All posts by Nicole Sim

Experienced Journalist.

DANIELA JUNKO: INTERNATIONAL ACTRESS FOR A GLOBAL AUDIENCE

Daniela Junko
Actress Daniela Junko at the Madrid International Film Festival for her film “Alone”

With her exotic looks, fighting skills and ability to speak several languages, Daniela Junko is an embodiment of intertwining cultures. With her recent leading turn in the film “Alone,” which screened at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, Daniela is not only a multicultural individual, but a global storyteller capable of connecting with audiences regardless of origin.

Daniela tells us more about playing the lead role of Ella in “Alone,” a story about Ella’s depression and a young couple who appears to have the perfect life. “The movie gives us the insight of their life. Although Ella is a beautiful model, with the perfect social media life…in reality she is deeply depressed.” Elaborating on the relationship component, Daniela explains that “Gabriel does his best to help her. She does not enjoy life anymore. Can’t leave her bed, does not want to be sociable, despite Gabriel’s attempt to help her, nothing works…[she] can’t leave her bed.”

Without giving too much away, Ella deals with a tragedy, a storyline that gave Daniela an important opportunity to show off her impressive emotional depth. It didn’t hurt that Daniela was working opposite Swell Soubra, who played Gabriel. Soubra, known for his work in the hugely successful TNT drama “The Last Ship,” gave Daniela a phenomenal chance to bring truth to an important story with a fellow foreign actor also at the top of his game.

“Alone” director Angelo Perrino, known for directing “How I Met Your Mother” actor Doug Heiar and Jose Rosete from “The Walking Dead: Red Machete” in “Dirty Spaghetti,” also gave expert guidance that clearly paid off and ensured the film would be received well by audiences. Daniela recounts, “I was amazed with the responses I got from my peers, and everyone we show it to. I can honestly say, either they like it or not, it brought everyone to tears, it had such an impact. I did not expect myself.”

The enthusiastic response to the film wasn’t the only cause for excitement, as being accepted to screen at the Cannes Film Festival and Beverly Hills Film Festival was yet another reason for the filmmakers to bask in the glory of a job well done. Rather humbly, but also in an indication of how she owns her tremendous success, Daniela recalls screening at the Madrid Film Festival where she was nominated for Best Actress, by saying, “It still sounds surreal to me.”

Of course, Daniela is no stranger to appearing in lead roles at exclusive and internationally renowned festivals. Daniela gave a powerful performance in the leading role of Charlotte in the film “Three Kings Down,” which was featured at the New York Audience Now festival and the MIA Film Festival (Mostra Internacional Da Amazonia), and reached millions of viewers worldwide via #TOFF (The Online Film Festival).

It’s no surprise though that the project was received so well by such prestigious organisations, as it presented an interesting take on the film noir genre by showcasing Daniela playing a female hero who manipulates card players in Vegas to help herself get ahead, and challenging a mafia boss in the process. Reinforcing her reputation as an actress who lifts the game of those around her, but also as one who only works with the best in the business, Daniela starred opposite Alen Matters (known for his recurring appearances on “Jimmy Kimmel Live”) in the homage to notorious femme fatale characters.

Daniela Junko clearly proves herself as an actress functioning as a leader in the industry – not only through her critically acclaimed performances in terrific projects, but because she is a performer who can represent various cultures from around the world, and access emotions that resonate with viewers in every corner of the globe

 

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Challis and Cooke: Actors Talk Making ‘Memories’ and Movies

Sitting with Australian actors Alistair Cooke and Mia Challis, it’s easy to forget that we’re here to talk about work, such is the fun energy they both bring into a room. After quickly discussing how they like to spend their weekends however, an assistant director reminds the actors that they’re due on set in another 30 minutes. Both quickly start sharing details about the project that’s brought everyone to set this week. ‘Memories,’ a film produced by Lachlan Ward (who has most recently found success with the film ‘Quiche’, which won the Drama Award at the Deep Cut Film Festival in Canada) and helmed by acclaimed director Cassandra Lionetto-Civa, is a perfect example of a project that manages to assemble an accomplished cast, a distinguished creative team and a unique story.

Actors Alistair Challis and Mia Cooke
Actors Alistair Cooke and Mia Challis shot by David Attwell

Lead actor Alistair, who plays Tim, offers some insights into ‘Memories’ storyline. “Without giving too much away, the film is set in the not too distant future where accessing and viewing people’s memories has become a reality.” His co-lead Mia, who plays Charlotte, is equally discerning about revealing the plot completely, but did tell our editors that it’s a “sci-fi love story.”

Aside from what is clearly a fascinating blend of genres, ‘Memories’ also reflects how an accomplished cast can elevate a project’s esteem. Cooke, who made his debut in Ben C Lucas’ award-winning feature film ‘Wasted on the Young’ opposite ‘The Originals’ star Oliver Ackland, played the critical role of Young Hammers in the SBS mini-series ‘Deep Water’. It was in that series, which only aired just recently to high acclaim, where Alistair shared the screen with ‘Orange is the New Black’ Screen Actor’s Guild winner Yael Stone. He adds: “[w]atching that woman work was incredible and so inspiring.”

