Tag Archives: Award Winning Films

Cinematographer Omer Lotan recalls creating award-winning drama ‘Remains’

When Omer Lotan first began pursuing filmmaking, he thought he wanted to be a director. At the time, he was new to the industry and was not aware of the many positions, so directing seemed like the obvious choice. However, he soon discovered a love for cinematography, and he knew that was his destiny.

“I learned to understand that from all the positions on a film set, this would be the most interesting, challenging and rewarding one, since the look and feel of the film is truly in your hands. I found out how much I could learn about original cinematic ideas from working together with a range of talented directors,” he said.

Lotan was right to trust his instincts and pursue cinematography, and he is now at the forefront of his industry in his home country of Israel. Having worked on many acclaimed projects, from the films Thunder From the Sea and Last Round, to the hit music videos “Time to Wake Up” by Hadag Nahash and “Childhood and the Big City” by Ivri Lider, to the viral commercial for Viber, Lotan has shown audiences everywhere that he is a master at his craft on whatever the platform.

One of Lotan’s first taste of international success came back in 2013 with the film Remains, which tells the story of Itamar and Thomas, who share a bed, walls, an apartment and electricity bills. Thomas commands, manages, and criticizes; Itamar is silent and listens. In the face of the couple’s confinement and the abysmal feeling of suffocation, and in the face of the power struggle that permeates their daily conversations, Itamar is forced to take action – an action that briefly allows him to feel things through the body, through the concrete world. The story was influenced by Writer and Director Yotam Ben-David’s personal experiences.

“Power, domination and oppression are in the heart of the story, and I found it very interesting to understand how to translate these topics into a cinematic language. I think the film has elements, which everyone can relate to and be moved by, and since I personally know Yotam well, it was even more interesting for me to take part in his very personal and emotional film,” said Lotan.

When working on Remains, Lotan knew he had to come up with creative ideas and search for original ways to bring his and the director’s vision to life. The director wanted the intimate film to have an epic ambience, which is why they decided to have a lot of wide shots, as well as many camera movements. The camera work and the lighting, with the long wide shots, the dark and contrasted interiors, as well as the quiet urban night shots, enhance the main emotions of the film. Lotan used the architecture of the urban areas and the apartment’s spaces to tell the story and describe the character’s feelings, feelings that create a tension and sometimes might even be uncomfortable to watch.

“Both Yotam and I share similar aesthetic visions, and our previous collaborations led to a deep creative dialogue throughout our work together. He is very clever and original with his cinematic approach, which always encourages me to bring creative ideas to the table as well,” said Lotan.

Remains had an impressive festival run. It was screened and competed at various film festivals in Israel and around the world and won the Best Short Film Award at the Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival, as well as Best Short Narrative Film Prize at the Jerusalem Film Festival, none of which could have been achieved without Lotan behind the camera.

“After screenings of the film I received a lot of positive feedback about the visual impression left by my work. It is always exciting to be complimented for your work, especially when these kind words are coming from a variety of audiences from around the world,” said Lotan.

So, what’s next for Lotan? The upcoming documentary Homeboys is set to premiere next year. He travelled to Uganda to film the musical-documentary that follows Samuel and Isaac, South-Sudanese teenagers deported from Israel who dream about being musicians. Be sure to keep an eye out for it.

 

By John Michaels

Behind the Scenes Greatness with Bohan Gong

Kylin article

Bohan Gong. You probably don’t know the name of this successful film producer but then again, you don’t know the name of many film producers unless you’re in the film industry or a cinephile. It’s a better bet that you know the marquee names of the films he has enabled. Tom Cruise, William Hurt, Pierce Brosnan; these names might be more familiar and they’re all part of the productions that Bohan has contributed his talents towards. Gong is a key player in facilitating the collaboration of Hollywood and China’s film industries. With Kylin Pictures and other companies, Bohan has worked on multiple Oscar-winning films and delivered the kind of compelling stories that are captivating regardless of one’s geography and culture. This newly burgeoning association has already proven itself beneficial to both the professionals who create these films and the public who hungers for them. Still, expanding this territory requires navigating the laws of both countries and the operating structure of the insdustries themselves; something which Bohan has continually proven himself adept at managing.

