Rising Star Spotlight: Introducing Corinne Furman

Corinne Furman’s first ever film has just been released in over 600 cinemas across the UK and Ireland. She plays the part of ‘Paige’ in ‘Fisherman’s Friends: One and All’; a ditsy reality star who has just been signed to a record deal. She got to work alongside amazing actors, such as James Purefoy, Maggie Steed, David Hayman, and Imelda May. Following that, she played the leading role of ‘Hope’ in ‘The Hunting of the Snark,’ a feature film directed by Simon Da Vison, alongside Ramon Tikaram. This will be released in the next few months. She also played ‘Maya’ in ‘Rebel Cheer Squad – A Get Even Series’ (Get Even 2), the BBC/Netflix series directed by Nigel Douglas, which is available on Netflix worldwide.

FilmCentral magazine recently caught up with Corinne to discuss her journey in the industry, and here’s what went down:

Can you tell us more about yourself? 

My name is Corinne Furman, and I am an actress. I trained from a very young age in dance but fell in love with acting as soon as I started to take acting classes. I was raised in a very animal-orientated family and have travelled worldwide to see incredible wildlife. I absolutely love animals, so I have always been vegetarian (never ever eaten meat), and I am now vegan. My family and friends are very important to me, but my two dogs insist they are the most important!

How did you get started in the entertainment industry? 

I started to dance at three years old, and it was always what I enjoyed most. When I was older, I was at dance class nearly every day of the week after school. I then joined a performing arts school when I was nine, and they started showing me the other avenues of the industry (acting/singing). I started taking acting classes every week and absolutely fell in love with it. I realised quickly that I much preferred acting to dancing. The school also had an agency attached, and I started to audition for a few little acting roles. My first ever acting job was a ‘New York Bagels’ advert when I was ten years old, and I remember saying to my mum after that day that acting is what I wanted to do forever.

What do you like most about acting? 

It’s not solely the acting I enjoy. The most exciting part for me is being on set – I love doing something different every day, meeting new people, seeing how everything comes together -knowing the months of hard work and preparation prior to filming. In terms of actual acting, I love being able to tell important stories. I think the art of acting is so freeing; you are taken into a place where you can express your emotions and life experiences, good or bad, and channel them into something beautiful. I think acting is so special, in the sense that even if you were doing the same scene, working with different actors would produce different work, as every actor will bring something different to the table.

What are your weak points when it comes to acting? How do you try to improve them? 

My main weakness as an actor has been my dyslexia, which may mean I have more trouble initially understanding a script. However, I do believe it means I am a more creative person. I have a very photographic mind; I can see things being played out and the scene as a sort of choreography. I think dyslexia is something that should never hinder an actor but can be used to one’s advantage.

What are your strong points as an actor? 

My strong point as an actor is my determination and hard work. I am determined to create the life I want for myself and to be able to do what I love every day. I also believe I am very sociable and find it very easy to get on with most people. This means that I am comfortable working with a whole variety of people.

What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career? 

Even from a very young age, the directors I’ve worked with were so supportive and inspiring that they’ve reaffirmed to me time and time again that acting is what I want to do forever. I’ve always had the best time on set, and without such amazing directors, it may not have been clear that I wanted to continue on this path. They’ve each taught me different things, but as a collective, they’ve helped me learn always to trust my choices and decisions as an actor and believe in myself.

What are some of the difficulties of the acting business? 

The main difficulty is rejection. Also, the determination it takes to get where you want to be. What they say about it not being an easy industry is true, but I guess that’s why so many people give up. I refuse to do anything else; it’s all I think about pretty much every hour of every day – but it is hard sometimes to keep your spirits high, to keep motivated, and keep pushing for it when sometimes it may feel like you’re not getting anywhere with it. I think the times when you’re not working are also super difficult. It’s all I want to be doing.

What’s challenging about bringing a script to life? 

I think the most challenging part about bringing a script to life starts with the audition process. Each part within a script can be interpreted in so many ways that it is hard to know what the director/writer/producer has/had in mind. Due to covid, many first-round auditions start with a self-tape (a read-through of a certain scene, by video, done at home), which is then sent directly to the casting directors. Without being in the room with the option of someone asking you to play a part differently, it leaves only your interpretation which you hope hits the mark. I wish we could be given a few directions (play it more subtly, play it more over the top, etc.) which may make the process easier for an actor but obviously a lot longer for casting directors etc.!

What do you do when you’re not filming? 

I volunteer for a dog rescue charity in my spare time. They’re called ‘Hungary Hearts Dog Rescue’. We aim to find loving homes for abandoned and neglected dogs on death row in Hungary. We save the dogs from killing stations/the streets in Hungary and bring them to the UK to be homed. It can be heartbreaking at times to see the states that some of the dogs are found in, but it is so rewarding to see them go into their new homes and begin their new lives filled with love. I’ve met such great people along the way, and it’s such a beautiful thing to do. I have two lovely rescue dogs myself who take up a lot of my time, but I love every second I spend with them. They’re the best two little beings that ever came into my life.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far? 

Hands down, the most memorable and most special experience of my career so far has been attending the ‘Fisherman’s Friends: One and All’ premiere. Seeing myself on the big screen for the first time was so exciting – this was my first ever job after graduating from University, so it was always going to be a really special moment. Hopefully, the first of many more to come! It was great seeing all my fellow cast members again after so long, walking my first ever (little) red carpet, getting my pictures taken, etc. But also, to see the film in its entirety was so special. I felt the pure joy from everyone involved in creating the film throughout the whole cinema, and it made me feel so proud to be part of such an amazing production.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far? 