Of course, being the talented actor he is, Alistair is firmly grounded in the present and not focused too much on the past. He describes current co-star Mia as “something else. During the course of our first job together I soon discovered she was a natural talent, a true professional and a force to be reckoned with. We clicked immediately and I now consider her a great friend.” Mia, whose exotic looks seem to blend the innocence of Natalie Portman with the fierceness of Jennifer Lawrence, interrupts. “Working alongside Alistair was a pleasure; I learnt a lot from him and had the best time too. He’s very talented and we clicked straight away which was a bonus!” Mia elaborates that she originally recognised Alistair from his key role as Jake in the international hit series ‘The Horizon,’ which has garnered over 54 million views worldwide.

Although Mia may have been somewhat star-struck, she is an established actor in her own right, currently juggling three projects. Along with ‘Memories’, she is currently filming ‘Backstabbers’, directed by Lauren Mazzucato and ‘The Twincident’ directed by Blake Thomson, playing identical twins Claire and Evelyn in what will surely be a funny turn in her growing body of work. When asked who was crazy enough to represent her and her busy schedule, she laughs.

Alistair: “her manager actually is crazy!”

Mia: “in a good way!”

Alistair: “she’s exactly how you would imagine a Hollywood manager to be!”

Mia and Alistair’s chemistry is proven as the stars proclaim, “[w]e have the same American manager!” launching into a discussion about their different representatives around the world.

Actress Mia Cooke
Actress Mia Challis in ‘Memories’ (photo by: David Attwell)

Most importantly, both Alistair and Mia shed light on how actors’ own traits can inform character development. Mia tells us about Charlotte: “We actually have quite a lot in common; we both can be pretty awkward and really don’t have a clue how to flirt! She is a character that cares deeply for others, isn’t afraid to take chances and follows her heart.” Regarding Tim, Alistair explains that “Tim throws himself into everything he believes in and that’s a trait that really resonates with me. I’m a passionate guy and I can really relate to his way of thinking and drive in life.”

Actors Mia Cooke and Alistair Challis on set
Actors Mia Challis and Alistair Cooke on set of ‘Memories’ (photo by: David Attwell)

While ‘Memories’ might explore the challenging terrain of technology and the questions it raises about our society’s future, the film is nevertheless grounded in a very human story. It certainly would’ve helped that the actors were guided in their direction by celebrated filmmaker Cassandra Lionetto-Civa, who beat out an incredibly competitive field to win the open category at the Hip on Heritage Film Festival in Perth, Australia just last year. It’s therefore no surprise that ‘Memories’ is fielding countless distribution options to screen right around the world.

So what’s next for these screen stars?

Alistair tells us: “I am going straight into rehearsals for my next film. A black comedy that follows an unusual friendship between an armed robber and the man he is holding hostage.”

Mia explains that she can’t talk too much about her upcoming project, but she is allowed to share some funny details.“I’ve actually just started filming a new project where I play a character that is the polar opposite of Charlotte. She is a high school student who is the leader of a group of girls who murder some of their classmates with stilettos!”

Whatever is coming up for them filming wise, audiences can rest assured that ‘Memories’ will live up to its hype and challenge us all about love and the future of technology.

 

If Companies Could be Movie Stars: SIC and Entertainment Success

While movie lovers and fans generally know the names of the actors who grace TV and film screens, the names of production companies sometimes don’t roll off the tongue as easily. That doesn’t mean, however, that a company like See in Color (otherwise known as ‘SIC’) doesn’t exert power and influence in the notoriously challenging and tricky waters of entertainment. SIC, with a hugely successful collection of video content in their library and on their upcoming production slate, was formed with a singular mission that brings credence to an industry otherwise known for superficiality and money-making values that come at the expense of artistic integrity. Indeed, they stand by a mission to challenge the odds, defy stereotypes and encourage the world to “see in color,’ a set of values of which their team is rightfully proud.

Even more worthy of a celebratory mention, in addition to their grounded mission statement, are two of their upcoming projects. “Viral”, an episodic drama thriller about a group of scientists attempting to save humanity from an alien virus, represents the company’s ambitious foothold over the hugely lucrative sci-fi TV show genre. Then there’s “Singled Out”, a feature film about drugs, crime and corruption in the Atlanta Police Department, speaks to SIC’s capacity to bring raw heart to a real-life setting in the spirit of the Oscar-winning “Moonlight” and Kathryn Bigelow’s recent “Detroit”. So how is the company able to create such a varied selection of projects that speak to audiences around the world, and not only that, but also rake in substantial receipts at the box office?

