Canadian Editing Magician David Guthrie

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Canadian editor David Guthrie

 

Whether it’s a film, television series or commercial, the amount of time and labor that goes into a production is astronomical. There’s writing, funding, planning, casting, costuming, filming, scoring, post-production, marketing and finally distribution, and it takes a massive and cohesive team to pull it all off. Every production is like a massive machine, and at the heart of it all is the editor.

A skilled editor will work closely with the director to achieve the perfect cuts, and nobody is more skilled than Toronto native David Guthrie. As an editor, Guthrie is responsible for setting the rhythm of the end product, in a sense giving a cadence – a heartbeat – to the final arrangement that will be presented to the audience.

Before working on high-profile and award-winning productions such as “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” “Cold Water Captains” and “Room and Bored,” Guthrie took his first steps into film editing when he was a musician. It was while creating music videos for his band that he discovered the power that video and audio can have when edited together perfectly.

“I love the challenge of crafting a story from seemingly unrelated footage, finding a story thread. I love when you find the perfect shot that helps tell that story, or the right piece of music that just works,” Guthrie said, describing the rewarding feeling of his work. “I love that feeling, it’s a rush… Because then you know how to pace the scene correctly and how the audience will feel.”

After realizing his passion for film editing, he began working at the Toronto-based Rhombus Media production company. There, he quickly worked his way up and learned his trade from the company’s highly-experienced team of editors. After getting his feet wet in the editing world at Rhombus, he landed a role as an editor on the feature film “Billy Bishop Goes to War,” which screened at TIFF and CBC.

Before long he had proven to be such a natural that he was trusted with the enormous responsibility of working on David Gelb’s incredbley ambitious projects, one of which was the feature documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.”

Centered on the man often called the best sushi chef in the world, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” initially sets out to document Jiro Ono’s daily routine running his world-renowned restaurant in Tokyo. However, the film ultimately tells two much deeper stories about the human condition. One of these is the story of a man who spends his entire life pursuing perfection, constantly coming closer but never reaching the unattainable goal. The other story centers on Jiro’s son and future heir to the restaurant, who works under his father and has spent his entire life in the shadow of a giant, knowing that no matter what he does neither he nor anybody else can fill his father’s shoes.

The film was widely praised by critics and festival-goers. “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” won the 2012 Denver Film Critics Society Award for Best Documentary Film, the Detroit Film Critic Society Award for Best

Documentary, and was nominated for 11 other awards internationally. A global success, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” was an incredibly valuable and rewarding experience for Guthrie. The countless hours he spent working on the film paid off, and shortly after the film’s success Guthrie found he had established a reputation for himself as one of the most reliable and talented editors in the industry.

After leaving the “assistant” prefix behind, Guthrie’s first project as a full-fledged editor was the first season of the Canadian reality series “Cold Water Captains.” The action-packed series follows three fishing boats in the dangerous waters off the coast of Newfoundland. Guthrie had to pore through hundreds of hours of footage to decide which of it would be turned into the final TV-ready series. After carefully selecting which scenes would make it into the show, he then had to painstakingly cut and arrange it into a compelling and cohesive story to be told over the course of the season’s 10 episodes.

“This show is a monster when it comes to post production… The amount of footage can be overwhelming. That is the biggest challenge of the show by far – trying to cut compelling scenes out of hours of monotonous footage,” Guthrie said, describing the intense process of not only determining which scenes to use, but also of maintaining organization of the scenes and their place in the series. “That was a challenge too, trying to keep track of where I was in each story and how each scene developed the overall story arc.”

Guthrie’s hard work once again paid off when the first season of “Cold Water Captains” was nominated for the prestigious 2015 Canadian Screen Award for Best Factual Series. Guthrie called the nomination a “rewarding” experience after all the hours he and his team spent creating the series. Following the success of the first season, he again worked as an editor for the second season, and in the third season of “Cold Water Captains” Guthrie’s skill and dedication earned him a promotion to a lead editor position.

“I was one of the lead editors on the show and responsible for bringing episodes to delivery to the network,” Guthrie said of the new position. “It is a lot of fun getting to polish the scenes and really make them come alive.”

