Tag Archives: Actress

Anja Ellam captivates audiences with her writing of new film “The Woods”

There is one thing about her that shines above all else: she is an entertainer. She is extremely multi-talented, and uses her writing and acting skills to captivate audiences around the world, whether through film, YouTube, or various social media platforms. There is truly no limit to what she can accomplish.

Ellam has tens of thousands of followers on her Instagram, with a strong impact on Twitter as well, and as an influencer has helped many companies and shows gain a following and audience. Working with AwesomenessTV, both her writing and influencing skills have boosted the show to have millions of views. With the extremely popular app, the ArsenicTV Snapchat story gets over 500,000 views daily, and as a host and influencer for the show, Ellam is a large part of that. However, it was with the film The Woods where Ellam’s impressive natural writing talents became truly evident to worldwide audiences.

“Relationships between siblings can be complicated, especially if they’re teenagers. I wanted to show why the older sister in the film was so angry, because this is a common conflict between sisters,” said Ellam.

The Woods tells the story of two sisters at a party, who get lost in the woods while leaving. The film is about two sisters who get lost in the woods while leaving a party. They quickly realize they’re lost and will have to work together to get out, and push through the fighting and angst between them.

“I wanted to do something simple: two characters, one location,” Ellam described. “The sisters’ relationship is based on my sisters and my relationship.”

Ellam wrote the film entirely by herself. Originally, she wanted to experiment with her writing and work on a project that her friends could be a part of. She wrote the script while trying to think of the simplest way to make a short, but the story developed the more she wrote.

“The story is all dialogue driven which is a fun challenge for me as a writer. I also ended up directing it, which is something I’m not familiar with but my team believed in me, and I did know the script and the vision, so I hope the viewers can see it too,” she said.

Viewers definitely see the vision. The film has gone on to be shown at several prestigious international film festivals.  After premiering at the UK Monthly Film Festival, Ellam won the new filmmakers award at the Mediterranean Film Festival (MedFF). It also was just selected as a semi-finalist for the Miami Epic Trailer Festival.

“It’s a really amazing feeling that the film has been so well-received. It’s one thing to write something that people like ,but actually making it and still having people want to watch it is really cool. I know that sounds weird to say, but we did this on a very small budget with only one shooting day. It’s nerve racking because if something doesn’t work it’s almost like you can’t redo it. I’m glad people think we were able to do a good job. It’s had to get your vision across so I’m glad people saw what we were going for,” Ellam said.

All those that worked with Ellam on the film immediately saw that she was an extraordinary writer, and all of the success that the film has received could never have been possible without the vision and talent she brought with her. Maxwell Peters, a Los Angeles based Screenwriter, Director, and Producer, produced The Woods. He says her commitment to the film made it the success that is it.

“Over the course of the past two years I’ve worked with Anja on multiple projects. Most recently I produced her short film The Woods, which she wrote and directed. Anja is easy to work with and had a firm grasp on what she was doing. She worked with her actors with ease and was able to get wonderful performances out of all of them, aside from that she was able to work with crew in an effective and efficient manner,” said Peters.

Even without all the accolades and awards, the experience of writing The Woods was unforgettable for Ellam. She knew what she wanted to do from the beginning, and using her creativity, she was able to make something unforgettable for audiences as well. The film even has a twist ending, which was just plain fun for Ellam to write.

“I liked writing the ending the best. I didn’t know how I was going to end it at first, but I knew I wanted it to be unexpected. I had a lot of fun experimenting with different ending options,” said Ellam. “I took this ending honestly because I think happy endings are boring. I considered having them not make it out but I thought leaving it a little more open ended was a bit more surprising. I love twist endings.”

Be sure to check out what happens to the two sisters by seeing Ellam’s fabulous work in The Woods.

From Humble Beginnings to International Fame– Actress and Model Ashiko Westguard

Ashiko Westguard
Canadian model & actress Ashiko Westguard shot by Erwin Loewen

 

Ashiko Westguard has a lot to be proud of; her hard work as a model has led to international success and recognition, she has made a successful transition into the film industry and she has an inspiring family who encourage and support her.

Westguard’s family remain at the pinnacle of her life and even of her achievements, with the highly sought after model and actress crediting them for her passion, confidence and imaginativeness, arguably the defining traits, aside from her enticingly exotic and raw beauty, of her success in two of today’s most competitive industries. Westguard however, only speaks of the ease with which she wins over the many world-renowned photographers and clientele she has a repertoire with. She has a unique way of cultivating emotional connection and positivity through images, no doubt her enchanting character is a lasting effect of her lakeside upbringing back home in Innisfil, a quaint town in Ontario, Canada.

But don’t let her rural upbringing in mislead you, with a maternal role model like hers, it’s not surprising that Westguard has an awe-inspiring career which has continued to take her across continents modeling in Japan, Hong Kong, Spain, France, South Korea, Denmark and Slovenia. She attributes her strength, determination and courage, which have all helped her earn coveted jobs, like her most recent ad campaign for Dita von Teese Lingerie shot by Albert Sanchez, to her mother, a political refugee who arrived in Canada alone as a teenager from Czechoslovakia.

It takes a certain wild energy and emotional embodiment to command the world’s attention on the cover of a magazine. Westguard is no stranger to these high-paced shoots as she has graced numerous covers including Women Magazine, Femina Magazine, Women’s Fitness, Essentials Magazine, Sweat Equity and Verve Magazine.

Growing up with a father who is a champion hydroplane racer, this wild energy is in no short supply. Westguard called upon her wild women qualities for her recent shoot in Slovenia, where she took on the role of the ultimate wild woman, a Bond Girl, alongside Robbie Williams as James Bond, for the internationally recognizable brand, Café Royal.

While she may share some of the credit for her break into the modeling industry at age 18, with her younger sister who also signed with acclaimed agency Next Models, only her own hard work can account for Westguard’s introduction to the acting scene. Westguard’s modeling career has put her unique capacity for emotional intelligence and confidence on display in a long list of international ad campaigns, and it’s those same traits that have helped Westguard make a name for herself as an actress.

Acting became one of Westguard’s earliest childhood dreams since she first took the stage in the Stephen Lee Cock Theatre’s production of “On The Tip of My Tongue” back home in Canada; and her perseverance and dedication to turning it into a reality has definitely paid off. Training with professionals like David Rotenberg helped Westguard make the challenging transition from modeling into acting, and over the last few years she has successfully evolved from the portrayal of emotions externally to the embodiment of a character’s essence on screen.

Some of the roles she has become best known for over the years are from her portrayal of the riveting and exceedingly complex Eve in the sci-fi feature “A Dark Matter” and Beverly in the Leo Award winning series “Painkiller Jane” where she acted alongside multi-award winning actress Kristanna Loken from the films “Beyond the Game” and “Fighting for Freedom.” She has also guest starred on the series “Kaya,” as well as “The Red Booth.”

 

Ashiko Westguard
Ashiko at home in Innisfil with her dogs Zandaya (left) and Miley (right)

 

In the midst of a bustling schedule and international success,Westguard still finds time to return home to Innisfil, where she enjoys a simpler life, breathing in nature and being with family. With a family full of inspiring role models and a community that knows her more as their neighbour than the glamorous girl from the covers of magazine, it is no wonder that her childhood home is where she choose to return to for grounding and inspiration. Having this base has allowed Westguard to transcend the typical barriers of the fashion and film industry with grace, landing her on the side of blissful success, facilitated by the confidence, passion and self-worth instilled in her by her supportive family.