The person I’ve really connected with the most has been Ramon Tikaram, who is most known for his roles in ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Eastenders’. Ramon plays ‘Jez’ in ‘Fisherman’s Friends: One and All’. After ‘Fisherman’s Friends’, we worked on another film called ‘The Hunting of the Snark’. ‘The Hunting of the Snark’ is a Lewis Carroll poem and has been adapted into a film by the amazing director Simon Da Vison. It is to be released in the next few months. Ramon has such an incredible energy and talent. As it was my first job, he knew I’d feel a bit nervous, making me feel super comfortable and welcome. He clearly cares a lot about his fellow cast members and has a really big heart.

If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you? 

I would play me! The more acting jobs I can do, the happier I’ll be!

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

My full focus is on my acting; it’s what I want more than anything in life. I do have a couple of film roles in the pipeline. I want to continue learning, attend acting classes, and do anything I can to grow my craft and become the best actor I can be. I’d also love the opportunity to travel with work. Outside of my career, I want to continue to help to save as many dogs as possible.

If there is anything else or interesting you can tell us

During my time at University, I worked at a day centre for people who are homeless or vulnerably housed. I helped run various activities with their clients, including acting workshops. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I hope in the future, I can use my platform as an actress to help disadvantaged people. I want to help make a difference.

Film Spotlight: An Exclusive Look At “After She Died”

Photo Credit: Nicole Muñoz Ortiz

After She Died follows the story of Jen (Liliana de la Rosa). Jen’s mother has just died. Her relationship with her father, John (Paul Talbot), is fractured beyond repair. Her friends, all recent high school graduates, are moving on with their lives and leaving behind the small town they once called home. Jen is, in every sense of the word, alone. That is until John introduces Jen to his new girlfriend, Florence (Vanessa Madrid)… a woman who looks and sounds identical to Jen’s dead mother.

Jack Dignan is the writer, director, and producer of After She Died. Last year, he put together a team of eager up-and-coming filmmakers to work on this passion project. They made the film for scraps without studio backing or financial investors. Now the film has been sold in North America and will be released on September 30th.

Back in 2020, he was in talks with both local and international studios to get funding for the film. When COVID hit, everyone closed their wallets. Instead of letting this defeat Jack, he put together all his money, worked out how much more he’d need to make the movie and decided to go on and make it himself. There was no guaranteed sale, profit, or release. Still, with a script he was excited about and a talented group of cast and crew, including some of the team behind this year’s WYRMWOOD: APOCALYPSE and classics like FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 8 and MOULIN ROUGE, he was eager to get the film made.

They shot the film over 18 days, with an unfortunately timed 100+ day lockdown starting after shoot day 10, meaning the movie’s second half wasn’t shot until months after the first. But cut to 2022, and the film is done and ready for release. He’s extremely excited to share it with audiences everywhere and let the world experience their little horror movie for themselves. Internationally, the distribution is being handled by Good Deed Entertainment and Cranked Up Films. Australian distribution is yet to be confirmed.

FilmCentral Magazine recently caught up with Jack to discuss After She Died, and here’s what went down:

Who’s the director and producer of the film?

Jack Dignan – Writer / Director / Producer

After accelerating through high school and gaining early access to film school at the age of 16, Jack Dignan has established himself as a writer, director, and producer with a unique style and a fresh voice in genre filmmaking. His recent short films ‘It Feels Like Spring’ and ‘Does Nobody See the Gun?’ have gained global recognition on the festival circuit, with the former now available on ShortsTV and the latter on YouTube.

Jack began his career as a well-regarded Australian film journalist, publishing written reviews across multiple platforms while working on his own DIY short films. In the leadup to his feature-length directorial debut ‘After She Died’, Jack spent years working on high-profile Hollywood productions, such as ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’, ‘Furiosa’, ‘Elvis’, ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ and more. He’s collaborated and worked with numerous Oscar winners and brings that knowledge and experience into his own filmmaking career.

Rhys William Nicolson – Co-Producer / Cinematographer

Rhys William Nicolson is an award-winning Cinematographer, Director, and Producer. He’s worked throughout broadcast at ABC and Channel NINE, at multiple production houses, and throughout feature, commercial, and narrative productions. His true passion is in narrative and creative content as a Director and Cinematographer, with recent screenings at Flickerfest and St Kilda, as well as numerous commercial projects and productions. He’s also received several awards for his Directing of the Psychological Thriller Pseudomonas.’ He’s also recently produced award-winning Music Videos for Amy Shark, Blasterjaxx, and several others. Rhys considers himself a chameleon of the creative industry.

Most recently, he’s been an Executive Producer and 2nd Unit Director on the recently released feature, ‘Wyrmwood: Apocalypse’, released in cinemas Feb 2022, and was a Co-Producer and Cinematographer on ‘After She Died’. With Wyrmwood: Apocalypse and portions of After She Died having been filmed on location at Rhys’ family property, now converted from Orchard to backlot, he hopes to help facilitate future indie projects in a similar way and continue to shoot meaningful, impactful, and entertaining content. He’s most recently landed a producer role at the publisher, LADbible, hoping to perpetuate and create more meaningful content, focusing on spreading the stories and truth of marginalised individuals living in oppression. He’s also been working alongside several First Nation’s creatives on a new series focused on Indigenous-Australian mythology based in a post-modern setting, which has just been greenlit.

Who is your main cast?

