Category Archives: Reviews, Interviews & Features!

Mary McBain, from on-screen talent to a voice for society

Mary McBain, British actor (as well as comedian, screenwriter and producer) takes her profession above and beyond thanks to the social emphasis with which she directs her career, acting as a voice of feminism in the world of entertainment.

Mary McBain, delivering a speech at BAFTA, championing a cause which has informed her screen work.

The distinguished McBain breaks the mold of mere acting, thanks to her professional background. Undoubtedly, her extensive knowledge of the industry has allowed her to exploit her versatility and talent to other areas with a collective conscience. 

In acclaimed project Spaghetti: Silence Is Not Consent, McBain led her co-stars to a series of impactful screenings. 

Spaghetti attracted some impressive notices and sold-out screenings.

Spaghetti raises awareness about consent in sexual relationships, which denotes the very essence of the comedian, who constantly pays homage to a form of conscious entertainment that very few artists manage to exploit. The project has obvious resonance in a post #MeToo era, allowing McBain to connect with viewers on a deeper and more personal level. 

“I spent a lot of time then talking to men and women who have been on both sides of the consent conversation and felt as though there was a huge need for education on the subject – for both parties,” says McBain. Her concern to raise awareness about consent then led her to participate in one of the projects that would become an unimaginable critical success.

Due to its warm reception from globally esteemed film critics, the production was selected for screening at the British Academy Film Awards, which has been long-recognized as a world leading independent arts charity. The BAFTA awards, has over 8,000 members worldwide who are creatives and professionals working in and making a contribution to the film, television and games industries.

A project as deep as Spaghetti reaches the pinnacle McBain was looking for, reaching out to prominent schools in London to promote sex education to children, and positively impacting society more broadly. 

McBain, again, stands out as a prominent writer and actress, but also as a spokesperson for social causes that place her in an exclusive group in her field. Besides the above, her involvement with young audiences includes other well-reputed productions, such as Penny Sweets.

Penny Sweets, also known as Penny Candy, confirms McBain’s extraordinary performance as an industry professional and an incredible actor. She consolidates an artistic success with such a high level of acclaim that it sells out all the tickets for its performances. Therefore, the play is now available on Amazon and continues to gain favor with viewers all over the world. 

The production strengthened a close working relationship with a group of young people who shared their experiences so that McBain could give them a voice in this acclaimed project. 

“Over a period of three months I organized workshops with the teenagers in the acting company. The response was incredible and very moving. The participation was much greater than we expected and everyone showed immense vulnerability,” says McBain, with a humility often reserved for only the best actors. 

It’s no surprise, then, that the success of Penny Candy has come to generate tour offers for McBain. 

Thus, the expectation for the new projects McBain will be working on increases due to the high standards she has set. Leaving us with a perspective of the industry that runs through a more humanistic vision, it suggests that young people from all around the world will be able to build more critical perspectives due to the strong job of elite screen artists like McBain.

McBain, shot by Wes Klein, possesses an infectious positivity and work ethic.

Excellence & Versatility: Performer Paris Martino Springs into the Digital Arena

By Mary Brooks

The life of a professional entertainer demands the ability to embrace a broad spectrum of formats and platforms. Canadian-born performer Paris Martino excels at nimbly jumping from one to the next, whether it’s a classic Broadway musical comedy or a leap into the bold new world of custom digital content. While she’s a noted player in the New York theater world, Martino has expanded her resume with a new credit: serving as the online voice for the distinguished Gillette brand’s award-winning Venus line of personal grooming tools.

Already an acclaimed actor, singer and dancer—winning the prestigious National Triple Threat Award at the high-profile Onstage New York Talent Competition—Martino’s exceptional versatility and far-ranging capabilities place her in a rarified league of her own. A consummate professional who has had extensive formal training (earning a BFA in Musical Theatre and Dance at the distinguished Boston Conservatory at Berklee and intensive programs at the New York City Dance Alliance and the Performing Arts Project), Martino was a natural fit for Venus.

“In college, I studied voice over for a semester with some of Boston’s most elite VO actors,” she said. “We worked mainly on commercial voice over as this is the largest market in this industry.”

Her singular vocal tone, playful and personable yet coolly authoritative, has an appealing quality ideal for voice over work, and the gig essentially fell into her lap.

“This is my first job in commercial advertising, and I got it through a connection I had at the PR company in charge of the media for Gillette,” Martino said.

The firm, Marina Maher Communications, is a noted institution in Manhattan’s advertising world, well known as a home for ‘artfully persuasive’ talent, a coincidentally perfect description of Martino.

“The connection I had at MMC had heard my voice-over reel and asked me if I’d be interested in recording content they were creating to promote their new razor launch,” she said. “My role is to voice commercial work for the brands social media platform. I’ve already done several of their ads and am contracted to continue doing so.”

Gillette’s new Venus shaver is touted as the most effective pubic & body razor on the market—its unique design features 5 blades for a precise and smooth shave on larger areas of the body and a trimmer on the other end to help access harder to reach areas—and its best claim is no mere PR boast.

“Venus won the Allure magazine’s beauty award,” Martino explained. “The magazine’s beauty editors test the products thoroughly and determine the ‘best’ in each category. This award is a tremendous honor for the brand and their newest product and I’m glad to be a small part of that success.” 

Martino effectively got in on the ground floor of the Venus line’s foray into social media, specifically the wildly popular Tik Tok platform, known for its oft eccentric, entertaining content, and her debut for the brand was precisely that.

“A typical recording session usually requires the talent to go into the booth and record their text,” she said. “But this session was a bit unconventional. Creative wanted it to sound like I was in a bathroom so they actually had me go into a sound studio bathroom set and record in that site-specific location!” 

Working without a director, Martino typically nailed the assignment and, between her ongoing theatrical and film work (she is currently cast in and actively developing To Family, a new musical comedy), she will happily continue to provide engaging content for the Venus Tik Tok account. It’s a classic win-win, ideal for both Venus and the creative, ambitious performer:

“I really enjoy voice over work,” she said. “And I love helping brands carry out their dreams by way of my art!”

Dan Hamill: Interview with one of Australia’s favorites

As renewed COVID-19 restrictions have taken over Sydney amidst the delta variant, viewers have once again returned to their screens to find a welcome respite from the stress of it all. Viewing habits have of course turned towards revisiting the comfort of Australian favorites, which lead our editors to speak with one of Australia’s brightest stars, Dan Hamill.

Australian star and acclaimed actor, Dan Hamill.

Multi-talented entertainer and actor Daniel Hamill brought his versatile skill-set and experience to the renowned Australian drama television series, Love Child. That performance, along with his appearances as a finalist on Popstars and X-Factor, was one of many which solidified Dan’s place in the Australian screen and television industry, so our writers thought it was befitting – as the series experiences renewed popularity via streaming – to revisit Dan’s work and the continued evolution of his career. 