In addition to his work as an editor Guthrie has also written and directed two projects for television. The first, “Room and Bored,” was a TV movie which Guthrie not only wrote, directed and edited, but also acted in. “Room and Bored” was a hit with both critics and audiences, and was named an Official Selection at the 2013 New York Television Festival. The second and more recent of the two is “Beck and Call,” a pilot which Guthrie calls his favorite project to date. “Beck and Call” follows the hilarious ups and downs of two talent agents as they struggle to make it big in New York.

“Along with editing [“Beck and Call”], I am writing and directing it as well,” Guthrie said. “It has been so much fun working with really talented people, and just making stuff that we want to make… And I love working in the comedy world.”

Few people have a track record that can compare to David Guthrie’s when it comes to producing consistently stellar work while balancing so many irons in the fire. His experience and talent as a writer and director give him a comprehensive understanding of every element of the production process, and serve to strengthen Guthrie’s exceptional talent as an editor. Audiences on the hunt for the next great feature film, narrative documentary or cinematic triumph should be sure to keep Guthrie’s name in mind.

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Creating Realities in Film that Effectively Transport Viewers: Art Director Haisu Wang

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Art Director Haisu Wang shot by Tian-ran Qin

 

As the art director of the films “Is That A Gun in Your Pocket?,” “Contrapelo” and “Day One,” ABC’s hit television series “The Muppets,” the Asian television series “My Sunshine,” and commercials for major global clients including Kia, Chinese native Haisu Wang has carved out an indelible place for himself in the international entertainment industry as someone who’s skill effectively transports audiences into the world of the stories on screen, no matter how far fetched they may be.

While it is no secret that the film industry is full of oversized egos often competing for the glitz and glory, what makes Wang so special, besides his adept technical skill and unparalleled creativity, is the fact that he always lets the director’s vision for a project guide his work.

Never failing to design an atmosphere that creates the perfect environment for a story, the versatile nature of his creative vision compounded by his intuitive approach has allowed him to nail the mark every time.

“My passion is always creating environments to help storytelling,” admits Wang.

It is no coincidence that practically every project that Wang has art directed to date has received coveted accolades. As the art director of the film “Day One,” which earned a nomination for an Oscar Award at the 2016 Academy Awards, in addition to winning two Emmy Awards at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences College Television Awards in 2015, one of which earned director Henry Hughes the award for Best Director, Wang’s work garnered worldwide attention.

About Wang’s invaluable work on the film Hughes explains, “Haisu’s vision and rare skill using digital software to create some of the most challenging sets for ‘Day One’ was invaluable to our production, especially considering the geographic challenges of the location. Without his contributions it would have been nearly impossible to construct these sets in the amount of time and within the allotted budget. He is definitely a huge asset to the film industry.”

Whether he is working on a film, television series or commercial, Wang’s attention to detail combined with his logical and budget conscious approach to outfitting each set with the right props has been imperative in setting the tone and creating believable environments for each and every production he’s contributed to.

As the art director of Kia’s “Extraordinary Day” commercial, also known as “When an Ordinary Day Turns Extraordinary,” which currently has over 900,000 views on YouTube and was produced by BuzzFeed, Wang turned the sets of a simple car commercial into a project that plays visually on screen like a narrative story. From the minor knick knacks of a local garage sale, to colorful balloons falling from the ceiling after one of the character’s wins a raffle in a convenient store—Wang’s work manages to keep viewers engaged as we watch a love connection sparked between two Kia Soul drivers all started from the fact that they share the same kind of car.

For Wang, who also spent time as a visual effects artist for three-time Emmy Award winning VFX and animation company, Base FX, based in Beijing, China, art has been a major part of his life since childhood.

“I practiced Chinese calligraphy with my grandpa since I was a kid and also learned how to make shadow play puppetry with him, and I think that set the foundation of my path in art,” admits Wang.

Wang recently wrapped production as the art director of multi-award winning director Ryan Velásquez’s (“Ojalá,” “Record Breaker”) film “Drowning,” which is slated for release later this year. The film follows Gabe, played by Jovan Armand (“The Middle,” “Shameless,” “Parenthood”), an overweight teen who finally starts feeling good about himself after he musters up the courage to talk to Sarah, the girl of his dreams, and an unexpected friendship forms. However, when the high school bully and bane of Gabe’s existence makes Sarah his newest target, Gabe is forced to decide between remaining a coward in his comfort zone or standing up to the bully and fighting against injustice.