The Mel Gibson directed Hacksaw Ridge is the story of Medal of Honor winner Desmond T. Doss, a conscientious objector who served at the Battle of Okinawa and saved many lives. The recipient of two Oscars, the story depicted bravery in union with opposition to taking the lives of others. As co-executive producer, Bohan researched and created a marketing strategy for this film that appealed to the Chinese market and resulted in its status as a massive success. From obtaining the legal obligations for displaying the film to analyzing the data concerning its release, Bohan was the springboard to this film’s embrace by Chinese audiences. Gong repeated this for the Tom Cruise film American Made, based on the true story of an American pilot who smuggled for government agencies. As lead producer for The King’s Daughter (starring Pierce Brosnan and Oscar-winner William Hurt) Bohan negotiated distribution with companies including Disney, Fox, Universal, SONY, Open Road, and others. Additionally, he oversaw the 2D to 3D transfer work that took place between LA and China based companies. His varied responsibilities, which often require a comfortability in both languages and decorum of America and China, confirm that this producer’s talent is matched by his ability to work easily in different environments with professionals of vastly different backgrounds.

As the world becomes an increasingly smaller community, international collaboration and films about the mixing of cultures become more popular. 2016’s Birth of the Dragon tells the story of the iconic Bruce Lee. Recipient of the Golden Angel Award at the Chinese American Film Festival, this feature film amassed a loyal audience in both the US and abroad. As producer on Birth of the Dragon, Bohan returned to a familiar role of facilitating interactions between filmmakers and foreign markets. His most recent work with Kylin Pictures is producing on the upcoming feature film Shanghai Sojourners. Notably, Bohan helped secure the acclaimed Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook, My Sister’s keeper) to direct. The film is a love story of a man and woman from different cultures set in World War II Shanghai

Streaming films have become much more than a safety net for the industry, it has provided a viable means of supporting filmmakers. Hits in the Chinese market like Los Angeles Kidnapping (seen on China’s iQiyi) and Hot-Blooded Youth (available on the Youku streaming platform) have received millions of views. Both of these films share the common point of having Bohan Gong as the producer. It’s essential for the viability of the global film industry that the most accomplished of professionals like Bohan take part in a variety of productions. Delivering exceptional stories on any platform gains the trust of audiences and ensures that a great story is always that…simply a great story. Across international borders and across different platforms, great talent produces loyal audiences.

 

Producer Yayun Hsu talks new film ‘Next Door’

Taiwan’s Yayun Hsu sees her role as a producer similar to that of a magician; she is often required to make things appear out of nowhere, with the end goal of enthralling audiences and providing a temporary escape, and a source of entertainment. With each new project, this revered producer analyzes what she can do with the resources she has, looking to see how to make things happen no matter the budget. Whenever she wraps a project, she reviews what steps were taken to ensure everything is the best it can possibly be. Despite constant success, she always feels a slight sense of surprise and delight by such good results, giving her the positive power to make more movies and tell better stories, and audiences around the world are thankful for such a commitment to her craft.

Throughout her esteemed career, Hsu has worked on many films and various projects that exemplify what she is capable of. This year alone, Hsu worked on a series of successful endeavors. She created a video for the Westfield Century City Mall Grand Opening Event, made a national commercial for the Whisk Wiper, produced the inaugural American Influencer Awards, and worked on several successful films.

“I give myself the rule of ‘practice what you preach.’ For example, if I expect my actors and crew to be to set on time, then I need to be there even earlier; if I hold a vendor responsible for delivering a quality product, then I need to make sure I’m delivering the same quality both in my word and work ethic. I find this strategy pays off for everyone involved,” said Hsu.

This strategy has indeed paid off for Hsu’s most recent film, Next Door. It is a horror film that conveys the message to not always trust what you see. Next Door follows Lily and Earl, who have just moved into a new home and become Morgan’s neighbor. Lily makes Morgan think her father, Earl, is an abuser, but it turns out Lily has dark secrets of her own The script is what caught Hsu’s interest in the film, and she knows the importance of a good story.

“A good storyline and a plot twist will always make a film memorable. Leaving a lasting impression on an audience is of course the ultimate goal of a filmmaker. I prefer thought provoking storylines and I hope that this one inspires change after viewing,” she said. 

The film had its premiere at the Asian World Film Festival at the beginning of November, and impressed both audiences and critics. It is expected to make its way to several other film festivals over the next year.

“It was amazing to see all the footage we made come together into a real film. It feels nice that it is now doing well at festivals. Receiving recognition from the professional filmmakers is a compliment especially from people I admire. We worked hard on this project for almost half a year, so to see it on the big screen was definitely is a pleasure,” said Hsu.

