AND THE WINNER IS...All Filmmakers!

Saturday night I was given the honor of being inducted into the MayDay Film Festival Hall of Fame, following is my acceptance speech. I actually made it through it without crying, almost.

When I was a little girl, people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I would always say that I was going to be a Movie Star. I would also say that I was going to do that in New York. Because at some point I had heard that California was going to have a big earthquake and fall into the ocean and I had no desire to die for my dream. I’ve never been to New York, California still hasn’t fallen into the ocean, and I’m not a Movie Star. But I have starred in a few movies. In fact after 9 years of doing film, I’ve done over 40. Of those over 40 film projects I was given the responsibility of scaring people (A LOT), the responsibility of making them laugh and cry, the responsibility of changing how people viewed an entire community, the responsibility of showing that women, no matter how difficult the situation could survive, and most recently the responsibility of changing how young girls with a life changing disease viewed themselves and physical beauty. But most importantly I was given the responsibility of making someone’s dreams come true. It’s a scary thing to give someone else your dream and let them bring it to life; I know I’ve done that too. I’ve always taken this responsibility very serious and I always will. And there are too many to mention that have given me that trust over the years, but I want them all to know that I thank them for that honor and I hope that I did their dream justice.

And I would like to give out my own award. One that is long overdue as far as I’m concerned. Because there is something that we have to have to make all these dreams come true, a place where we can show our dreams to the world. MayDay Film Festival has been doing that now for 9 years. Daniel, Kristine, Ryan, Crystal and countless others have worked diligently to give us a place where independent film can be seen in this area and they do it out of a love for the filmmakers. As a matter of fact this was posted by MayDay on their FB page, “It's not about supporting the event, it’s about supporting the indie filmmakers that have poured hours and hours into making these movies.” They don’t do this for money, they do it to get their own films seen, they do it because they love independent film and they want us to succeed. And because of that I’ve had an award made just for them. I just wanted some way to say THANK YOU to these incredible people who have given me and all of the other local filmmakers a place to seen. I love you and here’s too many more years of the MayDay film festival.

UNSCRIPTED: AN INDIE FILM XPERIENCE

In December of 2012, Pj Starks had this great idea to partner with the Daviess County Public Library for a special event called Unscripted: An Indie Film Xperience. It was a really unique idea that would give independent filmmakers in this region a chance to show their short films to people who really care and want to know more about filmmaking. So what is Unscripted?  Unscripted is a short film series in which each film is screened twice in one night; the first screening as-is, the second with the filmmakers performing a live commentary (kind of like the special features on a DVD). There are traditional Q&A’s as well. There are typically two films per night. They also have movie-themed giveaways and free popcorn and drinks. So it’s a cool and fun night out.  And on January 25, 2013, during their first season, I had the honor of appearing in Elysian and attending this event for the first of what will turn out to be many times.

Since that first event I have had the very amazing honor of being involved with almost every single event they’ve had. I even acted in a film that showed at the one and only Evansville Unscripted event.  So when Wesley Johnson, the now caretaker and resident film lover of Unscripted, asked me to bring “Out of my Mind” to their 6th season of Unscripted, I jumped at the chance. Each season of Unscripted grows and becomes even bigger and better. The films themselves get better as the filmmakers increase their skills and Wesley spends a lot of time looking for perfect films to show. He even makes sure that the two films that show together complement each other.  But what I didn’t know when I agreed to do this event, was that I would have 3 projects involved in this season.  So please check your schedule and make plans to attend one or all of these one-of-kind film screenings. Following is the schedule for this season and I have put an asterisk next to the projects you can find me in, but I encourage you to see as many as possible.  See you at the movies!