The acclaimed Australian star, who also worked as a series regular across 26 episodes of SheZow and is due to work on an exciting slew of projects in the US in the coming years, is humble and down to earth in person. It’s befitting therefore that he played his role on Love Child with a salt-of-the-earth sensibility that was simultaneously elevated by a distinctly 70s debonair quality.

Dan Hamill as Dr Andrew Patterson in Love Child.

Love Child follows the lives and staff of the Kings Cross Hospital and Stanton House in Sydney, based on the real-life forced adoption program in Australia.  The series beautifully captures the coercion and stigma of unmarried women in Australia and the plight of their children.  One of Australia’s most popular dramas, the show was loved for its “70’s style” and its gripping emotion, which Dan was able to realize with his flair and emotional depth. His contributions solidified the show’s continued high-ratings as he became a fan favorite, helping Australia’s Nine Network strengthen its position as Australia’s top network. 

“Being part of a hit show like Love Child was such an honour,” Hamill explains. “It was one of those dream roles that fit like a glove and felt like a real extension of self. The reason it was so popular was because it was about WOMEN-  95% of the cast! and that was a really important story to be a part of and told.”

Hamill continues.

“I loved playing Dr Andrew Patterson as he was such a forward thinking guy for the time, he broke the rules, and was in FULL support of empowerming women and rewriting/opposing the patriarchal and archaic mindset of men in that time. Looking back to when I was a kid, playing a leading man ‘heartthrob’ was such a far off dream. I had to pinch myself a few times saying to myself ‘hey buddy, how fun is this!”

Love Child notably received numerous prestigious accolades in the entertainment industry.  At the 2015 Logie Awards, an awards event which celebrates Australian television, the show was nominated for the Most Popular Drama Program Award, and in 2016, the show was nominated for both  the Best Drama Program and Most Outstanding Drama Series.  Love Child also received a nomination for the Best Drama Series Award at the Golden Nymph Awards, which are the prizes awarded to the winners of the Official Competition of the Monte-Carlo Television Festival, meaning Dan’s work has been enjoyed at the international scale and contributed to awards acclaim.

Hamill elaborates on the experience of what it meant for the show to be recognised internationally. 

“For Love Child to be nominated internationally was such a phenomenal nod to the show. We were all in disbelief initially when we heard about this. It’s a really heavy show- we talk about abortion, abandonment, women’s rights and injustice. It just goes to show that this is what the world needs right now.”

Love Child also featured Jessica Marais, Jonathan LaPaglia, and Matthew Le Nevez and was directed by Geoff Bennet, who won the AACTA Award for Best Direction in a Television Drama or Comedy. Hamill’s performance as the charismatic Dr. Andrew Patterson, a continuing fan favorite who impedes Dr. Joan Miller’s (Jessica Marais) efforts to continue her career after the birth of her child, represents the societal resistance towards unmarried women who had children in Australia during the twentieth century.  

Hamill joined the team in the show’s fourth season, but made an immediate impact as in the lead male role, claiming that although the loss of Jonathan La Paglia’s talent and role on the cast  left big shoes to fill , “the cast was so lovely and welcomed me with open arms, so it was good to be there.”

In one particular scene in the season’s fourth episode, Hamill’s character diagnoses Joan’s baby, Laura, with pneumonia, and does everything within his ability to assist the child but must simultaneously accept the reality that the child could die. Dan gives a showstopping performance by capturing the anxiety and panic of the moment, with fans and critics noting that the episode “drew out the best performances” from Dan. Hamill’s participation on the show made an immediate, demonstrable impact as IMDB indicates that ratings for each episode in the fourth season consistently exceeded 9/10, as opposed to the previous season’s episodes which largely received 8/10 ratings.

Hamill’s character also plays an essential role in the season finale, when he discovers the evidence that proves Joan’s baby was swapped with another mother’s, another cold reminder of the violations of familial bonds that occurred in Australia at the time.  

As Hamill explains, “the finale of the show was heavy. I mean in terms of dramatic tension, you can’t really beat a baby swap storyline right? Jess Marais and I had really built a beautiful emotional rapport and trust with each other and had learnt to really support each other in the heavy scenes.”

Acting, particularly in drama, requires a performer to deeply personalise and go deep into memories or imagined circumstances that trick your imagination and nervous system to believe these things are really happening in order to convey truth and emotionally affect audiences. 

Hamill elaborates on the dynamic with his scene partner. 

“Jess and I as buddies in this, sharing so many scenes together, created a really special space where we would drop into the depth of our emotional world to pay the script justice – you can’t fake that stuff. At the end of a scene or between takes that required deep grief or rage or even intimacy- we would give each other a little look that said ‘I got you mate’.” 

Hamill explains further. “That special bond you have with another actor that really goes there, as much as you do is so damn special and makes the whole process super, safe, beautiful and in an odd way healing.”

Dan Hamill and award-winning Australian star Jessica Marais were trusted scene partners.

Hamill also played an important role in the popular Australian television series Jack Irish alongside Guy Pearce. Here, Hamill appears as Wayne Dilthey, a member of the Way of the Cross Church who uncovers the nefarious actions of the church. His eventual murder later becomes the focal point of the show as Jack Irish (Guy Pearce) ends up getting framed for the crime. The show was one of the six most watched programs in all of Australia upon its release, recording nearly 1 million viewers, and Hamill’s popularity amongst television audiences undoubtedly contributed to this significant figure given the importance of his character. Critics praised the show and fans continue to stream it worldwide, and in the US, via Acorn TV. 

Hamill also appears in an important role in the acclaimed series Jack Irish, starring Iron Man star, Guy Pearce.

Hamill versatile skills as an entertainer in film and TV was also confirmed with his performance as a voice actor in the animated series SheZow. He performed in 26 episodes, showing his indispensability to the show as a talent. When watching the series, it’s clear that Hamill is an accomplished performer who can convey emotional depth and entertainment with just his voice, in addition to his skilled performances on television as a singer and actor.

Award-winning Australian icon Noni Hazelhursts says the following of Hamill:

“One of [Dan’s] great strengths as an actor is his “look” – he has the same ability that Heath Ledger did to play anything from a romantic lead to a hitman to a tramp. His looks are hard to define – he could be James Bond, he could be a filthy junkie – his casting potential is enormously wide.”

Award-winning Australian icon Noni Hazelhurst is one of Hamill’s biggest fans in the industry.

She elaborates further with reference to his transformational character abilities. 

“I can honestly say…[Dan] is one of the hungriest performers I know – constantly striving to stretch his knowledge, to challenge himself and to take risks in his choices. It’s starting to pay off, but his major contribution is yet to come. He could tackle any role. He is so talented and interesting.”

With the enduring popularity of some of his most popular roles, the ubiquity of streaming, and some exciting projects on the horizon, it’s safe to say Dan will continue to shine on screens all over the world.