Liliana de la Rosa – Jen

Liliana de la Rosa (credited in the movie as Liliana Ritchie) is an emerging Spanish Filipino-Australian Actress and Singer based in Sydney, Australia. She had her Professional Theatre debut in the Australian Play ‘Blue Murder’ (2018) after graduating High School on the Gold Coast, Queensland and was awarded the 71st Barbara Sisley Award in 2017 for receiving the highest Speech and Drama examination score with Trinity College London (AMEB). She recently starred as ‘Gloria’ in the 2022 Stage Play ‘Sex Shop,’ written and directed by Jake Moss at the Brisbane Arts Theatre, and featured as the Lead in Short Film ‘Dug Your Grave’ (2020), which was a part of the Sunshine Coast Screen Collective Film initiative with Screen QLD. She was the Lead in Television Mini-Series ‘Now More Than Ever,’ (2020) and has also wrapped as one of the lead Actor’s in Newcastle Indie Film ‘The Savvy Bedlam Boarding House’ produced by Ten Coat Productions.

She has trained professionally in the Performing Arts across multiple Australian Drama Schools since the age of 10 and is also currently working with world-renowned Actor and Coach Les Chantery, Casting Director and Mentor – Tom Mcsweeney, and with Anthony Meindl’s AMAW Sydney. She has skills across the board that include Singing, Writing, Directing, Photography, Track and Field, and a variety of other sports. Taping for Lead TV and Film roles across Australia and America, Liliana is an up-and-coming young Actress to definitely keep an eye out for.

Vanessa Madrid – Isabel / Florence

Vanessa Madrid is an actor and stunt woman with a Bachelor of International Development Studies from the Australian Catholic University. She’s recently wrapped on multiple feature films, including the lead role in the psychological thriller ‘Mercy of Others,’ a supporting role in ‘Lickerish,’ and dual roles in the horror film ‘After She Died,’ where she showcased what a chameleon she can be. In 2021, Vanessa appeared in the second season of the Stan original series ‘Bump,’ and the short film Wrath,’ which is a finalist in many festivals around the world. She’s appeared in several TVCs as both an actor and stunt double, and she recently wrote/directed/starred in her own short film ‘Survival of the Fittest.’ Vanessa has had the pleasure of working on two different docu-series, ‘Deadly Women’ and ‘The Invisibles,’ and is currently working on the Australian TV series ‘Pervert’ in a lead role. Later this year, Vanessa will be playing a lead role in an action drama feature film ‘Syndicate‘. Vanessa honed her skills at the Actors Pulse, is currently studying at the Sydney Acting Studio, and continues her ongoing stunt training with Ray Anthony at Stunt Action Consultants.

Paul Talbot – John

Paul Talbot began his acting career strong, receiving two nominations for best performance at Bond University Qld for his stage roles as Argus in ‘Good Knight Reverie’ and Bradley in ‘The Picnic’. He was also awarded best performance in the 2018 QSFT Awards Night for his lead role in ‘Mirror Mirror’. From here, he continued to catch the attention of audiences in ‘Eleventh Day’ as Robert Hodgeson, and the comedic role Dick in ‘Dick’s Desolate Destinations’, a parody showcasing his natural comedic abilities. It was not till his two theatre roles in ‘Looking for Love’ (David, the Reverend) and ‘Helpless the Bittersweet’ (Joe, SUNPAC Qld), both sold-out venues, that proved his versatility as an actor. His continuing rise has secured him supporting roles as Varg in the TV series ‘Nightingale Lonely Melodies’, Michael in ‘Company Policy’, Pete in ABC TV series ‘Born to Spy’ and John in the feature ‘After She Died’.

Other cast members include Adam Golledge (The Longest Weekend), Barbara Bingham (Deadhouse Dark, Friday the 13th Jason Takes Manhattan), Greg Poppleton (The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader), Cassandre Girard (Thor: Love and Thunder), Lorry D’Ercole (Moulin Rouge!) and newcomers Annabelle Andrew, Noah Fowler and Mariah Stock.

What inspired the story? How did it come about?

Jack Dignan: The story of After She Died came to me, admittedly, after a weekend spent binging old episodes of the Twilight Zone and a bunch of Asian horror movies, such as Audition and A Tale of Two Sisters. I loved the style, look, and atmosphere of those films, and I had this idea blossom about a father introducing his daughter to his new girlfriend and the girlfriend looking exactly like the daughter’s dead mother. I wanted to take the style and approach of those Asian horror movies I loved so much and apply it to the little story idea I had in mind. So I got writing and three years later, after a lot of hard work and endless nights crying myself to sleep, After She Died was completed!

What makes this story unique and why should people watch it?

Jack Dignan: After She Died is horror through the uncanny. The story begins in deliberately familiar territory – a broken family dynamic, grieving protagonists, a character seemingly brought back from the dead – but, without giving away the film’s twists and turns, audiences will gradually discover that the real story of After She Died isn’t what it first appeared to be. All those familiar beats and setups gradually get turned on their head, subverting expectations in the most gruesome and terrifying ways. It’ll dig right under your skin and won’t let you go!

What was the production process like?

Jack Dignan: Unorthodox (laughs)! We made this film in the most indie way possible – raising the money ourselves through private funding and an abundance of favours. A lot of the crew were people Rhys, and I knew or had worked with before who were willing to come on board and help bring my vision to life. It was shot fast and cheap, but never at the expense of quality. We had 18 days to shoot it, and we moved at a million miles an hour. The images, sounds, and performances on screen are, in my totally biased opinion, sensational, and despite a challenging production, I’m beyond happy with the final product. Every dollar we had was put onto the screen.

