Category Archives: Canada

XIAO SUN: LEADING A MODEL LIFE

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Xiao Sun in an accomplished actress with numerous TV and Film credits to her name but she began her career achieving fame in Canada as a model. Miss Universe Canada was a springboard for her to work with Vogue Italia and Cosmo TV, which would eventually lead to acting roles in films such as Les 3 P’tits Cochons 2, Anna, Tidal Waves, and even work on X-Men: Days of Future Past,. Trained as a dancer in China, and the emigrating to Canada in 2009, Xiao has followed suit with Cameron Diaz, Milla Jovovich, Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, Angelina Jolie, and so many other models turned actress. Proving that you can’t contain natural charisma and talent, Sun has crossed from print and runway into TV and silver screen at a swift pace. While excited about her current success as an actress, she looks back toward those early days, what she learned, and how to apply it to her current status.

It is difficult to imagine that just seven years ago, Xiao Sun was living in China with great aspirations inside her head and heart. In just those few years she has moved across the planet, began a highly successful global modeling career, and is now a celebrated actress. Iconic names like Vogue and Cosmo are part of her resume which now includes monikers like “leading actress.” To those of us on the outside, viewing her career, it all seems fast. Xiao will tell you that it is all a product of focus and hard work, but also notes that she had early indicators of inclinations. Sun states, “I was obsessed with clothes and style at very young age. I used to often dream about the clothes I would wear for different moments in my life. I love how creative you can get on a piece of cloth; you can transform a person into a totally different look, feeling and energy with different styles of clothes.”

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Xiao moved to Canada in 2009 with her parents and entered into Ms. Universe Canada where she placed in the Top 10 national finalist and won Best Model Award (Sun was the first Asian Canadian to ever win the Best Model Award). While she learned more about interacting with the press and public presentation, she especially enjoyed the interaction with youth (in the form of motivational speaking) and interacting with charities as an ambassador of Canada. Denis Martin Davila is the President of Beauties of Canada which runs the Miss Canada Universe organization and pageant. Speaking of Sun’s win for Best Model, Davila comments, “This achievement of Ms. Sun’s is no small feat, and truly signifies her extraordinary talents as one of Canada’s top models. To win such an award, let alone place so highly in the national pageant, is only a possible achievement for the most capable and experienced of models, and Ms. Sun proved her talent with this. Miss Universe Canada is the biggest national beauty pageant in Canada, and its only 60 contestants are selected from thousands of applications across Canada after rounds of regional competition each year. Ms. Sun shined among these thousands of other beautiful and talented models and proved her high stature in her field. To win such an award from the biggest pageant in Canada is one of the biggest national honors for a model in this country.”

Xiao was approached immediately following the competition to start her modeling career. The crowning achievement for any model on the planet is working with Vogue and Cosmo; something which Xiao achieved almost immediately. She recalls that being in Italy to work on Vogue Italia was the complete experience for her. She comments, “Vogue magazine is my favorite fashion magazine to read. I have visited Italy a few times, and loved each time. Needless to say, the street fashion, shops, and the food are amazing too!! I also love people dress up for different events, like they wear gowns to go to a concert. Makeup artist Paul Venoit’s simple but bold style was really inspiring. The first look Venoit created for me, was only foundation, with black rectangular eyebrows…super edgy, I never knew that I could rock that kind of look. I was shocked how amazing I looked like in the final pictures. It has brought my modelling career and the way I look at myself as a model into a new different level. Paul Venoit is a legendary beauty expert that I had heard a lot about before I worked with him. He has worked with many celebrities including Scarlett Johansson, Lady Gaga, etc. I was very excited to work with him on this project, he is very fun and relaxed. He can effortlessly create stunning fashionable looks for everyone with his magic brushes. He could easily crack a joke and make anyone laugh on set.  We had a great time working for Vogue Italia, and we’ve worked together numerous times after this project.”

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Natalie Dean (producer/writer of the award-winning Entertainment Tonight Canada as well as director/producer of Cosmopolitan TV’s Oh, So Cosmo) saw Sun on Ms. Universe Canada and recalls, “I cast Ms. Sun on the heels of her winning the prestigious Best Model award from Miss Universe Canada and placing as a top 10 finalist in the nationwide competition, which is truly an accomplishment that only a very gifted and uniquely beautiful model can achieve. The Oh, So Cosmo production was very well received and achieved great ratings, reviews, and buzz. Ms. Sun’s modeling was highly effective and truly leading and critical to the production itself, and I am glad to have cast her.” This began Sun’s transition into being a personality on TV and would peak her interest in acting. Although she loved the talented professionals she worked with and the creative approach to style in her modeling career, there were certain aspects that did not suit her temperaments. Sun confirms, “What bothers me about modelling is that a lot of it is about your look, what you were born with…unlike acting. That’s not something that you can work on. The length of your legs, your body proportion, your face shape…these aren’t things that you can improve upon. Obviously everyone who is a model is very beautiful and has a nice body, but nobody is perfect. People have different tastes and preferences.  As models, we get judged by on our look first. and the idea of that stressed me out.

The progression of Xiao’s career path seems to be that each is more successful than the previous choice; dancer to model, model to television personality and actress, and now film actress. Being a part of the X-Men franchise and Les 3 P’tits Cochons 2 (one of this summer’s most popular films in Canada) bears the fruit of this driven actress’s hard work and desire to continually improve on her talents.

 

ACTOR MICHELLE ALEXANDER EXCELS AS ‘DARKNET’ SERIAL KILLER

Actor Michelle Alexander inhabits every role with a masterly conviction. Her characterizations, whether a light hearted comedy or dark suspense thriller, display an involvement and authority which completely draws an audience in. The Canadian-born Alexander’s artful prowess allowed her to transition, with admirable grace, from theater to television, where she electrified viewers as a knife-wielding slasher on the groundbreaking Darknet, a well-received, innovative anthology series of urban horror stories.

The lissome, charming Alexander was hardly an obvious choice for a serial killer, but she easily won the role of murderous psychotic Alison. “The Darknet auditions were highly competitive,” Alexander said. “The individual slots for the first round were only five minutes long, but I was kept in the room for 45 minutes. They had me do a 2-minute scene about 10 different ways, and later told me they were blown away by how quickly I adapted to direction.”