Meet the Master of Short Form Content: Olivier Philippe

Olivier Philippe (left) behind the scenes of his film “Carma”

Making it in the film and television industry takes more than just skill, it takes a unique perspective and the ability to be constantly coming up with new and innovative ideas. While becoming successful is one thing, being able to continuously innovate and expand upon one’s expertise is another. 

Award-winning Director Olivier Philippe has more than just a unique eye and a taste for elegance; he has mastered a multitude of skill sets on a level that is beyond impressive. His seasoned expertise has given him the foundation and capacity to develop a creative approach to directing and producing short form content—something he has become known for around the world. Working on directing short form content for TV franchises that are household names such as “Top Chef,” “The Great British Bake Off,” as well as his work with iconic French fashion house Dior, Olivier Philippe has established his reputation for capturing high-quality content on an international scale. 

“Olivier has all the necessary qualities to know how to express and show the ‘vision’ of the project. He draws, writes dialogues, sets up a mood board, describes a set, and as a result everything is super clear. It allows him to bring everyone into his world instantly,” explains Florence Hermieu, an executive producer from Elephant at Work, who’s worked with Olivier on countless projects for luxury brands including Dior.

Olivier Philippe began honing his creative eye at a young age. Growing up in a Parisian suburb Olivier was the only child in his large family to be attracted to the artistic world. Drawing, writing, and taking pictures soon became his favored way of expressing himself. On top of going to school, he began writing stories, producing comics, and inventing television programs in his room, often “borrowing” his father’s camera to produce his first films and photo novels.

Olivier Philippe staging his first shoot for G.I. Joe

At age 10, with an abundance of imagination Olivier was presented with an exciting opportunity when Hasbro offered to donate G.I. Joe figures to his school for an exhibition devoted to World War II. His teachers had already taken note of his extraordinary skill and passion for the arts, so they requested he create a staging for the exhibition. When Hasbro discovered his work, they invited him to contribute his work to be included in the advertisement G.I. Joe in their next catalog. 

An opportunity that encouraged him to continue pursuing his love of the arts, it was only a few years later that he would go on to direct his first film, which was for La Savonnerie Des Deux Monde, a soap company near Paris. 

Among Olivier Philippe’s credits is the 2017 film “Carma,” which he wrote, directed and produced. Following the character of Carma, a special forces agent turned private enforcer, who must handle her dangerous profession and motherhood head-on, Olivier created the film as a test concept, which he plans to expand into a series. “Carma,’ which was shot in Paris and Los Angeles, earned more than 20 awards at international festivals, including the Best Crime Film Awards at the Los Angeles Film Awards and New York Film Awards, and the Best Action Short at the London Independent Film Awards. 

“What interested me was to work on the hero’s flaws, her humanity, her fragility and also something directly linked to femininity,” explains Olivier. “I like films with strong female characters and I really wanted to write and direct a story about a real ‘warrior,’ but without forgetting the femininity of this kind of character. Often it is a facet that is forgotten in movies.” 

At the end of the day the tight filming schedule and shooting location being in a real hotel presented some challenges and constraints, but Olivier Philippe is known for his ability to view challenges from a different perspective than most people.

“My greatest strength is certainly having no border. Thinking differently or thinking ‘outside the box’ are expressions that suit me well. I think my ‘Swiss Army Knife’ side was a very useful quality for this project. I am lucky to know how to do several things quite well,” admits Olivier.

Olivier’s capacity to write, create storyboards, maneuver easily as a cameraman, and design the lighting, all while directing the actors were skills that proved collectively invaluable during the making of “Carma.”

“If all of the sudden I had an idea for a shot during the shoot, which was not foreseen in the scenario, I can immediately explain it with a drawing, or even take the camera myself to shoot the plan very quickly. It was essential on this project.”

Perhaps one of the best examples of Olivier’s versatility is “Le Blog de Bob,” which proved his ability to effectively experiment with genres, and ultimately earned the Best Project Award at the TV LAB France Television Awards in 2013. The project, which Olivier wrote, hosted and directed,  follows the adventures of Bob, a memorable journalist who enjoys his status and loves meeting celebrities.

“Imagine following the private life of a TV reporter who dreams of becoming Jimmy Fallon, but who has the demeanor of House and lives more in the atmosphere of Californication,” Olivier explains. “The idea of ​​Bob’s Blog is to be inside the head of an endearing journalist, very nice, but a little borderline. He always finds himself in somewhat complicated situations with the artists whom he will interview, and whom he knows very well personally. He tells his life as he could in a diary, or on his blog in a voiceover during the show.” 

Olivier Philippe enlisted some real life stars in the show who didn’t hesitate to exaggerate on situations, which made the story line incredibly unique and also blurred the line between reality and fiction. 

He says, “We started from real information related to the news and promotion of an artist like the release of a film, a series, a record, or a show. But everything else is written and staged. In short, the events and character of this TV show are inspired by true stories. The thing is… Nobody knows where reality ends and fiction begins. This concept was unique back then and still is.”

A vastly different, but equally impressive display of his creative abilities is evident in the series “24 Hours in…”, which he created for France’s TV5 MONDE back in 1998. The network wanted a special on-air event to help separate them from others, and Olivier was just the director to come up with something fresh and unique.  

Olivier said, “Have you ever watched a show combining a 24-hour ‘telethon’ with ‘60 Minutes’ and ‘The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon’ completely live from a foreign country? Well, you’ve got an answer.” 

In charge of directing and consulting, as well as leading the editorial content, such as the reports made in each city, as well as co-hosting the project alongside Karine Lemarchand, the magnitude of this project cannot be overstated. 

Still from “24 Hours in…” the Marrakesh edition

Culminating in 24 hours of live television taking place from a different major capital in each episode, Olivier Philippe brought the extremely ambitious operation to Marrakech, the Ivory Coast, Hanoï, Montréal, Paris and other major cities around the world. With “24 Hours in…” Olivier’s unique style of bending genres combined with his creative approach to content once again led to the creation of a hit program.

“Jamy’s World” hosted by Jamy Gourmaud, one of the most famous TV personalities in France, is another series where Olivier Philippe’s unique vision came in hot demand. A two-hour program that mixes discovery, adventure and international travel with scientific information, “Jamy’s World,” which began airing in 2014 on FRANCE 3, tackles themes such as space conquest, tornado hunters, volcanoes and animals.

Joining the “Jamy’s World” team in 2015, Olivier Philippe came on board to direct challenging sequences for the show, which required adaptability on any and all terrain and climatic conditions. He was chosen to join the team for his vast skill set, including his ability to wield a variety of cameras and machinery, all while ensuring high-quality images. 

“His ability to constantly question the way to produce is a real asset. Most directors have their habits, their teams, the material with which they are comfortable. Olivier changes everything with each new shoot! Not for fun, but because Jamy’s adventures change each time. You have to be inventive! And Olivier is,” says Emmanuel Pernoud, journalist and producer of “Jamy’s World.”  