* February 4 - Cindy Maples - Out of My Mind, Breau Kaelin - Symbiosis with music from Mina Fedora

February 11 - Matthew Williams - Rush 91, Chad Fuller & Matt Green - The Switch

* February 18 - A Tribute to Brian Storm

* February 25 - Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories Night: The Justin Seaman - The Deathday Party, Jon Maynard - Blood Bath

March 4 - 48 Hour Film Showcase with Jon Maynard and Jon Doss

March 11 - Ryan Lincoln McCurdy - Misread, Taylor Fredricks - The Realist

March 18 - Brad Rea - Caged, JD Wilkes - Seven Signs

THE REST OF THE STORY

Photo credit: Neil Kellen

Photo credit: Neil Kellen

This blog started out as a recap of 2016, and then I realized that if you care enough about me to click on this link then I should tell you things that you don’t already know. Social media is great and most of you see all the wonderful things that I’ve done throughout the year, but there are always stories that don’t get shared due to the lack of time allowed through those avenues. So, here are some fun, embarrassing and otherwise interesting things that you probably don’t know about my 2016.

Let’s start with VOLUMES OF BLOOD: Horror Stories (VOB2). I’ve known PJ Starks since 2008 and we’ve tried a few times over those years to work together. Alas, something always got in the way. That is until VOB2, when my schedule and his need for an actress finally resulted in a film opportunity. What you don’t know is that this one almost didn’t happen either. Early in the year PJ contacted me and said that he had a chance to get a “Named” actress to play the part that he had offered me. We won’t say who that was, but needless to say I was more than a little disappointed. I mean I have a name, okay it’s not as well-known as hers but still I have one. But as fate would have it, they weren’t able to work it out and I went on to play the role of Almeda in VOB2. And it was a great experience and I thoroughly enjoyed working with PJ and his crew. But the best part was working with Justin Seaman and Zane Hershberger. Turns out these two had a horror film out on the festival circuit called THE BARN and although they had it finished they wanted to re-shoot a scene and I was perfect for that part. We discussed my availability and we were very close to getting this all worked out when low and behold they found out that a “Named” actress that they had given up hope of getting was available and willing to do the part. Seeing a theme yet? I adore Justin and Zane and hold out hope that I will get another chance to work with them because they are wonderful filmmakers and they made the right choice. Hell, if I was in their shoes, I would have done the exact same thing. And now I have a new goal for 2017, be a “Name”.

Now let’s move on to OUT OF MY MIND (OOMM). This would be my second time directing and I’m not going to lie, I really wasn’t looking to direct again. I still felt very unsure of myself in that role. I didn’t have a script, I didn’t want to act/direct again and I really wanted to concentrate on my acting. The next thing I know I’m researching short stories and thinking about who I want on my crew. Funny how that happens. Once the dust settled and we had our team in place, we discovered that the Fourth of July weekend was the only time available for filming. Ugh! 95% of this short film takes place at night. And hey, don’t they shoot off fireworks all weekend? Yes, yes Cindy they do. Ask any sound guy and they will tell you that you’re insane to even think about filming that weekend. So what did I do? I shot that weekend. That resulted in very little actual sound being recorded on set. But because I’m really good at choosing crew, this turned out to be a good thing and Neil Kellen should be nominated and winning lots of sound design awards this next year. OOMM turned out great. It’s not exactly the film I wanted to make but it’s pretty damn close and that makes me very happy. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m determined to continue down this path. Much like RANDOM, I have another story haunting me and trying to get out. I won’t be able to resist much longer and the short story I’ve already written will expand soon. Keep your eyes open, because there is a feature trying to get out of me. 