What was the most challenging part of bringing the project to light?

Jack Dignan: The biggest challenge was just getting to that first day of shooting. All I wanted for so many years was to get to that first day. I knew that once we started shooting, no matter what unexpected challenges came our way afterward, there would be no turning back. We had to commit. But until the cameras start rolling, anything goes. Thankfully, those cameras rolled.

Did anything funny or exceptional happen on set?

Jack Dignan: It was greatly speculated that the house we were shooting in was a haunted house. Much of this film takes place in our lead character’s house, and a few of us crew members lived in this house during filming. At night, we’d hear things (or people!) moving about in the dark, lights would turn on, gates would open, and one night our behind-the-scenes photographer Nicole even saw a dark figure wandering the upstairs hallway… while all of us were hanging out downstairs. I’ve got so many stories of spooky shenanigans happening in that house. Maybe there’s a movie to be made from them…

Are there any great achievements from your cast or crew you want to mention?

Jack Dignan: So many! I’m so proud of all the cast and crew, and I could talk about them endlessly. Rhys William Nicolson, our cinematographer, and co-producer, just released my favourite movie of the year so far – Wyrmwood: Apocalypse! Definitely check that one out. Adam Golledge, who plays Louis, just sold out multiple sessions at Sydney Film Festival for his new film The Longest Weekend! Noah Fowler, who plays The Sheep-Man, just starred in a hilarious new play in Sydney. Paul Talbot, who plays John, keeps popping up in a new ad every time I open Facebook. The list goes on and on! I could talk about them all, but we sadly don’t have the time. They’re a talented bunch, though, that’s for sure.

What is the next step for the project?

Jack Dignan: The film comes out in North America on September 30, thanks to the fine folk at Cranked Up Films and Good Deed Entertainment, which is very exciting. The next step is getting the film released here in Australia, so I can finally prove to my family that this passion project of mine is real and not some scheme to steal all their money/investments.

Has it won any awards or had any big achievements yet?

Jack Dignan: Several Academy Awards, including Best Picture!

If you could redo anything in the process or the film itself, what would it be?

Jack Dignan: That’s a tough question! The film’s too fresh in my mind and close to my heart for me to answer that. Maybe I’ll be able to give you a better answer in five years. But I will say that I learned a lot about filmmaking, what works and what doesn’t work, and how to tell a narrative across 100 minutes, and I hope to take all this knowledge with me into my next movie.

Check Out The Official Launch Of The 2nd Make It Australian Campaign TVC, “Serenity”

Today sees of the launch of another poignant Make It Australian campaign TVC, ‘Serenity,’ inspired by the classic 1997 Australian comedy The Castle.

‘Serenity’ is the second of four specially made TVCs we had commissioned to support our campaign, with others to be released in the coming months.

Check out the TVC below:

How you can support Make it Australian:

  • Head to Make It Australian and take action.
  • Email your newly elected MP and Senator to tell them about this issue.
  • Download and print out a postcard from the Make It Australian website and use these to take a photo, upload it to social media, and tag it with #MakeitAustralian.
  • Follow them on social media and share social media posts about the campaign with your networks.

Meet The Man Behind The July 2022 Issue Of FilmCentral Magazine: Steve Stanulis

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Steve Stanulis, trailblazing actor, producer, and creative force behind Stanulis Productions Inc. and Chaos Production Inc. has appeared in several major studio movies such as ‘The Interpreter’ and ‘I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry,’ acclaimed indie films (Cupidity, Over the GW), and TV shows (The Sopranos, HBO series The Deuce). He also branched into production, starring in and producing the short films Dick & Jane and Because of You, and the award-winning feature The Invisible Life of Thomas Lynch.

Originally a decorated NYPD officer, Stanulis changed his career path when he got injured on the job. After studying at Manhattan’s HB Studios, Stanulis pursued his long-standing love for films. His passion eventually led him to getting co-starring credits in Aftermath with Tony Danza and Anthony Michael Hall, Darkroom with Elizabeth Rohm, Sam, executive produced by Mel Brooks, and American Fango, winner of a dozen Best Feature awards. Stanulis also starred in and produced the comedy-drama The Networker, co-starring William Forsythe, Sean Young, and Stephen Baldwin, directed by indie icon and frequent Stanulis collaborator John Gallagher. It was released in September 2017 by Sony’s The Orchard, making three consecutive films (Sam, American Fango, The Networker) acquired by Sony companies in less than a year, a truly unique achievement.

As a producer, Stanulis founded Stanulis Productions, Inc. in 2012, with the feature film Long Shot Louie, starring Jake Robinson (The Carrie Diaries), winning Best Drama at the Williamsburg Film Festival. In 2016, he produced and starred in Say Something, co-starring Marc John Jeffries, a cautionary anti-terror drama filmed in Times Square, receiving massive media exposure and also available on Amazon Prime. He directed the feature-length musical documentary Legends of Freestyle starring Lisa Lisa and C & C Music Factory and created the pilot for the TV series The Fifth Borough, starring Cathy Moriarty, Richard Grieco, Vincent Young, Vincent Pastore, and Joseph D’Onofrio. Stanulis recently created Chaos Production Inc. and announced his first project, the horror movie Clinton Road, which he will direct, starring Ice T, Vincent Pastore, Bo Dietl, Ace Young, and Fredro Starr.

Stanulis’ creativity is inspired by his experiences as a former NYPD policeman, Chippendales dancer, and bodyguard for several A-list celebrities, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Kanye West. FilmCentral magazine recently caught up with Steve to discuss his journey in the industry, and here’s what went down:

Can you describe your journey to becoming a producer?