“To work with Olivier is to work with a ‘Yes Man.’ If I say, ‘Olivier, do you think you can film in the middle of a thunderstorm and capture the impact of a lightning bolt on the top of a tree? And can you make it look very aesthetically pleasing and as thrilling as a Marvel movie? He will say ‘Of course,’ and he will make it happen.” 

When Carrefour, a global leader in food retail that operates more than 12,000 stores, was looking for a new way of communicating with the public in 2018 to show how deeply they cared about the quality of products in their stores, they naturally sought out Olivier. They wanted Olivier to imagine a way to tell this kind of story alongside famous chef Jean Imbert, the winner of “Top Chef.” 

As an answer to Carrefour’s mission, Olivier Philippe directed “1,2,3 Frais Partez!” a series of videos delivering unique seasonal recipes. Olivier proposed sending the famous chef directly into the field to meet the farmers and pick out the strawberries, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables himself. The series then cut to him outdoors on the farm, cooking one of his original recipes. It was an absolute success, with the videos being watched millions of times on the Carrefour Youtube page. 

On another occasion when Pernod-Ricard, a French brand specializing in the manufacturing and distribution of wine and spirits such as Absolut vodka, Jameson scotch and Mumm champagne, wanted a video to symbolize the spirit of brotherhood, comradeship and conviviality they turned to Olivier Philippe, who is regularly solicited by the company for their external and internal communication. 

For Pernod-Ricard, Olivier Philippe directed “Stand By Me,” a moving video featuring dozens of musicians, singers, and a rapper joining together to sing the iconic ‘Stand By Me.’ Shot in more than 30 countries in locations including distilleries, pubs, barns, out on the street, in front of monuments, in the mountains of Switzerland, on boats and on top of buildings, the video required months of preparation. 

Revealing Olivier Philippe’s skill for nailing his signature cinematic style whilst working on large scale productions under unique conditions,“Stand By Me,” which took home the Grand Prix Award for Best Film from the International Corporate Film Festival, became a cornerstone reference in the world of corporate communication.

At the end of the day, it is clear that Olivier Philippe doesn’t just direct. His ability to write, create storyboards, operate a camera, manage lighting, edit, think outside the box and work in intense and unusual circumstances is what gives him such a uniquely creative approach to short form content. From science documentaries, femme fatale films, corporate communication and hit TV series, he is constantly changing styles and experimenting with genres in a way that not only keeps his style fresh, but inspires the rest of the industry to continue innovating as well. 

Meet Clément Oberto: A Visionary Director with a metaphoric style

French Director Clément Oberto – Photography by Pierre Ae

Oberto is among the few creatives whose talent and creative sense have helped connect global brands and contemporary artists with millions around the world. His deep understanding of the luxury world and unique eye for beauty led his work to be featured in Rolling Stone, LA Times, Billboard, Forbes and TIME, as well as on CNN and ABC with “Good Morning America.” 

Known for his ability to channel the true essence of a label, he is the director behind successful campaigns for iconic fashion brands such as the Chanel Group, Chaumet, Givenchy and Lancôme, to name only a few.

Often trusted during the early stages of brand development, the award-winning director collaborated with the French label Morreale Paris in 2018 to create the commercials that would introduce their two signature fragrances to the USA. 

Known for their bespoke scents, the brand’s mesmerizing perfumes have been called “a fragrance for royals”. Founded by Jean-Pierre Morreale, a French descendant of European knights, the honored family affair required a sophisticated director with a creative eye to embody the company’s history. With this in mind, it was Oberto’s seasoned knowledge of luxury branding that helped transfer Jean-Pierre Morreale’s dream of crafting the most luxurious fragrances into a captivating reality.

Oberto conceptualized, directed and edited the campaigns, while also providing for casting – featuring award-winning actress Logan Polish and twin models Max and Connor Haddadin.

“It was quite fascinating for me to be able to use my skills in so many creative areas, and to have the trust of Jean-Pierre Morreale and his creative director Maxime Rancon to do so”, he says. “Jean-Pierre Morreale had strong values for his brand, and he was attached to seeing them represented in the films. Honor and respect with a noble sense of transmission were some of the core messages he wanted us to incorporate,” he adds. “He also had a certain taste for the past and for whimsical worlds. So these were the elements I used to create the stories behind the three films.”

Presented as the most expensive perfume ever – according to Forbes – the brand’s image rose to prominence with the help of Oberto’s commercials, which were released over the course of several years.

He adds, “It’s rare for a director to be able to collaborate with a brand during such an extensive period of time. I am honored and humbled that they trusted me to bring their dreams and desires to the screen.”

His ability to go above and beyond, whilst remaining humble has been praised by his peers and numerous industry leaders. “I was astonished by the precision of his vision and the strength of it. Clément’s treatment was a detailed patchwork of colors and materials, landscapes and characters. The stories were very beautiful, and exciting to bring to life,” says art director and stylist Nelly Zagury, who’s known for working with Grammy-nominated artists Demi Lovato and FKA Twigs. “I truly enjoyed the challenges Clément gave me. He managed to provide enough space to both follow his directions but also surprise him with my skills.”

Oberto’s artistic vision stems from a soft use of metaphors and symbolism, combined with a strong relation with sounds and voice over. In his work he has many times captured the feminine essence and the natural beauty that every woman exudes. 

In 2018 he directed the visually stunning “Entre Ciel et Mer” commercial for the French trendsetting swimwear brand ERES, which operates under the Chanel Group. Known for being simultaneously elegant and daring, the chic label has been producing gorgeous swimwear and lingerie garments for over 40 years.

Clément Oberto was approached by producer and leading global creative agent Jordane Crantelle to design a concept that would secure the funding of the commercial, and also highlight the grace and sexiness of the new exclusive collection. Embodying the brand’s identity Oberto developed the campaign’s theme around the faint parallels between a woman’s body and architectural design. The soft lighting and bright production design created the perfect environment for the commercial, which starred French actress, model and L’Oréal Professionnel ambassador Loan Chabanol. 

“I believe a lot of my style aims to be metaphorical. To me, this is the essence of poetry, and something I’m very attached to. With this video, I wanted to blur the line between anatomy and architecture,” he shares. “To never know if Loan was talking about the design of the house or the shape of her body.”

His commercial aligned perfectly with ERES’ branding, and captured the attention of many industry professionals. “He has an excellent sense of story telling and knows how to enhance the visual quality of a production. His esthetic is impeccable! And he is very easy going and sensitive to the actor. He knows what he wants and is good at communicating it,” says Loan Chabanol. “His natural sense of beauty makes him very unique and separates him from other directors.”

Among his phenomenal skills as a writer, producer and director, Oberto’s expertise of color grading, video editing and VFX gives him a wide range of actions to filter emotion into any project. In 2017 he teamed up with French DJ and record producer Gilles Bousquet aka. Mr. Flash to create the film “Cream” an audiovisual poem about loneliness, sensuality and the passage of time. 

In the film Oberto developed a unique contrast of bright reds and dark shadows to create a seductive overall tone, while Mr. Flash highlighted the depth of loneliness with a haunting soundtrack. 