Finally, most of you know that I won an acting contest back in April, and that I traveled to Hollywood in October because of that win to meet with talent agencies and casting directors. The prize I was promised included at least 3 meetings with talent agencies, meetings with casting agents and an acting class while I was out there.  But there is much more to this story! First, all the emails I had to send to find out when I was actually taking this trip. The dates changed numerous times and let’s just say I was suspicious. When I finally got the date scheduled, I started the emails again to find out about flights, hotels, and who I would be meeting with while in LA. I’m an extremely organized person and not knowing what I was doing was quite literally driving me insane. When I left on October 16th all I knew is what flights I would be on and what hotel I would be staying at. When I got on the plane I had one meeting with a talent agent scheduled, but I didn’t know when or where that meeting would take place. I got on the plane anyway and decided I would make the most of this trip one way of another. I flew all day on the 16th, rented a car and headed to my hotel. When I arrived late in the evening at what had to be the dirtiest hotel in California, I was told that my reservations had not been paid for and that they needed my credit card to take care of this problem. Those of you, who have ever seen me mad, have never seen the level of insanity that I entered at this point. After many emails and phone calls the room was finally taken care of by way of the agent’s sister’s credit card (yes, this still gives me a headache to think about). The following morning I woke up and went to what would be the one and only meeting that I actually had scheduled with a talent agency. When I arrived at her office, I rang the bell to be let into the complex; I then proceeded into the building, up a flight of stairs only to find that the door was locked on the 2nd floor. I went back down the stairs to find that the door I had just come through was now also locked. Laughing hysterically, I called the agent I was meeting with and asked that she please come and rescue me from being locked in her stairwell.  When she opened the door all I could think to say was that I loved to make a great first impression by showing what an idiot I can be. She laughed and for the first time in 2 days I actually felt the tension leave my body. Later in the week I did get another email telling me that a meeting had been arranged with a casting director. I drove to Ventura Blvd. and had coffee with a lovely young lady who imparted so much wisdom about this industry that I felt a little overwhelmed. The rest of my time out in LA was filled with a trip to Disney and Universal, because dammit I deserved a little fun by this point. By the end of the week (actually I was standing in line to ride the Indiana Jones Adventure) I had received and email from PureTalent Management with an offer to represent me and I realized, you really only need one opportunity as long as you stay true to yourself and just go for it.

That’s it, the rest of story. I hope you enjoyed this look at what my life is really like. It’s not glamorous, it’s not special, but it’s certainly interesting. I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year! 

DON'T MEAN NOTHING

Funny how certain songs resonate with you, isn’t it? For the past couple of months the Richard Marx song "Don’t Mean Nothing", keeps rattling around in my head when I think about my upcoming trip to Hollywood. For you youngsters out there, Richard Marx was a big deal in the 80’s, Google it. For those who know who he is and what that song was about, I think you can understand why it would make an appearance in my gray matter from time to time. It’s a song about being in LA and trying to make it. People are telling you that you are great, blah, blah, blah...”but it don’t mean nothing until you sign it on the dotted line”. I think it has become my anthem for this trip, to help keep me grounded in reality. Go out there, give it all you got and then come home and say I did it. I took that chance, good or bad, I did it!

Now, maybe I should back up for those of you who don’t know about what happened at the beginning of this year. In February, I entered an acting competition for a chance to win a trip to Hollywood and meet with talent reps, take an acting class and basically chase this crazy dream of mine. Many of you voted for my monologue and helped me move on to the second round, a favor that I will never forget. And then Sharon Caudel and Sarah Mina took time out of their lives to help me record my second audition. Yes, I still owe them as well. Then on April 1st I got word that I had actually won the competition. Yeah, April fool’s day, I didn’t believe it either. But, it was all true and next week I finally make the trip. And I’m not going to lie, I’m scared to death. But that won’t stop me from giving it all I have. After all I can’t let everyone down that got me this far.

As I pack and prepare for this epic journey, I ask that you keep me in your thoughts and send out good vibes. I hope to make you all proud, even if that means merely surviving the trip. So many of you have been there holding me up over the years, giving me encouragement and strength and I can never express how much that means. Just know that you are all in my heart and I know what you did to help me get here. This trip could be a big waste of time, but hey I get to go to Hollywood and enjoy some time seeing how the “real” actors do it and you just never know...stranger things have happened. But I will never forget that, “it don’t mean nothing at all.”

