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‘Begin Again’: Actress Shannon Maree Walsh Discusses New Film, Music

Shannon Maree Walsh

Shannon Maree Walsh

Shannon Maree Walsh’s introduction into the world of entertainment may not have been by conventional methods, but the champion gymnast turned actress is certainly making a name for herself in the new film, “Begin Again”.

Directed by John Carney (“Once”), “Begin Again” tells the story Dan Mulligan (Mark Ruffalo), a struggling record label exec living in New York City. One night, while drinking at a bar in the East Village, he encounters Gretta (Keira Knightley), a fiercely independent young songwriter whose music captivates him. Walsh plays nerdy musician Rachel, a cellist in Gretta’s band.

Following its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013 and closing this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, the film was released theatrically on July 2nd.

Walsh has been a national gymnastics champion four times, but recently shifted her passion to acting with great success. Her first role was in Wes Craven’s “My Soul to Take” and other credits include Law & Order: SVU and The Michael J Fox Show.

In addition to finishing up her degree at Georgetown, Walsh also currently finds time to play in Suite 27, a musical group featuring members of the band from “Begin Again”. The band recently performed at the film’s premiere and have future plans to gig in and around New York City.

I recently spoke to Walsh about her role on “Begin Again”, her music and what’s next for the aspiring young actress.

What attracted you to this project?

At the time of my audition I found out that Keira and Mark were already cast. I love period films and am a huge fan of both of them. I also happened to watch “Once” (John’s first movie) and it was insanely good. With that in mind, I knew immediately it was a project I wanted to be a part of.

How would you describe the story of “Begin Again”?

I think some people might go into it thinking that they’re going to get a rom-com [romantic comedy], but that’s really not was this is. It’s a story about how music develops relationships between people. The foundation of the relationships and romances between the best friends is music. The best part of this movie is that the comedy doesn’t just come from humorous lines that are written. It’s the situational things in life that make it spontaneously funny.

What can you tell me about your character, Rachel?

Rachel is the top of her class. A very nerdy cello player who is sick and tired of playing only classical music. She’s a bit skeptical about joining the band in the beginning, only because she has no idea who these people are or why they even chose her. Then she discovers that she really loves playing this music. It’s all original and nothing that she’s ever played before. It helps her come out of her shell, get loose and go somewhere that she’s never gone before.

What was the filming process like?

I have to say that this was the coolest set experience I’ve ever had. John [Carney] is hysterical and creates such a trendy and relaxed environment. From the first day, the atmosphere was like “Let’s just go with it and see what happens!” It was amazing and our band really bonded a lot. By the end of it, we had forgotten that the camera was rolling and it was just like hanging out with friends. The chemistry you see is very real.

You actually had to learn how to play cello for this film. What was that like?

I already had experience playing the violin, but I remember going in John asking me if I could learn the cello. So for the next four weeks, my journey of three-hour a day, private cello lessons began. It was challenging, but very rewarding!

Your band “experience” actually continued after filming was complete.

Yes, that was one of the coolest parts of the whole experience. None of us in the band had ever known each other before. We’re all people from different backgrounds and places who immediately connected. It’s the most hodgepodge mix of people with a huge age range.

After filming was complete, we all kept in touch and then this past spring one of the band members said, “Let’s make this a ‘thing’ and do some gigs together” – and everyone was immediately on board. So we all got together and just started playing. It was so much fun that we ended up playing at the premiere after-party. We’ve even launched a KickStarter campaign trying to get the band to play around the city and actually do what we did in the movie. We’re called “Suite 27”.

Can you tell me a little about your transition from gymnast to actress?

I was a gymnast from the ages of 3 to 17. I was always very competitive but once the time came to start applying to colleges I realized that my heart was just not into it anymore. I had run my course with the sport. I decided that I wanted to do something that at the time seemed like the opposite of gymnastics and for some reason, that thing was acting. I was a senior in high school when I started acting.

What other projects are you working on?

Right now, my focus is on getting my University degree. I have six more classes before I graduate. The plan is to get the degree and then settle in New York to concentrate on acting. That’s my number one priority!

