Category Archives: Entertainment

Look Out for Dynamic UK Actress Davina Cole!

Michael Wharley.2
Actress Davina Cole shot by Michael Wharley

 

Davina Cole, who recently earned a nomination for a Best Actress Award at London’s 7th annual SOLO Festival of One Man Shows for her performance in “All the Colours,” is one fiercely talented London-based actress that deserves to be on everyone’s radar.

Her performance as Salimatu in “All the Colours,” a captivating one-woman show that she both wrote and starred in, garnered attention across continents with Tony Award winning actress Starletta Dupois saying, “Davina’s performance of ‘All the Colours’ at the 22nd Los Angeles Womens Theatre Festival was very moving filled with twists and turns says The selection of characters she plays takes you on an emotional journey and gives you a clear insight into what it’s like to become a refugee and have to leave your home. The performance was truly moving and brought me to tears.”

As a child Cole would spend her Saturdays watching old films where actresses like Grace Kelly, Julie Andrews, Sofia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn mesmerized and inspired her. Not one to simply dream without taking action, she began taking acting classes, which helped her perfect her craft early on in her youth.

Earlier in her career Cole took on the pivotal role of Mama Sanami in the Kabaslot Theatre’s original production of “Wilberforce Bell,” a dramatic comedy that follows what happens when a prized bell given to the village of Wilberforce in Sierra Leone by the Governor General is stolen.

The production, which was directed by Dwight Short and debuted at The Broadway Theatre in Catford, London marked a major turning point in Cole’s career. While “Wilberforce Bell” resonated strongly with the actress due to the fact that her familial roots are based in Sierra Leone, the production offered her the challenges she needed to grow as a performer and she rose to the occasion with flawless precision.

She recalls, “This play really took me out of my comfort zone, as I had to learn different elements of my home language Krio.”

Prior to “Wilberforce Bell,” Cole took on the starring role of Delilah in “1867” written by Theresa Roche, a powerful sold-out production that received rave reviews.

Since making her name known in the international theatre world, Cole has gone on to prove her prowess as a film actress with an astonishing level of depth that continues to land her leading roles.

Today Cole is known for her roles in films including Rodney V. Williams’ “Therapy Sessions,” award-winning director Francoise Ellong’s “When Soukhina Disappeared,” and Simon Gedney “Cyborg Ninja vs. Vampires,” and the Discovery Channel TV series “Sinister Mysteries.”

Davina Cole has an undeniable knack for taking on strong women characters, something she has proven through the plethora of theatre productions she has done to date; but in Caleb Davis’ film “Two Easels” where the actress played the starring role of Kate, Cole revealed her ability to create the perfect balance between her character’s tough exterior and the subtle vulnerability of her inner yearning for love.

A ‘When Harry Met Sally’-esqu light-hearted comedy, “Two Easels” follows two street artists, Kate and Jack. When Jack tries to move in on Kate’s local wall, Kate gets increasingly frustrated until a competition is set to decide which artist has the strongest skill. In the midst of the heated competition a strong attraction forms between the two artist and Kate and Jack go on to not only fall in love, but form a fruitful artistic collaboration as well.

In Williams’ film “Therapy Sessions,” Cole heightened the story’s drama and showed the sharpness of her proverbial teeth when she took on the starring role of Sandra. A highly regarded and sought after relationship therapist, Sandra appears to have it together, at least when she’s leading a therapy session; but in her everyday life, Sandra struggles with her emotions as much as her patients.

A film that examines what happens when the lines between a therapist’s personal life and her relationship with her patients begin to blur, “Therapy Sessions” follows Michael and Lidia, a struggling couple who hire Sandra to help them work out their issues. When Sandra receives a call towards the end of their session, Lidia’s suspicion over Michael’s infidelity is brought to a head when Sandra violently calls out Michael for having an affair with her sister.

Looking towards the future, Cole says, “I hope to get meatier roles, which will push me further as an artist. I really admire the body of work and talent of Angela Bassett and Viola Davis and I would love to work them.”

In addition to shooting the upcoming soap opera “My Church and Family” where she takes on the leading role of Vivian, Cole is currently taking her one-woman show “All the Colours” on tour in the UK.

