Australian actress Natasha St. Clair-Johnson stars in new film ‘Incall’

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Natasha St. Clair-Johnson, photo by KAT TUOHY PHOTOGRAPHY

“Acting is the one way that I feel free to be myself,” said Natasha St. Clair Johnson. The Australian native has an innate talent, and has loved performing for almost her entire life. As a child, she wanted to be like the people she saw on-screen, but as she grew, this desire became much fiercer. She wanted to tell stories; she wanted to show the wonderful and painful aspects of what it means to be human; she wanted to make a difference with the best way she knew how. Acting became her focus, and performing her way of life. Now, she is one of Australia’s leading actresses, and the passion she feels for what she does is the same as it was when she began her career.

While working her way to the top, St. Clair-Johnson worked on several extremely successful projects, showing her home country and the world why she is so formidable. In the feature film Birthday, the actress has the critical role of a social-worker. Her work led the film to be selected for the highly-prestigious Cannes Film Festival, where it took home the top award for Best Actress in a Foreign Film. Similar success followed with her film Prized, where she co-stars with ‘Twitch’ aka Stephan Boss from So You Think You Can Dance and currently the popular DJ on The Ellen Degeneres Show, as well as the movie Shang, playing a seductive vampire and showing audiences how versatile of an actress she truly is.

“The thrill of performing is like nothing else for me. With film and theatre being such different mediums, they both still give me joy. Being on set has an intimacy, a rawness, and a realism to it,” said St. Clair-Johnson.

Audiences can also look forward to St. Clair-Johnson’s performance in the highly-anticipated film Incall. The film tells the story of a wealthy house wife who gets more than she bargained for when a call girl changes the course of her day into something completely unexpected. It explores ideas of sexuality, power, feminism, and manipulation, with three women all appearing as different facets of what is it to be the modern woman.

“Not many films like to show women that are sexual and strong. It’s considered taboo, and commonly mistaken to be either an excuse for woman to behave in an explicit nature or to get attention. Our film is more about the mind games between people. It’s not about seeing anything happen but the suggestion,” St. Clair-Johnson described.

The film is centered around St. Clair-Johnson’s character and what happens to her over the course of one day. It is a window into the perverse intimacy she enjoys. She is an elegant, well-dressed, poised woman with a dark side. Although she appears to be one way to others, her inner desires are quite different from the persona she displays. She has a certain way about her that can be disarming, which is what the directors were looking for in St. Clair-Johnson’s performance. She perfectly personifies the complicated character, with a hint of possible danger, as you can’t always be sure where the character might take the conversation or situation she is in.

While many films explore a male and female dynamic, Incall involves two strong female characters. These characters are not necessarily attracted to each other, but rather show how they manipulate, judge, and control each other. It is about ego and power. St. Clair-Johnson’s character is the instigator of the events. Therefore, when the director was looking for someone for such an important and complicated role, she knew she had to find someone with immense talent.

“Natasha is gifted and hard working. She always gives 100 per cent to every take and patience beyond what would be required of her. It is a pleasure working with her on and off set. She is very personable. Her unique choices make her an outstanding actress. She has a subtle but compelling ability to seek the nuances in her characters’ behavior, with an unlimited range and keen understanding of the complexities of the characters’ relationships,” said Rachael Murphy, Writer and Director of Incall.

Murphy approached St. Clair-Johnson when she began casting. She knew that she wanted the actress as her leading character to make her film a success. St. Clair-Johnson was happy to take on a role in an all-female film. During the shoot, she found herself being taken away with what was happening. She knew exactly where to go with her character, completely embodying her. She would utilize subtle and exciting exchanges between her co-star and herself, opening up her creative juices. With every script she works on, the actress takes the time to analyze it. She figures out the exact motives behind each of her characters’ choices. For Incall, she worked those choices into her performance flawlessly, displaying intimacy, and passive-aggressive behavior simultaneously.

In addition to acting, St. Clair-Johnson also took on an executive producer role for the film. Although she had never done this before, she was excited to learn about the job, knowing the experience behind-the-scenes would help make her an even better actress. She was able to find the perfect balance between her role as an actress and her executive producing responsibilities, and found herself watching every take and staying engaged in all areas of the film production.

“This project gave me artistic freedom to play with whatever choices I wanted. I was to carry the film and I loved the responsibility of that. Especially showcasing myself in a film that is strongly focused on women. My team and I knew that it would be topical and the LGBT community would also be interested. We were recently approached by a film festival exclusively showcasing films produced and starring woman. It’s an honor,” said St. Clair-Johnson.