Follow Shannon on Twitter : @shannonmaree22

Halloween: The Complete Collection Box Sets Coming to Blu-Ray!

Halloween Box SetBefore there was Jason, Freddy and Jigsaw there was…Michael Myers.

Last year, the horror film classic “Halloween” celebrated its 35th anniversary. Who could have ever had imagined that what writer/director John Carpenter had envisioned and what Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence helped bring to life in 1978 would go on to become one of the most iconic horror film franchises of all time.

Over the years, audiences have relived the terror of Michael Myers through ten feature films (including various re-edits and alternate versions). Until now, the complete saga of Michael Myers could only be told in pieces — on individual DVD and Blu-ray releases. Through an unprecedented collaboration of rival home entertainment companies, Anchor Bay Entertainment and Scream Factory have announced that “Halloween The Complete Collection” Blu-ray box sets will arrive September 23rd.

For the legions of die-hard Halloween fans, the Deluxe Edition boasts 15 discs containing ALL of the Halloween feature films – Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Halloween H20, Halloween: Resurrection, Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween II.

The set also contains hours of new bonus features, including interviews with cast and crew from the entire franchise! The collectible packaging will include a newly commissioned illustration on the outer case and each film will be in its own black Blu-ray™ case with the original theatrical one sheet as the key art.

There is also a separate 10-disc Edition which includes the original theatrical versions of the Halloween films as well as select bonus features.

For fans of the franchise, these packages are the ultimate must haves for your horror collection.

Actor Vinicius Machado Discusses Starz Original Series: POWER

(Photo: Isaac Sterling - Stylist: Tiffani Chynel - Suit: Francisco Van Benthum - Shirt: Reiss)

(Photo: Isaac Sterling – Stylist: Tiffani Chynel – Suit: Francisco Van Benthum – Shirt: Reiss)

If Vinicius Machado looks familiar, it’s most likely because you’ve seen him some place before. The versatile actor has been gaining a solid reputation within the film and entertainment industry. Machado’s credits include being cast in films like the Golden Globe award-winner, “Monster”, “The Celestine Prophecy”, “Get Smart” and “Sunken City”. He’s also appeared in numerous hit television shows like “The Shield”, “Cold Case”, “Flash Forward” and “NCIS”. Machado is now set to star in the highly anticipated STARZ Original Series, “POWER”.

From executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and show creator Courtney Kemp Agboh, “POWER” follows the life of James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick), the owner of a popular New York City nightclub. In addition to his role as club owner, Patrick is also a major player in one of the city’s biggest illegal drug networks. Machado plays Nomar Arcielo, a Latino member of the Soldado Nation gang. Having been blackmailed by the FBI, Arcielo becomes Counter Intelligence in their pursuit of their most wanted “Lobos” (Boss of my Boss). As he straddles those two worlds and walks a fine line, danger ensues and the threat of his life is inevitable.

“POWER” premieres Friday, June 6th on STARZ. I spoke to Machado about the show as well as some of his other upcoming projects.

How would you describe “POWER”?

The concept of the show is that it’s based around a New York club owner who’s living a double life, but there’s so much more to it than that. If I could describe the show in one word it would be – meliorism. The idea of pursuing something that’s bigger and better. We all have that natural desire, but then there’s also the price that you have to pay for it. What price are you willing to pay for whatever it is that’s bigger and better for you? That’s the overall premise of what POWER is all about.

What attracted you to the script?

It’s not your typical crime drama. This is beyond that. There are elements of humanity that you don’t always get to see within the characters and it was something I definitely wanted to be a part of.

What can you tell me about your character, Nomar Arcielo?

He’s a human being with faults just like everyone else. He’s a gangster but deep down really cares about the people that he attaches to.

What was the filming process like?

It was intense but such a great experience. I learned so much from everyone that I worked with. The whole cast and crew was on point — emulating and embracing the heart and culture of New York City. Every step that you take in the city is a whole new world and that’s what we tried to get across.

What was it like working with “50 Cent”?

