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Q & A with Canadian Actress Eliana Jones!

StephanieBeely
Actress Eliana Jones shot by Stephanie Beely

 

Over the last five years Canadian actress Eliana Jones has skyrocketed to the top of the entertainment industry internationally. If you watch television at all then chances are you’ve seen Jones working her magic on screen in one role or another.

In recent years she’s played multiple recurring roles on the hit television shows Hemlock Grove, Saving Hope, The Stanley Dynamic, Nikita and others. She also recently wrapped production on the first season of the new series Backstage, which is slated to begin airing on DHX Television’s Family Channel in 2016.

Jones’ collective performances reveal her as an exceedingly dynamic actress who is capable of portraying almost any character with ease and believability. Aside from her far-reaching talent, Jones’ ascetic appeal has assisted in making her the sought after actress that she is today; but, she remains humble just the same.

For Eliana Jones acting is about exploring other perspectives and pushing herself to see life through the eyes of her characters; and although at times, this can be a challenging experience, she admits, “I find that the most wonderful thing about being an actor is the array of different people and perspectives you get to play around with… each show/film is completely different and that just helps me grow, not only as an actress, but as a human being.”

To find out more about this captivating star make sure to check out our interview below. You can also find out more about Eliana Jones’ work on screen through her IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4107867/

And you can follow her on instagram at: @elianajones and twitter at: @elianajonnes

 

 

Where are you from? 

EJ: I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada.

When and how did you get into acting?

EJ: When I was about 8 years old, I was a competitive gymnast and that is what I spent almost all of my time doing, besides school. I went to gymnastic classes everyday for about five to six hours, then I would come home, do my homework, go to bed and restart the routine. I started getting notified by my doctor at the age of 11 that it might be time to throw in the towel because of the injuries I was receiving and the amount that the sport was stunting my growth. I finally agreed to quit gymnastics when I was 12 years old and had a back injury; I had bruised tissue around my spinal cord. It almost seemed as though it was meant to be though because during the next week or so, my mother and I were driving in the car and we heard an advertisement on the radio for some special acting, singing, modeling etc., school. I thought I might give it a go as a hobby type thing since I had nothing else to do as I was saying goodbye to gymnastics.

After that audition I became part of that school, and here I am now; 18 years old, making a career out of something I find so much passion and happiness in. I went to Los Angeles for auditions and networking and slowly but surely found myself absolutely falling in love with the craft. I never found that it was about the fame or money for me. I started realizing that I loved this craft when I was getting lost while watching movies and so inspired after watching a well-played, well-written film or television show. I wanted to be as talented and well respected as the people I spent almost all my time watching, observing and admiring. I got into acting when I was 12 years old and now I cannot imagine myself stepping out of this industry. I’ve found my calling!

Can you tell us about some of the film projects you’ve done?

EJ: I have done mainly television work however I was beyond excited to find out that I had booked the lead role in the children’s film Step Dogs. I can’t even begin to explain the feeling that ran through my veins when I received the call. In this comedic, fast paced film, I got the pleasure of playing Lacey; the obnoxious, self absorbed, conceited niece of a film and television star. We filmed in Saskatchewan for just under two months, and it was a fantastic experience.

Step Dogs is about a pampered girl, Lacey who is living in Hollywood with her Aunt Sabrina, and a down to earth boy, Josh who lives in Saskatchewan with his father. These two stories never should have crossed, but they did. Lacey is forced to move to Saskatchewan with Aunt Sabrina because she fell in love with Josh’s father. Lacey is one of the leads of this film and the audience gets to see her go from the claws out, angry teenager that could not be bothered, to a humbled girl that people actually enjoy spending time with. She was resourceful however she was hiding behind the fact that her parents’ passed away when she was younger as a license to be spiteful and hateful to every one around her. Throughout the film she is thrown into situations that bring her back to real life and show her how to connect with normal, genuine people. There was lots of comedic relief on Lacey’s behalf because of the idiotic and stereotypical things she would say. She was the classic stereotype of a Hollywood girl. It was really interesting feeling her perspective on the world change in a positive way throughout the film.