“Then there was the callback,” she said. “It was one of my favorite ever auditions. The scene was Alison stabbing her first murder victim and realizing how much she loved it. I wanted to have something to push against, literally, when doing the ‘stabbing’ so I slammed a giant chair into the ground over and over again. I thought ‘they’re either going to think I’m crazy or an acting-chair-wielding genius.’ That bold choice paid off.”

Alexander’s instinct and audacity, combined with a deep well of classical stagecraft—an alumni of the distinguished University of Windsor BFA Acting Program with extensive additional training and stage experience—effectively guaranteed her the part, and she took full advantage of the offbeat opportunity.

“Those are the scenes you wish for as an actor, going from 0 to100 in seconds, from innocent student to serial killer,” she said. “Alison was the first role that showed me how my own personal brand of humor and heart is watchable and exciting. I love bringing that quality, which is uniquely me, to roles that show how women can be really screwed up and still amazingly powerful at the same time.”

Alexander’s gift for weaving subtle ambiguity and blunt force drama together into an engrossing whole is impressive, and Darknet was an important upshift in her already solid roster of theatrical and film achievement. But she doesn’t take any of it for granted.

“Is anyone ever really satisfied with their performance?” Alexander said. “Actors are notoriously hard on themselves and driven for self-improvement, not qualities that foster self-satisfaction. Of course, there were moments in the final cut that I watched and thought ‘oh they chose that take, it’s good, but I can do better.’ I didn’t think that was my best’. But, ultimately, my job is to deliver believable moments and it’s their job to choose which version fits into the story they want to tell.”

Darknet’s singular format, with multiple plotlines progressing over several episodes, each helmed by different directors, provided Alexander a rare, interactive behind-the-scenes experience.

“It felt like a truly collaborative experience,” Alexander said. “The directors of the different episodes really treated me like the authority on my character, always asking what I thought Alison would do in a situation. Even the script writers were collaborative. For example, before they signed off on Episode Five they asked if I agreed with the very extreme choice they had Alison make. You can’t ask for a better work environment than that.”

“I had the pleasure of working with Michelle on Darknet,” director Jeremy Ball said. “Michelle stood out for her energy, commitment, and ability to take direction. I also found her to possess a singular screen presence that was at once completely her own and capable of accommodating a scene’s unique requirements.”

Alexander’s work on Darknet, currently streaming on Netflix, instilled a fondness for the small screen format. “It was fantastic,” she said. “The entire crew, creative team and cast were a joy to work with. Also, we laughed a lot when the cameras weren’t rolling, which is key when making any show, but especially a horror show.”

She has gone on to appearances on The Strain and Orphan Black and is eager to take on additional television roles. “I want to play amazing females who viewers can look forward to hanging out with, crying with and watching in awe as they take on the world episode after episode.” Alexander said. “My dream job is to helm my own sci-fi series as a character that’s riddled with flaws but has a killer sense of humor and can kick anyone’s ass.”

At her core, Alexander is a reliable, self-critical craftsman with a driven, pragmatic attitude that serves her very well. “Nothing will ever go exactly as planned,” she said. “So bend your knees, trust yourself and always be in the moment.”

Breakout Child Actor Samuel Faraci Stars In Three Upcoming Movies

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Samuel Faraci

The award winning child actor, Samuel Faraci, has three hit movies making their first debut to audiences around the world over the next few months. In “Country Crush,” “Blood Hunters” and “The Headhunter’s Calling,” Faraci shares scenes with some of Hollywood’s most riveting stars. While all three films differ in genre, they all share one surefire similarity: they all succeed at showcasing Faraci’s sought-after talents.

“Country Crush” is an upcoming musical drama from writer and director Andrew Cymek (“Night Cries,” “Agency of Vengeance: Dark Rising” and “Dark Rising: Warrior of Worlds”) that follows a city girl named Nancy Taylor, played by newcomer Madeline Merlo, who meets good-hearted Charlie Bishop, portrayed by Munro Chambers (“Degrassi,” and “Turbo Kid”). After sparks fly and a promising romance begins, Nancy and Charlie return to New York City where Nancy’s music career is beginning to flourish, until she’s faced with a choice: Will she continue along her career path as an opportunistic music producer, or follow her heart instead? One Tree Hill’s Jana Kramer (“One Tree Hill,” “90210” and “Entourage”) also stars in the film.

“I portray Cody Bishop Jr. in “Country Crush,” who is a sweet, good-natured boy who idolizes his dad. Cody’s father is Charlie’s older brother,” said Faraci. “and a soldier who serves his country overseas.” The film was shot in the Canadian countryside of Northern Ontario during the Summer, “A beautiful landscape that was close to forests and lakes,” Faraci fondly described. After a one of a kind experience working alongside the widely known country singer and actress, he commented, “Watching her work, I realized how hard it is to sing and perform at the same time. Jana is very sweet and a wonderful actress.”

The theatrical release of “Country Crush” will be introduced this fall, the home video launch set to take place on the Q1 of next year.

Additionally, in just about a month’s time now, Faraci’s second film titled “Blood Hunters,” directed by the acclaimed Tricia Lee (“Silent Retreat” and “Clean Break”), will be presenting its world premiere at the Horror Channel FrightFest Film Festival in London, England on August 29, 2016. Faraci plays a boy named “Hunter” in the film, the lead character’s son. “I auditioned for the role of Hunter and got a quick and positive response. I was so happy because I knew how good Tricia’s work was,” Faraci said.

The indie horror flick stars Leo Award nominee Lara Gilchrist (“Bates Motel,” “Rookie Blue” and “Supernatural”) as Ellie Barnes, a single mother who overdoses and wakes up in a medical facility to find that everyone around her is dead – and that she’s nine months pregnant.

Faraci is no stranger to the style of this elevated genre creature feature, as his prior film credits consist of the full-length film “Antisocial 2” and the horror TV series “Hannibal.” Elaborating on his character in “Blood Hunters,” Faraci explained, “Hunter is a precocious boy whose mom has not been the most attentive and whose dad has never been around. He has learned to not only take care of himself, but of his mom who leaves the stove on, food too long in the fridge or forgets to go to appointments. He understands more than his mom thinks he does, but loves her very much and will defend her to the end of the earth.” Furthermore, Faraci describes his scenes in “Blood Hunters” as, “Pretty emotional.”