Well, first, there’s SIC’s well-known ability to create visually stunning, emotionally compelling, intellectually engaging and share-worthy video content that will capture the hearts and minds of audiences everywhere. That isn’t just a sales pitch, but is an ethos that’s proven with the success of past projects like “Cyberversity,” a short film about the lack of diversity in the cybersecurity field. It premiered at IBM headquarters in NYC and Symantec headquarters in Silicon Valley. On the feature side, “Pseudo Blood Of Our Own,” was a 2011 co-production with the world-renowned Canadian Bollywood Films.

The second, and perhaps more glamorous reason for SIC’s incredible triumphs, is the renowned talent involved with SIC productions. Indeed, “Reuben,” a short film directed by SIC Vice President, Kaisania Calubaquib, won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short at the 2017 Universe Multicultural Film Festival). The International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP) also hired SIC to produce a Mission Video Series in 2014-2016

It’s therefore appropriate that both “Viral” and “Singled Out” have attracted top-levels of talent. In the leading role of Emma Greene is New Zealand A-lister Sophie Renée, known for critical roles in Frankie Contino’s “Living Together” and“50 Ways To Kill Your Lover” by Hanna Berrigan, where she starred opposite Nigel Barber  (known for “Mission Impossible” and the James Bond movie, “Spectre”). Sophie’s reputation seems to align with SIC’s. She adds: “I constantly get told after shoots that I bring an indescribable positive energy on set and that I make everyone else a: up their game and b: that I lift the mood…I love that that is my professional reputation!”

Sophie Renée
Renée will star in the new TV series “Viral.”

In “Singled Out,” SIC have lured accomplished UK actor Neil Reidman to play the leading role of James Montgomery. Neil then acted alongside Mackenzie Crook on the BAFTA award winning comedy series, “The Detectorists” as Dr Tendai  and played the lead role of Errol in a stage production of ‘Routes’ at the Welsh Millennium Centre which was also filmed for Made in Cardiff TV. He also headed up the feature film “Hard Time Bus,” which won Best Film at the Hollywood Black Film Festival. Yet another feather in the cap both for SIC and for Neil to be working hand in hand – the meeting of two great players in the entertainment field.

Hard Time Bus Poster
Reidman played the lead role in the successful feature film, “Hard Time Bus.” He will be playing James Montgomery in “Singled Out.”

If production companies could be famous, then SIC would be followed by paparazzi and social-media hungry fans all the time. It’s more fitting then that, as a lucrative business, they can focus on their roster of projects, and continue entertaining audiences all over the world instead. Also coming up for the company is “Picture This,” a romantic comedy feature currently shooting, about an aspiring photographer embarking on a hilarious journey after she finds an enchanted camera, and “Today is the Day,” a short film revealing the disturbing nature of a man suffering from emotional trauma and mental illness (expected release, March 2018). A diverse range of projects for a company which prides itself on celebrating diversity for global audiences.

Her Time is Now: Giselle van der Wiel on Lead Roles, Fame and Playing Characters with an Edge

Giselle van der Wiel
Actress Giselle van der Wiel shot by Sally Flegg

In a time when “Wonder Woman” dominated the box office, Oscar nominee Ava DuVernay and Oscar Award winner Sofia Coppola attracted acclaim left, right and centre, and the “Star Wars” franchise is lead by a female protagonist, there’s no doubt women now represent a powerful force in the entertainment industry. With that being said, all over the world actresses are now being called upon to portray strong women with an edge – gone are the days of being just an ‘ingenue’. Representing Australia’s crop of accomplished performers is ‘it-girl’ Giselle van der Wiel.

“Some people don’t like the phrase ‘it-girl’, taking offense to the term girl. I am proud to be a girl, to be a woman. But, you could just call me an actor,” says Giselle van der Wiel. And a very successful one at that.

Already a familiar face on Australian screens, and known for her work in the dramatic series “Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms” opposite “Westworld” star Luke Hemsworth and “Captain America” actor Callan Mulvey, Giselle offers a formidable presence that will continue to heat up screens even more in the coming year. It’s fortunate then that this Sydney-bred actor, whose cross-cultural background ranges from Uruguayan to Spanish to Dutch, is not too preoccupied with simply building her fame for fame’s sake.

She explains, “It’s not about the fame to me. If it was, I think I would have stopped acting a while ago. To me, it’s about the stories we get to tell and the characters we get to explore as actors. By telling the important stories, we have the opportunity to really impact the lives of our audience. As a child, I grew up learning from the movies I would watch, as an adult I get the opportunity to impact others in the same way. I think that is pretty amazing.”

From working with her, acclaimed directors like Peter Andrikidis, who is known for the critically acclaimed “Janet King” and “Pulse” on ABC, David Fairhurst (“Reaching Distance”) and Kate Halpin have been continually inspired by Giselle’s down-to-earth nature.

“I’ve been very lucky to have been involved with a lot of different projects and worked with a great crop of amazing directors. Each director has taught me something unique about myself as an actor, and as a person,” admits Giselle.