Incall is currently in post-production with a release date set for 2018 into the film festival circuit, and then onwards to national release in the United States and Australia. It is also expected to make its way to several Australian television networks, and streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu in the short film category. If you get a chance, make sure to check out St. Clair-Johnson’s stellar performance.

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Ana Lossada inspires children to live healthy lives with work at Disney

Despite having an interest in the arts from an early age, Ana Lossada never really thought she would have a future in the field. As a child, she enjoyed drawing and painting as most children do, but she also enjoyed sports, dance, and playing with friends. Creativity was an instinct for her, she was never conscious of it. As she began to grow, her other interests slowly started fading away, but art was her constant. She started to realize that she could pursue a career in the arts and do what she loved every day. It was this realization that changed her life, and now, as an internationally sought-after motion graphics designer, she has never looked back.

“As a kid, I never really saw it as a ‘this is what I want to do when I grow up’ type of thing. Doing creative things simply came to me very easily and effortless an. Besides being the artsy kid in school, I have always loved watching cartoons and also movies filled with action, sci-fi and a whole lot of visual effects. These tendencies worked out, as my art interests led me to pursue a career in the digital media world,” said Lossada.

Throughout her esteemed career, Lossada has worked with some of the world’s most well-known production companies and television shows. She recently collaborated with Disney to create the opening theme for the new show Raven’s Home, a spin-off of their older classic That’s So Raven. Premiering earlier this summer, the opening garnered a lot of media attention, and Lossada’s work is a large part of that. A similar experience occurred with Lossada’s work on the opening of Netflix’s hit show Atypical, where Lossada perfectly captured the autistic main character’s tendencies and feelings in her work. All that work alongside the designer are impressed with what she can do.

“Throughout my career I have worked with many talented designers and no one comes across like Ana has. Not only does she have amazing technical skills when it comes to handling computer software, she has a natural ability as an artist and illustrator. She is incredibly dedicated and gives her best in every single project. Her hard work will lead her to an incredible career,” said KA Batcha, who worked with Lossada on The Walking Dead: The Journey So Far, a thrilling recap of the first six seasons of AMC’s iconic series The Walking Dead.

Despite such success, one of the highlights of Lossada’s career is her work with Disney Jr. on their “Be Inspired” spot. The concept of the project was to encourage children to live healthy active lifestyles with promotional videos showing easy exercises that kids can follow along with, designed in the setting of the Disney classic The Lion King. The project was an immense success, and at only 23, Lossada showed one of the largest and most renowned production companies in the world, Disney, that she was extraordinarily talented.

After the success of Be Inspired with the Lion Guard, Disney wanted to team up with Lossada once again, this time with the spot Be Your Best with Miles, featuring the character Miles from Miles from Tomorrowland, a popular children’s show for the network. This segment is a 2-minute spot in which cartoon Miles and “real” Miles are compared side to side, teaching us how to live a healthy lifestyle by following a healthy diet and exercising frequently.

“The way children eat from a very young age impacts their growth and health throughout their childhood, and for the rest of their lives. A healthy diet and good nutrition are critical in preventing some of the issues and illnesses that are caused by bad nutrition, such as nutrient deficiencies, poor bone health, increased risk of injuries, poor academic performance and increased risk of eating disorders. Teaching children how important a healthy nutrition is and also the importance of a vigorous fitness routine throughout their childhood years will lay a base for a healthier and fulfilling life,” said Lossada.

The music video with exercises are currently being aired on Disney Junior worldwide. Each exercise video has over 60,000 views on YouTube alone, and the music video “Teke Ruka Teleza” has over 250,000. Such success could not have been possible without Lossada’s contributions.

Working with her team at Big Machine, Lossada helped design and animate the main title for the spot. Additionally, she needed to create modern and stylized split-screen graphics for the spot and also a UI/UX interface graphic that explained what audiences were seeing on screen. She did all this using her own unique style, as she is known for her distinctive artistry. Her artwork speaks strongly to people, and with Be Your Best with Miles, it has resonated with children around the globe.

While creating the video spots, all of Lossada’s skills were put to use, from designing to illustrating and even animating. Not only was she leading the team, but she was also working on the live action set as well, ensuring her graphics would perfectly transition with the live footage.

To generate ideas and inspiration for the project, Lossada watched an episode of Miles from Tomorrowland. Upon doing so, she noticed there were many simple shape designs in the show, primarily hexagons. This is therefore the primary element seen throughout the whole Lossada’s work on Be Your Best with Miles. She used it for overlay shots, for example the scene where Miles analyzes a breakfast kitchen, for transitional designs between live-action Miles and character Miles, and lastly for the split screens where they are seen together. Such attention to detail is what makes Lossada one of the best, and while working on Be Your Best with Miles, her co-workers were able to see all of talents really shine. Not only does she have the technical skills when it comes to mastering any software, but she also possesses the innate natural ability to design and illustrate.