It was amazing. He’s a busy guy but very much involved in the project. He had nothing but encouraging words to say. I’ve always been inspired by his life and the choices he’s made about his career. It was a privilege to get to know him and be a part of his show.

Was there a particular moment when you decided acting would be your calling?

I don’t think it was necessarily one specific moment. It was more a part of just accepting the process of the calling. Originally I was going to be a soccer player, but once I got into high school I was cast as the lead in the school play and from there I started getting into it more and more.

What other projects are you currently working on?

I’ve just completed a feature called “Misfortune” and have another one called “Sunken City” which is available on pay per view and digital download. I also have a horror film that I’ll be self-producing called “Abandoned”. It’s the story of an ex-marine who was supposed to have been left for dead in the war but who’s spirit is very much alive and pursuing the people of the town.

What do you enjoy the most about acting?

I love everything about it. From the waiting at the audition to preparing for a role and the transformation into character. It’s a world that I love to dig into and discover.

POWER – a STARZ Original Series Premieres Friday, June 6th

Crossbones: Actor Henry Hereford Discusses Adventurous New NBC Series

Henry Hereford (Photo by: Mara Casey)

Henry Hereford (Photo by: Mara Casey)

In the year 1729 on the secret island of Santa Compana, Edward Teach, better known as the notorious pirate Blackbeard (John Malkovich) reigns over a rogue nation of thieves, outlaws and malcontents. Blackbeard has his eyes set on a longitude chronometer, an invention that will ultimately change the world. Set in a world where one can never be sure just who is hero and who is villain, “Crossbones” is a compelling new one-hour drama that’s filled with extraordinary action, adventure and intrigue.

Actor Henry Hereford plays the role of Frederick Nightingale, a clockmaker who finds himself thrown into a world that’s out of his control. But Hereford’s acting prowess extends far beyond his work on “Crossbones”. His resume includes appearances on HBO’s ‘True Blood’ and TV Land’s “Happily Divorced”. He’s also appeared in the films “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and the Lifetime movie “Liz & Dick”.

Hereford also holds the rights to the theatrical version of “Festen” (based on the successful film “The Celebration”) and is currently searching for the right opportunity to stage it. I spoke to him about “Crossbones” (which premieres May 30th on NBC), his acting career and some of his other upcoming projects.

As an actor, how excited do you get when a new show gets close to an air date?

I get really excited. Especially when you consider that this is such a great show. It’s amazingly well-written and cast. I get excited because I know people are really going to enjoy it.

What attracted you to the role of Frederick Nightingale?

What’s interesting is that the character is sort of a fish out of water. He has an amazing mind and has created this machine which everyone is after. As a result, he finds himself thrown into a world that he doesn’t really fit into and has to cope. It’s fun to play people who are out of their comfort zones.

How did you get involved in the show?

My agent had pitched me for the role of Frederick Nightingale, but the casting director was based in New York and requested a video submission. I had never gotten a role by self-taping but a few weeks after my submission I received an email offering me the role. Coupled with that, I had to hop a plane to Puerto Rico two days later to begin filming. It’s an actor’s dream to be able to film in the Caribbean and it was just an incredible experience.

What was the chemistry like on set?

Amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer bunch of actors to work with. It’s a real family. There were no egos and everyone just got along really well. Cast and crew would sometimes work eighty hours over the course of a week and then spend even more time together on weekends. It was a special time and people were very supportive and respected each other.

What made you decide to pursue a career in acting?

I enjoy the process of telling stories as different people and have been lucky enough to keep going at it. I also enjoy working on projects with many different and exciting people.

Tell me a little about your passion for the play, “Festen”.

It was originally a Danish language film called ‘The Celebration’ that was very successful. After it won at Cannes in 1998 everyone in the US was trying to get their hands on the rights to remake it into an English language film. But at the time, they wouldn’t let anyone remake it. Then a theater producer in London approached the company about turning it into a play. They agreed and it was put on in London and did amazingly well. It’s an incredibly powerful story and quite intense. I’m trying to find a place to do it and do it the right way.