Playing Lacey was extremely fun because I found that she was completely the opposite of the person I am! It was super fun to pipe my voice up to a high pitched, annoying tone and aggravate every person as soon as I walked in the room. It felt amazingly horrible to play Lacey. It was amazing to play her because she was so big and fun and sharp-tongued however it was also horrible because I found myself apologizing after every take for sounding so condescending and rude! I eventually got over it and just basked in the fun of playing her. I also really enjoyed that Lacey had a story that unfolded throughout the film. She was very misunderstood and hid behind the facade of being a mean girl to block everyone out of her life, since her parents passed away. By the end of the film, Lacey begins to mesh more with her new family and starts getting comfortable in the cold, but cozy Saskatchewan.

I found myself being challenged because this was my first lead role, in a different town, with new people. I’m a very outgoing person but this experience had me feeling very intimidated in the beginning! Other than that, I enjoyed the challenge of memorizing chunks of lines each day and adapting to new people. Change is good. Another challenge I faced was the struggle of having about six dogs and animals on set everyday and trying to stay focused. Super fluffy, super cute.

A hilarious and memorable moment from this film/set is: In the very last scene of the film, Lacey brings a “cat” in the house from the backyard. Everyone in the room except for Lacey knew that it was a skunk. SO. My memorable moment. We used a real skunk for this scene and for the most part he was super cute and cuddly however he got scared very, very easily. When we were shooting for the movie poster we put Mister Skunk in with me and he got so frustrated and nervous that he actually pooped all over my bare arm. All I could hear on the walkie-talkies was “Eliana just got pooed on. Is she okay?” Let me tell you, it’s a moment that will last a lifetime!

How about television projects?

EJ: I played Alexa Sworn on:Eli Roth’s Netflix original series Hemlock Grove. Alexa is a shrewd vixen, with is a twin sister. Alexa and Alyssa completely tormented everyone around them and made sure that their presence was known. My character was the slight comic relief in this horrific, nail biting series. I got the opportunity to work with well-known artists such as Famke Janssen, Dougray Scott, Bill Skarsgard, Landon Liboiron, and many other talented actors. This Netflix original is currently in its third and final season.

Although a fun character to play, Alexa was a real pill to swallow. Alexa Sworn’s character was the best friend of lead character, Christina, played by Freya Tingley. The twin sisters were aggressors and peer pressuring friends; which made my character the antagonist to Christina’s storyline. Alexa and Alyssa made fun of everyone and we became the comedic relief of this horrific series. Some of the scenes involved mocking students in the hallways, or calling our best friend a prude because she wouldn’t make out with her crush at the time. Alexa and her partner in crime, Alyssa would spend hours making fun of people on their online pages, but at the end of the day, they were just regular teenage girls.

On the CBC series Saving Hope I got the rare opportunity to act alongside Wendy Crewson as her daughter, Molly. On the show, I start off as a regular teenage girl living with her single mother; but, I eventually drift into three more episodes where my character overdoses on drugs and is sent to rehab. My story was vital to the show because it created mystery in Dana’s (Wendy Crewson) life however also created a more deep-rooted storyline for Dana and her struggles, fears and joys.

Playing this character was especially fun because of the type of girl she was– high on opiates, drunk at a house party. Molly is a real mess. It was super fun playing her because I had lots of research to do! Pretending to be in this state of mind and body for a character really takes a lot out of you, however it was interesting to see myself transform when I watched the episode. I really found that the research I did came through in that episode. One of my favorite characters and episodes I have done! A fun little memory from this episode was: when I had to overdose, I was forced to lay in fake vomit. The fake vomit was a mixture of lentil soup and yogurt. I hate both of those things! Just from the smell, I almost made the vomit real! Everyone really enjoyed watching me suffer in agony from the stench hahaha.

When I booked the role of Rachel Skarsten’s younger version of herself on The CW series Lost Girl I was extremely excited for the platinum blonde hair, the opportunity to meet these talented individuals, and the learning experience I would receive from being on set with these phenomenal, well rounded people. My character in the couple episodes I starred on was “Teen Tamsin.” Rachel’s character gets sucked into a time warp and becomes young again, which is where I come in to play. It was critical for the audience to know what background Tamsin came from and how she dealt with situations as a youngling, which made my character important to the show.