“The Headhunter’s Calling” is the rising star’s third upcoming project, a Mark Williams (“The Accountant,” “Flawless” and “Shuttle”) family drama, follows a ruthless corporate headhunter played by Gerard Butler (“The Ugly Truth,” “P.S. I Love You” and “300”) who arranges jobs for engineers and is more focused on his job than his family. When his child is diagnosed with cancer, Butler’s character puts his overtly successful career on hold, leading to a clash of his personal and professional priorities.

“I play Kyle who is one of Ryan’s classmates. Ryan is the son of Gerard Butler’s character,” Faraci explained. “Kyle has an exchange with Elise, Ryan’s mom, when she stops by to get Ryan’s homework at school.” The character Elise is played by Boardwalk Empire’s very own Gretchen Mol (“Boardwalk Empire,” “Life on Mars” and “Mozart in the Jungle”).

Originally, Faraci had auditioned for the main role of “Ryan,” but didn’t book it due to physical traits the character needed to match. Just days after this unfortunate news, the casting director invited Faraci to perform the role of Kyle without the need of a new audition. “While I didn’t work directly with Mr. Butler,” Faraci also mentioned, “It’s exciting to have your name involved in a big production with A-List talent such as Alison Brie (“Community,” “BoJack Horseman” and “Mad Men”), Gretchen Mol, Willem Dafoe (“Spider-Man,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Finding Nemo”), and Alfred Molina (“Spider-Man 2,” “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angie Tribeca”).”

“The Headhunter’s Calling” will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, also known as TIFF, this September.

 

For more information on Samuel Faraci, please visit: http://www.imdb.me/samuelfaraci/

Follow Samuel Faraci on Twitter: https://twitter.com/samuelfaraci

For more information on “Country Crush,” please visit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3901944/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

For more information on “Blood Hunters,” please visit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3646592/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

For more information on “The Headhunter’s Calling,” please visit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1718924/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Sitcom Writer Nadiya Chettiar Offers Advice to Those Starting Out

Connecting with people on an emotional level is tricky. Creating something that truly terrifies someone, or makes them overwhelmed with sadness enough to shed a tear is not easy. Being capable of writing something that truly speaks to someone is a gift. That being said, there is one reaction that many writers strive for and fail to achieve, and being able to generate it takes not just skill, but talent a writer must be born with. That reaction is laughter.

Canadian sitcom writer Nadiya Chettiar knows this too well. After having overwhelming success writing for Package Deal, Netflix’s Some Assembly Required where she was nominated for a Leo Award, and the upcoming show Workin’ Moms, Chettiar is becoming a seasoned professional.

After achieving so much in her career so far, she can now offer advice to those looking to follow a similar path.

“The biggest challenge is that trying to make people laugh involves putting yourself out there,” said Chettiar. “You’re showing people what you think is funny, what you think period, and that’s revealing something about who you are. Even a dog in a lobster costume has to reveal that he had that lobster costume in his closet already. It’s scary.”

“I think when you and other people laugh at the same thing together, it’s a bonding experience. You’re also bonding with the person/thing/dog in a lobster costume that made you laugh. So that’s really rewarding. It’s tapping into something that is universal,” she continued.

Sitcom, short for “situational comedy,” is all about working around relationships and experiences of the characters that the audience slowly becomes more and more familiar with as each episode progresses. It is different than writing stand-up comedy, where the joke is the punchline. Often, the punchline in a sitcom is entirely dependent on the characters the writers have created.

“I think when you’re writing for characters the only real rule that applies is the comedy has to be true to the characters,” described Chettiar. “The moment you have a character saying or doing something that they wouldn’t normal do, the illusion is broken. It’s game over.” 

“Personally, I think writing is really tight when the character has to say the funny thing they are saying or do the funny thing they are doing because there is simply no other way for that character to react in that situation,” she explained. “Also, I love it when comedy is grounded in reality. The closer to real life, but maybe tweaked in a way that only that specific character would react, the better.”

However, there are obstacles in the way for those who strive to make others laugh. Everyone knows the feeling of telling a bad joke. The moment where you say something with a bit of a chuckle, and the room falls silent. Slowly, you have to pretend you didn’t think the joke would be that funny, and crawl into a small corner of the room to hide the embarrassment. For sitcom writers, there are a lot more people to hear the joke than a couple of your close friends. The key to success as a comedy writer, according to Chettiar, is perseverance. 

“I write bad jokes all the time,” she said. “When a joke is one where I find myself doing a lot of explaining about why it was funny afterward… That’s never a good sign.”

“If you’re in a writing room and no one laughs at a joke you pitch, it feels bad, but at the same time, the writers’ room is a place for experimentation, and pitching bad jokes is unfortunately a part of the process of pitching good jokes,” she explained. “If you’re on stage and you don’t get a laugh, it just sucks. But the same rule applies. You have to keep going because if you don’t, you’ll never make anyone laugh. But I will say that the best jokes are ones that I think are funny, as well as other people. When we agree on something being funny, that’s a good joke. Write, fail, write, get better. It’s a process.” 

Chettiar also recommends enrolling in writing courses to gain experience for new writers.

“Not only will you get the benefit of someone skilled looking at and assessing your work, you get the beyond important bonus of deadlines,” she said. “Deadlines, especially when they are imposed by someone other than yourself, can be enormously helpful.”

Television writers also have to deal with a fact that many jokesters are exempt from. They are not the ones telling their joke. 

“Actors bring so much to your work,” said Chettiar. “We’re really lucky as scriptwriters in that way. Especially in the hands of a funny actor.  I’ve written lines that weren’t even jokes, but in the hands of the right actor, end up being the funniest moment in a scene. That is always so fun to see.”

Chettiar always knew what her path should be. For those just starting out and starting to feel discouraged, remember what brought you there in the first place.

“I love to laugh. I love funny people,” she said. “I guess it comes out of growing up with three siblings. Four kids under one roof meant there were often fights and squabbles going on between us. But it seemed that whoever could make the others laugh was always the top dog. And if you “got” the joke, you were in. I guess there’s a sense of belonging tied into sharing a laugh with people. I guess for me, comedy was like a commodity when I was growing up. We really valued a good joke.”

After all, there is no greater feeling than making people laugh.

“It may be the purest form of joy I know,” Chettiar concluded.