In her role as Unit Production Manager on Next Door, Hsu was involved in casting, location scouting, applying for permits, arranging catering, controlling the budget, and working on set to solve unexpected problems. In one instance, the Director of Photography realized he forgot to rent camera batteries for the shoot. Hsu knew exactly who to contact at the last minute to help the shoot continue without delay. Additionally, before Hsu joined to the team, the director already had completed casting, but he couldn’t get the right actors for the performance. Hsu then was invited to take part in the casting process, and she posted casting information on different platforms, which led to the right actors being cast for the film. There is no doubt that the film would not have achieved what it already has without her extraordinary talents.

“Yayun is very well-rounded and able to help out the team in numerous different roles. As a producer, Yayun has a strong leadership ability to solve problems. As a partner, she is dependable and reliable when I need support. As a worker, she always does her best to find the best solutions in a time efficient manner. These are all very desirable qualities in a team member. Yayun gives every working partner a relaxed and happy environment, while also supervising the filming process. We have worked on many projects, and I foresee Yayun’s support as an advantage for any team she is on in the film industry,” said Mimi Masters, Producer of Next Door and CEO of IMC Production.

Masters specifically sought out Hsu to work as her partner, as she was working on several films at the same time, and she knew she needed someone like Hsu as an on-set producer to make Next Door a success. Hsu’s commitment to every project she works on was invaluable to not only Masters, but everyone she worked with.

Despite working on many acclaimed films, Hsu had never before produced a horror film. She says it was an adventure everyday on set. They planned many things ahead, but the plans could never keep up with the changes, which is where her ability to work under pressure and problem solve proved vital. After a long 12 hour a day on set, the cast and crew’s energy began to dip, and a happy crew is of course a first priority for Hsu. It was 7 p.m., and she knew the next break wasn’t until 1 a.m. Most of the restaurants were closed by then, and she thought, “How am I going to feed my crew?” Putting her strategic thinking abilities to use, Hsu contacted the catering person she worked with earlier that day, and they made a special hot and fresh meal at midnight and delivered it to set.

“A story about food may not seem too exciting, but I learned that as a producer, the key to any projects success begins with resourcefulness and a full stomach,” she said.

Be sure to check out Next Door and keep an eye out for Producer Yayun Hsu’s future work. It is evident with everything she does that she is a “magician” when it comes to filmmaking.

Michael Whalley steals the heart of ‘Jean’ and audiences in new film

There is a camaraderie that comes from playing sports. Everyone has the same goal, they wear the uniform, they experience the same victories and failures as a team. For New Zealand’s Michael Whalley, he experiences that same solidarity from acting. He represents the team while still shining on his own. He works with that team spirit to achieve the best result possible. He loves to play, and considers acting a serious game, as each new project brings a new match and a different opponent. To use such a metaphor shows how much Whalley appreciates the intricacies of his craft, and this understanding translates to raw talent for this celebrated actor.

With an esteemed resume and unparalleled versatility, Whalley is an internationally in-demand actor. While working on many acclaimed films, such as the 2015 award-winning feature Psychoanalysis, he has shown the world what he is capable of. His work on Slow West, alongside Michael Fassbender and Ben Mendelsohn, received praise from audiences and critics, and this trend occurs with almost everything Whalley takes on.

“To think I could be paid for doing the very thing I wanted to do every day was such an incredible thought, so I sought to make that my reality,” said Whalley.

Earlier this year, one of Whalley’s newest films was once again a large success.  The actor played the leading character of Beverly Shepherd in the historical romance Jean. The film tells the story of Jean Batten, New Zealand’s greatest pilot, heroine, celebrity, and mystery. Beverly Shepherd is the romantic lead in the film. Beverly is a man with a strong moral backbone, a sense of fun for life and a determination to challenge for the things he wants in both affairs of his career and heart. Despite being the only son of wealthy Sydneysiders, he lacks the pretension of wealth. He can read people and knows instinctively if they are being untruthful. Independent and modern, he is attracted by Jean’s adventurous spirit and mystery. His greatest struggle is attempting to protect Jean from decisions that would put her in danger, only to have to accept that she isn’t someone who wants or needs protection. He knows he has to play a long game of love to not scare her away. Jean had lovers in her life, but Beverly is the one man who truly captures her heart. In the story, audiences see how headstrong Jean is with her life and career, and when Beverley sweeps in and shows her glimpses of recreation, fun and love, he innocently threatens her focus, creating Jean’s ultimate emotional conflict. Therefore, the filmmakers required a seasoned actor to play such a pivotal role in such an important story, and Whalley was the obvious choice, with the talent and passion to go with it.