I always believed when I broke into this business that you have to make yourself indispensable. The thought of waiting for my agent to call or putting my destiny into someone else’s hands never sat right with me. So I decided to produce and make myself more valuable to the powers that be in the business.

What methods do you use to communicate effectively with directors, actors, crew members, and writers to discuss production details?

I always like a hands-on approach when discussing a new project I am producing. I want to share my visions with the writer, director, and most importantly, the actor. I love getting feedback on character development and like to give everyone the comfort to provide their creative input, which I believe is essential to making great content.

What do you think is the most important skill to have when producing something for television or for film?

The most important skill to have is no matter how big the production is; you’re always going to run into issues, whether it be with the cast, a location, or a food allergy. No matter the issue, never let anyone see you get flustered, and always be prepared with a plan B. I think that usually comes with experience over time.

What do you think is the most difficult task of a producer when planning a production?

The most difficult task behind the scenes is ensuring all the proper funds are not only in place but allocated accordingly. The second equally important task is scheduling your DOODS with your “Anchor” actors in place within specific time frames that coincide with your main locations.

What is the first step you take when working to secure financing?

Dealing with a studio like Lionsgate, for example. Letting them know the budget and genre and who they deem means the most, both foreign and domestic actors, to properly set your budget to assess potential earnings while mitigating risk.

How do you go about establishing deadlines for a project, and what do you do to keep it on schedule?

I am very old school in the sense that once you set a hard date for something, it makes it real and gets everyone on the team in the mindset that it’s go time!

Given the choice, would you prefer to miss a deadline to make a project perfect or meet a deadline but compromise the quality of the production?

Luckily I have never been in this situation. But if that were to happen, I would definitely miss the deadline and then compromise the integrity of the project.

Can you tell us about a time when you needed to change your style to accommodate the communication style of one of the critical members of the production team?

Every new project brings different people to the cast and crew. You are dealing with many personalities from different parts of the country. Some might not have the same mindset or do things differently. I always start off being the most professional I can be with everyone and try my best to read the room. Usually, I assess from there but if you are a professional and you treat everyone, with respect at all times I feel it goes a long way with the whole team.

What do you look for in a script when deciding whether you would like to join a project as the producer?

What I look for in a script is simple: does the genre and certain script have marketability and will it make money! Or is the topic of the script timely with what’s going on in the world today.

How do you deal with unforeseen strains on the budget and/or timetable during a production?

Like I mentioned in a prior question, I have been absolutely blessed that I have yet to go over budget. I hope next time we speak I have the same exact answer (laughs).

What projects are you working on right now?

Right now we are about to release a film called “Monica” with Emily Browning at Patricia Clarkson fall of 2022. We are working on a tv show called “Great Kills” closely with Peacock. As well as a pretty controversial documentary called “15 days with Kanye.” Those are the immediate ones n post production we are off to an amazing 2022!

Meet The Rising Star Behind The June 2022 Issue Of FilmCentral Magazine: Sadia Nabila

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Sadia Nabila is a Bangladeshi Australian actress and model who has been in the modeling industry for over nine years. So far, she has done three full-featured films and a number of short films as well as TV commercials.

Her first film was a Bollywood film named Pareshaan Parinda (2018). Her latest film, which was recently released worldwide, was “Mission Extreme – part 1,” which is a sequel to one of Bangladesh’s highest-grossing films “Dhaka Attack (2017). Her next film, which is scheduled to be released within six months, is “Mission Extreme – part 2.”

She has been recently nominated for one of the most prestigious awards in Bangladesh called “Meril – Prothom Alo Award” in the “Best Actress” category. She has always believed in breaking the glass ceiling, trying to go one step closer every day. She wants to be a voice for all those women out there who are scared to follow their hearts; she also wants to be a voice for the South Asian women living in other countries; she wants them to know that you can still dream big and work towards your dream even though you are far away from your birthplace.

FilmCentral magazine recently caught up with Sadia to discuss her journey in the industry, and here’s what went down:

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your career?

My journey in the creative field started at a very young age. I still remember my very first stage performance at the age of 5. I was enrolled at both the dance and music academies back then, and I also had private lessons at home. Cultural activities have always been part of my life, and I genuinely loved every bit of it.

My parents have been my biggest supporters, so I would never have achieved all my things without them. They took me to all the local and national competitions, and I always had lots of shows going on at once. My father worked in defense, he made sure I was disciplined, and both mom and dad pushed me to get good marks in school and taught me time management skills, which were valuable when it came to all the competitions and other activities. I was attracted to the television industry from a very young age, and I used to tell my mom I wanted to be an actress when I grew up. My first modelling shoot was in year 10, I worked on some music video projects after that. When I was in uni (University of Canberra), I did multiple fashion shows, shoots, and other activities while teaching dance in a Bollywood dance school.

In 2017 I randomly took part in a beauty pageant, and I was crowned 1st runner up. Soon after that, I got an offer for a Bollywood film, “Pareshaan Parinda” – which was released in 2018. I worked in Bangladesh media, and I did several TVCs and short films. I am constantly traveling between Australia and Bangladesh, working in the industry.

In 2019, I got an offer to work in the Bangladeshi film “Mission Extreme” alongside Arifin Shuvoo; this film is the sequel to one of Bangladesh’s highest-grossing films, “Dhaka Attack” (2017). We shot the movie from 2019 through to 2020. “Mission Extreme” was released worldwide in December 2021. My next film, “Blackwar – Mission Extreme 2,” is scheduled to be released in six months. I have been recently nominated for one of the most prestigious awards in Bangladesh called “Meril – Prothom Alo Award” in the “Best Actress” category. Soon, I will be flying overseas for this event. As I said, I am constantly traveling back and forth (laughs).

