2013 was quite the year and it was perfectly wrapped in travel with starting the year by returning from an mind-blowing, life changing trip to Antarctica and finishing the year by returning to Puerto Vallarta for the first time since moving home to focus on acting. The perfect bookends to a busy year!
For acting, last year was a bit of a special effects year. I started the year working on the independent thriller “Bloody Knuckles” as a supporting lead in a unique role, as the decapitated hand out for revenge. It was a very interesting challenge as although the rest of my body was never seen on camera thanks to blue screen technology, and the special effects latex zombie-like hand made no sound, I still needed to convey the full range of emotions – especially mischievousness, anger, laughter, and fear. The film has just been finished and is hoping to make the festival rounds in 2014.
I was also the lead in a short film, “Nature Walk”, as a littering smoker who gets taught a lesson by a talking tree – aka Father Nature. Working opposite a tree stump was a new challenge as well, but a lot of fun to explore the comedic side of a serious issue. The next project, the web series “Jacked”, was a comedy set in another world with a lot of visual effects and an amazing ensemble cast of strong comedic actors. Originally, I was a reader for the project auditions and following the first day of casting, was thrilled to be offered one of the lead roles.
In the Fall, I was excited to film my first official television role on the “Untold Stories of the ER” with local Director Jason Bourque. As the lead nurse in the story line, it was a great learning experience to work with such an experienced team on a multi-cam production. Throughout the year, I worked with the sketch comedy troupe, “Strut Your Funny”, on different film sketches, which have now all been released through their popular YouTube channel. They are also producing the new sci-fi/fantasy web series, “Bitterwood”, in which I was thrilled to play the role of a supernatural bird creature. It was fascinating to create such a non-human character, with a distinct voice & body movements, under the amazing make up effects. The web series will hopefully be premiering at Vancouver’s upcoming WebFest!
With my marketing executive background, I have been asked several times to help on the production side of projects but until 2013, had always wanted to focus solely on acting. Last year I really noticed that marketing is somewhat lacking in the independent film world so decided to become more involved behind the camera. I worked with a few different production teams, including Angry Bear Film Productions and Strut Your Funny, to build their marketing plans and expand their audience. I also became an Associate Producer on local Director Tracy D. Smith’s next project, which is currently untitled.
In March, we celebrated the Canadian premiere of the feature film “Embedded”, in which I have the largest female role. The film premiered at US Festivals in the spring and screened in US theaters from coast to coast throughout the summer of 2013. I was honoured to have two short films nominated for Leo Awards in 2013, “Feint” and “Beauty Mark”, so was very excited to attend the ceremony and have a red carpet interview featured on “Go! Vancouver”, on Shaw Television.
In June, I was asked to join Women in Film & TV’s Executive Board as Treasurer, which is when I began creating the new Actor Career Mentorship Program that is kicking off this week. The Fall has been busy gathering 18 mentors to participate in the program and I was humbled to have many of thank us for providing them with an opportunity to give back. It was an honour to be part of the jury with such well known Producer/Directors in the Canadian film industry and their insight on the applicants was invaluable.
The excitement from the industry to support this project, both on the applicant side and the mentor & jury side, has been absolutely wonderful and I hope to continue the program on an annual basis.
Through WIFTV, I was also able to volunteer at the William F White charity Parking Lot Party, as well as attend several VIFF events including Martini Madness of course, the BC Spotlight Gala, VIFF Red Carpet party, and Closing Gala. Finally, I finished the year attending Whistler Film Festival for the first time, attending daily screenings, nightly events, and organizing & hosting the inaugural WIFTV Networking Brunch.
Outside of the film & TV industry, I have been involved with the Vancouver Aquarium for over 5 years, as a Board member for the ‘Toast to the Coast‘ annual fundraising event, which raised over $100,000 this year for the Aquarium’s research & development.