Mr. Flash, who’s famous for his collaborations with Kanye West, Mos Def and Sebastian Tellier, is also one half of the band Faded Away for which Oberto created a music video back in 2018.

The visual masterpiece, which earned multiple awards, created a juxtaposition between pregnancy and a dark yet magical 80’s culture.

“Clément has a unique visual identity and brings a special artistic dimension to every project. His particular style made it clear for us that it was him we wanted to work with. Him and no one else,” says Mr. Flash. “Clément knows what he wants and pays a lot of attention to details. He works a lot in preparation to ensure the result will be close to the initial pitch. That’s a quality that I’ve very rarely witnessed when working with directors. He cares about every project and never just does something, for the sake of doing it.”

From his remarkable ability to represent million-dollar companies on a global scale, to directing edgy music videos and captivating visual stories, there’s no room to deny that Clément Oberto’s work is as beautiful as it is purposeful. His ability to direct an entire production from every angle reflects his natural skills as a leader, whose precise eye for details sets the tone for success, and we can’t wait to see what he delivers to the world next.  

Composing for Hollywood – Meet French Composer Guy-Roger Duvert whose Emotive Scores are Shaping the way Movies are Portrayed

It takes a highly driven individual with a seasoned skillset to be able to truly capture a film’s narrative with the music they create for a one or two minute trailer. Seen as the film’s first impression, movie trailers build anticipation; and when they’re brilliantly composed, they help bring viewers to the box-office. 

Master composer Guy-Roger Duvert, who hails from France, is the kind of musical genius who’s capable of summarizing the vibe of a film’s story in a matter of minutes in a way that leads the audience to develop an emotional bond long before the motion picture is released. 

French Composer Guy-Roger Duvert – Photography: Loic Nicolas

With accolades ranging from film and television to soundtracks and documentary films, his eclectic array of symphonic talents have seen him compose for countless movie trailers across Hollywood, as well as creating original zombified sounds for Europe’s most expensive reality television show, “District Z.”

For over two decades, Duvert has showcased his unique ability to infuse any piece of music with raw sensation through original compositions that have captured the hearts of millions from around the globe.

Since relocating to the states in 2012, he has established a solid foundation with Pusher Music, a bespoke composition, label and publishing service that he continues to work with today. 

He says, “The first time I came to Los Angeles in 2010 I met with Pusher Music. The contact was excellent, and they tested me on a trailer. I passed the test and started working for them.”

Duvert’s creative process differs with each project and he knows that the key to a successful composition begins with a strong framework.

“Usually, I want to have a structure pretty early on in the process– for instance with a bass, some drums or some string stacs, and after I’ll add up track by track in order to make the cue whole,” he says. 

“The challenge with trailer music is that you need to respect a very precise structure… but at the same time you need to feel original, a strong theme or original sounds will help in that matter.”

Through Pusher Music he composed the trailers for the Oscar-nominated films “Lone Survivor” starring Mark Wahlberg and Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” starring Charlize Theron, as well as Ryan Reynolds’ 2011 superhero flick “Green Lantern,” and the box-office smash “Transformers 3” directed by Michael Bay (“Armageddon,” “Pearl Harbor”). 

The “Lone Survivor” trailer, which garnered close to 20 million views on YouTube also landed him the exclusive opportunity to reorchestrate the Peter Gabriel remake of David Bowie’s song “Heroes,” which also included Duvert’s stunning self-composed classical track “Ultima Necat” (2013).

Official movie trailer for “Lone Survivor” composed by Guy-Roger Duvert

His proven musical prowess coupled with his ability to turn a project over in a matter of days are a few of the factors that have led to his remarkable success

“I’m flexible and I’m fast, which are two important qualities for this specific business, as the deadlines are very short, usually two or three days,” he says. “It has happened in the past that I was asked to provide something in a few hours only.”

Duvert’s melodic brilliance and his ability to deliver compositions that both meet the deadline and wow the audience have led him to garner widespread praise throughout the industry. 

“I believe Guy’s experience as a filmmaker strongly informs his work and allows him to more effectively create his music in a way that enhances storytelling, which is the most important part of our work,” says Netflix Music Creative and Pusher Music co-founder Rudy Chung.

“From the biggest Hollywood blockbusters to more intimate independent fare, Guy anticipates what our clients’ needs are, oftentimes before they are able to articulate it themselves.”

Through established reputation with Pusher Music, Duvert continues to create captivating film trailers for numerous award-winning filmmakers and international production companies.

He says, “I feel very lucky by the trust that Pusher has given me. Even when I had other projects on, I always tried to stay available for them, as it has always been a pleasure working with them.

What sets Duvert apart from the myriad of composers in today’s industry, is his creative perception of how a single piece of music can hold such a euphoric impact over the listener– and his ability to utilize that in support of the film. 

Acting as the musical pillar behind the scenes, he is known as the director’s right-hand-man when it comes to orchestrating original sounds to support the vision of the film. 

“The first part is to discuss with the director, in order to understand what he wants, what he feels, what he desires,” he says. 

“In some cases they can have a very strong idea of what they want, in some others, it’s very vague. Most of them don’t know music, so I need to translate their impressions into musical ideas.”

Along with his uncanny ability to summarise an entire film into a concise and captivating clip, his original score compositions have become easily recognizable within many high-profile international television programs.

In 2020 Duvert demonstrated his unparalleled musical range as the composer for the French show “District Z,” which is known for being Europe’s most expensive and ambitious game show.

Set in a Zombie themed world, the reality show follows six celebrities who confront the living dead and overcome gruesome challenges for a chance to win gold. The incredibly successful show garnered groundbreaking ratings with more than 5 million people viewing the program in France (26% of the country’s TV viewers!).

Duvert had the enormous task of composing the score for the popular show, which required him to utilize a diverse range of original sounds.

He says, “The amount of music that I had to compose was huge, as the music editing of these kinds of shows are very different from fiction, much more ultra cut.”

Applying his vast skill set to the project, he composed over 180 differing tracks that drew upon classic Hollywood zombie themes infused with a bit of whimsy in order to harmonize the tone of the show with the mainstream audience. 

“I used strong orchestral elements packed with electronic or industrial sounds. It needed to be massive and powerful. In a way, it was sometimes close to what I’m used to doing when I work on trailer music,” says Duvert. 

“I also had to compose a pack of stressful tracks, which was fun to do. Finally, I had to compose very different music, much more lighted, as the game show is still family oriented at the end.”

Due to its overwhelming demand “District Z,” which is currently in the process of being sold internationally by SONY, has announced its second season, a move that means Duvert will return as the lead musical composer on the series, which is set for production later this year. 

“Guy-Roger is not just a music composer. The fact that he himself directed and produced films allows him to understand much more our situation and needs. We won a lot of time by working with him,” says “District Z” producer Nicolas Fuchs. 