Do you have a bit of advice for up and coming actors?

A teacher once told me that you should always be the most attractive version of yourself. As actors, we’re often told to be diverse but in reality, you need to know who you are and what you’re bringing to the table. A lot of actors might get frustrated and try to be something else. Always stick to who you are.

What other projects are you involved with?

An exciting, independent movie that I did a few years ago is being released this week. It’s a fun, romantic comedy called “Man Camp”. It’s the story about a guy who is fairly useless with women and gets trained up in a “man camp” with his friends. I play a random German who appears at different points. Dean Cain plays a great role in it and it’s going to be fun to watch.

Crossbones premieres on NBC Friday, May 30th at 10pm ET

Flowers In December: Actress Gabrielle Stone Discusses New Film Project

Wallace-StoneWhen writer/director JT Mollner first sat down to write “Flowers in December” a few years back, his main inspiration was his friend, legendary actress Dee Wallace.

Having seen flashes of her real character range in films like “The Frighteners”, Mollner wanted to write something equally dark, but much more realistic for Wallace. But what started out as a sort of one woman show quickly evolved into an ensemble piece featuring other interesting characters and a dark, complex love story. A story that Mollner himself says is one of the most interesting and compelling things he’s ever written.

Flowers in December tells the story of Hannah, a hard living “bad girl” in her mid 50’s who gave up on life years ago when she lost her one true love to uncontrollable circumstances. Now, meandering through her days on auto-pilot, she lives a gritty, yet stable life in a West Texas trailer park with her new husband and 22-year-old daughter, Holly. Even though on the surface it seems she’s picked up the pieces, a deep obsession with her lost love still consumes her, and she will stop at nothing to reunite with him. Even if it means the destruction of her new family, madness, or worse.

The film stars Dee Wallace (E.T, Cujo, The Frighteners) along with her real-life daughter Gabrielle Stone (CUT!, Speak No Evil, Zombie Killers), Robert Craighead (Children’s Hospital, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and JB Blanc (The Count of Monte Crisco, Breaking Bad).

Mollner, along with producer Chris Ivan Cevic have recently launched an Indigogo campaign to help turn their vision into a “cinema ready” film. With typical film projects, everything is already panned out. But the cool thing about Indigogo is that everyone who contributes becomes more personally involved in the film’s success. Here’s your chance to help make that happen.

As a “thank you” for contributing to the project, there are numerous rewards available. Everything from Executive Producer Credit to signed DVD’s, autographed posters, a chance to visit the set and even a rare opportunity to be the only featured “extra” in the film.

I spoke with actress Gabrielle Stone about her role in the film and how fans can help.

How did you become involved in “Flowers In December”?

I signed on after JT sent me the script. I’ve done two shorts with him before, both that were winners at The Hollyshorts Festival and received distribution. The script was fantastic and he had an amazing cast assembled that drew me to the project.

What attracted you to the story?

I love the theme of the script. It’s all about the positives and negatives of love and relationships. How love can trap us in unhealthy circumstances as well as set us free. In a short film, it explores numerous different outlooks in various relationships.It’s the story of a woman’s undying love for someone and how it affects her and those around her.

Flowers in December Cast (l to r: Robert Craighead, Dee Wallace, Gabrielle Stone, and JB Blan)

Flowers in December cast (l to r: Robert Craighead, Dee Wallace, Gabrielle Stone, and JB Blanc)

Tell me a little about the Indigogo project and how fans can help!

You can simply go to the website and select how much you’d like to contribute. They’ve set up a bunch of perks you can receive. There are some great photos and videos being released every few days for people to check out as well.

Let’s discuss another one of your upcoming projects. What can you tell me about your role in “Zombie Killers”?

I play Nikki Slater, the main characters girlfriend. She’s a tough chick with a good heart. It was definitely an awesome role to bring to life.

As an actress, do you feel any added pressure having to work with your mom?

Not at all. I love my mom and she’s my best friend, but on set she’s just another co-star I’m working with. We had a great time shooting our one scene together. It was the first time we had gotten the chance to work together. She plays my boyfriend’s mom in the film.