HUNTER PHOENIX USES ACTING AS THE ULTIMATE RPG

The next time you are feeling like the ultimate multitasker, consider actress Hunter Phoenix who uses her vocation as therapy. Okay, that’s an oversimplification. When the director of the London based production of Streetcar Named Desire cast her in the role of Blanche “Because it’s going to be fascinating to watch you fall apart (emotionally)”; that would likely seem intimidating to most of us. It was to Hunter, until she realized this was a chance to lead out a very different life without repercussions. The actress decided to embrace the unknown, resulting in two decades of a highly successful career in Canada and Europe. Seeking new experiences for growth has now led her to Hollywood and the ever changing possibilities of acting. The long list of Canadian actors contributing to American Television and Film such as; Raymond Burr, Dan Aykroyd, Pamela Anderson, Rachel McAdams, Mike Myers, Ryan Reynolds, Ellen Page…and honestly, too many to mention here, continues to grow. Hunter Phoenix is following the path of her fellow countrymen by investing in Hollywood’s possibilities. She is no stranger to the international film industry (taking part in films recognized at the Oldenburg Film Festival, Toronto Black Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, and the Cannes Film Festival, plus many others) and Los Angeles is astute in recognizing her luminous qualities. Following years of establishing herself in the Canadian and European markets as a talented and charismatic actress, Ms. Phoenix has increasingly appeared in many different formats here in the United States. Modern actors cross many varied platforms including; film, television, theater, even web-based, Hunter has immersed herself into all of these. In 2016 you can find Hollywood’s A-list at your local theater, on a cable series, or in original content for websites such as Funny or Die.

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Producer (and actress) Maria Rohm has worked with everyone from Orson Welles to Christoph Waltz. She knows how to recognize talent as well as marketability. Maria has worked with Ms. Phoenix on multiple films and notes, “Hunter is very unique as an actress. She has the ability to convey vulnerability and handle the most dramatic scenes but also has great comedic timing. You rarely see that in a woman of such poise, beauty and grace. She raises the bar of any project she becomes involved in.”

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For the film High Adventure (distributed in Canada by Universal Studios Home Video), Hunter played the role of Ingrid, Chris Quartermain’s ex-girlfriend.  Phoenix’s performance added greatly to the depth of the film according to its director Mark Roper who relates, “What these two characters create on-screen and accomplish in this movie is transcendent, and greatly responsible for the movie’s overwhelming commercial success. This was largely due to Hunter’s commitment to her performance in this role.” It is readily apparent in the film that Phoenix enjoys the subtle nuances and mannerisms of her performance. No doubt her costars appreciate the fact that she helps the audience to see the main character through her eyes, allowing them to become more real, flawed, and interesting. Hunter considers this to be one of her finest achievements as an actress, to aid the audience in seeing deeper into the characters.

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  Pact with the Devil is a modern adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and would seem an appropriate analogy for the lifestyle and challenges of the entertainment industry. The film’s cast includes Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, The Artist), Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained, Inglorious Bastards, Spectre) and, as Isabella…Hunter Phoenix. Producer David Goldstein describes Hunter in the film as “commanding the screen” and “fascinating to watch!” Phoenix’s physical beauty is natural as a character that has an affair with the handsome Dorian Gray; what comes as a complete surprise is her comedic timing. Her performance gives unexpected moments of humor and levity to a dark story being played out by actors with potent gravitas. “I have written roles for Hunter on several movies and she makes the characters tangible and temporarily suspends all disbelief. When watching Hunter, you forget that she is an actress playing the part; she just IS that person.” remarks writer Peter Jobin.

In a more family themed role, Hunter will appear as Sabrina Baroque in The Bandit Hound II (she is also credited in The Bandit Hound I). This family tale centers on an unwitting dog’s involvement in an armed robbery and his road to redemption through the love of his adoptive family. In addition to Phoenix, the cast includes household names like; Catherine Bell (JAG), Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas), Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), and Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club). The Bandit Hound and The Bandit Hound II’s director Michelle Danner praises Hunter remarking, “I was inspired by this new actress and immediately made the decision to cast Hunter in the sequel ‘Bandit Hound II.’ The chemistry between Hunter and two of our leads was magnetic, a crucial element to achieving the heartwarming finale we’re hoping for.” In the sequel, the bank robbers are locked up but Sabrina is their “man on the outside.” Sabrina is the typical pretty face who aligns herself with the bad boys but she has a secret…one that will require viewing of the movie to reveal…no spoilers here. With the movie set to begin filming in 2016, fans of the film will have to wait a while to discover the plot twists. In the meantime, to get their portion of Hunter, they’ll have to do no more than turn on their computers. Just as cable grew into the creative and ratings juggernaut it is, the web is a new avenue for many a creative series.

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For someone like Hunter Phoenix who has tested herself in live theater, television, and films, seeing what online entertainment can do is a natural exploration. She is cast as Vanessa in Uncensored Hollywood, a series about aspiring actors in Hollywood and the culture of sex, drugs, alcohol, and lies. The subject matter could lend itself to drama but the tone is definitely one of comedy.  With episodic titles like; “Arnold Schwarzenegger and Godot”, “The King’s Speech – Made in Hollywood”, “Game of Thrones – The amateurs”, and “SNL Tennessee Williams” it is easy to see that the series pokes fun at the self important side of Hollywood as well as pop-culture.  Phoenix describes her character Vanessa as a former child actor/now talent agent, full of grit and toughness, while still being humorous and fragile (due to her ex-husband). The role is a perfect place for the actress to show an intense yet comedic facet of her inner self. That seems understandable for someone whose achievements range from Tennessee Williams to Second City improv. Hunter embraces Uncensored Hollywood and her character stating, “What makes the show both poignant and funny is that it contains that kernel of truth. It’s not me but I draw on my own experiences to breathe emotional vibrance into Vanessa’s world.”  This acting therapy that Hunter uses allows her to be people that she isn’t, while doing things she’d probably never be comfortable doing, and somehow results in her being a more actualized self. Maria Rohm of (Tower of London Films) describes Phoenix stating, “Hunter is also one of the kindest and most caring people I have ever met. She worked with street youth, mentoring them for a number of years during her time in Toronto through Covenant House, and she gives generously to animal welfare charities.” Hunter’s personal form of acting therapy results in great work that is appreciated by the industry, as well as therapeutic side effects for herself and those around her.

Canadian actor enters the ‘Black Forest’

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Actor Cesare Scarpone plays Paul in writer-director David Briggs’ horror film, “Black Forest.”