“Also, the quality of his music is clearly superior to most of what can be heard out there, particularly when it comes to strong themes and melodies, and epic music.”

“District Z” French reality show – composed by Guy-Roger Duvert

Guy-Roger Duvert’s knack for translating an idea into an original composition, which factors in every single emotion is a profound skill that only a handful can truly master, this, among many other key attributes, has defined him as a leading composer in today’s film and television industry.

AN ACTOR’S PROFILE: Hannie MAY ON ACTING WITH PURPOSE AND DEPTH

While Hannie May’s acting skills were put to the test in the film Breakdown, it’s clear that the passionate actress passed with flying colors. The recent project is but one of many hallmarks in a career that has been characterised by overcoming challenges, to eventually rise to the top. Indeed, May has cited how the industry is shaped by contradictions. On the one hand, the stereotypical casting in some instances provides challenges for actors with multi-cultural backgrounds to explore their possibilities to the fullest. On the other hand, it’s opening the world up to an onslaught of more diverse casts on high-profile projects – from Crazy Rich Asians to Marvel’s upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. It’s clear that the diversity of casting choices has stepped up to the next level, and May – as one of the industry’s breakouts – has most certainly stepped up too.

An actor with purpose: Hannie May shot at Vantablack Studio.

While much has been written however around increasing diversity of representation in film, the subject of this piece became clear when reviewing May’s work. The depth of talents rendered all socio-political commentary irrelevant, as the true significance of May as an actress comes to the forefront when watching any of her films. She simply makes it about the work, and makes it as deep and meaningful as possible.

In the case of Breakdown, it was up to May to not only lead a film, but also empathise with the character’s circumstances to the degree that any viewer would feel like the significance of mental health was given meaning and respect.

Ultimately, Breakdown is a display of a personal battle between self versus self, a real-life struggle that continues to go on today. In one particularly memorable moment, Hannie has to face a mirror and gradually let her inner self out while watching at her own reflection. The scene involves no dialogue, and is entirely fulled by the actress’ emotional expression.

Hannie May, playing the role of ‘Diana’ in the Cristal Alakoski film, Breakdown. 

The continuation of the story sees May’s character suffering from mental health issues, which triggers her to resent her own values and build up a significant fear from society. The internal crisis becomes an external one, providing a rich opportunity for May to showcase her significant emotional range as an actress. 

In the words of one industry professional, May is a tour de force in the film and a reason for why and how it resonates with any viewer.

All the more impressive is how Breakdown was created and directed by Finnish filmmaker Cristal Alakoski, herself known for a prolific career in Europe marked by memorable projects like music videos and commercials with Finnish band Aija Puurtinen & Brooklynin satu for their popular song Maantie (Highway), and another music video for John Westmoreland with his acclaimed hit, The Sparrow. 

Being the lead in a movie is one thing, but being cast as the only role of a film is an accomplishment worth celebrating. Even more impressive was the development of Breakdown and its unconventional filming process. While the role of Diana and her circumstances came with a lot of challenges, aside from being vulnerable to the audience, the project also did not have a set shooting script. 

May expected the role of ‘Diana’ to come with different challenges, but this knowledge didn’t make it any easier.

“It was one of the film projects I’ve worked on that requires the majority of acting from improvisation. So the process of filming this project with Alakoski was also a journey of experimenting with the idea of the film together,” said May. 

While the storylines Breakdown and May’s other recent project, Interrupted Girls couldn’t be more different, the emotional weight of each reflects the level of responsibility filmmakers place on May in casting her in such meaningful stories. 

Indeed Interrupted Girls, the release of which preceded Breakdown, was one such impressive project which garnered May significant attention. 

Directed by Christopher Cass, Interrupted Girls, focuses on two sisters who come from a broken home. May plays Elena, who is forced to side with her mum and go against her sister’s wishes. 

May mid-scene in Interrupted Girls, taken at a recent private exclusive screening of the film.

Award-winning director Cass is best known for his work on Trey Pops (2020), Scrubbers (2014), and The Bus Stop (2017). 

Christopher brought extensive experience from his career when directing May, and also boasted associations and screen experience with NBC. It was this epxienece that undoubtedly made May feel comfortable in front of the camera, expressing vulnerabilities about topics which – although incredibly specific, are also especially universal. 

Hannie’s exquisite performance in Interrupted Girls is best effectively distilled at the moment where her character chooses pride when it was “happiness” that she wanted. When it came to “Elena” and her self growth during the film, the remarkable emotional access of Hannie’s talents made especially clear in memorable moments where she was vulnerable and driven by her emotions in a significant way.

Divorce is a hard topic to discuss, many families everywhere have been torn because of failed marriages, and struggling relationships. 

May’s polished skills brought life to the character of Elena, further shedding light on the value of sisterhood  With a statement as powerful as the one that Cass’ shared, it required a lot of strength to push through discomfort, two things that Hannie May provided with excellence and perfection. 

In a scene where the two sisters fight, May shows the extreme of her character’s personality and emotions within the confines of no movement or dialogue. Her performance not only shows a strong internal life, but also reveals the contrast between the two sisters’ personalities and shows authentic real-life emotions which deeply connects with any viewer.

Ultimately, it’s these dual experiences on film that signify the mark May is leaving on her field as an actor, a storyteller, and more generally, a professional empathizer. 

“What’s the most interesting to me in acting is finding the complexity in every single character,” she beams with a smile.

“The story behind what’s on the page, what I enjoy digging into, is always more than what I have to show in front of the camera.”

Anna San Juan: Making Movie Music Magic

  We all know the power of one song in a movie. Whether it’s “As Time Goes By” from Casablanca, the Bee Gees “Staying Alive” from Saturday Night Fever, “Unchained Melody” in Ghost, Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”, or a host of others, one song can instantly recall the experience of seeing a certain film. Music Supervisor Anna San Juan has corralled the music for many films and far reaching advertising campaigns. Her work with Deviant Pictures on some of the company’s upcoming releases has once again required her to utilize her skill to obtain the ideal songs for moments that the filmmakers hope will similarly become synonymous with their productions. Part scientist and part chef but more rooted in filmmaking than anything, Ms. San Juan has become the magic ingredient of many a successful production. She relays her insight and expertise as it relates to these upcoming offerings from Deviant Films.

  Writer/director Michael Keating’s mind bending thriller Offseason premiers at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival this March. Starring such notable cast members as Richard Brake of Twentieth Century Fox’s Kingsman: The Secret Service and Melora Walters (of Oscar Winning Film Dead Poet’s Society, and Oscar Nominated Films Magnolia and Boogie Nights), the film is already peaking major interest prior to its premier. Little is known about the storyline except that it follows a woman whose journey to an island town is sparked by a mysteriously letter. One aspect of the film which Keating was adamant about was the musical complement to one of the film’s most poignant scenes. To obtain the specific song which would perfectly complement the scene and achieve this vision, Keating brought Anna San Juan aboard the team as the music supervisor. As previously noted, one specific song can achieve a moment that is historical and enduring for a film. While being guarded about the actual song prior to the film’s release, Anna relates, “The film had such a poignant scene for a thriller, with a song by an iconic 60’s rock group held very close to our director’s heart. It’s very central to the plot and definitely a movie moment to watch out for when it premieres. Countless calls and email negotiations took place, both within the team and with the label. Other options were considered, including replacements, but from the outset it really was priority #1 that there was no backing down in negotiations. Honestly it was touch and go towards the last moment. The song really was, musically-speaking, a breakthrough highlight for the film, set the tone, and also creatively very, very important it stays on for the final release.”