As the lead art director on “Drowning,” Wang had the difficult task of arranging a set to depict Gabe falling onto the ground combined with a montage in water. He was able to build a vertical wall on a track and dress it to appear as the floor so that the actor was able to pretend to hit the ground without hurting himself. On “Drowning,” as he has done on many of his past productions, Wang utilized his excellent CGI skills to create a revisualization animation to rehearse the timing of the scene; this assisted the director greatly in explaining how the scene could work for the actor.

Through his work on screen it is easy to see that Wang is passionate about the worlds he creates for the characters in a story; and, as all of the worlds from film to film are completely different, the versatility he’s shown across projects is just another testament to his seasoned skill in creating the perfect environment for each project on an individual level.

With “Drowning” on the verge of release, and Wang set to begin production as the digital asset art director on the highly anticipated sequel “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” later this year, audiences can look forward to seeing more of art director Haisu Wang’s ingenious work on screen very soon.

Tom Stevens brings ‘A Reckoning’ to Fox’s hit psychological thriller ‘Wayward Pines’

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Tom Stevens

Canadian actor Tom Stevens has risen to the pinnacle of film and TV for his many critical roles in titles such as the WWE’s feature action movie, “12 Rounds 2: Reloaded,” Hallmark’s drama series, “Cedar Cove” and Fox’s family comedy, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days.”

His achievements in TV are marked by occupying role after role in many leading, acclaimed shows including “Smallville,” “Psych,” “Supernatural,” “Arrow,” “Falling Skies,” “Motive” and more.

Continuing in the same coveted direction, Stevens debuted toward the end of Season 1 in Fox’s breakout hit series, “Wayward Pines.” His acting in the role of Jason Higgins punctuated again his place among today’s top working actors and evidenced the reason why his name is rolling off the lips of many industry-leading decision makers and audiences everywhere.

The psychological thriller series, based on the “Wayward Pines” novels by Blake Crouch, was developed for TV by Chad Hodge. It follows the story of a Secret Service agent Ethan Burked (Matt Dillon) who goes to Wayward Pines, Idaho, in search of two agents who have gone missing.

In no time, Ethan learns it’s himself too who may not survive the seemingly idyllic rural town. Its inhabitants are trapped in Wayward Pines and governed by authoritarian Sheriff Arnold Pope (Terrence Howard). Those who try to escape are sentenced to a public execution called a reckoning.

Stevens unleashed Jason on “Wayward Pines” in Season 1 Episode 9, “A Reckoning.” The episode centers on Ethan’s interrogation of Harold Bollinger (Reed Diamond) and on three young men from the “Class One of the Academy.” Leading the Class One trio is Jason, and they storm a jail in an effort to reckon Harold and his wife, Kate Hewson (Carla Gugino), Franklin Dobbs (Ian Tracey) and two others.

“It’s the kind of character I always want to play,” Stevens said. “On the outside, he looks clean and proper, but on the inside, he’s an animal.”

The “Class One of the Academy” operated under the leadership of David Pilcher (Toby Jones), a scientist who founded Wayward Pines. “In this episode,” Stevens said, “Jason represented all the teachings that Pilcher has implemented on these kids. It’s a totalitarian regime implemented on small town American perfection.”

Of Jason’s characterization, Stevens explained, “I don’t want this guy to have taken a breath until he pulls the trigger for the first time. Being suffocated by society, until you get to kill, that was the sociopath I wanted to play.”

In the episode, Jason executes all of his targets except Kate, as she survives thanks to Ethan. “He saves the day at the last second,” Stevens said. “Ethan ends up coming in and shooting me.”

The role called for Stevens to act alongside Gugino for the first time, and to execute the peaking climax where he shoots her husband. Gugino starred last year in “San Andreas” and has acted in many other blockbusters such as the “Spy Kids” trilogy, “Night at the Museum,” “Watchmen” and “Sin City.”

Stevens said of Gugino, “She was a consummate professional. She was there to make the best thing possible. In every single take, she was fantastic. I had to step my game up and I felt so blessed to be around those guys.”

Filmed in Vancouver and broadcast July 16, 2015, “A Reckoning” was directed by the award-winning Nimród Antal, who directed such films as “Kontroll,” “Vacancy” and “Predators.”