 

 

 

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Breathtaking Spanish Actress, Maria Luna

Maria Luna
Maria Luna shot by Brandin Photography

One of Spain’s most sought after exports, Maria Luna is a dynamic and multifaceted actress who brings complexity and diversity to her every role.

Active in theatre since a young age, Maria Luna was chosen to participate in a number of international drama programs, advancing her education on and understanding of her craft. With a dream of helping to create a global artistic collaboration through acting, Luna’s humanitarian nature is the driving force behind her strong performances.

Starring as Lucy in the film Dada, which wrapped production earlier this year, Luna tackles the very real and concerning plight of human trafficking. Set in Kenya, Luna’s character of Lucy finds herself thrown into a dangerous world she does not understand. The experience forces her to embark on a journey where she transitions from naivety and fear to empowerment, compassion, and freedom. To further the authenticity of the role, Luna prepared by living in Kenya, doing volunteer work, and educating herself on the subject through the real life stories of others.

In the 2014 film Romanian Fairy Tale Luna played the film’s integral role of Sara, a women who wishes to leave her life behind and start anew. Sara finds a kindred spirit in Timo, a young boy on the run from an abusive father. Luna’s character guides Timo through the labors of growing up amidst abuse, and emotional neglect. Sara develops through the film’s progression into both a friend and a mother to young Timo, saving the boy in mind, body, and spirit.

Maria Luna appreciates all genres of film, from the dramatic, to the comedic, or in the case of the 2015 film No Solicitors, the dark world of horror. In Emmy nominated director John Callas’s disturbing and unique tale of a simple solicitor at the door spiraling into a terrifying situation, Luna’s character Martha stands out. Luna plays a woman whose family must come first, at any cost. The terminal illness of her young son forces Luna’s character to push beyond past social acceptability, while still remaining very human. Luna brought this amazing character to life in a seamless manner that exposed her emotional range as an actress layer by layer.

Whether playing a struggling mother, a woman on the run, or a Pentagon Special Agent in 2015’s The Sheriffs, Maria Luna proves she can create a real character of depth in any role. As Mariana in veteran sci-fi director Neil Jordan’s Starship: Rising and Dawn of Destruction, Luna plays the catalyst in an intergalactic struggle for survival. The role as the sister to the film’s hero Lt. John Worthy, places Luna at the heart of the dazzling science fiction series, even having her play a robot version of herself as part of the twisted enemies’ plans.

Summing up her perspective perfectly: “I love everything about acting, doing the research, getting into character, and finding how I can relate to the situation, expressing in a way which I can connect to the rest of the world,” said Maria Luna.

Luna’s greatest desires in her acting career are to bring people together, form new collaborations, and affect change through her roles as seen by audiences across the world.

Providing exemplary performances in a variety of genres, and with such realism and heart, actress Maria Luna is undoubtedly one of the most talented Spanish actresses working in Hollywood today.

Film Editor Marta Bonet de Gispert Connoisseurs the Perfect Cut

Marta Bonet de Gispert
                                                  Film Editor Marta Bonet de Gispert

Hailing from a family of lawyers, Barcelona native Marta Bonet de Gispert left law school to pursue her creative passions in the film world, a move that has delighted international audiences and filmmakers alike.

Marta Bonet de Gispert went on to attend the prestigious School of Cinema and Audiovisual de Catalunya (ESCAC). About switching professions, Bonet de Gispert recalls, “I started my law degree following my family’s tradition in law. But after a few years, I felt unfulfilled. I had to face my mistake and find a better path. Even though I knew it was a difficult industry, I chose film school. Something inside me told me it was the right thing to do.”

Now an award-winning film editor, it is clear that Bonet de Gispert made the right choice. Her exceptional talent and painstaking attention to detail is apparent in every frame of every film that she’s done so far. Her extensive international resume includes the films Soldados (Soldiers), Padre Modelo (Role Model Father), Devil May Call, as well as many others. She was also the editor on the television shows Latino Dub and Califorma.

