For screenwriter and director Kathy Kolla, veganism is a laughing matter. Her first feature-length film, World’s Littlest Brat, takes a comedic approach to the trials and tribulations of growing up vegan, by focusing on a lovable vegan outcast living in a less than understanding world. A vegan for over 10 years, Kolla also looked for ways to make the film as eco-friendly as possible, through green living practices and partnerships with companies like Millennium Products, Glacia IceBox, and Amy’s Kitchen. Before making the circuits at film festivals, Kolla took time to talk with VegNews about the film, her production company, and being a successful and thriving vegan in the Hollywood scene for over a decade.
VegNews: The movie that you’re working on focuses on a vegan character who has to stay true to his ideals despite his non-vegan surroundings. Is this a topic you’ve had experience with first hand?
Kathy Kolla: Yes, definitely, but I also believe that everyone at some point in their lives has an experience where they’ve needed to stay true to themselves in some sort of situation, and I feel vegans perhaps to a greater extent. You just have to believe in what you’re doing and believe that’s the best thing for you. I’ve always stood up for my own beliefs instead of following other people, and I find in some situations other people started to follow me and it’s a great feeling. I always try to lead by example and a lot of people see that I’m living a great, healthy lifestyle and they’ll want to follow me.
VN: What advice would you give to filmmakers looking to reduce their impact?
KK: Start off small. There really are enormous amounts of things you can do, basic things like turning off lights when they’re not in use, walking instead of taking cars and motorcycles, bringing your own bags and boxes to the grocery store instead of taking theirs. Also, looking into renewable energy.
VN: What are some of the ways your production company, Cola Kat, is reducing the environmental impact of the movie?
KK: What we’re doing is photocopying double-sided so we don’t waste paper, and we’re only giving copies of scripts to people that really need them instead of handing them out to everyone. We’re really trying to keep everything to a minimum, trying to watch what is being thrown away, and trying to reduce and reuse instead of throwing everything in the trash.
VN: How did companies like Amy’s Kitchen and Millennium Products become involved in the movie?
KK: I wrote those products into the script just because I’m a fan of the foods, and I thought it would be helpful in emphasizing the vegan lifestyle of the main character. We just contacted them about showcasing their products and they were more than willing to help. In fact, G.T. Dave, the founder of Millennium Products and G.T.’s Kombucha, is going to do a cameo in our film. I’m really excited about that. Another great supporter is Glacia IceBox. They donated a lot of product to us.
VN: How has the vegan community changed in the past 10 years, especially in regards to the Hollywood scene?
KK: Well I think that veganism is much more accepted now than it was probably ten years ago. I think that people are more concerned about what they’re eating. They’re focusing on local, organic food. The more that people are educated, the more they are going to start following it.
VN: What are your plans for the future, both with the production company Cola Kat and as a filmmaker, writer, and director?
KK: For me, by far, I enjoy being a director. I mean the entire process of making a film is so rewarding—to come up with an idea, to see it come to fruition, it’s such a great feeling of accomplishment. Just running an eco-friendly company and leading by example and to know that we’re sending out a positive message is something I would love to continue doing.
Photo by Luca Escriva