“He was a rock star,” Stevens said. “It felt like being on stage at a rock show. He would come in and have so much fire in him. He would get everyone involved and everyone gets infused with passion.”

Stevens reprised Jason as he wound up surviving and appeared again in Episode 10 – “Cycle.”

“Wayward Pines” premiered last May, finished its smash debut season by July and was ordered by Fox for a second season that’s to premiere this summer.

The series has also starred Oscar winner Melissa Leo (“The Fighter”) and Oscar nominee Juliette Lewis (“Cape Fear”).

The “Wayward Pines” pilot was directed by M. Knight Shyamalan, a two-time Oscar nominee known best for “The Sixth Sense.” Shyamalan also executive produces the series. The show’s first 10 episodes have reached nearly 63 million viewers in more than 126 countries.

Model Bautista Zorio Munoz and Photographer Diego Fierce Deliver for Fashion Editorial Features

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Spanish model Bautista Zorio Munoz and Mexican photographer Diego Fierce teamed up to create a heavy-hitting one-two punch for fashion editorial features. The collaboration brought together two extraordinary talents – who are both atop their crafts and industries – and who deliver awe-inspiring photographic brilliance.

“I always take a strong personal interest in the models I work with, and I have been very gratified to see Bautista’s career take off over the past several years,” said Fierce.

Munoz says, “Diego is certainly a go-to photographer in the business and I’ve always come away impressed and elated in working with him. He’s a photographer who knows how to get the best out of his shooting subjects and we’ve completed some incredible work together.”

A native of Valencia, Spain, Munoz has firmly supplanted himself as a debonair male model of international commendation. He has graced the covers of Minus10 Magazine and Fantastics, modeled for campaigns for Tommy Hilfiger and Abercrombie & Fitch, and been featured as a leading model for editorials published in fashion magazines such as GQ Mexico, Caleo (Germany), Rocket, Coast, Agenda, Adon and more.

The widely achieved and celebrated Fierce has shot cover images and editorials for premium lifestyle magazines such as Ene (Mexico), HUF (U.K.) Minus10 (U.S.) and others.

Munoz and Fierce worked together on an editorial feature for Rocket magazine, a prominent men’s fashion publication headquartered in Barcelona. The feature concentrated on an athletic theme that immersed Muñoz in a modeling portrayal of a schoolboy soccer player.

“In the editorial, Bautista provided a knockout performance that was sensual, confident and very memorable,” Fierce said. “He was a natural at delivering strong poses and expressions that suggested everything from a cocky playboy attitude to that of a moody, passionate lover. He also did a brilliant job of modeling the nautical-style shirts and shorts selected for the feature, making them all look quite stylish.”

Munoz said, “The shoot was exciting and fun. The soccer theme was something that came together really well and I think we did a nice job in bringing this feature to life in a very intriguing way for the magazine.”

Munoz’ breathtaking appearance was pronounced by his muscular torso and raw, handsome physical features. But the remarkable work came together too because of Munoz’ refined ability to create exhilarating drama within the imagery.

“Bautista absolutely embodies these qualities, and infused every photo with a strong sense of emotion that set him and his work far above many of his peers,” said Fierce.

The dynamic duo again collaborated on a cover editorial feature called “Perfect Confidence” for Minus10 magazine.

“He excelled at transitioning through the many distinct outfits and looks we had prepared for him, which ranged from underwear to sports jerseys to stylish suit jackets and leather boots,” said Fierce. “Bautista always knew how to model each item of clothing in order to draw out its most attractive qualities, and played the part of a classy urban gentleman just as easily as that of a sporty athlete.”

Of Munoz’ visual presence, Fierce said, “Bautista’s rich black hair and dark smoldering features were especially vital to the look we wanted for the projected, as they contrasted beautifully with the array of light and dark pieces we chose for him.”

Represented by TWO Management (Los Angeles), NEVS (London), Paragon Models (Mexico City) and Francina Models (Spain), Munoz’ portfolio can be seen here: http://www.twomanagement.com/portfolio.aspx?nav=&subid=11653&mainsubid=11653&modelid=714762&sexid=1&a=7

Follow Bautista on Instagram:
@bautistazorio

Look Out for Dynamic UK Actress Davina Cole!