What is your favorite movie that your Mom has made?

“Cujo”. I still think she should have been up for the Oscar for it. After that film I knew I would always be safe…cause my mom could kick ass with a shotgun! [laughs].

What else are your currently working on?

“CUT!” should be out later this year and “Speak No Evil” just got picked up by Lionsgate and will be releasing later this year as well. I’ll be shooting “Stray” starting in May for three weeks in Pennsylvania. I get to work with my Zombie Killers co-star Dan McLaughlin again so I’m looking forward to starting it. Then a week after I wrap on “Stray” I’ll be in NYC shooting ‘Once When I Was Dead’, a festival short with Scott Perry.

How early on in life did you know that acting was going to become a passion?

I always thought I wanted to be an actress because I watched both my parents do it growing up. But it wasn’t until I did my first short film (which was with JT Mollner) that I realized I never wanted to do anything else.

For more info on Flowers In December and how to contribute Click Here!
(Even if you are unable to make a financial contribution please help
spread the word with others on social media, email or by word of mouth!)

Pretty Rosebud: Chuti Tiu and Oscar Torre Discuss Emotional Film

Pretty Rosebud

While working on various film and television projects, actress Chuti Tiu was motivated to write a story about the reflecting values of women in Asian-American culture. Together with actor/director (and real-life husband) Oscar Torre they’ve brilliantly captured that vision as well as the essence of crossing from one stage of life to the next with their emotional new film, Pretty Rosebud.

In Pretty Rosebud Tiu plays the role of Cissy Santos, a career driven woman desperately searching for what will truly make her happy and in the process makes questionable decisions and encounters family rebellion. Moving and at times controversial, the film explores the traditional roles of women in immigrant culture and what happens when those expectations are ignored. Pretty Rosebud also stars Kipp Shiotani as Cissy’s out of work husband Phil, himself going through a transitional struggle of his own.

In addition to his supporting role, Oscar Torre shines in his directorial debut. With no formal education in film production but having spent countless hours on set as an actor, Torre delivers a true sense of Tiu’s flawed, believable characters going through transition. A coming of age for adults and a passion project for both Tiu and Torre, Pretty Rosebud takes a personal, intimate look at family rebellion and infidelity. More importantly, it’s a story about about striving to find your own voice.

The film is set to premiere at the Reel World Film Festival in Toronto, Canada in early April to be followed by a theatrical run in select cities across America. More festival and release dates will soon follow to make this must-see film accessible to all.

I spoke with Tiu and Torre about the making of Pretty Rosebud and more.

Chuti Tiu

Chuti Tiu

What inspired you to write the story?

Chuti Tiu (Tiu): In terms of values, I really wanted to explore the conflict between immigrant parents and first generation American born children. As children, we’re taught to follow the sometimes stereotypical pressures from family tradition, religion and culture. It’s only when we become adults that we realize it might not be something we want. Then there’s the idea of infidelity. When a man is unfaithful, society doesn’t seem to be as antagonistic as much as if it were a woman. I wanted to explore that as well.

 

 

Oscar Torre

Oscar Torre

Oscar, did you always plan to direct the film?

Oscar Torre (Torre): Originally, I hoped to just have a part as an actor, but as we started looking at directors and thinking about what we were looking for I began to think that it might be something I could do. I had never directed anything before and wasn’t sure if I wanted to take on that pressure and responsibility. Finally, I just threw it out there and to Chuti’s credit, we were both on the same page.

Tiu: I remember the first time Oscar read the script. He really loved it and wanted me to make it. Then as our relationship grew, he encouraged me more and more. I have to credit his encouragement and belief in me that it got done.

What was the filming process like?

Torre: It was the most stressful thing I’ve ever done but also one of the most rewarding. I really enjoyed the creative aspect of putting it all together. From story boarding, to determining camera shots and even choosing colors for the walls. Then being able to go out and actually shoot a film that had already been inside my head for months. There were some challenges along the way when things didn’t work out the way I had originally envisioned, but I really enjoyed the process of overcoming them.