 

DIRECTED BY WOMEN

Last weekend I had the honor of speaking on a panel about “What it’s like for a female director”. The event was hosted and organized by Gal's Guide to the Galaxy. Gal’s Guide is an absolutely wonderful organization that believes that women need to build each other up and not tear each other down. They believe that we can build a better metaphorical rocket ship that will change the course of our community and beyond. And if last weekend’s event is any indication, they had a very successful launch to their mission. The day started with Barbara Ann O’Leary, the mastermind behind the Directed by Women worldwide event followed by a quick keynote from Gal’s Guide General, Kate Chaplin. I shared the panel “what it’s like for a female director” with Kate Chaplin, Trisha Borowicz, Carmen Jameson and Madelyn Ritrosky. It was such a thrill to be a part of not only the panel but the entire event and I walked away truly inspired by all the wonderful women that I met and shared time with. The very best part of the day was when I walked in and finally met Barbara Ann O’Leary. I had known about her for over a year and of course we’re Facebook friends but actually meeting face to face and getting that awesome hug made my 3 ½ hour drive worth every minute. You see, if it wasn’t for Barbara I wouldn’t have had the great “launch” of RANDOM last year. But because of her help, my premiere and Directed by Women event were a complete success.

It’s not too late for you to get involved with the Directed by Women worldwide viewing party. The entire month of September is dedicated to inviting the world to fall madly in love with & wildly celebrate women filmmakers & their films. As a matter of fact if you’re in the Bloomington, IN area there is an event coming up on September 24th, where you can not only support women directed films, but also see my short film RANDOM. It will be held at the Farmers House Museum in Bloomington, September 24th at 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM in EDT. I will be there along with Evie Marie Warner (But I'm An Actress); Lisa Maydwell (Cooking with Munchies, episode 5); Kalynn Huffman Brower (Cow Chip); Jia Wei (Worry Box); and Madelyn Ritrosky (My Brother's Shadow).

To find out more about Directed by Women, Gal’s Guide to the Galaxy and the Sept. 24th event click on the links below. See you at the movies, directed by women.

Directed by Women - http://directedbywomen.com

Gal’s Guide to the Galaxy - https://galsguide.org

Directed By Women Viewing Party - https://www.facebook.com/events/1735574720029082

 

SECOND HELPINGS

Today, July 1, 2016, I start production on my second short film, Out of my Mind. This is a pretty terrifying statement for me. When I made my first short Random, I had a passion to tell a story that had been stuck in my head for 4 years. It was cathartic for me to purge my mind and tell a story that had meant so much to me for such a long time. But then people liked it and gave the film awards and well darn it, expected more from me. Peer pressure being what it is, I caved and decided that I might be kind of good at this film-making thing and maybe I should try it again. So here I am on the cusp of film number 2, terrified, exhausted and so excited that sleep has become elusive.

When I started this process I knew I didn’t have another story burning to get out of me, so I had to turn to other sources. Luckily for me that source was sitting on my bookshelf. My good friend and author John Cosper had given me a signed copy of his book “This would make a great movie” a few years ago when I helped him make a promo video for the book. I pulled the book off the shelf and starting reading and right there towards the end of the book was a short story called Drip Drip. The picture became very clear in my head how I could adapt this story into a very creepy horror short. So I emailed John and asked for his permission to use it. He said yes and I was off and running. Unfortunately, I’m not a screenwriter so I turned to my friend and kick-ass assistant director Neil Kellen. Together we crafted the story and created the world that we will start to see come alive tonight.

Neil was the first of many people that would start to surround me with support, encouragement and countless years of experience. I try not to say that I’m lucky because I work really hard for everything I have, but if I am lucky, it’s because of the people that I call my friends. I just want to take a moment to thank each and every one of them and to introduce you to some of the most amazing people I know. Following is the cast and crew of Out of my Mind and I love each and every one of them and couldn’t do this without them! Now, LET’S DO THIS!!!

Cast

CARTER – Rusty James

WOMAN IN BLUE - Mina Fedora

LOUIS – Michael Diton-Edwards

MYSTERIOUS MAN – Clint Calvert

 

Crew

Assistant Director – Neil Kellen

Director of Photography – Joe Atkinson

Production Manager – Sharon Caudel

Script Supervisor – Debbie Legg

Lead Gaffer – Al Ponton

Asst. Gaffer – Lewis Chaney

Sound – Andrew Martin

Key Makeup Artist – Rhonda Dossett

PA, Grip & Asst. Camera – Jimmy Sanders

PA - Marisa Patwa

OH THE HORROR!!