What do you like most about acting?

Acting is magical to me. I love how I can use my creativity to turn into so many different people, connect to the audience and make it real. Acting requires me to use my imagination to bring the character out in a way that the audience can relate to; this power itself is incredible, and this feeling is so freeing and exciting. I think this is what I like most about acting.

What are your weak points when it comes to acting?

I feel like, at times, I am too hard on myself, and I let myself fall into the trap of seeking perfection. Even when I nail a scene, I tell myself I can do it better. I know some might think it’s a good thing, but it can sometimes be bad as well.

What are your strong points as an actor?

I think my strong points are that I am very hard working, give everything I have and don’t give up until I feel I have gotten the scene right. I have done shoots 24 hours straight without sleeping and left the set with a smile because I am always completely invested in my projects, and I give 100% in everything I do.

What have you learned from the directors you have worked with throughout your career?

I am a learner; I am always trying to learn something new from everyone. So over the years, I have always tried to gather as much knowledge as possible from my directors and improve my skills. The way they envision and expect you to bring a character to life, the mutual understanding itself is the key to making any project successful. If you don’t understand your director well, you can not execute their vision of your character, which will reflect on the screen. So before any project, I always have longer brainstorming sessions with my directors to prepare myself mentally. They have honestly helped me a lot to expand my knowledge.

What are some of the difficulties of the acting business?

I think it varies from person to person. There are so many talented people out there. Only some people get the opportunity to come into the spotlight, and some don’t. So it’s a hustle and a bit of luck. However, once you are in the spotlight, you have to keep on hustling even more to hold onto your position because everyone will have high expectations, and you do not want to lose your position.

What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?

I feel like it’s a process. A script requires an actor to become someone else, and you can’t make it happen overnight. There’s a lot of preparation involved. We need to read our scenes repeatedly so that they can sink in, and only then can we act naturally because we actually become the character itself. It takes a lot of brainstorming and can be time-consuming.

What do you do when you’re not filming?

With both modelling and acting, I actually have a very tight schedule. Other than that, I have a business in Canberra. Growing up, I always felt for the people with needs. So my company, “Innovative Support Solutions,” provides services to people with vulnerabilities and disabilities to empower them to reach their full potential as active community members. Plus, I love kids. So every now and then, whenever I get a chance, I try to spend time with the special needs children.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

In my latest film, I played a character I could relate to so much to myself. It was about a hard-working woman who loves her work so much but is pressured by her fiance to quit her job and get married and settle down, which is a shame. So in one of the scenes, she broke off her engagement and had a meltdown, thinking that things are so unfair for women in some societies. I saw many people cry in the theatre during that particular scene. Many people have written on social media about my character. They can also relate so much that I have gotten hundreds of messages after the movie’s release, and everyone praised my acting. Some said they wanted to be like me one day, and that made me so happy and emotional at the same time. I guess that’s the most memorable experience of my career so far.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

I find people fascinating. As I said, I like to learn from everyone. So it’s interesting how every person I meet is different from the other. I never really had an idol, I am just constantly learning and growing, and every single person I have met in my journey has taught me something and left some impact on my life.

If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?

Not sure (laughs); I would love that to be played by someone who completely understands my journey and can portray it accurately. Not just focus on my achievements but all the obstacles I had to go through to get to where I am now. The whole team will have to have a pretty long brainstorming meeting with me at the beginning stages (laughs).

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

I believe in hard work and destiny, and I know I will always be in show business. I have always listened to my heart and followed my dreams. Life is too short to be unhappy doing things we don’t want to do. I never tried or wanted to live my life how others wanted or expected. I am living my best life because this is what I chose for myself. I want to keep working hard the same way because I always believed our future depends on what we do in the present.

Nicole Pastor, An Actor On The Rise!

Nicole Pastor is set to star in four new Australian features in the coming months. Playing Stephanie in Matthew Holmes’s new feature “The Cost”, “Noelle” in Heath Davis’s feature “Christmess”, Bronte in Jennifer van Gessel’s feature “Fable” (working title) and finally playing Paula in Matt Norman’s debut feature “Shackle,” alongside Steve Le Marquand, Pippa Grandison, Jason Gann, Myles Pollard, and Steve Bastoni.

“The Cost” is a psychological revenge drama by writer, director, and producer Matthew Holmes. Co-written by Gregory Moss. The ensemble cast includes Jordan Fraser-Trumble, Damon Hunter, Kevin Dee, Clayton Watson, Cait Spiker, and Nicole Pastor. The Cost is being produced by Blake Northfield of Bronte Pictures in association with Holmes’ own Two Tone Pictures and Russell Cunningham of RLC Motion Pictures, who previously produced Holmes’ 2016 feature ‘The Legend of Ben Hall’. The Cost is currently in post-production.

“Fable” (working title) is an upcoming horror film written and directed by Jennifer van Gessel (Water Horse, Beast No More) that explores perceptions of lesbian relationships. Currently in development. Nicole will play the lead character Bronte who is a successful travel blogger.