JEAN 1 with Kate Eliot pic Ginnie Loane
Michael Whalley and Kate Elliot in Jean, photo by Ginnie Loane

“Especially in the past few years, it has been of growing importance to remind ourselves of the power women had in shaping the world. Too many films are one-sided in their portrayal of male heroes, and Jean was a heroine that defied the constraints of a male-driven world. The film, the first about Jean Batten, is a piece of entertainment, education and inspiration for New Zealand and the world to see. I had known of Jean Batten in the past, but this was a chance to see behind the tabloids and popular public image into the life of such a mysterious firebrand,” Whalley described.

After premiering earlier this year, the film has seen vast critical success. At the Film Awards New York 2017, Jean won an unprecedented nine awards, including “Best TV Movie” and “Best Drama Special”. These are immensely prestigious honors, as New York Festivals recognize only the best content from over 50 countries around the world. In addition, the film was successful commercially, airing on TVNZ, which reaches over 2 million people and has recently been acquired by distributor Banijay International for the ROW market. Such success could not have been possible without Whalley’s portrayal of Beverly.

“He brought a charm, wit and strength to the character of Beverly Shepherd that we could only imagine.” said the Producer and Writer of the film, Donna Malane.

Taking part in this period piece was enticing for Whalley, and as an actor he is always looking for new challenges and experiences to refine his talent. This story is set in the thirties, and Whalley researched the decade extensively to ensure he would completely transport audiences. Parts of this process were more fun than others, such as driving around an open top 1930s Model A Ford, and getting to know about the planes they were working with, which by a happy coincidence, were taught to Whalley by an old friend of his grandfather, Dennis. However, some parts of the preparation process were more grueling. Whalley had to take on the language, manner of speech and the classic nature of the period drama, and work to make that all ring true for his mouth, body and mind to create a genuine portrayal. To do this, Whalley infused his character with the parts of himself that fit best, which he tries to do for every role he can. This helps create an authenticity that captivates audiences, and what the actor is so well-known for.

Jean Ginnie Loane 2
Michael Whalley in Jean, photo by Ginnie Loane

Whalley says getting into the mindset of the time was made easier by the incredible costumes designed by Kirsty Cameron. As soon as he put on his gear, he felt clean, classic and upright. “Putting on my costume became a very important part of my morning ritual to get into Beverly’s shoes, literally,” he joked.

Improvisation also was a great tool for the actor when preparing for filming. During rehearsals with his co-star, Kate Elliott, they would have a series of improvisations around the scripted dialogue, which he says was a sure-fire way to find out what they knew or didn’t know about their characters and the world of the film. These exercises were helpful as the role of Beverly was a refreshing change for the actor, who often plays “punks and public nuisances”, and the character of Beverly is very dependable and ethical.

The actor also uses music frequently to prepare for roles. For Jean, Whalley made a playlist specific to what Beverly may have been listening to at the time, mixed with songs from Postmodern Jukebox to “get in the zone to play”, once again, similar to an athlete.

Undoubtedly, Jean is a must-see, and Whalley is enchanting in it, as he is so well-known to be. His passion for the story is evident, and his passion for what he does is even more so.

“This was a chance to act in an historical and important story in both New Zealand and International history. The true love of Jean Batten, at one point the world’s most famous and respected women. To play a character who had the charm, wit, intelligence and pilot skills to win the heart of the Lady that kept it locked away,” concluded Whalley.

 

Top photo by Ginnie Loane

“LIKE COTTON TWINES” EDITOR TING YU CRAFTS AN EMOTIONAL AND AWARD-WINNING TALE

Like Cotton Twines is one of those rare films that breaks your heart and inspires you at the same time. In the form of cinema, it achieves what no other informative vehicle can; it gives the audience an inside view of a very real situation in another culture. A story such as this touches not only the viewer but also those who create it. Ting Yu served as the editor for this production, carefully crafting its presentation with writer/director/producer Leila Djansi. This film’s content directly speaks to both women as it relates to the plight of women in this particular part of the world. Ting also notes that there are facets of the story which resonate with her due to her country of origin. As a lauded and respected member of the film industry, Yu proved her value to the film and the emotional impact it has made. Now available for streaming on Netflix, Like Cotton Twines is receiving a great deal of accolades, as it did in Ghana (the location of the film’s story) where it was nominated for thirteen awards (at the Ghana Movie Awards, the biggest national movie awards in Ghana) and won 6 awards, including the best film editing award for Ting.