One especially exciting project that Giselle is currently filming is “On Halloween”, a feature film that unfortunately she is unable to discuss in detail. “You can probably guess by the title that it’s in the horror genre – while I can’t say what the film is about, I can tell you it is great to work with a top cast.” They include Terry Serio from “Home and Away” and “Little Fish”, Robert Harrell from ‘General Hospital’ and Ezekial Simat from “Syd2030,” adding to an impressive list of actors with whom Giselle has shared screen-time.

Giselle isn’t barred, however, from talking about all of her upcoming projects. The feature film “Reaching Distance,” pitched as mystery-thriller, concerns Logan, a cynic with a photographic memory who follows his sister’s murderer onto a night-rider bus. As the line between past and present begins to blur, Logan uncovers he has a complex past with much more than one passenger. Giselle, in the role of Chell, plays a crucial part in Logan’s story, and therefore shared critical screen time with Wade Briggs, lead actor from Shonda Rhimes and ABC’s “Still Star-Crossed” and the international-Emmy nominated comedy “Please Like Me.”

The actress says, “Wade is really wonderful to work with. As an actor he gives so much and doesn’t hold back. The rest of the cast and the amazing crew from Screen Ink Media, who are responsible for some of Australia’s recent most acclaimed film projects, were [also] incredible to work with.”

While she has to remain tight-lipped about her upcoming projects shooting in the United States, readers should expect to see her name in bright lights soon enough. Producers and managers have disclosed exclusively to our editors that Giselle is due to start shooting on a new television series, with a revered cast and crew, in the coming months.

In a film landscape where women are now expected to carry stories, and bring attitude to their characters, Giselle certainly earns the title of ‘It-Girl’ with an edge – or perhaps more appropriately, ‘It-Woman’, or better yet, successful, working actor.

“I’m most excited about exploring female characters who are strong and intelligent – and maybe a little bit weird.” She adds with a laugh: “I definitely think I bring that to the table.”

English as a Second Language is No Barrier to Success for Comedian Ronen Tverya

Ronen Tverya
Comedian Ronen Tverya shot by Morgan Preston

More than ever comedians serve a valuable purpose in society, drawing attention to important cross-cultural and political issues in ways that can be challenging, entertaining and more often than not, funny. With such a heavy responsibility, it’s therefore understandable that only the cream of the crop amongst comedians become regulars on the stand-up circuit. Ronen Tverya, whose first name translates to ‘song of joy’ in Hebrew, is certainly aware of the pressure that comes with spreading joy and making people laugh on the world stage. He however, as a nationally acclaimed and successful performer in Israel, knows all too well how to poke fun at his own plight as well as that of his country.

His jokes often come at the expense of “[t]he differences between his country (Israel) and all aspects of life.” Explaining though that his “life [in the US] as an Israeli” is very funny, Ronen subscribes to the style of the best comedians working today like Louis C.K., Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock: he proudly admits that he “laughs a lot a lot about [his own] life situations.”

That being said, Ronen has encountered challenges when literally translating his shows for American audiences. He explains, “When I do comedy in English I need to think in Hebrew and then translate it into English in my head and find the right way to say it…sometimes I have to improv[ise] on stage in English – and it’s difficult to find the right word at the perfect time for the punchline.” Nevertheless, his past and future performances would suggest that such language barriers don’t serve as a barrier to his undeniable success.

Indeed, it’s not just Ronen’s unique style as a comedian which sets him apart from the rest of those performers struggling to achieve success. Ronen’s experiences on stage, as part of the Cookies and Comedy show in San Francisco with renowned comedian Tony Sparks, signify how he has reached the heights of success in the comedy world. Sparks is known as “The Godfather of San Francisco Comedy,” as noted by leading Californian publications like”‘Hoodline,” so for Ronen to be hand-picked by Sparks to perform alongside him is a huge honour. Ronen adds “[I] think if someone like Tony Sparks sees [me] and immediately wants [me] to be in his show [it] is a great step for me in America.”

Back in his home country, Ronen has graced audiences in such esteemed venues like the Camel Comedy Club (also host to renowned comedienne Kandi Abelson) and The Stand Up Factory, touted as the hottest new comedy club in Tel Aviv by the country’s leading newspaper publications.

His upcoming shows also demonstrate that things are not slowing down anytime soon, and that Ronen is a sought after figure in the world of comedy, and a forbearer for the cultural conversation. When discussing the upcoming ‘Dirty Martini’ shows in Seattle, which is scheduled to be broadcast live on Facebook on August 27, he adds “it’s a variety” show with “stand-up comedy, comedic musical acts, sketch groups,” no doubt featuring fellow high-profile and successful artists. Noting that the show will be recorded with the “best sound system” and live cameras, it’s also exciting to know that the show will be exclusively broadcast live in collaboration with Facebook for a huge number of viewers around the world.