I’ve spent the past two weekends covered in blood and it has been wonderful! For those of you that are just getting to know me, then you should know that I love horror movies. It’s where I started my film career and it’s where I hope to end it. In fact, if I died on set while filming a horror movie, I would die a very happy woman. I hope if that does happen I’m the oldest living Scream Queen at the time at the ripe old age of 100.

I had a chance to go back to the my roots of my film career on May 15th when I did a cameo role for my good friends Steve Hudgins and PJ Woodside of Big Biting Pig Productions. As some of you know my first film role was Vivian Potts in WIDOW. I then went on to do 2 more films with the Pig, HELL IS FULL and the online sensation THE CREEPY DOLL. They call their fans Piglets and I will forever be that! It was great to be back on set with their crew of regulars and I fell right back into their world as if I never left. It was even nice to hear Steve say “That was great, one more time” at least 10 times. Thank you so much for welcoming me back and I look forward to seeing IT LIVES IN THE ATTIC, their 10th feature film!

Next up was the short film THE DEATHDAY PARTY, which will be a part of the next VOLUMES OF BLOOD anthology film. If you’re not familiar with VOB, then you need to get acquainted with it. This was an almost 8 year process for me. You see the creator of VOB is P.j. Starks, and he and I have been trying to work together for about as long as we’ve both been making movies. Something always got in the way, but not this time. It was so worth the wait, because I also got the chance to work with Director, Justin Seaman and Assistant Director, Zane Hershberger of THE BARN and they were both so incredible to work with. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever worked that hard and been so happy to do it in my life. Everyone on set was professional, hardworking and dedicated to making this the best film ever. You will see just how awesome all of these people are when Volumes of Blood-HORROR STORIES, is released.

Make sure you check out all the goodness of these wonderful filmmakers at the following links and show them some love.

http://www.bigbitingpigproductions.com/

http://www.volumesofblood.com/

http://www.nevermoreproductionfilms.com/

Once in a Blue Moon

This coming Saturday, April 30th something rare and unusual will happen in my world. It’s one of those events that is both thrilling and depressing.  Two movies that I’m extremely proud to be a part of will premiere that night. Now, you might say this is a great thing, I mean how many people can say they’re in two movies that are premiering on the same night? But here’s the problem, I haven’t perfected the cloning process yet, so I can only go to one.  So, how do you decide between two amazing films that you are dying to see and support? Well, in my case, you go with who asked you first, which means I will be attending the SIREN premiere at IU Cinema. I really want to talk about how great both of these films are and as a way of making up for my absence from the MARGO premiere; I will start with that film. First I would like to point out the truly remarkable similarities in these two films. First, they both have a strong female lead, which literally and figuratively KICKS ASS! Second, both films were written by men. That’s right, men who write stories about strong females, that’s a thing and it’s marvelous! Third, I actively went after these projects because I had seen their previous work and knew I wanted to be involved in that kind of quality filmmaking.  And finally, they are both visually beautiful.

MARGO is a female-driven, post-society drama/thriller about love, madness, and humankind's everlasting hunt for companionship. I was invited to be a part of this production by Matthew Packman, the writer, producer, director; he’s been spotted walking on water...etc. I met Matthew at the Blaquefyre Film Festival in 2015, a festival he also created and runs. His short film ANGELFISH was the opening film and I knew about 2 minutes in that I would hunt him down and force him to work with me. Fast forward to late 2015 and I am sitting in the basement of a filthy, abandoned house in Centralia, IL, covered in dirt, no makeup on, pretty sure bugs are crawling on me and Matthew is thanking me for doing this part. He had no idea how thrilled I was to be there, doing a character that not only had amazing depth but was written just for me. MARGO has been Matthew’s life now for at least a year, probably longer and it is also his most epic and crucial work to date. Matthew and his partner in crime Abbey Hickey have my undying loyalty, because I see in them the fire that burns inside of me. That kind of connection builds friendships that last a lifetime. MARGO will premiere this Saturday, April 30th in Mt. Vernon, IL at the Granada Theater. I want the cast and crew of MARGO to know I may not be there physically, but my heart will definitely be there!