 

Cesare Scarpone was drawn to “Black Forest” upon first reading the script and considering all the potential in its premise. The slasher-styled horror feature from writer-director David Briggs (“Sleepwalking,” “Blood Night”) would berth an opportunity for Scarpone to act in dynamic, high-paced movie set in the woods of northern Ontario, Canada.

The story follows best friends – Bree and Jess – who have designs on a summer camping trip, but instead find themselves trapped in nightmare when they encounter Isaac, a seemingly madman with twisted visions of post-apocalyptic survival.

Scarpone’s reaction after taking the script in for the first time?

“I loved it. The story was great. It had me imagining scenes the instant I started reading. It does follow the classic style of a slasher, though the story doesn’t give you any time for rest. It leaves you in the minds of the two women leads feeling lost and trapped in the beauty of the forest.”

Starring as Bree is Marie-Josee Dionne, who acted in Danny Perez’ horror feature, “Antibirth,” and in the forthcoming “Theories” horror film from director Mike Tyrrell. Actress France Huot debuts in the role of Jess. Jayson Stewart (“REZilience,” “The Pasta Killer!”) plays the crazed Isaac.

Scarpone carries out the role of Paul, a local who acts as a guide in helping Bree and Jess navigate their way through the terror. “Paul is an easygoing guy, quiet and not too ambitious,” said Scarpone, who hails from Brampton, Ontario and grew up later in Maple, Ontario. “He cares for people and always looks for the best in them.”

A celebrated and revered talent, Scarpone is previously known for his roles in director Rob Comeau’s “Chance,” Mark Korven’s “Dead Monday,” Gabriella Bevilacqua’s “Aftermath,” Rebecca Carrigan’s “All I Need” and Omii Thompson’s “Modern Romance is Dead.” He’s acted on TV in Cineflix’s “Dual Suspects” and History’s “Curious and Unusual Deaths.”

Coming from a robust theatre background, Scarpone has studied acting at the esteemed London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Among his impressive stage acting career, Scarpone received the Sears Drama Festival award of excellence for the York, Ontario region for his stalwart performance as Jerry in Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story.”

Regarding acting in the horror genre in the case of “Black Forest,” Scarpone said, “There is freedom to make bold choices and enjoy playing characters with a limitless palate of justifications.”

With performing charisma, intuition for characters and a veracious passion for his art form, it comes as no surprise Scarpone’s decisive role in “Black Forest” returned an affirmative commendation from his director.

“His sense of humor and enthusiasm elevated everyone on set,” Briggs said. “Cesare’s a cool guy and a great actor to work with. I’m definitely looking forward to the next chance we have to work together.”

The film’s forest setting loomed large and fundamental to the story. It proved to be a filming location with challenges, but also attributes to the production that were felt within the cast.

“It was hard dealing with the incontrollable sounds of nature,” Scarpone said. “We’d have the odd squirrel or bird that wants their time to shine. But it was also charming and beautiful exploring areas I’d never seen before and essentially having the freedom to use whatever the forest had to offer.”

Scarpone added, “Found footage is featured in sections of the film, adding the characteristic element of being directly part of the action, keeping you on the edge of your seat.”

“Black Forest” is from Distant Field Productions. The 2015 film released at the Northern Frights Film Festival and won the Best Original Soundtrack award. It had a theatrical release across northern Ontario and has a DVD release forthcoming.

Ultimately what made “Black Forest” a success, to Scarpone, was the swiftly-paced story that drives the film. “The story being fast-paced without time for rest keeps the viewer engaged the whole way through,” he said. “The visuals and effects are also pretty good.”

Of his favorite part of participating on the project, Scarpone explained it was “working with everyone in the cast and crew and getting to enjoy the great outdoors of Ontario!”

It might not be the end though for “Black Forest” as Briggs teased: “A sequel might be in order.”

Check out the trailer on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/55137390

Follow “Black Forest” on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlackForest

Prolific Dancer Brings all the right moves to A World Fit for Kids!

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Latoya Webley has for more than a decade been one of the world’s premier dancers. She has performed with star music artists including Rihanna, Drake and Shakira, and brings her expertise to noted organizations such as A World Fit for Kids!

BY JEREMY CURTIS

 

Toronto-born dancer Latoya Webley has graced many of the world’s biggest stages and performed with superstars Rihanna, Drake, Shakira, the Black Eyed Peas and more over the last 16 years. She’s dispatched her outstanding concoction of dancehall, African, Soca, hip-hop and street jazz dance styles internationally, on tour and for music industry leading events including the Grammy Awards, BET Awards and Much Music Video Awards, to name a few. Webley’s dance career has been characterized by persisting success that’s spanned from North America to Asia, propelling her to a coveted position at the pinnacle of the industry in which many strive for and few achieve.

Webley’s indelible, sought after talent keeps her name rolling off the lips of artists, choreographers, decision makers and audiences aplenty. But there’s a lesser known chapter of her story that’s of essential importance to her career and journey as a dancer. Webley dedicates a segment of her craft in giving back through teaching, guiding, mentoring, inspiring and empowering youth through dance. She has the rare ability to make her moves move others.

The trend can be traced back to her own origins when Webley first began dancing and teaching at community centers around Toronto, including the East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club. And since 2013, she’s engaged the same for A World Fit for Kids! (WFIT), an afterschool expanded learning program based in Los Angeles.

For the community based non-profit, Webley teaches a dance program for Virgil Middle School students that’s complete with educating in fitness, health and nutrition.

WFIT program director Ian Keiller said, “We’re a community-based non-profit in the afterschool world. With the resources we have, to have that top notch talent, it’s very difficult. We felt honored to have someone of her caliber working with her our kids.”

Webley said, “These are all life skills. It’s not all just dance. It’s a fitness package. It’s a life package.”

Founded after the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, WFIT provides award-winning, daily programs at Title I schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, where 84 percent of students come from economically disadvantaged homes, according to WFIT’s website. Programs are for students of every grade level in elementary, middle and high schools. Parents get in on the action too. Programs feature core areas of physical activity, nutrition, academics and mentoring.