It’s clear though that Ronen doesn’t just perform for himself. He does it for the audiences who need a laugh. “This world is stressful enough with all sorts of issues. I think comedy is a great opportunity for people to forget their problems.”

 

Performer Jasynda Radanovic Achieves Success Across Mediums

Jasynda Radanovic
Actress Jasynda Radanovic

The world’s most successful artists, actors in particular, often source their creativity from a diverse set of experiences and lives that are not like any other. Jasynda Radanovic, with a rich cultural background that has placed her ancestral roots in Croatia, a childhood in Australia, work in the UK and now a successful career in the United States, is a clear example for how a unique biography endows an actor with an ability to excel and breathe life into a wide-range of high-profile roles and projects.

As she continues to build a successful screen career by stepping into a critical role in the American television series “Emergency: LA” starring “Warrior” actor and WWE superstar Kurt Angle, we look to Jasynda’s complex technique, expertise and successful career in live theatre as a driving force behind the powerful place she holds in the entertainment industry today.

The most obvious project which speaks to Jasynda’s excellence as an actor are her roles with one of the most well-known mass media companies in the world, Disney. Such is the breadth of Jasynda’s illustrious reputation within the entertainment industry, she was asked to perform in a critical role representing the Disney brand at Walt Disney World where she had to entertain the park’s thousands of visitors and ensure their visit was truly magical – a feat not just any actor could achieve but a task that Jasynda took to with gusto.

She tells us how her performance was not only creatively satisfying for her, but was also uniquely moving for audiences. “During the regular meet and greets there was a little girl in a wheelchair who had a disability…she could not react or move…she smile[d].” Jasynda recalled that when the girl smiled, “the family uttered that…it was the first time in the little girl’s life she had reacted to something.”

Jasynda’s outstanding body of work and critical roles in Disney productions extends to the iconic world of “Peter Pan.” In the Australian premiere of “Peter Pan: The Musical,” created by West End producers George Stiles and Anthony Drewe who are also well-known for their hugely successful production of “Mary Poppins,” Jasynda played the seminal character of Tinkerbell. A character somewhat difficult to prepare for, because of the physical challenges of the role including wire work and choreography, Jasynda gracefully stepped up to the plate and drew inspiration from the ‘Tinkerbell’ franchise and original “Peter Pan” films.

Jasynda Radanovic
Jasynda Radanovic as Tinkerbell in “Peter Pan”

Jasynda’s portrayal of Tinkerbell was crucial to the production’s success, as she not only brought the character to life in an interesting way, but Jasynda’s diverse and unique skill set in the areas of dance, choreography and puppetry were put on show and critical in ensuring the show impressed audiences. She mentions how renowned choreographer Mel Warwick and her “worked together every rehearsal to create new steps and [figure out] how to include props…Mel brought in a swing coach to teach us aerial movements, to create the illusion of flight.”

Jasynda’s achievements as an actor in the world of live entertainment have helped her build a reputation to the point where she was asked to perform the lead role in a production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “A Whistle Down the Wind.” As Swallow, Jasynda had to play a fifteen-year-old girl grieving the loss of her mother while managing a distant relationship with her father. On Christmas Eve, Swallow discovers a mysterious man hiding in her family’s barn, bleeding from his hands and feet, leading her to think the man is Jesus. Such an important role and production again called on Jasynda’s distinctive abilities as a triple-threat, using her voice, body and performance skills to entertain audiences in a sold-out UK-Wimbledon season directed by Roger Jones.

It’s rare nowadays to find triple threats and trained stage actors who use their experience treading the boards to lay the foundation for a successful career in film. Jasynda proves that the tradition of excellence – where an actor can refine and expand their skill sets, not just a social media following – is the real key to success.

 

Dreamstreet Entertainment Dives Into The Deep End with “Harbor Charlie.”

“Harbor Charlie,” a big-budget procedural series, will begin production in the coming months. But unlike other iconic cop shows like “Law & Order” or “NYPD Blue,” Dreamstreet Entertainment will ensure that this new show showcases an aspect of the police force that hasn’t been seen on television before.

While most details about the show have to stay under wraps, what is known is that the series will chronicle “NYPD’s oldest division, patrolling NYC waters since 1850…the elite scuba patrol team.”

The gripping program will blend action and drama, and sources suggest that the cast are nearly finalised and due to represent an impressive line up of high-profile talent from Hollywood and around the world. The latter part was key, it seems, to reflect the melting pot of culture steeped deep within the history of New York City. On a lighter note, our publishers were also informed by sources that show presents a scuba team who “[pick] up where the harbor police leave off – under some of the yuckiest water in the world.”

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A photo of the actual elite NYPD scuba team.

Adding to the pedigree “Harbor Charlie”’s instant status as a prominent show because of Dreamstreet Entertainment being behind it, is the dynamic producing duo overseeing the production. Gloria Morrison, who will executive produce, and Tony Eldridge, who will serve as a producer, are two of the most eminent professionals working behind the scenes in Hollywood today.