What was it like working with Kipp Shiotani?

Tiu: Kipp was wonderful and was really involved in the creative process. For us, it was almost like playing tennis. You’re really able to volley back and forth when you find someone who is just as passionate as you are about the craft and story.

What can you tell me about the film’s upcoming theatrical run?

Tiu: We’ll have our Canadian premiere in Toronto next month and will then be having showings in LA, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Milwaukee and Miami.

Torre: We’ve also been chosen for the Big Island Film Festival in Hawaii at the end of May and have a few more festivals lined up. Then we’ll be looking into a larger theatrical release and VOD.

What other projects are you currently working on?

Tiu: I’m currently writing a project of my own that has to deal with the issue of death and how we wrap our heads around it. I also play Nurse Lailani in a series called Chasing Life which premieres this summer on ABC Family.

Torre: I play a lead role in a film called “Eenie Meenie Miney Moe” that’s coming out April 15th on Red Box. I also have a script for a short film that I’ll direct and also star in with Chuti. It’s the story about two characters from two different worlds who have nothing in common but meet once a week in a motel room. There are a few twists in the story as well. Then there’s Lunarticking, which is a film Chuti and I co-wrote along with a friend. It’s an emotional thriller that we hope to start filming at the end of the year.

Chuti Tiu and Oscar Torre

Chuti Tiu and Oscar Torre

How does completing this film compare to some of your other projects?

Torre: It’s much more rewarding. In a way, it’s like having a child. You don’t know what he or she is going to grow up to be like or how they’ll be perceived by the world, but you’re proud with each step that you take. Having people come up and tell us they identify with the characters is the real gift. It was our vision, but it took the help of a lot of people behind the scenes to make it happen. As an actor and director you often get a lot of credit, but if you don’t have a great team bringing their own creativity and input you don’t have a film. Our cast and crew was extremely diverse in background and it was important to have that kind of family to work with. They’re all part of this journey and its been fantastic.

Tiu: As an actor, I always thought of myself as one of the colors being used for an amazing painting. For this project, Oscar and I have been the painter and the canvas as well as some of the colors. It’s been our baby from the blank page on up and it’s great to see that we’ve been able to move and inspire people. It’s why we create art in the first place.

For more information on Pretty Rosebud Click Here
Follow Chuti Tiu and Oscar Torre on Twitter: @ChutiTiu @OscarTorreActor

Machine Head: Actress Sharon Hinnendael Talks New Horror/Thriller

MachineHeadThe deserts of Los Ranchos, CA aren’t exactly what you would call your typical spring break destination. But for long-time college friends Rachel (Sharon Hinnendael), Chloe (Nicole Zeoli) and Mila (Christina Corigliano) it’s the perfect place for a week of booze, boys and fun in the sun.

When Rachel’s wealthy father offers her the keys to a friend’s amazing desert house, it’s almost a dream come true. That is until she discovers that access to the beautiful home comes with a catch…

Rachel has to take along her two younger, obnoxious sisters (real-life twins Morissa and Alana O’Mara).

Rachel makes plans for her boyfriend and his pals to meet them at the home later that night, but during the drive up the girls find themselves terrorized by a mysterious black muscle car with tinted windows.

Upon reaching the isolated home things really begin to unravel. The boys never show up and the three friends soon discover that what first appears to be a prank turns out to be something much, much worse.

Although an original story on its own, Machine Head scores bonus points by using mild bits and pieces from several great horror films to help get its message of terror across, including elements of Halloween, Scream and even Friday the 13th. And when you combine that trio of terror with three hot girls and a muscle car, what’s not to love?

I spoke with actress Sharon Hinnendael (Rachel) about her experiences working on Machine Head and what she loves most about making horror films.

What attracted you most to this project?

I really liked the script. It wasn’t a typical horror film. I was excited about it from the first time I read it. It was fun and scary. Then I met Jim [Valdez, Director], Christina and Nicole. Everyone was so cool and we all focused on what our job was and brought it to life. This group of people I got really close to. The whole filming process couldn’t have been better.