Nikita on The CW was my very first show and I feel blessed to have been able to work on it. Maggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsy Fonseca; It was completely unbelievable. I worked as Lyndsy’s younger self. My character had a Russian accent, and I often spoke Russian throughout the show, which is something that I had to spend hours learning. My role was important to the storyline of Alexandra Udinov, and became a reoccurring character throughout the seasons that the show aired, which was a true honor and huge learning experience. I felt like a real adult when I found myself surrounded by all these established and talented actors. I loved playing the younger version of Lyndsy Fonseca because it challenged me to meet her level of acting by being her younger version. I really was excited and happy to become a part of the Nikita family. Something I will hold very dear to my heart for a very long time. I learned so much on that show!

YTV’s The Stanley Dynamic is a new show that I have been working extremely hard on. My character, Summer Dewhurst, is the competitive, sporty and fun-loving girl, who lives next door to the lead character of the show, Larry Stanley. Throughout season one and mid way through season two I have worked with acclaimed actors such as Michael Gross! This show was and is a huge learning experience for me as well because this was my very first multi-cam style show. We used four cameras to shoot and everything is extreme high energy and super funny. I loved playing Summer because she is similar to the person I actually am. Super competitive but means well all the time and really values friends and family. Summer and Larry constantly get into friendly battles over who is better and it makes for some great TV comedy gold!

Being on a show with more kids my age is also super fun because I feel more relaxed and at ease. I get to be silly and work with such phenomenal people. It truly is a blessing. A funny and memorable moment from this set is: during season one, Madison, the young girl who plays Lori on the show, absolutely loved pranking people. Long story short, I walked into my dressing room filled with: toilet paper, post it notes and laughter from all the pranking!

The Family Channel’s Backstage is a new show that follows a bunch of extremely talented and interesting artists such as dancers, singers, painters, actors, djs etc. I got the pleasure of working as Mel, the student teacher of a dance class. The show is airing most likely mid January.

They are all very different, what made you choose to participate in these projects?

EJ: I find that the most wonderful thing about being an actor is the array of different people and perspectives you get to play around with. I have never turned down an opportunity to be in a television or film because each show/film is completely different and that just helps me grow, not only as an actress, but as a human being.

Adapting to a new character, new cast and crew is truly an extraordinary path that I have chosen and gotten the blessing to be a part of. In the past I was working on two different shows at the same time, (The Stanley Dynamic and Saving Hope) and the characters I play on the shows are just so completely different; one being a drug addict that has spun out of control and one being a competitive teenager that loves basketball and skateboarding. Jumping from set to set really just accentuates the incredible notion that I can be whoever I want to be within the walls of this industry. I have the ability to be an extremely sad, angry teenager and then switch to being a happy, carefree, 15 year old.

You get approached all the time to work on projects with people, what makes you pick one role over another?

EJ: Thankfully I haven’t actually had to choose between roles because everything I book somehow works out to be filming/rehearsing on different days. I have gotten the chance to participate in every single role and job that has come my way. I feel truly honored and blessed to be able to say that. I do not actually know what I would do if I had to choose between two separate roles. It would be so difficult, the “what if” would always linger through my mind.

Can you list some of the theatre projects you’ve participated in up until now, and the roles you’ve played?

EJ: I went to a performing arts high school, which gave me the opportunity to play in numerous theatre projects. I acted in “Chicago,” “Almost, Maine,” “Zapped” and a few others. “Chicago” was my favorite one because I got to be in cellblock tango and perform number seventeen – the spread eagle. In “Almost, Maine” I got to play alongside my friend, being two best friends that turn out to be gay and then find out that we are in love with each other. As I mentioned earlier I just really enjoy getting to play different people with different mind frames.

What has been your favorite project so far and why?

EJ: This is such a tough question! I’ve absolutely loved every single show I got the pleasure of working on however I found Hemlock Grove and Saving Hope to be my favorites. Here’s why: While working on Hemlock Grove, I got to be a part of one of my favorite genres of film/television; horror/thriller. I got the chance to be splattered with blood and let out some scary loud screams from time to time. I also got to work with Eli Roth, which was extremely cool and humbling because of how much I admire his work ethic and work in general!