Nicole is also set to lead Matt Norman’s (Salute, The Writer, I’ll stand with you) debut feature “Shackle,” playing the role of Paula. Set in the 1950s, Shackle tells the story of Ronny, played by Steve Le Marquand, who is sentenced to life in a mental asylum for killing his mother as a young child. On his death bed, Ronny’s father admits to the crime, sending Ronny to live out his days with his Grandfather on an outback property. But, nothing is as it seems! Shackle is written, directed, and produced by Norman and stars Steve Le Marquand, Pippa Grandison, Myles Pollard, Jason Gann, Steve Bastoni, and Nicole Pastor. Filming is to start at the end of 2022 / the start of 2023.

Nicole Pastor can be seen in “Box” by Alex Proyas on Vidiverse now and in “Ruby’s Choice” alongside Jane Seymour and Jacqueline McKenzie in cinemas now.

Disney+ Teams Up With The Matildas To Showcase Australian Sporting Spirit

The Walt Disney Company and Football Australia today announced a new Australian-commissioned Disney+ Original which will tell the story of the Australian women’s national football team, the Commonwealth Bank Matildas, as they prepare for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ on home soil alongside co-host New Zealand.

The six-part docu-series – yet to have its title revealed – will go behind-the-scenes of the popular Australian national sporting team, the Matildas, and track the rise of women’s sport through incredible and immersive storytelling. It will chronicle the highs and lows as well as extraordinary teamwork, trust and spirit – as the squad looks to create history and leave an unrivalled legacy for the sport in Australia and abroad.

Off the field, the series will highlight how the Matildas are pioneering change, as well as covering their experiences during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup. The series will also explore the influence of head coach Tony Gustavsson, and the special connection the Matildas have with their fans. Overall, it will capture how the Matildas are able to unite Australians in the lead up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™.

Production of the series is underway, led by Executive Producers, Steve Bibb (Inside the Sydney Opera House, Shipwreck Hunters Australia) and Christopher G. Cowen (Decades Series, College Football 150, State of Play) with Katie Bender Wynn (The Will To Fly) as Director. Fremantle and Boardwalk Pictures will lend services on this global production.

The series will launch on Disney+ locally in 2023 and be available on Disney+ globally at a later date.

The Walt Disney Company will reveal its 2022/23 scripted and unscripted Disney+ Australian commissions in the coming weeks, adding to the Matildas series.

Kylie Watson-Wheeler, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of The Walt Disney Company in Australia and New Zealand said, “The Matildas are gamechangers for women’s sport in Australia and around the world. This Australian narrative details the impressive skill, determination, commitment, and stamina it takes in the lead up to the World Cup in 2023. The series transcends football and celebrates the true Australian spirit of the Matildas.”

James Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Football Australia said, “The Commonwealth Bank Matildas represent Australia on the world stage as global ambassadors and are an inspiration to many, both young and old. This docu-series is an incredible opportunity to share their story not just locally, but globally, and at a time of rapid evolution in women’s football, we are proud to be working with the world’s best story-telling company to bring the Matildas spirit to life.

“In partnering with The Walt Disney Company, Football Australia has chosen a partner that focuses on stories with inspirational and aspirational themes. Together, we hope that this docu-series will inspire the next generation of footballers, girls and boys, around the world, and our players are excited by that challenge.”

Director, Katie Bender Wynn said, “The Matildas have broken through massive barriers for women in sport, yet their story has never properly been told. I’m thrilled that Disney+ is shining a light on this inspiring group of women whose stories are worthy of the biggest platform. On its surface, this is a classic tale about a team of women preparing for the greatest tournament of their lives; but at its core, it’s an intimate portrait of a sisterhood that transcends the game.”

Executive Producer, Steve Bibb said, “As a documentary maker and an inquisitive football fan, it’s a privilege to be given the opportunity to tell the Matildas’ story in this special moment in time. The behind- the-scenes access allows us to bring this story to the world as we chart the journey of these inspiring women writing the next chapter in their story on the road to the 2023 World Cup.”

Executive Producer, Christopher G. Cowen said, “Disney+ and Football Australia have given us the opportunity to tell the inspiring story of the Matildas to the millions of young female and male football players around the globe, and that is a responsibility that our entire team takes on with great zeal.”

Actor Spotlight: One On One With Jonathon James Williams

Jonathon James Williams is an Australian-born filmmaker finding ways to make his dreams a reality in Los Angeles. Back in Australia, Jonathon started out as a carpenter and construction worker making a living working tunnel construction and carpentry. During those long hours, he found himself daydreaming of sunshine and living the Hollywood dream. Following a near-death workplace accident, he decided to follow his lifelong dream and step into the California sun. He traded in his construction hat for a plane ticket, and never looked back.

Once Jonathon arrived in Los Angeles in 2013 he enrolled at the world-famous Stella Adler Academy of Theater in Hollywood. He cut his teeth there during his full-time studies and then began to produce and direct high-concept short films. He was also a former Masterclass Film director student of Academy Award-nominated actor James Franco. From there, he was able to jump into this industry and has been blessed with various opportunities to showcase his talents. Currently, he has spent the last two years producing, directing, and acting in “I Want To Thank The Academy”. This movie is in the spirit of Crocodile Dundee, but on the streets of Hollywood, where they deep dive into the actor’s world through the lens of an outback Australian farmer.

FilmCentral Magazine recently caught up with Jonathon to discuss his journey in the industry and here’s what went down:

What do you like most about acting?

The chance to embody another character. To be in a story that can bring joy, happiness, sadness, or education.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Keeping the faith and trusting your vision. There is limited support or celebration prior to delivering a great movie. Until that moment arrives, it is solitude and isolation. At times, I am the only one working on the project and which does lead me to find ways to keep the motivation going.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to viewers what they want?