How would you describe the story of Machine Head?

It’s a story about girls wanting to go away for a break and have a relaxing time, but then they start getting messed with and can’t figure out why or who. I remember we did a lot of night filming in Palm Springs which was really intense. Sometimes we would be out there late at night and I would think “Wow, this is creepy. If this really happened it would be terrifying!” [laughs].

What makes horror such a great genre?

The thing I really love about these movies is being on set and seeing how they’re made. I remember growing up watching The Shining and just being absolutely terrified by it. I have a very creative mind so in the middle of the night I would sometimes see things that weren’t there, or turn something that was there into something else [laughs]. It really had an effect on me. Making horror movies is a cool process to be a part of. Having something be that strong where it can terrorize you really interests me.

Sharon Hinnendael

Sharon Hinnendael

You have an intense crying scene in this film. How do you prepare for that?

For certain scenes, I think of things that are going on in my life and use that emotion to make it happen. For this one, my uncle had passed away a year before we filmed. I was close to him and remember for that scene I really thought about him and it helped me. Part of the job is having to get to that place pretty quickly.

Did you always know you wanted to be an actress?

I was in plays in high school and loved it but originally never thought about making it a career. I was from Green Bay and started modeling when I was 12 and went to New York and Europe and worked a few other places. The original plan was for me to move to Brooklyn, but a manager I was working with at the time convinced me to come to LA for a month to give it a go. While I was there I booked a few jobs and things started happening. I really love the acting part of the process.

Is there any advice you can give to other actors?

Really love what you do every day and don’t think of money or fame. The whole goal or the process is to come out of a project having had fun and made others feel something.

What other projects are you currently working on?

I have a film that’s going to be doing the festivals called “Anatomy Of A Love Seen”. It’s a lesbian love story that’s all improv and really intense. It’s one of my favorite projects because the creativity was all my own. I have a few other things coming up as well. My life is pretty crazy right now.

Machine Head comes to DVD on March 25th

CUT! Wins Big At Indie Fest!

Congratulations go out to Psycho Rock Productions and the feature film CUT!, which just won FOUR major awards at the prestigious Indie Fest Film Festival.

CUT! won THREE prestigious Awards of Excellence and ONE Award of Merit from the Indie Fest, including awards for Best Feature Film, Best Director (David Rountree) and Best Leading Actor (David Banks). CUT! also won the Award for Merit for Best Overall Sound Impact.

Director/Producer David Rountree was all smiles saying that “we were thrilled just to be accepted into Indie Fest. To win in four major categories was a tremendous accomplishment for our film. Winning has really been a reward for all of the hard work that so many people have put forth into making this film what it has become.”

CUT

The Indie Fest recognizes film professionals who demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity, and those who produce standout entertainment or contribute to profound social change. Entries are judged by highly qualified professionals in the film industry. Information about the Indie Fest and a list of recent winners can be found at www.theindiefest.com.

AWARDS
Best Feature Film
Best Director: David Rountree
Best Leading Actor: David Banks
Merit Award: Overall Sound Impact

In winning an Indie, Psycho Rock Productions joins the ranks of other high profile winners of this internationally respected award. Thomas Baker, Ph. D., who chairs the Indie Fest, had this to say about the latest winners, “The Indie is a very difficult award to win. Entries are received from all around the world. The Indie helps set the standard for craft and creativity. The judges were pleased with the exceptionally high quality of entries. The goal of the Indie is the help winners achieve the recognition they deserve.”

You can check out my interviews with the cast of CUT! below.
The film is expected to be released theatrically this summer:

David Rountree and Dahlia Salem * David Banks * Lauren Nash * Gabrielle Stone

Love Story “Beside Her” To Screen At LA Women’s International Film Festival

BesideHerDirector Carrie Carnevale’s debut short film, “Beside Her” is a love story and fictional portrayal of the true human condition. An amazing piece of film work that’s been screened to audiences world wide. Now, here’s your chance to see the film for yourself.

Join Carnevale and members of the cast and crew of Beside Her for a screening at this year’s Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival on Saturday, March 15th .