  Deviant Films was so overwhelmingly pleased with the outcome of Offseason that they immediately placed San Juan onto its upcoming feature film No Running. A Sci-Fi Thriller from Director Delmar Washington (known for his work on the Peabody Award Winning and Image Award Nominated Def Poetry as well as the Image Award Nominated BET Awards 2011), the film’s diverse and extraordinary cast includes -Stars Skylan Brooks (of Globe Winning TV series Empire ), Taryn Manning (SAG Award Winning Actress for her role on Orange is the New Black), Rutina Wesley (Image Award and SAG Award Nominated Actress), Bill Engvall  (American Comedy Award Winner and Grammy Nominee), and others. As the film is set in the future, Anna confirms that the music will be comprised of that which reigns supreme on today’s music charts.

  A recent inductee as a member of the prestigious Guild of Music Supervisors, Ms. San Juan will not only be contributing to the film industry with her work but will also be voting in this year’s annual GMS Awards. Inspired from a young age by a combined love for film, writing, and music, Anna professes, “The ability to make a moment with a song is something I always chase for in every project. Getting to see it air on TV, theaters, and now more popularly streaming services always gives me that boost to keep going and to keep being part of meaningful art.”

(Music Supervisor Anna San Juan)

Playing the Long-Game with Grant Lyndon

When we were asked to choose one of our 2020 interview guests for a ‘New Year’ check in, we didn’t hesitate in selecting Grant Lyndon. 

Catching up after the start of the new year with award-winning Australian actor, Grant Lyndon. Our readers loved our profile of Grant in last year’s edition. Photographed by Leeroy Tehira.

When the renowned New York International Film Festival announced its most recent winners in December 2020, Grant Lyndon was “humbled but proud” to be among the list and acknowledged as Best Actor for his work in the acclaimed film, Ruby. 

For anyone else in the industry however, it’s no surprise, as Lyndon has been turning in acclaimed performances for years. While under the radar for the early stages of his career, during which he appeared in ABC’s Rogue Nation alongside Gold-Logie winner John Wood, Lyndon continues to attract national and (clearly) international attention for his work and media appearances, recently generating rave reviews in Frontline Views and Entertainment LA.

The New York Film Awards were held in a COVID-safe public screening event at Producer’s Club, in the heart of Manhattan, the urban core of the New York metropolitan area. 

The award is an important moment for Lyndon, who has had an arduous career as an actor in film and television, as well as in the theater and voice-over spaces in Australia. The New York International Film Awards have also offered his colleagues a way to record his hard work in the industry, but also to thank him for his contribution as one of Australia’s most reliable talents. 

In this way, Grant himself has referred to his career as “a long haul.” 

Grant Lyndon has not only stood out as an exceptional actor in any area in which he’s worked, but has also offered expertise and encouragement to motivate emerging actors through teaching, and to build empathetic connections with his characters to convey to each audience a real and profound experience that is far from mere imitation. He understands this field well and from his self-knowledge and his professional career he knows how to distinguish clearly from a neat and well-developed job from any other. 

Hence, his extraordinary skills have been recognized in productions such as Home and Away, Old School and A Place to Call Home, where in each of them he has been able to show us completely different characters, but equally impressive.

In Home and Away, Grant played Professor Calabra. There, audiences identified him with a resistance that denotes tints and shades as intense as delicate from each other. His performance gave the audience a serious, quite formal character, something abrupt that transmitted emotions against him. Such a clean performance that could make anyone disconcerted and angry just to see how well he played a disdainful and badly humored role. Afterwards, as if nothing has happened, Lyndon changes his position and shows himself to be kind, attentive and respectful. 

Without effort or tension, Grant part of Home and Away’s huge bump in ratings, making a memorable impression through the turn in the story that his character produced, unleashing new dramas and new challenges. Ultimately, Grant allowed a depth of authority with reason to underpin the storyline involving Marie Claire covergirl, Pia Miller’s character, to work through her challenges. 

Grant Lyndon playing Professor Calabra in the much-loved and written about, ‘Home and Away.’

For juxtaposition, a viewer can find Lyndon’s portrayal in the acclaimed series ‘Old School’, which attracted some of Australia’s highest-live-to-air ratings with more than 664,000 viewers tuning in to Grant’s performance. An eight-part series screened on ABC1, created by Paul Oliver and Steve Wright, and directed by Gregor Jordan, that follows the adventures of the retired criminal Lennie Cahill and the retired cop Ted McCabe, played by legendary actors Bryan Brown and Sam Neil (Jurassic Park). 

Grant opposite screen legend Bryan Brown in ‘Old School.’

Marcel was crucial to the plot in Old  School, as he underpinned and greatly affected the dynamic of the long running lost love battle between Barb (Linda Cropper) and Lennie (Bryan Brown). He was the new love of Barb that set Lennie off into a jealousy spiral. The tone set by Grant on set was clearly irreplaceable, when watching the footage. He held the line between Barb & Lennie with good weight. This gave a great and realistic feel to the underworld aspect of the show. 

Last but not least, we should also mention his appearance in A Place to Call Home as Jay Kenneth Katzan III in the Do Not Go Gently episode. Ironically, his role seemed to be kind like no one else, arousing the anger and envy of others. There, Grant showed a side of himself in which his body expression said more than a thousand words. At first, without a script, he had the duty to make known an imposing, elegant and charismatic position of an epochal character. Only through his gestures, his movements and his smile he conquered the heart of the audience. Later, as if this had not been enough, he intervened with a dialogue as friendly as he had shown himself. 

Showcase’s ‘A Place to Call Home’ is still beloved by audiences around the world.

The abovementioned roles are a distinct distillation and manifestation of Lyndon’s wide-ranging career path. From the early days of his career, Grant has been able to recognize his strengths and to express it, whether it was with a neutral character or with another hateful one. So much so, that even without a word or a thousand of them, he always made himself stand out. 

Not surprisingly, he has more artistic facets than just his performance in front of the cameras and in theaters. Grant is known as Australia’s ‘voice over king’, and in fact, his record in this area is as competitive as his long stage career. Thus, he has developed magnificent voice works where he is able to vary between American, British and Australian accents. 