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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.

 

 

 

Ze Gran Zeft puts France’s Hip Hop Rock Scene on the Map!

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ZGZ’s Da Kid (right), Boots and Sideman (right) shot by Marie Gimenes

France is certainly known for its cuisine, high fashion, and romantic allure. However, throughout music history the country has never been at the forefront of producing great rock music until now: rock band Ze Gran Zeft is looking to change all that and in a big way.

Compared to bands such as Limp Bizkit, The Prodigy, and Cypress Hill, ZGZ (as they are more commonly referred to by fans) consists of singer, guitarist, and principal songwriter Boots, bass player Sideman, and Da Kid on drums.

Hailing from Toulon in the South East of France, the band was formed in 2009 at a band contest when Da Kid met Boots and the rest, as they say, was history.

Da Kid recalls how well they clicked right away saying, “Total chemistry, we have a lot of influences, and that makes ZGZ’s richness, and it’s been like that from the beginning. It’s been 6 years since we started working together and it’s still the same craziness!”

Shortly after their formation, musical impresario Charles “Kallaghan” Massabo was brought into the picture in order to help put a grasp on their still raw and edgy sound. With his keen ear, Massabo molded ZGZ into an exciting and energetic band with much more cohesion. Kallaghan’s vision and big brother-like presence has given the band a much more focused approach to making music.

“We work as a “rock band” but with a “hip hop” approach – the beat/instrumentals are made first, then I would write some hooks keeping the best one to build a powerful chorus. The inspiration/recording/writing process stays the same for us, we create a vibe, we just fool around until we reach the positive vibe to create and record a track. And basically that is what ZGZ is made of,” says Boots.

ZGZ’s first two EP’s were “Watch the Crown” and “Crunked Vizion” which were both released in 2013. The sound for both albums is wild and rambunctious, perfect for youthful party goers, and very reminiscent of American singer Andrew WK.

According to Boots, “I usually write lyrics about stuff that amuses me, like partying with friends, having a good time, and most of all: SEX. We like the 80’s vibe before grunge came out with all their penis problems haha…But we are also huge fans of 90’s music and that paradox is ZGZ’s main direction: the crossover. We’re just a bunch of kids that love to fool around and annoy elder people.”

After releasing the hit single ‘Spaceman’ in September, which features Falling In Reverse’s former lead guitarist and vocalist Jacky C. Vincent, the band released their next single ‘#Millennial Kids’ featuring Mopreme Shakur, Tupac’s older brother, on Dec. 3. The song pays tribute to the generation of 20 and 30 something’s that grew up on Super Nintendo, Baywatch and everything in between that made it so great to grow up in the Millennial era.

Their first full-length album entitled “JOI” is set to be released in 2016.

You can check out the video for their new single ‘#Millenial Kids’ below, as well as buy some of their past tracks and albums through iTunes.

 

Actress Sidney Leeder Draws Us In

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Actress Sidney Leeder shot by Taylor McKay

 

For an actor, much of the work that goes into physically becoming a certain character comes down to identifying and creating their mannerisms, idiosyncrasies and the way they carry themselves. Movement in itself is a form of communication, something Canadian actress Sidney Leeder knows all about.

Audiences across continents will recognize Leeder from her roles in the films Debug, The Hazing Secret, Salem Falls, and Goon, as well as the hit television shows Beauty and the Beast, Reign, Lost Girl, Debra, Alphas and more; but prior to becoming the sought after actress she is today, Leeder was a professional dancer.

The grace and flawless movement that she brings her characters to life with on screen makes it easy to see that her extensive training as a dancer has made her a more intuitive and dynamic performer than most of her contemporaries.

In the 2011 Lifetime film Salem Falls, an adaption of Jodi Picoult’s 2001 novel of the same name, audiences had the opportunity to see Leeder in the pivotal role of Catherine, a young teen who falls in love with her teacher and subsequently turns his life upside down when she claims rape. Directed by Bradley Walsh (The Listener, Turn the Beat Around), the film follows Jack McBradden played by James Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek), a high school teacher who tries to make a new life for himself in Salem Falls after Leeder’s character tarnishes his reputation.