The goal is to promote physical, mental and emotional wellness, and the goals have been met. WFIT received the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Gold Medal award and a National Community Leadership Award from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

CEO Normandie Nigh explains on WFIT’s website that WFIT has brought more than $46 million to underserved LA communities, served more than 300,000 children and young people, trained over 10,000 teachers and staff and employed more than 2,900 local community residents. WFIT has also trained more than 1,500 Nike employees as physical activity volunteer leaders and Community Ambassadors, as well as others in the U.K., Australia, Canada, France and South Korea.

“What I really like about World Fit is throughout the year we do various training that tackles different aspects of health and wellness,” said Webley, who more recently is participating with the program’s Nike training extension. “As much as people may think I know, I’m always a student and learning. They always have ongoing programs that inform us on what’s new and healthy, and what we should be doing. It’s not only for us to teach the kids, it’s also for our self-awareness.”

Webley developed the dance program that serves Virgil Middle School, located north of Koreatown. Her students undergo a training program to begin and rotate different activities for different days ranging from health, fitness and nutrition that each supplement dance instruction.

“We strive to improve kids’ grades, get them to build friendships, physically release energy and sharpen problem solving skills,” she said. “We demand that from them and they have to maintain grades to participate.”

The program, which runs throughout school years, draws student dancers of all skill levels from beginners to those experienced. Some go on to compete at dance events such as Beyond the Bell and Sharp International at Knott’s Berry Farm.

“There is an array of all skill levels, so we have to create a program that has balance,” said Webley. “We start off by assessing where the kids are at. We teach routines to them. The bulk of the routines are usually hip hop, but we incorporate other styles like dancehall, breaking, African, jazz and ballet. Aside from dancing, there’s also running and strength training. We incorporate elements of stretching, flexibility and acrobatics, and we encourage kids to participate in the dance teams at their schools.”

The WFIT dance team from Virgil Middle School is this year’s Beyond the Bell reigning champion.

“She’s got a great presence and rapport with kids,” Keiller said of Webley. “She was the right temperament for middle school. It’s a tough age group to reach.”

Webley has been serving in similar roles for years. She currently choreographs for the Los Angeles SparKids, the official kids dance team of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, along with dancer Brandee Evans. She has taught dance at the Osaka School of Music in Japan and conducted dance workshops at Osaka’s Myster Dance Studio, AX Dance studio, Alley Opp Dance Studio and the Unity Dance Studio in Hiroshima.

Webley’s music video debut came in Sean Paul’s “Temperature/Breakout” video in 2005. She danced in Rihanna’s first video, “Pon de Replay,” in Drake’s first video, “Replacement Girl” and in the Diddy, Lenny Kravitz, Pharrell Williams video, “Show Me Your Soul.”

Webley danced in many recurring performances with the internationally famed singer, Shakira, including her “She Wolf” promo tour, NBA All-Star Weekend performance, Yahoo and Clear Channel shows, on George Lopez Tonight, Good Morning America, The Late Show with David Letterman, So You Think You Can Dance (USA) and at the 2009 American Music Awards.

She has danced and toured with Kardinal Offishall, who opened in part of the 2005 50 Cent and G-Unit tour. Webley has also toured with Sean Paul, JoJo and Jamie Foxx in America, and with Destra Garcia in Trinidad and Tobago. While working in Japan, she danced at the 2009 Japan MTV Music Video Awards with the Black Eyed Peas.

This year, Webley danced in Rihanna’s smash hit video, “Work” featuring Drake, and she’s featured in a forthcoming Drake video that recently filmed. Last year, Webley danced in Will Smith and Bomba Estereo’s “Fiesta (remix)” video and at the Latin Grammy Awards with Fifth Harmony and Maluma.

Keiller credited Webley’s credentials as an asset to her work with WFIT and said the students “respond to people who really know what they’re talking about.”

It’s all collectively made for a positive experience that Webley helps cultivate.

“Her teams were always top notch, very organized and not only good performers, but a good group of kids,” said Keiller. “That stems from the leadership and the example she demonstrated. She was able to give them something to strive for to give them focus, keep them committed and set goals for themselves to strive to do their best.”

Moving With the Times: Canadian DP Colin Akoon

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Cinematographer Colin Akoon (center) tests the lighting on set

 

Following the progression of cinematography from 16mm to digital over dozens of years, the devoted award-winning cinematographer Colin Akoon not only keeps up with the art, he evolves with it. Originally from the suburbs of Toronto, Canada, Akoon’s love for movie making began at an early age, and the footage he has captured throughout his career has graced our screens with unforgettable, moving, and compelling images alike.

With a resume that is as diverse as it is extensive, Akoon has lent his talents to feature films, commercials, music videos and documentaries. His body of work includes the more poetic and eerie film “Incident(s) at Paradise Bay,” the hilarious Power Rangers’ spin-off “Space Riders: Division Earth,” the ever powerful and gripping “Together Alone.” He is even the eye behind international rap star Booba’s music video “Validee” featuring Benash, which takes viewers through Barrio Pablo Escobar, home of Colombia’s most violent and notorious drug lord, and much, much more.

Thinking back to the beginning of his career, Akoon recalls, “When I started in the camera department, there was no digital… Film cameras are simple; they’re just motors. They are highly precise motors, but they are motors nonetheless. There was only one factor that dictated the look of your image – what film stock you chose.”

In a world gone digital, Akoon realizes that the image is not dictated simply by lens and film selection, but frankly “a million electronic factors.” But this does not stop him; rather, it inspires him to use groundbreaking, top-of-the-line cameras to the absolute best of their abilities.

“I use the RED Epic [camera] often,” Akoon explains. “Not primarily for its inherent image quality, but more for its form factor and work flow design. It’s small and contained-no tethering to another recording device is necessary-  yet I can build it to suit on-the-shoulder hand held work. It easily rigs to any movement device…and it shoots RAW, digital cinematography’s answer to a ‘film negative’ like work flow.”

Akoon also brings up a fascinating point about on-set viewing of the images he captures: “When shooting film, no one on set has any idea what the image will look like but the cinematographer. The cinematographer had a lot of control in making sure the lab and daily colorist followed their instruction to achieve the desired look. But with digital, everyone from the producer to hair and makeup can see what the image actually looks like on set, so it’s important that the quality of the image they see is what you intended.”