SIREN is about a sole survivor of a sex trafficking operation who is conflicted with what is right and wrong as she decides the fate of those who decided hers. As previously mentioned SIREN is also female-driven, but this female lead is pissed and she is out for vengeance. This film is part of Robby Benson's film class at Indiana University. Normally I wouldn’t audition for a student film, not that there’s anything wrong with them; I just tend to look at other things. But in this case I took a look at their previous episodes in the VANGUARD Universe and just knew I had to work with these talented young filmmakers. I’ve been on a lot of film sets and I can’t even begin to describe how professional and put together this crew was. Matthew Brezina, director/writer, Emelie Flower, co-director/cinematographer and Tyler Carrell producer, should be very proud of their efforts.  Oh and did I mention that this talented group is heading to the Cannes Film Festival with their last VANGUARD short ILLUSION? Yes, they are that good and you don’t want to miss this one! SIREN will debut at IU Cinema on April 30th to a sold out audience, but there is a sneak peek showing at AMC 12 in Bloomington, IN on Tuesday, April 26th. If you get the chance, check out SIREN and you can see the previous episodes of the VANGUARD Universe here on their Vimeo channel. https://vimeo.com/vanguarduniverse

So there you have it. Two AWESOME films that leave you with no excuses not go out and support Indie Film this Saturday night. See you at the movies!

 

Wig'd Out Premieres

In July of 2015 I embarked on a journey that would forever change my heart. When I auditioned for the role of Flora Warren in the movie Wig’d Out, I knew that this would be something special. I also hoped that what had made me want to be in this movie would be the same thing that would make people want to see it. It has a heart, a big oh huge heart that makes you smile, cry and feel Fearless! Over the past week I have watched the crowds respond to this movie and I couldn’t be more proud of how it affects them. I was asked last night at the premiere in Carmel, IN what was my favorite part of filming this movie? My answer was the kids that I’ve had the chance to meet along the way. It started with Sarah right here in Evansville and the beautiful Katie that I had a scene with in the movie. These kids are fearless, amazing and they inspire me to want to be a better person. A person who looks past the surface and accepts each person for who they are on the inside. As I move on to the next project and leave Wig’d Out to the producers and director to love and care for, I also take a lot with me and for that I will be forever grateful. Good luck to Sandy Rusk, Olivia Rusk and Kate Chaplin as they continue their journey, and best of luck with the Children’s Alopecia Project screening in Las Vegas in July. That will be the most life changing experience both for those children and for you. And to everyone who has shown their support to me and this film, THANK YOU!!!! 

The Alhambra Theatre Film Festival

Getting a film into a film festival isn’t as easy as one would think. There are a LOT of rejections and very few official selections. So when you find out that you have not 1 but 3 films showing in a festival, its great cause for celebration. My short thriller RANDOM, the hilarious Christmas Comedy BETHLEHEM and the Evansville premiere of WIG’D OUT, will all happen during this year’s Alhambra Theatre Film Festival in Evansville, IN. This year’s festival will be April 7-10th. The premiere of WIG’D OUT will be Thursday, April 7th at Showplace Cinemas East at 7:30pm. This Red Carpet event will include some of the cast and crew being on hand (Including yours truly) for a meet and greet before the film. A second showing will be held on Saturday April 9 at 4:30pm. Even though RANDOM has been out since September, it will finally be seen in the city that it was filmed in, you can see RANDOM on Friday night at 6:00 and again on Saturday at 1:30. And even though the Christmas season is behind us, BETHLEHEM will remind you that during the Holidays you go home to remember why you left. BETHLEHEM will play Friday at 2:00 and again Saturday at 1:00.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday events will be held at the Tropicana Evansville Events Center. This is a one of a kind Film Festival and I encourage everyone to come out and support the arts in Evansville and SEE A MOVIE!