Along with the amazing talents of actors Ashley Watkins, Erika Flores and Owen Conway, Carnevale delivers a film containing all the elements that make for a great story: love, tension, drama, suspense and even a twist in the end for good measure!

While watching “Beside Her” you quickly become oblivious to the fact that the lovers you see on-screen are female, and become more enthralled with the deep sense of love and connection they both share with each other. But Beside Her is much more than just a love story. It’s a beautiful film about the human condition and the connection we all share.

The Alliance of Women Filmmakers Inc. is a non-profit 501c(3) organization established to empower women filmmakers to create diverse roles for women as well as increase exposure for women made movies. Each March, they produce the Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival which showcases narratives, documentaries, animation and student short films made by women of diverse backgrounds from around the world.

Beside Her will be screening as part of the LA Women’s Fest Shorts Program Four. For more information and to purchase tickets Click Here

Be sure to type in the code “AWF” to get a discounted ticket price of $6.00.
For more information on “Beside Her” and 17 Films Click Here

Actress Amber Bollinger Discusses New Horror/Thriller “Big Bad Wolf”

BigBadWolfActress Amber Bollinger is no stranger to the world of horror, having already accumulated a number of them on her film resume. But it was her role in the 2010 scream filled “Pelt” that caught the attention of director Paul Morrell, who asked her to audition for a role in “Big Bad Wolf” (releasing on DVD March 4th). Working together alongside other talented cast and crew, this twisted version soon came to life; exceeding expectation and delivering a thrill ride of scares, screams and sexiness.

A dark, allegorical adaptation of the story of “The Three Little Pigs”, Big Bad Wolf stars former “Bachelor” Charlie O’Connell as Huff, an abusive stepfather living in poverty in California along with his battered wife, Lorelei (Elina Madison) and three teenage girls. On the verge of making a lucrative drug deal that will finally give him the money he needs to escape his misery and retire to Mexico with his mistress, Huff’s plans begin to unravel when his wife secretly gives the drug money to her daughters and encourages them to run away to seek better lives. This series of events triggers a chain of rage-induced asthma attacks, complete with ‘huffs and puffs’ as Huff attempts to locate the three runaways and recover his money. “Big Bad Wolf” also stars Clint Howard, Natasha Alam, Jenna Stone and Elly Stefanko.

I spoke with Bollinger about “Big Bad Wolf” as well as her upcoming film, “Listening” which deals with the power of telepathy.

How did you become involved in Big Bad Wolf?

I actually landed the role based upon a movie I had done called “Pelt”. A mutual friend had introduced me to Paul Morrell, who had seen it and liked my performance. He contacted me through Facebook and asked me to come in and audition.

What attracted you to the story?

I liked the fact that it was a different kind of horror film. It literally is a dark twisted ‘Three Little Pigs’ story.

Tell me a little about your character, Brixi.

Brixi is the oldest of the children and becomes the real mother figure her little sisters never had. She’s the God-fearing, tough one who understands that she may have to take on the role of martyr in order to protect her sisters and get out alive.

What was the chemistry like on the set?

It was great and we all got along really well. Charlie [O'Connell] is such a funny guy and not anything at all like his character on-screen. When “action” was called, he became someone completely different. He can turn it on and off at will. Elina [Madison] was great too. She works a lot to get into her character and I really trust her as an actress. You knew that everyday she was going to come in fully prepared and ready to give her all.

What do you think makes for a great horror movie?

I love all kinds of horror films but I think the best are the ones that aren’t apologetic. They’re just brutal, bloody and go for the jugular. That’s what this film does.

Amber Bollinger

Amber Bollinger

Tell me a little about your other upcoming film “Listening”.

It’s a Sci-Fi drama about grad students who are trying to invent mind-reading technology. My character, Jordan helps them along by giving them elements they haven’t seen before. There’s also a government organization involved that’s trying to get the discovery in order to use it on a much larger scale. In a lot of ways, the story is not that far-fetched. There’s a lot of reality to it.

Big Bad Wolf is available on DVD March 4th

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