Saving Hope is also a favorite of mine because I got to tap into my “drunk mess” side. I had to overdose on opiates, which was something I found interesting to research. It was difficult to get into that frame of mind and body language but once I got there it was crazy awesome. With those two being my favorites, I also have Nikita, which was extremely emotional and allowed me to show a side of myself as my character that had not been shown to an audience before. The Stanley Dynamic and Backstage are shows that I got to be on set with a bunch of people my age or younger and just sit around and be super silly and super funny with! Lost Girl was also such a fulfilling experience because of the big wig, the frantic, air headed girl I got to play around with. I’ve gotten the chance to play some very intricate and phenomenal characters so it really is hard to narrow it down to one favorite.

What as been your most challenging role?

EJ: My role as Molly Kinney in Saving Hope was the most challenging for me. Molly is the chief of plastic surgery’s daughter; and within the three episodes I played in, it has been a different experience each time; episode one was being a hot headed, self indulgent teenager, episode two included stealing drugs from the hospital while I was interning, episode three involved me being a drunk mess, a teenager stoned on opiates, an emotional and angry comatose teenager that overdosed and didn’t think of the consequences after those events. I’ve been in rehab for a while and my fourth episode is currently in the works.

Saving Hope was challenging for me as an actress because it pushed me to do more research on my character and the details of the script (overdosing, slowing down my breath to feel dizzy and nauseous, getting the perfect amount of day dreaming to look disconnected from my consciousness). I also found that working alongside Wendy Crewson and Erica Durance for the majority of this episode helped me learn more about being a true actor. While doing my scenes with Wendy it was mind blowing how committed and in the moment she became. Wendy (and Erica) being so unbelievably present in the scenes really helped me become more present and aware of my surroundings, rather than getting caught up in the lines and actions behind the intentions. When the actors around you are giving 110 percent, it makes you bump up your game and meet them at the same level! Challenging, however, it was a fantastic learning experience that I still bring with me to every audition and set.

What is your favorite genre to work in as an actor?

EJ: I really enjoy working all genres because I love learning about new and different types of acting however I have really come to enjoy comedy. I love the little tidbits of funny jokes that are written in for my characters! Working on television shows that are comedic are just extreme high energy and super fun to be a part of.

What separates you from other actors? What are your strongest qualities?

EJ: Honestly, there are so many outstanding actors and actresses and I am often just honored to work on the same set as some of them. I think the only thing that separates me from other actors is that I am a one of a kind version. There are not any clones of me (to my knowledge J )… So I like to believe that I bring a fresh face with a unique and bubbly personality to the table. I try really hard not to be nervous in auditions because the people sitting at the table in front of me are humans just as myself and they’re rooting for me just as much as I’m rooting for myself. I think that my strongest quality is that I am personable and approachable and I am most definitely not afraid to be myself, whether it be on set, in the audition room, or in my day to day life. All actors are extremely talented and I don’t find myself more talented than any person but I do believe that I work extremely hard and I push myself to be at the places I want to be.

What about commercials?

EJ: One of my very first jobs was a KFC commercial, and let me tell you, it included a lot of finger licking good chicken and to die for fries. I was in junk food heaven to say the least!

What projects do you have coming up?

EJ: I am currently working on Saving Hope again which is a huge honor, and I am working on season two of The Stanley Dynamic!

What do you hope to achieve in your career as an actor?

EJ: I really just hope to achieve greatness. I want to be a notable and extremely talented actress and I wont stop working until the day I die. I want to be a good influence on those who are just entering this industry. I hope to build a solid body of work as an actress and I would really like to make myself proud of my achievements by being the best that I can be, and learning as much as I can; and hopefully ill have an Oscar sitting on my shelf one day. I really look up to actresses like Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock because of their astounding performances in everything they do. It is also inspiring seeing young girls like Abigail Breslin and Chloe Grace Moretz become so successful because that’s what I am striving towards! Its extremely admirable and I try to work towards that every day!