Therefore, he has his own podcasts hosted on major platforms such as Spotify and Apple: Busy Dads, described as a podcast packed full of great information, stories, and resources for dads on the go, and The Defiance Code, a health and motivation podcast exploring remarkable mature minds and how they stay fit, happy, and vital. Productions that stand out for relying on listeners and speakers as an assertive means of communication where Grant’s background as a voice artist plays a key role in delivering a powerful message to the audience. 

On the other hand, his work is perfectly complemented by the use of his voiceover for narratives such as House Rules, Aussie Lobster Men and the Australian National Museum. Grant reliably connects with the viewers and listeners of each project, respectively, generating an undeniable added value. This also led him to be part of the animations  Mia & Me and Motown Magic, animated series with a much sought-after impact on children’s content in Australia’s continually evolving film and TV industry. 

For all these reasons, it is a pleasure for the entertainment industry to have the certainty that Grant will continue to develop new roles in the future. Building on his successes,  his next step involves productions in the US. These projects, involving award-winning filmmakers from all over the world, include a hilarious role as ‘Utag the Barbarian’ in ‘The Role World’ from Dlugos ventures, and in White Pixel’s highly-anticipated feature film project, ‘The Other Mike.’

“I’m super excited because I’m in a place where I can draw on all of my experience from both my life AND my career. A great part of my inspiration also comes from my family. My four kids keep me very real & greatly inspired with a healthy curiosity for the arts. The innocense and command of “Why not?” from a child always brings me into thinking  – “Yeah, why the hell not!”.

Adding more excitement to our conversation, Grant continues. 

“My 2021 is going to be filled with breaking down even more barriers, and keeping a youthful thirst for work alive. In a lot of ways I’m at a time in my career when I feel this really is just the beginning. I’m very grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had to date, but am even more excited for what’s to come!”

Johnny Carr: An Actor’s PROFILE

While it might be expected that acclaimed and award-winning actor Johnny Carr would be used to the attention usually given to actors, his self-effacing and humble nature would suggest otherwise. Deservedly nominated for the NYC Web Fest Award as Best Actor for his performance in the series ‘The Greatest Love of All’, the Newcastle native brings a salt of the earth quality not only to his performances but also to any interaction, reminding our editorial team that Australian actors are, indeed, almost always likeable. 

Carr, as shot by the legendary photographer, Sally Flegg.
Carr in the acclaimed series, ‘The Greatest Love of All.’

Carr, who’s featured in a raft of universally loved Australian series, plays and films, was buoyed by the success of the production which was also nominated for Most Outstanding Writing for a Web Series and won Best International Web Series. The latter prize was something that to this day is attributed to the starring performance of Carr, who in large part carries the heart of the series.  

In the show, Carr effortlessly makes his own sense of comedy through sarcasm, connecting with the audience in the process in surprising ways. The value he places on the production runs through the screen, making clear that Carr is an actor who exceeds the expectations of the character he plays in unique and exceptional ways. 

Most memorably, Carr showed how he has some of the best comedic chops in Australia, during a sequence when he is drugged at a house party by his housemates as a sort of emotional kaleidoscope, but he performs it with such precision that it’s a disturbing climax that veers towards the painful (for the viewer, not just the actor). 

Title card for ‘The Greatest Love of All.’

‘The Greatest Love of All’ was also selected for the Miami Web Fest, recognized for being a new kind of film festival for a new kind of filmmaker. The critical acclaim the series attracted is not unsurprising given the success Johnny went on to find in other productions like his memorable role in Channel Ten’s ‘Five Bedrooms’ or Channel Seven’s ‘The Secret Daughter,’ but is fascinating when considering ‘The Greatest Love of All’ was not originally conceived as the high-profile series it became, but a director’s humorous attempt to share a story about the aggressive level of hospitality that is present in Australian domestic life. And how their laid-back nature can often contain macabre undertones.

Carr showed great range by jumping into Channel Seven’s popular drama, ‘The Secret Daughter,’ after his turn in ‘The Greatest Love of All.’

Even more fascinating? Carr’s versatility – later proved with award winning stage roles – that was foreshadowed in his proven capacity to adapt his emotional truth to the most dramatic or emotional scenes and situations, moving the viewer in an empathic  way despite the series being a comedy. 

As legendary theatre critic Suzy Wrong wrote in a review for theatre production The Real Thing, “In the role of Henry is the sensational Johnny Carr, bringing a startling truthfulness to dialogue that could very easily be turned, under the wrong hands, highfalutin and empty. The actor’s presence and timing have us captivated, as we find ourselves enraptured, deeply invested in the many meaningful discussions that provide the foundation for an admittedly bourgeois narrative.” 

Carr on stage during his acclaimed performance of theatre production, ‘The Real Thing.’ Photo by Lisa Tomasetti.

Other industry professionals share the same sentiment, explaining how Johnny has the power of making the viewer believe that nothing happens despite the scene clearly showing the world spilling around him, representing an incredible handling of his performance in front of a camera and his innate talents. 

Were it not enough that Johnny is being featured in our pages today, he’s already attracted the attention of other journalists for many years in Australia who have followed his tremendous work and artistic edge for over a decade. 

In an interview with ‘Arts Review Australia’ Carr was asked who inspires him and why. He responded “people who aren’t afraid to look foolish. The ice-breakers. They allow others to follow suit.” This simple but thought-provoking answer seems to echo his character choices. He appropriates it for the stories and brings it to life with ridiculous, funny, humorous and animated scenes. 

Johnny’s other work reveals the soul of an artist. One that stands out is film ‘Happy Memories’, a production directed by John Tummino.

Here a huge duality appears in contrast to the comic performance mentioned above. Carr plays one of the leading roles, Michael. Together with the actress Laura Wheelwright, who appeared in the Oscar-nominated Animal Kingdom, Carr brings deep and affecting insight to a story about grief and loss in a farming community.

Carr in the revered film project, ‘Happy Memories.’

Johnny’s performance in ‘Happy Memories’, especially in contrast to ‘The Greatest Love of All’, proves his dexterity. His mysterious choices in sequences and moments lead any viewer to wait for glimpses of insight. Carr’s brilliance lies in his capacity to conceal his emotions but not block the audience from connecting with the story – true to the notion that humans and great actors try not to feel, but the average actor is concerned with feeling and how they are doing themselves. 

Carr showed a different side and aspect of his range as an actor in ‘Happy Memories.’

It is such a demanding task to eemit far-reaching sensations and leave a memorable impression through a cryptic character, that Johnny described this challenge in the following terms. 

“[I]t was a balance to play a character whose reality is in question throughout the piece. How to rapidly create that depth of family history whilst keeping the lightness of touch required to serve his buoyant energy,” Carr explains.

Carr, who is attached to a number of exciting projects shaping up for 2021, is excited to continue in showing the world his talents – not for self-promotional reasons, but because of a genuine passion for sharing insights.

“[I’m excited about] stories that search for meaning in the most mundane, absurd circumstances. We do this day to day. Otherwise what’s the point of it all? It’s simpler to find it in places of grandiosity. But what about the minutiae? It’s just as rich if we squint and consider.”