive & Awake. The song was part of a demo of music for film and TV that Carla funded through a successful crowdfunding campaign on

After winning first prize in the ASCAP/Lilith Fair Songwriting Competition with her song “From You I Learned,” Carla moved from Pennsylvania to New York City, where she became a lyricist in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop (Advanced). Her lyrics were selected for and performed at the York Theater’s NEO2 Concert Series, the 21st Annual NAMT Festival of New Musicals, the 17th Annual NAMT Songwriter’s Showcase, Monday Nights New Voices at the Duplex, Arts and Artists at the NYPL, Unsung at the Zipper Theatre, Musical Mondays for Musicals Tonight, the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera Cabaret and Baldwin-Wallace College.

Her song “Perfect,” written with composer Barbara Anselmi for the new musical IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU, was part of a sold-out world premiere at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, N.J., under the direction of David Hyde Pierce. The show enjoyed a second full production at the Village Theatre outside of Seattle. Carla is a member of BMI, the Drama League and the Songwriters Guild of America. For more info on her songs or her day job as a marketing content writer, visit

Diana Quinones-Rivera is a Puerto Rican filmmaker based in Jersey City, New Jersey. She is currently working on the distribution of her first feature length documentary about Shua Group, Giant Place Detail, and post production of a short documentary about San Francisco’s Brazilian Carnaval and Percussion group Fogo na Roupa. She will be starting a Master Degree in Integrated Media Arts at Hunter College in New York City this fall.
Learn more about her works at

Stephanie Smith is a Maui-based (Hawaii) Community Activist and Education Consultant. She relocated to Maui after a 25 year career in San Francisco, New York City and Portland with various legal services, urban planning, human services, social media and LGBT-purposed organizations. Her specific skill lies in marrying emerging media and technology with “Old School” community activism and coalition building.

Currently, Ms. Smith’s Maui-based consulting firm, “Intuitive Learning, Inc,” is working with local K-12 students in who are in need of enrichment or additional focus to facilitate learning capabilities and capacity.

Learn more about Hudson Eatery.
Find out more about the animated feature, Brave.







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