The film focuses on the traditional culture in Ghana. Told from the perspective of an American teaching volunteer, it focuses on his attempts to save one of his students, a fourteen-year-old girl, from religious slavery. Djansi contacted Ting based on her reel and declares, “There is a rhythm to Ting’s editing that is on par with some of the greatest editors. Whether it’s on the micro or macro level, she excels with every edit. She combines shots in a way that perfectly conveys the message of the scene and overall tone of the film. It’s inconceivable to think that Like Cotton Twines would have received the attention and praise that it has without Ting’s talent. When I approached Ting it was because I knew that I had to have an editor of exceptional ability to help me realize my vision.” Conflicting opinions are healthy in film and often lead to better art. Yu’s perspective and ideas are what led Leila to bring Ting aboard the film. For the scene in which Allison (the teacher) did not find Tuigi (the student) on the bus, Leila wanted to use a long take from the beginning to the end, because of the production value. At Yu’s urging, she agreed that this take was beautiful but too long. Ting created a cut half the length of the original; one which allowed the audience to still feel the same emotional content but make the story move faster and more entertaining. She found that her personality and opinions were very strong as an editor but she had no problem listening to the director to help achieve her vision of the film. These are the traits that endeared her to Leila Djansi. These two professionals worked at a feverish pace to complete Like Cotton Twines on a very tight schedule. Yu recalls, “We had several cuts before we locked the picture. Each time we made a cut, Leila and I would sit down and watch the whole film together; both of us giving each other notes. Leila is very open-minded. She is always willing to listen to my opinion, especially when we think we need to cut something out of the film. It was an ideal situation. We would challenge each other…in a very positive way. I feel that this is one of the ways you achieve such a good end result; when everyone seeks the very best and refuses to take anything less than that. One of my favorite memories is of Leila’s cooking. She is such a good cook and would cook for me, because we were working such long hours to finish on schedule. I’d be making cuts based on our notes and also guessing what she would be making me for lunch. That’s not the kind of experience and positive work environment I think most editors get. Add to that the fact that Like Cotton Twines won so many awards; I’m a little spoiled by it all.”

Perhaps one of the unseen facets of Ting’s approach and excellence as an editor is because she started out pursuing the path of director. Her history with secondary choices has proven quite fortuitous. When Yu didn’t get accepted into her chosen University as a medicine major, she switched to TV and Film production. She found that she had a lot of natural talent and it excited her. She felt a strong connection to American films, in particular the work of Steven Spielberg. It became apparent to her that an editor has a different means by which to structure and shape the message and tone of a film and she found it more intuitive for her personally.

Ting notes that one of the reasons she was interested in the role of editor of Like Cotton Twines was the story of females in a culture which does not see them as equal to men. Because of these aspects of her own country of origin (Yu is from China) she believed that the commonly held view that men are seen as somehow superior to women gave her great empathy for the characters and storyline of the film. She communicates, “It’s silly to feel this way when I know that everyone is equal but, coming from a society where women are not seen as important as men…it is difficult to shake this idea from your own thoughts. Leila and this film do an amazing job communicating these ideas and I am proud to have been a part of it.”

The attention and accolades which Ting Yu received for her work in Like Cotton Twines led directly to more work. Enjoying a wide variety of productions such as editing an African documentary about wildlife, Kickboxer: Retaliation (once again starring Jean-Claude Van Damme), and a trio of live action films based on comics and toys in China, Ting Yu has become one of those editors who is in demand across the planet. It’s written in the stars that those directors whom she has admired will be watching her work and likely remembering her name for future projects.

13339629_10154814089580828_8216972789816935442_n

Production Designer Shuhe Wang talks award-winning film ‘Red String’

Born and raised in Taiyuan City, China, Shuhe Wang was destined to be a production designer. Design was always her passion, and she never questioned what it was she wanted to spend her life doing. She understands every aspect as to what it takes to be an exceptional production designer, and that is why she is so highly-respected around the world for what she does.