Akoon understands the weighted value of live viewing image quality, and uses the technology built into the RED Epic to show the director and others on set what, in the past, would have just been up to him to process later on with negatives. Where he used to instruct very specific manipulations of negatives like underexposure with the intention to print up, pushing to create contrast and pulling to lower it, he now can use his artistically trained eye at point of impact and create a look similar to what he envisions in post production, while not affecting the RAW file itself. This often overlooked touch, while small, is critical to the success of the film, and because of Akoon’s understanding of cinema from the film days, he possesses a deeply rare and invaluable talent.

It is because of his on-set grace and this ability to translate images instantly that directors work with Akoon time after time again. In fact, after working with director Mateo Guez on on a music video entitled “Smokin’ Lounge” for acclaimed jazz performer Molly Johnson (which you can check out below), Guez approached Akoon again to work on another project- this time, a feature film called “Together Alone.”

 

 

This film, inspired by Shakespeare’s sonnets, did not strictly adhere to any one script or blueprint, but rather it evolved through improvisation and experimentation, and, as a result, the filmmaking process was an intimately creative experience. With a limited crew and no camera assistant, Akoon valiantly undertook the project.

He recalls, “The process of making this film was very organic. Almost nothing was preconceived. Not a frame of this film was storyboarded. Every creative decision was made on set, in the moment.” A cinematographer without Akoon’s highly refined skill set would never have been able to capture the essence of this film.

Aside from being able to think quickly and creatively on his feet,  it is also where he places the camera itself that separates Akoon from the pack. He even admits, “As much as I enjoy lighting, and sculpting the image in shadow, camera placement is the most important aspect of my cinematography. Where you place the camera is literally where you put the audience for that moment in the story.”

He demonstrates his uniquely stylistic camera placement beautifully in the thriller “The Body Tree”, which has also been among his most challenging projects. The film follows a group of American youths to an isolated estate in Siberia, where they plan to honor their recently murdered friend, until they discover that the murderer may, in fact, be one of them.  While the story is not overly original, Akoon tells the story cinematically in such a way where viewers have truly witnessed the revolution of the cabin in the woods horror cliche into a tactfully maneuvered character piece.

Good work, of course, doesn’t come without its own set of challenges, but Akoon excels in problem solving, and often his solution to problems that arise with a shot leave audiences with images more stunning than if everything had gone as planned.

Thinking back upon the challenged faced while filming “The Body Tree,” Akoon recalls, “We lost quite a few key locations, both during pre-production and throughout production. The schedule was very tight and more than half of our script was night exteriors. On top of that, we had a cast of almost a dozen actors, that’s a lot of coverage to accomplish in a short number of days.”

Akoon met this challenge with great victory, leaning into the character development aspect of the film, giving the director a final project sure to impress and captivate audiences for years.

To this end, the relationship that Akoon builds with each director is individualized and tailored in a way not all cinematographers in the industry can offer. Truly staying in the mindset that nurturing the relationship with the director is where a cinematographer should spend most of their time has paid off for Akoon, as he typically works multiple times for directors who are impressed with his modesty.  

FDirector Chris Macari, for example, has worked with Akoon on three music videos for international rap star Booba; “Validee,” the first video shot of the three, has over 11 million hits on YouTube.  While on location in Columbia, Akoon noticed many locals hanging around the location and watching the shoot.  A good cinematographer will find a way to use use what the location gives naturally to boost and enhance the credibility of the project, and that is just what Colin Akoon did. “Chris ended up using a lot of that footage in the cut,” he recalls, “and it gives the sequence this authenticity, realism and danger that sets the stage for the rest of the video.” Any other cinematographer may have simply overlooked the value of these potential shots, and the outcome of the final product would have been left craving something more.

Akoon believes that a cinematographer must learn how they fit into a director’s process and adaptation and that over time, the synergy makes him a better cinematographer. “As a result,” he admits, “the cinematographer is only as good as the directors they are working with.” Likening the director’s job to weaving a complex and detailed quilt, Akoon explains that “ I believe that nurturing the relationship with the director is where a cinematographer should spend most of their time. It’s important as a cinematographer to be aware of where you best fit into that fabric.”

Perhaps these views have helped to opened creative doors for Akoon, as he has been able to work with friends professionally on many projects. One particular project, “The Incident(s) at Paradise Bay,” grips audiences with linguistic and visual storytelling alike. Captivating from the very first moment, the film, which is loosely based on the controversy surrounding disciplinary academies like Tranquility Bay in Jamaica, explores the ethics of their practices and intrinsically begs the moral question: were the procedures adopted by these type of institutions successful, or were they simply just abusive?

While the story itself is an interesting one, it truly is the remarkable camerawork that makes this piece so memorable. Raw and yet elegantly framed, Akoon puts viewers barefoot in a cage on a shore with the captives; with beautifully balanced handheld shots, he makes us forget we are watching a film, and with sparingly used zoom techniques, he bookends the film in an unpredictably foreshadowing twist of cinematic genius.

All in all, Akoon’s collaborative mindset and his seemingly limitless technical and creative skill combined with his understanding of the industry has made him the highly sought after cinematographer he is today.

“I love the energy you receive working with other people,” says Akoon. “You feed off of the other’s creative energies. I love that our creativity is about building upon other’s creations. A film is a living animal, listen to it. It will tell you what it really wants when you least expect it.”

Wardrobe Stylist Kirsten Reader Works on TIME’s Famous Cover

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TIME Magazine is perhaps one of the most universally recognized magazines around the world. Steve Jobs, Princess Diana, Obama, Einstein, and JFK are just a few famous and world changing faces that have graced the covers of this prestigious publication. But with each every famous cover, there is a team behind it. 

Canadian fashion director and wardrobe stylist Kirsten Readers knows this, as she styled TIME’s July 2013 cover “How Can Service Save Us” for the magazine’s annual national service issue.

“I don’t think anyone would turn down an opportunity to work with a publication like TIME magazine. They are iconic and recognized around the world,” said Reader. “For me it was such an honor and an accomplishment I will always be proud of.

The TIME article featured military veterans to talk about what happens to them post service. 

“I had to source authentic United States Military fatigues that would have been worn during the current war in Afghanistan,” described Reader. “We had to ensure that we honored the veterans who were participating in the current crises, as that was the focus of the article.”

Although the TIME magazine editorial crew is located in New York City, the shoot took place at the Westside Studios in Toronto, and therefore Reader worked with a very small team.