With other new series vulnerable to cancellation and low-viewing figures in a trepidatious market, Dreamstreet Entertainment brings employment certainty to a creative team and excitement to audiences eager for innovative storytelling. The Los Angeles-based production company is responsible for such projects as “So This is Love” and “Hearts of Fire” from writer Lehel Reeves . “Harbor” will indubitably represent another successful project because of the company’s clear reputation as a Hollywood mainstay.

Gloria Morrison’s attachment to the project as producer, along with Dreamstreet’s, will undoubtedly ensure “Harbor Charlie’s” success for many seasons because of her long and successful career in the industry. Prior to working with Dreamstreet, Morrison produced “What Happened to Bobby Earl?” with “Charlie’s Angel’s” star Kate Jackson, and “Contagion” with Golden-Globe nominee and “Bionic Woman” star Lindsay Wagner. Further to that, Morrison’s past experience as a director, such as on the series “So This Is Love” with “J.Edgar” and “Four Holidays” actor Jack Donner, and “Hollywoodland” actress Jody Jaress, means she brings a diverse set of skills to a unique spin on the cop-show formula.

The assignment of Eldridge as producer on “Harbor Charlie” continues Tony’s long-standing association with Dreamstreet Entertainment, having also worked on “Golden Arrows” in the past. He is currently attached to Dreamstreet’s upcoming “Bad Kitty”. Eldridge, one of the most versatile producers and creatives working in Hollywood today, is also producing the sequel to the Denzel Washington starrer “The Equaliser”, aptly titled “The Equaliser 2”. He originally worked as a producer on the first film in what could go on to be a lucrative film franchise for Columbia Pictures. Oscar-winner Denzel Washington, who attracted rave reviews for the Academy-Award winning “Fences,” will reprise his leading role. In addition to his work with Dreamstreet Entertainment, Eldridge notably directed and produced “The Naked Truth,” the hugely successful and multi-million dollar budgeted mockumentary starring Emmy-nominated icon Leslie Nielsen.

While the release date and distributor for “Harbor Charlie” is yet to be confirmed, sources suggest that competition for screening rights will be fierce given the talent involved and interest in the company’s other projects. Be prepared to dive deep into the series when it premieres though; as we’ve come to expect from other Dreamstreet projects, they’ll be offering audiences a layered story with entertainment, heart and intrigue.

Chinese Film Producer Yuxiao Wang Nails the Mark in Hollywood!

Yuxiao Wang
Producer Yuxiao Wang shot by Yiting Lyu

While the face of producers may not appear on movie posters or on the big screen, Yuxiao Wang’s name appearing in the credits is reason enough to get excited about a project. That’s because she has been singularly responsible for the development, production and distribution of a large number of incredible projects. In the process, the emergence of Yuxiao as a leading figure in the global film industry has marked a new wave of super-producers from China taking over Hollywood.  

In addition to her association with distinguished companies like Huayi Brothers, Enmaze Pictures and Sky Culture Entertainment, Yuxiao’s hugely successful run in the entertainment industry has been made clear by her involvement in numerous noteworthy projects in the US. Her romantic drama film “Yesterday Once More” starred Lauren Mendoza, who also worked with Academy-Award winning directors The Coen Brothers on “Hail Caesar!” and will appear in the upcoming mystery crime-comedy “Suburbicon” with George Clooney and Matt Damon. The cross-cultural themes are a direct reflection of Yuxiao’s multi-cultural background, as she grew up in China, but studied in Japan and the United States. Her film’s concerns are also evidence for her abilities as a producer who tells stories that transcend boundaries and resonate with audiences around the world.

Yuxiao Wang
Yuxiao Wang at the 12th Chinese American Film Festival

Two projects in particular stand out for Yuxiao when discussing her resume. The psychological drama “Harmonica” is another favourite of Yuxiao’s, as it gave her the opportunity to showcase her unique ability of transforming an ordinary location into an extraordinary one on screen. The shoot in reality took place in contemporary Los Angeles, but Yuxiao “worked really hard…to make things look like [they were] happening in Europe” circa WWII. Her other project “Locked” also brought her together with “That 70s Show” and “My Crazy Ex” TV star Corey Landis, as well as Leanne Agmon from the Emmy-nominated “Blue Bloods.” In the film, a man loses his wife and creates an imaginary world in which he fights with himself to save his wife and find the truth of her death. While A-listers marked the film’s screen time, the sounds of “Locked” were helmed by “Spiderman 3” composer, Aldo Shllaku.

Harmonica Yuxiao Wang
Film poster for “Harmonica” by Ye Kuang

Yuxiao’s success in securing an all-star cast and production team is not a feat that should go unnoticed; it’s something producers are rarely able to pull off because of the politics of Hollywood and the demands of actors and crew. Yuxiao’s exceptional capacity to communicate, envisage an inspired story, coordinate financing and wrangle impressive team members are all factors in why she has developed such an outstanding reputation to which industry professionals continue to flock.