What kind of training have you done?

EJ: I have done so much training it is actually hard to remember ahah! I have done a lot of “new students” classes, in front of the camera classes, what to expect in an audition classes, how to be what the casting directors want, the basic fundamentals of acting. I am now enrolled in master and advanced classes with David Rotenberg, which I am finding very eye opening and a fantastic learning experience. I learn something new from each coach I go to. My brain is just filled with acting tips! I still don’t think I have enough training yet because there is always room for improvement, but I truly am loving every minute of it.

Why is acting your passion and chosen profession?

EJ: Although some may find it an odd and rarely successful career path, I find that acting and performing brings me true and genuine happiness. It blows my mind every day that I am doing what I love for a living. I love the freedom of expression that acting gives me. I love that I can play so many different people and characters. I really find it a blessing to have found my passion at such a young age. I love learning more about myself everyday through my craft and I also love that it gives me the opportunity to meet new and exciting people. I love that one character can be a drunken mess, but the next one can be an innocent little girl that has lost her way. I absolutely love that sometimes the projects I work on involve travelling. Being an actress has combined everything I love into one perfect little craft. I can’t really explain completely why acting is my passion, but I can assure you that it fills my heart and soul with joy and that’s more than enough for me.

 

 

 

A Perfect Storm: Alexia Sabogal Seizes Entertainment Industry

Argentine actress Alexia Sabogal is captivating the world of entertainment, as she continues to star in theater, television shows, and hit music videos.

Alexia also developed her expertise with acting in the music industry when she appeared in the music video The Night is Still Young with female rap artist Nicki Minaj. This music video has also reached an extraordinary amount of views on YouTube, totaling at more than 43 million in first three months of its release.

Along with her work in theatre and music videos, Alexia has also made an impression on television, turning heads as Kalu in the hit series, Aliados. Since 2013, the television series has reached worldwide acclaim, and has been broadcast to more than 18 countries on the Fox Network.

In just two seasons, Aliados has been nominated for many awards, and won the Martin Fierro Award for “Best Teen TV Show” and the Kids Choice Argentina Award for “Best National TV Show”.

Q & A With Actress Sarah Wessendorf from Eitan Sarid’s New Film “CPH”

Sarah Wessendorf CPH Film
Actress Sarah Wessendorf shot by Callum Leo Hughes

Though different actors have a plethora of diverse personal reasons for choosing to take on a particular role or another, many will agree that there are some stories that just need to be told, ones that they just couldn’t pass up. Amongst other factors, that is one of the driving forces that drew actress Sarah Wessendorf, who’s originally from Germany, to join the Israeli film production of “CPH” directed by Eitan Sarid earlier this year. Wessendorf, who’s been acting since she was a child, recognized that “CPH” carried the potential to be one of those rare stories that could have a real impact on audiences. And she was right.

“CPH,” which was chosen as an Official Selection of the Jerusalem Film Festival where it was nominated for the prestigious Best Picture Award, depicts the postwar trauma a soldier often face years after they’ve left the battlefield. The film follows a former Israeli soldier who, along with his wife Pia played by Wessendorf, relocate to Copenhagen in hopes of starting a new life and leaving the past behind. If only it were that easy.

Shedding light on a topic that many soldiers across the globe continue to face, “CPH” is brought to life in a way that allows audience members to understand the very real traumas soldiers and their families face after the battle is over. For Wessendorf, this was a hugely important subject to dive into, and her performance as Pia in the film is simply flawless. She is caring and supportive of her husband through his trials and tribulations, yet she never fails to reveal her character’s vulnerabilities and the overwhelming difficulties that come along with being his wife and main support system.

Wessendorf says, “At some point you can not avoid facing your past. That being, said some places and people give us the strength we need to work through those painful experiences.”

An eye-opening film about trauma, healing and love, “CPH” is not to be missed; and lucky enough for us we got the chance to interview the film’s lead actress, Sarah Wessendorf.

Hey Sarah, thanks for joining us! Can you tell us a little bit about what happens in the film “CPH”? 