Despite any challenges that arise, Wang loves what she does, and always shows audiences what she is capable of. Her work on the films Stay, Dancing for You, Cartoon Book, and Inside Linda Vista Hospital helped earn the respect of international audiences and win awards at several film festivals. However, despite this success, she considers working on the film Red String the highlight of her esteemed career.

“With each screening, people are really interested about the story and what is the background of creating the story. As a film, it is always the most important target that let people think about the meaning and something related in society after watching it,” said Wang.

The film tells the tale of an illegal Chinese immigrant who wants to keep his last line of his privacy in a terrible restaurant where he works. However, when he finally goes against his dignity, he finds that he even makes his life worse.

“This is a film about low-level class Chinese immigrant’s life. To make the film reliable and vivid, it relies on the production designer to create the atmosphere about Chinese culture and low-level people’s life. I did a lot of research about what exactly their life had going on, and created some characteristic elements in the film,” said Wang.

Making its way to several international film festivals, Red String impressed critics. It was an Official Selection at the Los Angeles International Shorts Festival, the Festival de Cortometrajes “Jose Francisco Rosado” Pacas, My Love Michelle Short Film Festival, and the Lift-Off Film Festival. It screened at the Festival de Cannes Short Film Corner, was a finalist at the Miami Film Festival, was nominated at the Golden Knight Malta International Film Festival, and was the winner of the Asians on Film Festival.

“I feel excited that the film got a lot of attention by telling a small and rough part of our traditional culture, and glad that the true and hard life of normal people is still being considered and cared a lot by universal audiences. This is a story about my national country’s culture, and it happens in some low-level class people. That is kind interesting to do because I can show audience a different angle of Chinese culture that not very noticeable in real life. And the story is absolutely tense and strong,” said Wang. “The director was very creative and open-minded. It was really great to work with him. He fully trusted me in my department’s process. It makes the work smooth and well- communicated. We were sharing all the thoughts and brainstorming without any concern. We were on the same page for each step.”

The director, Minghao Shen, knows Wang’s commitment to the film and her talent as a production designer largely contributed to the success Red String saw. The two had talked about the script and had found out that they both had a lot of deep thought and ambition regarding the story. Shen trusted that Wang totally understood the story and would create the sets perfectly.

“Shuhe is a designer that does not just care about how to make set pretty, but also about telling a story by the designing, due to her directing skills, so that actually helped the film be better. When Shuhe was working, she was always focused on the details and she was always careful about each single image,” said Shen.

While keeping true to the message of the film, Wang wanted to show some of the key elements to the world without over dressing them. The overall tone is a small bakery and restaurant in old Chinatown of an American city. Wang would go to Chinatown in Los Angeles to simply observe, and to capture the feeling of life there. She would see how they liked to dress and what they liked to eat, what they believed, what way they connected with the outside of Chinatown, what the difference was between the new and old immigrants, and more to truly understand what she needed to create.

“Once I locked each character’s personality, I chose the key elements of each of them and made it into the entire set,” said Wang. “However, the most impressive part of filming Red String was that everyone was so engaged in the story and helped to make it better. The lead actor even gave us some impromptu action with the props as the character and it worked very well. Sometimes we shared the thoughts based on our position to make the film more complete.”

The film was a collective effort by everyone involved, and Wang’s work helped to turn it into a masterpiece.

Actress Tatiana Romao: Driven to Tell Touching Stories

Tatiana Romao
Tatiana Romao shot by Adrian Aguinaga

While many actors are driven to perform by the fame that accompanies the spotlight, Brazilian actress Tatiana Romao is driven by the unceasing need to tell stories that touch audiences on an emotional level.

Over the past two decades Romao has become known for her work in both South America and the United States through her roles in an impressive list of high profile films such as Bruno Costa’s Encantacao aka Enchanted, Benjamin Holk Henriksen’s romantic drama The Elephant Clan, multi-award winning director Giulio Poidomani’s 2012 drama Disruption, Nyon Visions du Réel and Santa Monica Film Festival Award winner Andrea La Mendola’s 2015 film Lips, Nir Paniry’s (Tina Bobina, A Scarecrow Story) film Extraction, which stars Sasha Roiz from the two-time Primetime Emmy nominated series Grimm and was nominated for the Audience Award at the prestigious South by Southwest Film Festival, and many more.