Special effects, TV stars and award-winning crew members aside, “Locked” is a highlight on Yuxiao’s impressive resume because of its selection for the 70th annual Cannés Court Metragé as well as its prize of Best Narrative Short at the Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival in 2016. The outstanding final cut is a direct product of Yuxiao’s creative vision and executive talents, and ultimately proves how she marries creativity with business in a way that only the best Hollywood producers can. As she admits herself, she is “very good at management, which helps a lot in scheduling and budgeting projects.”

Yuxiao Wang
Film poster for “Locked” by Ye Kuang

While she may have strong ties to her native homeland, American directors and studios can’t seem to have enough of her and are keeping her firmly placed here. Her distinct ability to ensure a production is delivered not only on time and on budget, but also in a manner that is artistically inspired, functions as a magnet for other filmmakers in need of effective producers. As she proudly attests, she has “four projects coming up this year.” The series “100 Reasons of Not Being an Emperor” is headed to an online streaming platform (details need to be kept hush-hush), while three feature length projects showcase her wide-ranging story-telling interests: one deals with a female prison, another a psychological thriller and another an adrenaline fueled romantic caper.

A hugely impressive resume aside, it might just be the fact that people like Yuxiao’s personality for why she has built such a fantastic name for herself. As she simply puts: “I am friendly, considerate and kind, so people don’t get mad at me…it is important to let the conversation continue when you meet someone.” In Hollywood, a little nice clearly goes a long way.  

 

Natasha Khan Mayet is one Indian Actress Making a Huge Splash in Hollywood!

Natasha Khan Mayet
Actress Natasha Khan Mayet shot by Paul Smith

When internationally acclaimed actress Natasha Khan Mayet was growing up in South Africa, she knew her future would be a creative one. Since beginning her acting career over a decade ago, Natasha has become known for her roles in Mother, May I Sleep with Danger with James Franco and Tori Spelling, Metropolitan Detective, and 2 For Flinching. In a time when actresses like Priyanka Chopra are protecting national security in Quantico and Deepika Padukone is making moves in XXX: The Return of Xander Cage, Natasha Khan Mayet proves actresses of Indian descent can make it in the big time on a global scale.

One of her most recent projects, Trafficked, is proof of her incredible accomplishments as globally renowned actor. In that film, Natasha shares the silver screen with Golden-Globe nominated actress and American movie star, Ashley Judd, well known for her roles in the blockbuster Divergent franchise, Olympus Has Fallen and Double Jeopardy. Natasha admits that Judd is “one of [her] favorite actresses,” so it’s no surprise that she’s proud of the esteemed production. The story of Trafficked concerns three girls from America, Nigeria and India who are trafficked through an elaborate global network and enslaved in a Texas brothel, and must together attempt a daring escape to reclaim their freedom.

In her key role as a woman who is kidnapped by Albanian mercenaries and sold to a group of Italian men, Natasha steals the audience’s attention every time she is on screen, such is the power of her captivating performance. She proudly explains that the filmmakers needed an “Indian woman with strong acting skills,” and that she was the only actress who fit the bill.

Given the critical impact her scenes have on the film’s plot development, it’s easy to describe her role as the heart of the film. The emotional depth of her role and its critical importance to the film’s story was clear while shooting. Natasha tells us how “[t]he scene where we were tied up and at the mercy of the Albanians was pretty raw, and as I stood there tied up with other girls we literally felt as if we were their prisoners.” She goes on to say that “the scene became so real…a couple of us were already crying because the moment was so real to us.”

Not only was Trafficked shortlisted for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, it was written and produced by Siddharth Kara, author of the internationally acclaimed book Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery. Kara is also a leading professor at Harvard and a lecturer at UC Berkeley, attaching greater credibility to a film project that not only brings an audience to tears, but has a politically charged message that will ensure its global success.

Further to that, Natasha confirmed her exceptional acting skills in Trafficked by working alongside award-winning director Will Wallace, who won a feature film prize at WorldFest Houston for his hit comedy Cake: A Wedding Story, starring Major Crimes and The Closer TV star, G.W. Bailey. Another one of his projects, the romantic drama Red Wing starring Hidden Figures star Glen Powell and the late Bill Paxton, was an additional credit to why Natasha was so excited to play a critical role in Wallace’s latest project.

Natasha’s authentic relationship with her craft is reflected not only in her involvement with Trafficked, but the diverse range of roles she has played in a number of other high-profile film and television productions. She explains that “acting constantly challenges me,” and that “it allows me to explore the different aspects of myself, grow and constantly evolve, and tell a different story through each role that I play.” So while Trafficked represents a recent silver screen highlight of which Natasha was a key reason in its success, she is also experiencing extraordinary triumphs on the small screen too.