“The photographer Andrew B Myers and I made sure we got the overall vision TIME had requested taken care of,” said Reader. “Working with Andrew and TIME was a dream come true. Everyone was an absolute pleasure and yet another job I felt lucky to be a part of.” 

Reader had her work cut out for her. Having the shoot in Toronto created some unexpected challenges. 

“Ensuring to source the correct military service fatigues here in Toronto was a bit of a challenge, but one I truly relished succeeding at,” she said.

And succeed she did. Reader’s styling caught the attention of many high profile people in the entertainment industry, and allowed her to increase her connections.

 “She achieved a cover profiling models as veterans in a respectful light dressed in authentic current military wardrobe,” said filmmaker and television producer Jonas Bell Pasht. “This level of respect for real veterans while still working on achieving a dynamic cover is why Kristen is so often sought after for these central and critical projects. She is not only capable of delivering the message but also helping to ensure it is done in the most memorable and respectful way.”

 “For any stylist to be selected to work on the cover of such a widely distributed and entrusted publication within the journalism world is a massive accomplishment as a stylist that cannot be undervalued or understated,” said Odessa Paloma Parker, the fashion editor of The Globe and Mail, one of Canada’s largest circulating newspapers. 

 Reader remembers the shoot as one of the quickest she ever participated on.

 “The shoot itself was a half day with a day of preparation prior to ensure we had lots to work with to do the veterans justice,” described Reader.

 The cover is something Reader can, and always will be, proud of.

 “This was an amazing project to be a part of,” said Reader. “TIME is an iconic publication and never one I thought I would have the chance to style for, as it is a news publication so it was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Female lead is ‘lovable, but hopeless with guys’ in Katie Micay’s Romantic Comedy ‘Flirt’

 

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Kelsey Impicciche (middle), Lexi Giovagnoli (left) and Tyler Mauro star in writer-producer Katie Micay’s “Flirt.”

 

The short romantic comedy film, “Flirt” from Canadian writer-producer Katie Micay has all the ingredients of a champion paradigm of filmmaking. Micay wrote the high concept script featuring an endearing protagonist who faces a relatable obstacle and features a strong character arc. There’s a torrent of comedy stemming from firsthand source material, strong supporting characters with palpable chemistry and on-location shooting captured with refined cinematography.

The story follows Taylor (Kelsey Impicciche), a quirky college senior who lacks in the oft-tricky art of flirting and is on a quest to land the hottest guy in school as her date to her final sorority formal.

“Flirt” is a romantic comedy about a girl who is very lovable, but hopeless with guys,” Micay said. “Ultimately, she is focused on things that aren’t important and needs to learn to find someone who appreciates her for who she is.”

Impicciche, who has acted in the films, “Suicide Note,” “The Toy Soldiers” and “The Mastery,” said, “I loved the idea of the project and of this character who can’t flirt and ended up in many awkward situations. I loved the idea that this character really needed a date to a dance. I’ve honestly had this problem many times.”

The film co-stars Lexi Giovagnoli as Jenna, Taylor’s sorority sister and best friend. Playing Taylor’s love interests are Tyler Mauro as Liam and Shane R. Kennedy as Brad. “Flirt” was filmed on location at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles and went on to be an Official Selection at the Reality Bytes Film Festival in 2013.

Micay is known for her writing and producing of “Limited Engagement,” a comedy short that won an Award of Merit at the Women’s Independent Film Festival and was an Official Selection at the Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival.

“Flirt” came on the heels of Micay’s “My So Called Family,” a darker, quirky dramedy she wrote and produced in 2013. “I was ready to just make something different,” she said. “I got to use a lot of wit and dry humor and I hadn’t done that before. My friends and I are hopeless at flirting and it was something we always joked about! After seeing “Easy A,” I was inspired to try writing “Flirt.”

The premise was one where art imitated life. Micay is a member of LMU’s Tri Delta Sorority. Her inception into sorority life was an unexpected one and an experience that would later lay the framework for filmmaking inspiration.

“I came into college with a very sour idea of Greek life,” Micay said. “But when my friend convinced me to try it, it turned out to be the best decision of my college life. I still live with my sorority twin!”

In the case of sorority formals, it’s the girls who find dates and ask out guys. “It was definitely stressful for my friends and I,” Micay said.

The fabric of the leading character, Taylor, was also derivative, on a certain level. “I’m not as expressive or over-the-top as Taylor can be, but she stemmed from me. When we auditioned Kelsey, she really took to the character right away. Through rehearsals, we built the character up to be what you see on the screen.”

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Katie Micay (middle) unifies the vision behind the romantic comedy, “Flirt.”

Said Impicciche, “Katie had a solid grip on what she wanted, and was very helpful with guiding me towards her vision, while still allowing me a lot of creative freedom. There was a lot of physical comedy she wrote for the character, which was incredibly fun to do.”

The relationship between characters Taylor and Jenna was based on one of Micay’s friendships, “one where you are essentially sisters,” she noted.

“For me, the characters made the story,” Impicciche said. “As soon as I describe them, other girls immediately can identify people in their own lives that relate to these characters. They’re very real.”

From a producer’s standpoint, Micay was charged the task of navigating the project among its multiple on-campus locations including a dormitory and a working lab classroom that required a filming permit with the needed safety protocol.

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Actor Shane R. Kennedy plays Brad, the elusive love interest  of Taylor, played by Kelsey Impicciche in “Flirt.”

 

“When shooting on a college campus, you have to go by their rules so when they will let you shoot really dictates a lot. We also shot outside with a dolly track during school hours so that completely killed our audio,” said Micay. “We went back and used ADR in post. During the shoot, I relied heavily on Alyssa Brocato, my cinematographer. We planned as much as possible ahead of time because we knew timing would be tough. On the day it was about getting everything we needed.”

Micay’s diligent producing paid dividends and led to the film becoming a success. “Katie ran a really professional and fun set. Everything ran very smoothly,” Impicciche said. “I was really impressed with how she organized everyone and how she kept everyone on track and doing their best work. She was a joy to work with.”

Most recently, Micay wrote and produced “The Firefly Girls” that starred the award-winning Savannah Paige Rae of “Parenthood” and “Date Night” fame. “The Firefly Girls” screened this year at the Sonoma International Film Festival and the Equinox Women’s Film Festival.

For more information, visit: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5084812/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

Watch “Flirt” here: https://vimeo.com/81416130

Follow Katie on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/katiemicay