Tickets and weekend passes are available at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2487261"

RANDOM Thoughts

For me, writing, directing, producing and starring in a short film was kind of “sure let’s do that and see how it goes” kind of thing. It was more of a learning experience and trying to get an idea out of my head that had been stuck in there for 4 years. When it was done I was really happy with it and thought I should let people see this by submitting to film festivals. And I was so amazed at everyone that helped me make sure that RANDOM not only got finished but was exactly how I had seen it in my head. For me that was a WIN of epic proportions, especially when so many dreamers, like myself, never start or finish a project.

So when RANDOM is accepted into festivals or wins any award it’s just icing on top of an already delicious cake.  This past Saturday night RANDOM received the Spirit Award at Blaquefyre Independent Film Festival in Centralia, IL. This is the first year for the award and it is given to honor one individual filmmaker who exhibits extraordinary talent, creativity and spirit through their work. Winning this award is more than icing on the cake; it is the decoration on top of the icing! BUT...I look at that beautiful award with my name engraved on it and I feel guilty. It should say Rusty James, Jakob Bilinski, Joe Atkinson, DP Bonnell, Mina Fedora, Brad Reinhart, Megan Leavitt, Randy Murray and Al Pontoon because they were the ones who made this film. And I want them all to know that their immeasurable contributions will never be forgotten because although your names may not be on the trophy they are forever engraved on my heart. 

2015 - One for the record books

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well if that’s true then the past year speaks volumes. I spent some time going through all the pictures I was tagged in or that I posted over the past year and it was next to impossible to decide on just a few to represent my year of 2015.  There were so many film festivals, people, places, events and films that made up my year and I didn’t want to miss any of them. The year started for me back in my home state of Illinois at the Blaquefyre Film Festival for one of my last stops while promoting THE LAST DAY. Then it was onto The Alhambra Theatre Film Festival to premiere A WEDDING LIKE THAT and to follow that wonderful short film around the film festival and special showing circuit. I had the chance to actually play myself for the first time in 2015 when I hosted the upcoming series SHADOW CHASERS. Although for an actress it was terrifying to be told to talk right into the camera (that’s simply not done). But I got over that pretty quick. Then it was on to my first time as director, writer, producer and star of RANDOM. I couldn’t be more proud of this short film and all the people that made this dream of mine become a reality and it’s still out there going strong. And because I don’t believe in resting I went right into my next film, the feature WIG’D OUT. I’d read this script back in 2014 and absolutely fell in love, so when I got the email saying they wanted me for Flora I was ecstatic and 2016 is going to see me talking a LOT about this amazing movie (You’ve been warned). Then I chased a dream I’ve had for most of my life, starring on stage in a musical, but not just any musical. The Rocky Horror Show has been on my bucket list of shows I want to do for as long as I can remember. Okay, so I auditioned for Magenta and didn’t get it, but really who could say no to playing Frank N Furter? Not me! Check that off the list. And finally I finished the year much like I did in 2014, surrounded by my BETHLEHEM family, when we all gathered in Shelbyville, IN to watch the premiere of this hilarious and fun Holiday film. And on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day you can see it too! I would love to make a list of all the people I would like to thank from the past year, but I’m sure I would forget someone, so I will just end with saying that if you were part of my 2015, you are now a part of my heart. Best wishes to you all this Holiday Season and see you in 2016!

Oh little film of BETHLEHEM

It doesn’t matter how many movie premieres you attend, there is always a thrill when the lights go down and the opening scene comes up, but never more so than when it’s a movie that you’re starring in. This past Sunday, November 22nd at the beautifully restored Strand Theater in Shelbyville, Indiana I once again experienced that magical feeling. I was sitting in the balcony surrounded by people as eager as I was to see the fruits of their labor. This time around it was for the new holiday film BETHLEHEM. Our fearless director Michael Malone took the stage to introduce the film to the almost 200 people in attendance and once again showed that he not only loved his cast and crew but was truly passionate about this film. He displayed an almost child-like giddiness over his first movie and that feeling was contagious and set the mood for the entire evening. Oh sure there’s always that first cringe-worthy moment when you first see or in this case hear yourself, but eventually you settle down and just sit back and watch. It’s impossible as an actress to be truly objective about your work, but in this case I was so amazed and enthralled by my cast mates that I actually forgot that I was in the movie for a little while and just laughed and enjoyed seeing them. For me it was a chance to go back to those 4 ½ wonderful days spent together making this film. I’m not sure what’s next for BETHLEHEM except for some upcoming Film Festivals, but I do hope that it will soon be shared with everyone because let’s face it everyone needs a good laugh during the stressful holiday season. And with Thanksgiving only a few days away I would like to THANK Michael and the entire cast and crew of Bethlehem for letting me be a part of their very dysFUNctional family. 