SW: “CPH” is about an ex Israeli soldier who moves to Copenhagen to escape from his traumatic past in Israel. He moves there with his wife Pia, who I play in the film. When he gets to Copenhagen he gets a surprise visit from his army friend who breaks into the apartment when no one is there. When these old friends finally see each other they are faced with all the trauma and fears that my husband was trying to avoid all this time. In a way, his friend breaking into the apartment symbolizes the way that trauma will find a way to break through over and over again if we are not willing to take the time to sit down with it and to look it in the eye in order to accept and transform it.

Sounds like a very heavy story– what was it that  made you want to be involved with this project?

SW: I have a deep admiration for Eitan Sarid as a director so when I saw that he was casting for the movie I immediately contacted him, and it worked out beautifully. I never shy away from a difficult or complex topic in movies. I think that those are the most important movies to be made. The only importance is to portray these topics in a respectful and sensitive way.

What is it about Eitan Sarid’s work that you admire? What was it like working with Eitan on set?

SW: Eitan Sarid is a wonderful director who gives the actors the space and freedom to bring their own ideas, knowledge and experience to the set. He has a clear idea of what he wants, but he is also open and interested to hear his actor’s own sense of the scene and the character, and then let it all come together. Working with Eitan feels safe, there is a lot of mutual respect. We became very good friends through the process of working together. I deeply respect his vision and his ability to tell stories and I’m very much looking forward to working with him in the future.

Can you tell us about your character in the film?

SW: I play Pia, the wife of the lead. She is from Denmark and so that aspect also signals a new energy that is not connected to the heaviness her husband experienced in Israel. She is next to him to help him build a new life and create a new identity. But when her husband is faced with his past trauma she too has to come to terms with the fact that she didn’t fully know her husband and that in order to love him fully she has to understand his pain and trauma.

What was it like working with Doron Amit who plays your husband in the film? How was the chemistry on set?

SW: Working with Doron was a real treat! He is a very talented actor and together we created this safe space where we both felt free to improvise and trust each other, we motivated each other to go even deeper into our characters’ feelings, fears and ultimately the bond the characters have.

 What does Pia bring to the story? And how did you feel about playing the character?

SW: Pia’s role is a vital one, she adds an element of love and support to the film. She is the one who accepts and loves her husband no matter what. She is determined to have unending and unconditional love for her husband, and this is an active choice she reinforces over and over again, which gives her husband the strength and trust to, for the first time, look into his pain and try to heal. 

I think that this is something that we as humans need in order to be able to move past certain traumas, to know somehow that there is a deep well of love underneath. A love that will catch you when you fall. No matter how we think we have it, I think it is a must to have that in order to open up and become vulnerable. This well if you will, is Pia in the film for her husband. 

When you were creating your character and really becoming Pia, were there any experiences from your personal life that you looked to, or any other places that you turned to for inspiration?

SW: Definitely, I very much rely on a spiritual power to give me the strength and courage to look into childhood experiences which might not have been super and that I wanted to heal.  I feel a very strong unconditional love from a higher wisdom, call it God if you will. I was very much comparing this to the unfailing love and patience that Pia has for her husband. Also I saw someone who deeply admires her husband for his strength and I’ve definitely felt this in previous relationships too, this immense respect for the life path that someone had been on. 

Can you tell us about any challenges or memorable experiences from this project?

SW: Shooting in Israel was definitely very interesting for me. I could tell that the story was also a very personal one for the director and the other cast members since in Israel it is mandatory to go to the army. There of course you are prey to many traumatic experiences, which you will not be able to shield yourself from. Then it becomes the ultimate goal to somehow heal these experiences from the army which proves to not always be that easy. Especially when there are no therapists offered and therapy can be very expensive. It is up to the individuals to learn to cope as best as they can with those dark memories and then somehow learn to live with them.

What are your personal feelings on the fact that is so difficult for the soldiers to get approved for free therapy once they leave the army?

SW: That is of course unfortunate since a country greatly benefits from having mentally healthy citizens. It is a very complex topic though, one that could take hours to discuss. And I don’t think it is fair to a country to judge it without deeply diving into its history, its values and its hopes.

Was there any point during the filming where you felt like the story was too heavy to handle?