Unfortunately for Jack, his past comes out and turns the whole town of Salem Falls against him except for the one woman, Addie Peabody played by Sarah Carter (Falling Skies, Rogue), who goes to great lengths to track down Catherine and prove Jack’s innocence.

Although Salem Falls was one of the earlier films in Leeder’s career her performance comes across as that of a seasoned veteran.

“In one of the most pivotal scenes of the film I confess to lying about my alleged affair with professor… The scene takes place while walking down a long passageway. It was lengthy and revealing dialogue that required serious mental concentration. This character was also a challenge to play, as she needed to have just the right balance of maturity and naivety,” recalled Leeder.

“Prior to shooting I talked a lot with director Bradley Walsh about the characters motivation and significance. Having the opportunity to delve into such a complex character so early on in my career was an amazing challenge.”

Leeder’s career continued to skyrocket after the release of Salem Falls with the actress going on to land multiple guest star roles on television shows such as Life with Boys, The L.A. Complex, Degrassi: The Next Generation and Satisfaction. In 2014 she was cast to star in another Lifetime movie, The Hazing Secret, where she took on the riveting role of Melissa.

The storyline of the film revolves around the death of Leeder’s character Melissa, a naïve college freshman who makes out with the boyfriend of one of the sister’s of the sorority she’s pledging. Nancy, the sorority leader, revives the old practice of hazing in order to punish Melissa for her mistake, but when she locks Melissa in a coffin the young pledge suffocates and ultimately pays the price with her life.

Over the course of the film, Megan, one of the sorority sisters who is played by Gemini Award winner Shenae Grimes-Beech (90210, Scream 4), makes it her mission to expose the crime and the truth about Melissa’s tragic death. The film, which was directed by Jonathan Wright (Nostrum, A Very Merry Mix-Up), was nominated for an award from the Directors Guild of Canada earlier this year.

If there was ever any question over Leeder’s emotional capacity as an actress her knockout performance in The Hazing Secret proves that she can bring the waterworks with natural believability and make an audience feel for her character like the best actors in the industry.

 

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Poster for the film “Debug”

 

Last year Leeder also starred as Lara alongside Adrian Holmes (The Cabin in the Woods, Elsium), Kjartan Hewitt (Capote), Jeananne Goossen (The Vow, The Night Shift) and Jason Moma (Game of Thrones) in David Hewlett’s (A Dog’s Breakfast, Rage of the Yeti) sci-fi horror film Debug.

Convicted of eco-terrorism, Leeder’s character Lara, along with five others, are placed into a work program aboard a dilapidated spaceship where they are assigned the task of debugging the ship’s artificial intelligence, but their job aboard the ship proves to be far more dangerous than simple computer hacking.

“Lara is very intuitive right from the get go. She warns the others that something about this mission feels wrong and explains that she is sensitive to the energy of her surroundings but is ignored,” explained Leeder. 

When Iam, the ship’s AI played by Moma, feels the threat of annihilation, he begins fighting back in surprising ways killing most of the hackers aboard the ship including Leeder’s character Lara. Lara’s death is one of the most shocking of all as she is virtually raped to death.

Thinking that she is going to try out a kinky method of virtual fraternization with Mel, her beau on the ship played by Hewitt, Lara follows the ships orders and enters its sensory system not realizing that Iam is luring her into a trap.

“She is asked to remove her clothing and enter a pool of crystal clear liquid. As she does this she is transported virtually to a blood stained prison cell where Iam awaits her. It is there that he, and every other man who has set foot on the ship rape and beat her to death,” said Leeder.

“While mentally she is in this virtual reality, Lara’s physical body is actually drowning in the sensory system pool she entered. By the time Mel finds her it is too late and she is already dead.”

From playing the catty teen girls everyone loves to hate to the sweet and innocent girl next door and everything in between, including a psycho serial killer in the film The Killer, Sidney Leeder has revealed herself as an artist with exponential talent. She also recently finished filming multi-award winning director Rachel Meyer’s film Lunch, which premiered at the Beverly Hills Playhouse Film Festival last month.

“Being on a film set is one of my favorite places. It’s like stepping directly into a storybook. Acting gives me a natural high and allows me to explore myself, connect with others and imagine endless possibilities. I act because not acting simply isn’t an option. The need to perform and create has lived inherently in me for as long as I can remember,” admits Leeder.

 

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