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BETHLEHEM Reviews

BETHLEHEM Reviews

It's less than a week away from the Premiere of "BETHLEHEM" and the reviews are already starting to come in. Blogdogit says "BETHLEHEM is destined to become a Christmas classic." And Sam Watermeir of Nuvo Newsweekly says "BETHLEHEM  is like the comedies to which it pays homage, it is at once cringe-inducing and comforting — like the feeling you get when you see a reflection of yourself and your loved ones on screen." 

Read more of the Blogdogit review here : http://blogdogit.com/article.php?story=20151113151709225

And keep your eyes open for Sam's interview/review in NUVO magazine that will be out this week.

You can always keep up with the latest news on BETHLEHEM at www.bethlehemthemovie.com

See you at The Strand Theater in Shelbville, IN on November 22nd for the premiere!

The Open Door Short Film Showcase

The door will be opening soon and when it does RANDOM will be there!

My short film RANDOM has been selected for The Open Door Short Film Showcase! 

And their panel of judges has provided us with some feedback as part of our submission:

"This is a great looking film (good use of colour) and we loved the central couple. They created a nice, natural chemistry. There seemed to be an obvious air of impending trouble for this couple…everything seemed too perfect. There is a nice twist at the end too. Great work!"

Kind Regards, 

The Open Door Short Film Showcase Team.

http://www.theopendoorshowcase.com/Main.html

BETHLEHEM

BETHLEHEM

"BETHLEHEM" IS A FILM ABOUT A FAMILY WHO IS FALLING APART AS THEY COME TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS. IT SHINES A LIGHT ON A DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY LIVING IN THE MOST CHRISTMASY PLACE ON THE PLANET, BETHLEHEM PENNSYLVANIA. BUT LIKE MOST FAMILY GATHERINGS, THINGS DON'T GO AS PLANNED AND IN HOPES TO SAVE CHRISTMAS AND THEIR MOTHER'S SANITY THE CHILDREN TRY THEIR BEST TO HAVE ONE FINAL PERFECT FAMILY CHRISTMAS. 

STARRING Cindy Maples, Michael Malone, Melissa Revels, Raymond Kester, Rich Ragins, Derik Zooashkiyani, Mike Dobrzelecki, Joann King White

Tickets are on sale for the special showing of "Bethlehem."This event will also feature a meet and greet with the cast, an ugly Christmas sweater contest and tons of giveaways and poster signings. Mark it on your calendar and get your tickets TODAY! NOVEMBER 22ND -- The Strand Theatre -- Shelbyville Indiana! www.malonecomedy.com/bethlehem-the-movie 



The Rocky Horror Show

Stage and Theater Actors of Greater Evansville (STAGE) presented Richard O'Brien's ROCKY HORROR SHOW, live at Boogie Nights! Crowds of fans experienced the iconic cult-classic like they've never seen it, and helped us support the Tri-State Alliance! Friday, October 23rd and Saturday, October 24th. 

Cast in Order of Appearance:
Usherette/Magenta - Sidney Shripka
Brad Majors - Zackary Hoskins
Janet Weiss - Sarah Kercher
Narrator - Mark Clem
Riff Raff - Skyler Wagemann
Columbia - Whittney Byrd
Frank N' Furter - Cindy Maples
Rocky - Preston Harris-Dunlap
Eddie - Juls Gilham
Dr. Everett Scott - Wendy Brown

Transylvanians/Featured Dancers:
Weston Whitehouse
Jessica Mayes