SW: No never. I was very much convinced that this was an important story to tell. And as a German I was very happy to be a part of it. I don’t shy away from heavy situations or topics. So this for me was rather a film that I felt honored to be a part of!

What was your favorite part of being involved in this production?

SW: There is something very special to be working as a German in an otherwise all Israeli cast. I feel very fortunate that I got the opportunity to work with such talented actors such as Yona Rozenkier and Doron Amit. Also I completely trusted Eitan Sarid’s vision. I felt very lucky to be part of a meaningful Israeli story in a film that also received such amazing reviews and feedback. But my favorite part was hands down the people. For some reason I always felt very connected to Israel and being surrounded by so much Israeli talent was a complete blast for me.

What do you hope audiences take away from this film?

SW: My biggest wish would be that people realize that it is not always the way it seems when we see a fellow human being. From the outside everything might look wonderful, carefree and easy. But we can never really know where this person has come from, what scars he or she carries, what traumas they’ve experienced. I would love for the audience to understand that we need to foster a society of compassion and empathy, and a deeper love for each other. We all run through life with our own experiences, some are joyful and some painful. No one can run away from that. My wish is that we all learn to treat each other with more care and more love.

How do you feel about the film being chosen as an Official Selection of the Jerusalem International Film Festival and the Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival?

SW: It was such thrilling news! I am so proud of all of us, because I know how hard we worked to make the movie what it is! I was not surprised that it has gotten the recognition that it did though. With all that talent around, it was easy to foresee that this movie would be an important one.

 

Bar America

  When was the last time you were genuinely and pleasantly surprised by a film? My guess is that it has been years, if not longer. Welcome to Bar America and thank you to Rockbridge Productions for bringing this fresh tale to the cinema. Cinema is almost to presumptuous a word for this story which revels in its earthiness. Bar America is full of people you know, would like to know, or maybe even the person whom you yourself are, but don’t make any presumptions that the story is therefore intuitive. Similarly, don’t let the title of this movie imply that there is a “Cheers” factor to it.

  While so many films feel the need to show us who the characters are as quickly as possible and then move on to a telegraphed plot line, Bar America benevolently mirrors real life in the way that the true nature of people is slowly revealed to us as we experience life beside them. In this film, the result is multidimensional characters whom we are invested in and love in spite of their shortcomings. That investment is led by the duo at the center of the story, Hank (Dustin Ingram of Paranormal Activity 3) and Charlie (Chris Candy, son of the legendary John Candy and a stellar actor in his own right) whose local fame appears to elevating to a national one. Bar America’s writer/director Matthew Jacobs (known for his work on Disney’s Oscar Nominated Animated Film The Emperor’s New Groove) is a perfectly duplicitous producer named Harry who tempts these two friends with hitting “The Big Time.”

  This film takes its title from the viral video show which Hank and Charlie have created. The show is the modern iteration of what it means to hang out in a bar, meeting friends and strangers to simply spend time and get to know each other. When Emily (Michele Boyd) shows up as a new bartender, she catches the eye of Charlie and has a different but equally profound effect on Hank…one with disastrous results later in the story. Morgan Walsh, as Harry’s assistant Danielle, rounds out the central cast of the film.

  Bar America takes place in San Francisco, a fitting location because there is a vital message to this film illuminating what the definition of success is to different people. The creation of new ideas and the juxtaposition of “have” and “have-nots” in the Bay Area is pronounced. Produced by Mike Kaney II and Ward Sorrick for Rockbridge Productions, it’s hard to imagine that this film would have achieved such an authentic tone with a big Hollywood Studio behind it. This is congruent with the integrity of Bar America the internet show within the film as Charlie and Hank are adamant that there is something genuine and exceptional that comes from keeping some things small. As much as America loves a huge success story, it prefers an underdog success; the kind of struggle which confirms that dedication and perseverance mean more than big budgets. The direction, cinematography, and production design are certainly top notch but they don’t aspire to be Hollywood…and this film is better for it. The uniqueness of Bar America is essential to what makes it so enjoyable and led to Bar America’s reception of the Audience Award from the Napa Film Festival and status as an Official Selection of the Catalina Film Festival.