“Working on Be Your Best with Miles was very fun. Mainly, because we had to find activities and exercises performed by the live-action Miles and compared it to the 3D character Miles,” said Lossada.

No matter what she takes on, Lossada puts everything she has into her work. This is not for the accolades or awards, but for a passion for what she does. She is a perfectionist in the best way. When people enjoy what she has produced, she knows she is doing what she was meant to do.

“I take a great deal of pride in my work and do everything I can to ensure every aspect of each project I touch is perfect, so it truly means a lot when people acknowledge the quality of my projects.  Seeing the look of astonishment on their faces as they wonder how exactly I animated and designed these various projects makes all of the hard work worthwhile. I have always believed that the entertainment industry, particularly the creative side of the business, can convey powerful emotions and messages. It is my goal to use my knowledge and skillset to bring these feelings and experiences to the general public and leave an everlasting mark on the industry,” said Lossada.

She is already well on her way. Watch Lossada’s tremendous work in Be Your Best with Miles here.

The Character Actor Swell Soubra

Actor Swell Soubra
Actor Swell Soubra shot by Joshua Shelton

Hailing from Geneva, Switzerland actor Swell Soubra has become known for his roles in a plethora of high profile film and television productions such as Stan Harrington’s (“The Practice,” “The Insomniac”) multi-award winning film drama “Lost Angels,” which took home a whopping seven awards from the Indie Fest USA International Film Festival, Frank Perry Lopez’s (“Tangerine Sky”) dramatic crime film “Three Kings Down” with award-winning actor Marcos Gracia (“Black Jacks”) and most recently, the sci-fi action series “The Last Ship.”

While Swell quickly made a name for himself in the industry as a dynamically talented actor who can breathe life into virtually any character, his professional adult life began in a field that many would consider the polar opposite of the arts– banking.

“I used to be a Swiss private banker,” recalls Swell. “But then I did a commercial for Pepsi Switzerland, which was my first step into the acting world and I loved it. I was surprised that it was actually a job.”

That transformative step, one that has taken Swell on a journey far away from the 9 to 5 and one that ultimately led him to relocate to Hollywood, happened in 2011. Since then, Swell’s career has unfolded at an impressive pace with the now internationally sought after actor being called in for a variety of roles across genres.

The Last SHip

Swell was recently tapped to play a key role in the hit series “The Last Ship.” Created by Primetime Emmy Award nominee Hank Steinberg (“The Nine”) and Steven Kane (“The Closer,” “American Dad!”), “The Last Ship” follows the crew of a naval destroyer who are forced to consider the reality of a new existence on earth when an unexplained pandemic wipes out most of earth’s population.

Acting alongside Adam Baldwin (“Full Metal Jacket,” “Independence Day”), People’s Choice Award nominee Eric Dane (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Marley & Me”) and Bridget Regan (“Jane the Virgin”), Swell Soubra comes into the series in the premiere of season 4 directed by Paul Holahan (“The Man in the High Castle”), which aired in August. Kicking off the season with a bang, the episode follows the crew of the Nathan James ship as they traverse the globe in search of a precious seed that could save the world. Swell comes in as a businessman in Morocco who is connected to the black market sales organization in charge of selling the seed. Swell’s critical performance not only showcased his rare capacity as an actor and on screen magnetism, but the role also required him to converse in both French and English, something few actors can believably achieve.

Nominated for the prestigious Saturn Award in 2015 and 2016 by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA, “The Last Ship,” which airs on TNT, proved to be a powerful first foray into primetime television for Swell.

Swell explains, “Playing that character was an amazing experience because of the setup. Mixing languages on set was quite fun and I enjoyed being with such a great cast… It was a wonderful experience because Warner Bros., the production company, invested a lot of money in terms of the action scenes. Working with such a versatile director who worked on so many huge TV series was quite an experience.”

Over the past six years Swell Soubra has been tapped to play a wide range of characters including everything from a man struggling with depression in the film “Alone,” which screened at the renowned Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, to a transgendered serial killer in the film “I Am Tommy Talbot.” One of the things that sets Swell apart from most other actors in the industry is the fact that he is a versatile character actor. He starred in the films “Three Kings Down,” and award-winning director Tekin Girgin’s (“Mayweather Experience Documentary,” “Here’s Johnny”) dramatic crime film “The Incision,”

Up next for Swell is the dramatic thriller film “Killer Issues” from award-winning director Jonathan Cocco ( “The Max It Show” ).