About what drives her to perform, Romao says, “I want the stories I am a part of to be an example to someone else of a reality different than what they know or have, a new perspective on the struggle they might be going through, to inspire, to give hope. To know that I am able to change someone’s life fulfills me in a way that nothing else does. That’s how I want to change people’s lives and that’s the story I want to live behind.”

One of her most touching portrayals to date came in 2014 when she took on the lead role of Diana in the dramatic feature film Simple Being written and Directed Marco Ferrari (Moonscape, Don’t Let Me Go). In the film Romao stars alongside Sol Mason (This Tunnel South, Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life), Jasmin Radibratovic (Broken Hill, Misfire), Jeff Adler (Reel Evil, Criminal Minds, Modern Family) and Tony Award winner Paul Sand (Time of Your Life, Joan of Arcadia).

simple being Tatiana Romao
“Simple Being” Film Poster

Revolving around Clive (Mason), a college student who’s spent most of his life feeling like an outcast, Simple Being offers audiences a powerful look into one young man’s experimental journey into experiencing what it means to really have an impediment.

“It has a beautiful lesson and it teaches the world how to respect and appreciate others,” Romao says about the film.

With few friends in his life aside from Diana (Romao), Xécile (Radibratovic) and Aaron (Adler) who live with him, Clive’s overwhelming feeling of disconnection to the world leads him to embark on a three week journey of sensory abstinence– devoting one week each to experience what it’s like to be deaf, blind and mute.  

As Clive’s closest friend in life, Romao gives a knockout performance as Diana, the one person who supports him on the journey to finding himself and his place in the world.

“Diana gives him the idea to do the experiment for 3 weeks… She is the one who is always by his side and guiding him through it all. He needed to learn about life and she wanted him to find his path, to find himself,” explains Romao. “He is judged and somewhat mocked by his family and classmates and Diana is the only one supporting and pushing him to go all the way and finally discover himself in this journey, she is always by his side with a word of incentive.”

Journeying through each impediment, Clive discovers more and more about himself as each week passes. Over the course of the film we watch him go from being uncomfortably disconnected from everything and everyone to pushing the boundaries of his normal ‘comfortable’ life, and ultimately coming to a point where he is able to experience a new reality filled with real connection.

Produced by Hornil Brothers Productions (Missed Call, The Face of an Angel, Trouble Child, 6 Rose Circle), Simple Being did exceptionally well on the film festival circuit taking home the Best Feature Film Award at Italy’s Artelesia Film Festival, the Castell Award from the Barcelona Film Festival, the Jury Special Mention Award at the Detour On The Road Film Festival, as well as the Excellence in Cinematography Award at the Amsterdam Film Festival and an award at the Human District International Film Festival of Human Rights. Simple Being was also chosen as an Official Selection of the ARS Independent Festival, Brasilia International Film Festival, HollyShorts Film Festival, No Glass Film Festival, Canberra International Film Festival and more.

“This is one of those scripts that you just fall in love with straight away. It wasn’t so much about my role or who I was playing, but more about the story that was being told. That is exactly the kind of project that I want to be a part of, that I want my name connected to and that is exactly what inspires me,” admits Romao.

Romao’s performance in the film is so authentic and touching that you’d imagine she actually lived Diana’s life off screen. To those who have seen her work in the film it will come as no surprise as to why the film garnered such praise, and why she has become such a sought after actress on an international level.

Actress Tatiana Romao
Actress Tatiana Romao (left) director Lidia Damatto & production designer Elisa Lopes (right) at the Hollywood Brazilian Film Festival

In 2017 audiences will be able to catch Romao in the upcoming zombie horror film Valentine DayZ, which also stars Carrie Keagan from the hit series Reno 911 and the films The Hangover and Dead 7, and Robert Allen Mukes from the series Westworld and Weeds. She is currently in talks with Valentine DayZ producer Kate Rees Davies (The Girl, The Night Visitor, The Vanished) and director Mark Allen Michaels (Mind Rage, The Fiance) to take on a critical role in one of their upcoming projects, so stay tuned for more information about that!

Davies says, “When I first met Tatiana, I was so impressed with her ability as an actress and her passion. She is a very versatile talent… I look forward to continuing a strong work relationship with her for many years to come. She is already under consideration for many exciting projects such as ‘Babes With Attitude’ to be filmed in 2018 and ‘The Conflagration’ for the year after.”

For Brazilian actress Tatiana Romao, acting is a means of telling stories and touching the lives of viewers around the world; and, while she’s garnered international fame for her work, it is only a side effect of doing what she loves.