It may seem like quite a drastic change to switch from law school to film school, but in truth, both professions require a person who possesses a strong eye for details and an immense understanding of the technical intricacies of their craft. Even more critical in each though, is a person’s ability to use that perceptiveness and knowledge to adapt to a client’s needs—something Bonet de Gispert has accomplished, proven by the sheer number of awards her films have won over the years.

Temporada 92-93 (Season 92-93), one of Bonet de Gispert’s first credits as editor, was a resounding success at international film festivals. Set in Spain where for many fútbol is a religion, Temporada 92-93 tells the comedic story of two inseparable friends united in their love for soccer. One is celebrating his child’s birthday as both split their attention between the festivities and a historic soccer match playing over the radio.

“We had to be careful in selecting the takes we would use,” explains Bonet de Gispert. “Also, as in all comedy, finding the right rhythm was essential. Jokes don’t work well if they’re not on the right pace.”

Winning a staggering 44 festival awards, Temporada 92-93 was incredibly well received by judges and critics alike. Among the honors was the Best Editing Award from the Film Festival Terrassa, an incredible achievement for Bonet de Gispert, whose career had only just begun.

It is the editor’s job to thoroughly understand the director’s vision, to see the story as the director imagines it. Then, with that understanding, the editor uses the footage to turn an intangible idea, concept or even a feeling, into the story that unfolds before us.

Able to seamlessly shift from one genre to another, Bonet de Gispert’s work shows that a great editor doesn’t rely on a film’s subject so much as they rely on the vision of the filmmaker.

In Devil May Call, Bonet de Gispert’s ability to convey that vision was once again put to the test, and once again she surpassed everyone’s expectations with flying colors. What had once been just a nightmarish idea, Bonet de Gispert transformed into a physical manifestation of sheer, unadulterated horror.

Not for the faint of heart, Devil May Call is centered on Sam, an operator for a phone counseling hotline. Sam, played by award-winning actress Corri English (Planes: Fire & Rescue, Holliston) is training her replacement on the night shift; but when one of her regular callers, who happens to be a serial killer, hears that she’s quitting, he cuts off power to the building and traps Sam and the other employees inside. Devil May Call was filmed in Los Angeles and debuted at the 2013 Marches du Film event in Cannes, a dream for many filmmakers.

Bonet de Gispert also recently finished the films El Otro Lado and Gored. El Otro Lado, or The Other Side, is one of three films premiering as part of the Summer Of Shorts event, featuring films from three Spanish filmmakers bringing their work to American audiences. El Otro Lado is about a lawyer who finds himself losing his sense of morality as he goes from laundering money for the cartels to an even darker path. An even greater testament to the fact that she chose the right path by embarking on a career in film, Bonet de Gispert also directed El Otro Lado in addition to working as the editor. Produced by renowned production company La Panda, the film is scheduled to premiere in the U.S. this summer.

Gored, is a documentary about, fittingly, the bullfighter that holds the record for being the most gored in Spanish history. In a fascinating approach to a subject that hasn’t seen much coverage since Hemingway, the film follows Antonio Barrera as he grapples with the decision of a lifetime: whether to leave the ring and join his family while he’s ahead, or to commit himself to a glorious death against his lifelong adversary. The film will debut later this month at the Tribeca Film Festival where it has been chosen as an Official Selection, and is set to screen at several more festivals over the course of 2015.

Juno Nominated Film Composer Headed for Greener Pastures

Film Composer Rob Teehan
                                             Film Composer Rob Teehan

Rob Teehan has decided to head south to thaw out from the Canadian winter in the warm California sun.   When we got wind that one of Canada’s top film composers was coming Stateside, we decided to catch up with him to talk about his eminent migration.

Rob Teehan started his career as a performer, playing the guitar, flute, and tuba, before moving into classical choral and orchestral composition, which led him to his forever-home of film composition. He has gone on to score more than a dozen films, including the award winning films Tulip, Texas and Us, and The Sugar Bowl. In addition to film scoring, Teehan is perhaps best known for his work with the acclaimed Lemon Bucket Orkestra, with whom he has toured Canada and Europe, as well as being a member of the European Saida Baba Talibah jazz band, and, currently, the Heavyweights Brass Band, whose music is regularly played on jazz radio stations across Canada.