Film Poster for
Film Poster for “Trafficked” directed by Will Wallace

Most recently, Natasha was seen playing the critical role of Helena Michaels in the Amazon-Prime original series Music & Murder. Appearing alongside Atlanta TV star Tony Scott, the formally-trained actress added a great depth of intrigue as the mother of lead character Chastity Michaels, and thus provided important emotional life to a storyline about a talented music video producer who avoids life on the streets and finds success, only to be framed for murder.

In further support of her reputation as an actress capable of playing complex and fully-rounded characters, much like her South African compatriot Charlize Theron, Natasha plays reporter Angela Lee in the upcoming television pilot Stimulus. In this provocative series, Angela is torn between reporting the news and uncovering the truth, in a story that raises significant questions relating to race, politics, religion and prejudice.

Clearly, Natasha’s recent work shows she is an actress who sticks to her artistic values. She elucidates that she loves “any project or role that challenges” her, and that it’s crucial for the production to “tell a story that is in some way important and conveys a message.”  

UK Actor Anthony Warren Nails it Again with the Film “Hard Time Bus

Anthony Warren
Anthony Warren shot by Will Tudor

With lead roles in several highly rated BAFTA Award winning series and now the award winning feature film “Hard Time Bus” produced by 2HotFilms, Anthony Warren has enjoyed a tremendously successful acting career. The fact that he has now appeared in so many celebrated projects, and the addition of his most recent performance in “Hard Time Bus,” have made it clear that Warren’s success is a testament to his sensational skill, hard work and magnetism on screen.

If there’s one trend in Warren’s long list of characters, it’s his inimitable ability to convincingly slip into the world of crime. Warren’s feature films include the crime drama “The Contract” where he acts opposite Golden Globe nominee John Cusack (“Serendipity,” “Maps to the Stars”), as well as the Golden Reel Award nominated crime thriller “Control” starring Ray Liotta (“Goodfellas”) and two-time Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe (“Spider-Man”).

In the world of television Warren’s taken on recurring key roles on several hit crime dramas such as the two-time BAFTA Award winning series “The Bill” where he acts alongside Simon Rouse (“The Practice”), “Eastenders” starring Patsy Palmer (“Do or Die”) and “Murphy’s Law” where he shares the screen with Golden Globe nominee James Nesbitt (“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”).

With such an impressive resume, Warren has certainly forged a distinguished and unique reputation for himself in the entertainment industry on an international level.

Warren, of course, did not wake up a success overnight. “I got into acting over twenty years ago,” Warren remarks. “Initially starting as a hobby, however, [it grew] into a passion and eventually a career choice.”

It’s clear that Warren has taken his craft seriously. After graduating from one of the UK’s leading drama schools and performing with the Ovalhouse Theatre Company, Warren has gone on to act in numerous film projects in the UK and Europe. He has worked alongside twice Academy-Award nominated director Bruce Beresford, Morgan Freeman, Michelle Rodriguez and many more household names.

 

hard-time-bus
Poster for “Hard Time Bus”

 

Now, with “Hard Time Bus” having screened internationally and recently winning the Jury Prize at the Hollywood Black Film Festival, Warren has yet another impressive credit to his resume. Directed by Dean Charles, also known for “Birthday Treat” starring “Casualty” star Neil Reidman, “Hard Time Bus” is a multi-faceted drama that examines the complexities of modern relationships and deceptive friendships. Warren brilliantly explores the latter in the lead role of Langas, a Jamaican-Patois speaking character who has no problem with bullying or cheating money from others.

 

"Hard Time Bus"
Still of Anthony Warren as Longas in “Hard Time Bus”

 

In a reflection of how he skillfully portrays people far different from himself, Anthony speaks of Langas like he would an old college friend. “He is so horrible to people around him but lovable to the audience in the way he is horrible – if he was one of your friends you’d keep a distance or want to punch him in the mouth.”

The film’s iconic pool hall scene, where the characters fight after Langas trash talks the girlfriend of one of the pool players, was a particular highlight for Anthony. “The scene had actors that I had worked with before and [am] still good friends with.” 

 

Michael Ellis Anthony Warren
Still of Michael Ellis (left) and Anthony Warren (right) in “Hard Time Bus”

 

It’s no surprise that Anthony’s maintained friendships with his fellow actors – those in the entertainment world are fully aware of his commitment and significant contributions to the industry. Besides his work of course, he has mentored numerous young actors and actresses and developed a reputation for being a friendly collaborator with everyone on set.

He admits, “It is a really different dynamic when you work with your friends. I feel a lot more at ease due to the experience and history we have together.”

With a cast that includes Aren Devlin (from Brad Pitt’s “World War Z”), Roger Griffiths (“Holby City,” “Doctors,” “Doctor Who”) and Naomi Ryan (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Mr Selfridge”), “Hard Time Bus” puts Warren in a position to call some illustrious company his friends.

The added benefit of being everyone’s favorite guy on set? People want to work with you even more, so it will come as no surprise that Anthony is slated to be involved in future productions produced with the production company 2HotFilms.