Virtually every major music award from coast to coast in Canada has recognized Teehan’s extraordinary work. Since 2010, he has been nominated for an impressive list of awards, which includes three Juno Awards, the first of which marked him as the youngest person to be nominated for a Juno in the Classical Composition category. He has also been nominated for a staggering seven Canadian Folk Music Awards, four of which were for his work with the Lemon Bucket Orkestra, one for his work with The Boxcar Boys, and two for his work as the engineer and producer of the Ventanas’ self-titled album. He also earned a nomination for Best World Group of the Year at the Sirius Radio Indie Awards in 2014 for his work with the Lemon Bucket Orkestra. Other accolades include a Toronto Independent Music Award nomination, a 2nd place finish at the SoCan Foundation Awards, as well as numerous top finishes at choral competitions across Canada as well as internationally.

When asked about some of his most memorable film projects, he singles out a few of the films that stand out to him. The first film he mentions is Hogtown, which was directed by Canadian actor turned director Nick Latimer, and features among its cast WWF wrestling legend Jake “the Snake” Roberts. Teehan describes the film as “avant garde” and the experience as one he “can never forget.” Hogtown is the name of the city where the film is set, a futuristic version of Toronto, which has slid into poverty and debauchery. The protagonist, Boris (aka Baxi) is Hogtown’s only pig-mask wearing insomniac “baxi” driver, which means that in lieu of shuttling people around in a taxi, he spends his evenings transporting his fares from Point A to Point B on his back. When the dirt, grime, and depravity of his surroundings become too much for him to take, Baxi takes it upon himself to clean up the streets in a gory wave of vigilante justice. The film screened at the Shaved II Film Festival, as well as enjoyed several underground screenings, which sparked the major cult following the film has today.

Despite the independent vibe of the film, it drew the attention of Mississauga Life mag, as well as the famous Toronto culture site Blog TO and Zee Big Bang, who covered the film’s making and release. Rob Teehan’s work with the Heavyweight Brass Band on the film’s score was a big selling point for the film.

The next film he cites as a favorite is Tulip, Texas, and Us, a charming love story uniquely set to Balkan brass music, scored by Teehan. One of the things that stand out about this film is its international reach and appeal. Tulip, Texas and Us was the winner of the Grand Prix at the Zubroffka International Film Festival in Poland, and was also selected for the Kustendorf International Film and Music Festival (Serbia) and the Timishort Film Festival (Romania). Teehan was interviewed on CBC Radio 3 about his work on the film, which he describes as “quirky”.

The other film that immediately stood out to Teehan was the film simply titled Joe, a documentary chronicling the true story of musician Joe Garisto, a musical genius whose career is threatened by a debilitating anxiety disorder and an addiction to the medication used to treat it. The intense film, directed by Patrick Collins and Scott Williamson, was released on DVD as well as on iTunes.

Taking on such varied musical themes as mental illness, young Eastern European love, or futuristic dystopia is no small feat, and shows the breadth of Rob Teehan’s great talents.

Teehan insists that the themes and music in his next films are so varied that they will continue to defy categorization in any particular musical genre. They include the Italian animated short film Life is a Coin, about the exciting travels of a 2-Euro coin named Dante who travels across Europe, followed closely by the release of the documentary feature The Babushkas of Chernobyl, a film about the old women of Chernobyl who chose to sneak back into the contaminated zone after the nuclear meltdown in Chernobyl, Ukraine in the 1980’s to live out their last days in their hometown, rather than suffer through a relocation to a new uncontaminated city, as well as the Venezuelan documentary film Flor de la Mar about a well-hidden archeological treasure found on the Venezuelan island of Cubagua, and the feature documentary The Unsinkable Captain John about a historic Toronto ship facing and fighting eviction after generations in the Toronto harbor.

After many successful years in his native Canada, Rob Teehan is heading to Hollywood, not only for the warm sun but to bring his music to more Hollywood films. We wish him good luck, fame, and fortune, and can’t wait to see this top talent hit Tinseltown!

Untitled excerpt from Life as a Coin composed by Rob Teehan

“Caracas” composed by Rob Teehan for the upcoming documentary film Flor de la Mar