It can be a mix. All the movies I have ever directed reflect original storylines, but cinema does have a great history of norms, that sometimes have to be nodded to.

If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?

Keep dreaming and keep the faith.

What was an early experience where you learned that films had power?

As a kid, I grew up in a troubled home with an alcoholic mom in a suburb that borders the world-famous Broadmeadows in Victoria, Australia. But, every Tuesday my dad would rent 5 movies for $5 from Blockbusters and we would have them for a week. I used to watch movies all day, and it became my escape and set me froth on my future path. Movies help, they foster dreams and help people when they are down. They inspire, motivate, and can change hearts and minds. They educate people on the wonders of this world along with the cruelty of it. Since my childhood, I focus on creating a storyline that can help others. Just like past movies have helped me.

Can you tell us more about your latest film?

I just can’t think of too many Australian movies that were made in the United States. There was the Dundee’s, but apart from that, there’s been none. Until now. That’s what makes “I Want To Thank The Academy” so special. It will blow away the audience. A movie like this has never been done and this story has never been told and I’m more than happy to say it is going to be one of the greatest independent movies made. In the movie, Richard Wilken is an Australian cattle farmer who moves to Hollywood to chase his childhood dreams of becoming an actor. Richard takes the audience on an outrageous and audacious journey through Hollywood and life, as he moonlights with an unusual job and grinds away in an attempt to achieve his unlikely dream of being an actor. “I Want To Thank The Academy” is littered with a powerful ensemble of known actors: Rick Peters, Justine Wachsberger, Bruce Katzman, Cami Storm, Katarzyna Wolejnio, Noel Gibson, Steve Krahel, Tarek Tohmne, Jeff Alan Lee, Carolyn Crotty, Samantha Mahurin, Jonathon Williams, Jason Trevits and other notable names. We have a great collection of well-known actors that have done substantial international work. We have over twenty nationalities representing our cast and crew and several immigrants cast in this film. It is a movie that represents Australia in strong and fun light, showcasing the Aussie Spirit. Viewers will relate to the feeling of pride found in pursuing dreams in life and can watch it all unfold on the Hollywood stage. It truly is an extraordinary effort and the bar has been set high to deliver a multimillion-dollar movie on a fraction of that budget through hard work and hustle.

What inspired the story? How did it come about?

The original concept of the central character came from a misadventure on set. I was hired by a big time film director who has worked with the likes of Russell Crowe, Denzel Washington, Sir Anthony Hopkins and so on. I was cast as this Australian character in a supporting role and I was told to be super Australian and come to set prepared. At the time, I got no camera time, a few scenes and I believe the schedule got so backed up, I was forgotten. But it planted the seed for Richard Wilkin’s going forward. I then mustered together all of my wild and unusual experiences I have had in Los Angeles and in the acting world, then coiled them into the script and movie. Therefore, the movie is loosely based on real events. After that, it has been nonstop hustle; hard work; thousands of crazy hours of blood, sweat and tears that have gone into this movie.

What makes this story unique and why should people watch it?

This movie is one of a kind and centers on a story that has never been told. It is the only Australian movie since Crocodile Dundee to be filmed in the great United States.

What was the production process like?

Fun and daring, but before filming, we spent over a year on the script and then worked in some of the most iconic locations in Los Angeles, Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Blvd, Rodeo Dr, Santa Monica Pier and many more. It has been a blast and a film that shows the awesome and vibrant life of Los Angeles, and the acing world, but through the eyes of an Australian farmer. So, we had a wild and fun ride.

What was the most challenging part of bringing the project to light?

Did anything funny or exceptional happen on set? We had multiple scenes in some of the most iconic locations that are full of tourists and spectators, the main character Richard is dressed as if he is from the early 1900s so he sticks out like a sore thumb, so it is super funny for the average viewer watching us film.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

Directing and acting in my upcoming film, “I Want To Thank The Academy” I have mastered being patient in the process. By developing this skill, I have been able to spend time creating a movie that ultimately showcases the Australian culture right here in Hollywood. It takes time to artistically contrast the spirit of Australia along with the Los Angeles backdrop, but with dedicated work, it has successfully been done. By patiently believing in my vision, I have had the opportunity to create a movie that is in the vein of Crocodile Dundee. We have filmed at some of the most iconic locations in the world; Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood Sign, Rodeo Drive, and the Santa Monica Pier. It has been an incredibly amazing experience and it will live in cinema history. “I Want To Thank The Academy” is littered with a powerful ensemble of known actors: Rick Peters, Justine Wachsberger, Bruce Katzman, Cami Storm, Katarzyna Wolejnio, Noel Gibson, Steve Krahel, Tarek Tohmne, Jeff Alan Lee, Carolyn Crotty, Samantha Mahurin, Jonathon Williams, Jason Trevits and other notable names. This movie is audacious and amazing and it is from a whole collective of people from all walks of life that have brought this movie together. We represent almost every culture in the world with this incredible and diverse cast and crew and we feel that this movie does also represent the heart of Los Angeles and more so, the dare to dream which is in every single heart.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

Other artists and creatives. People who have overcome challenges. Los Angeles is filled with immigrants coming to America to chase a dream. I have had profound experience getting to know the struggles of others as they have come here to live a better life. It has humbled me and I am grateful. They are all unique and different in they own way. Los Angles is such a melting pot of culture and so many people of different walks of life. We can always learn from anyone.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

When I first moved to Los Angeles, director, and actor, Carlos Bernard always took the time to explain directing, storytelling, and life operating on big movie sets. But the greatest nugget I got from him was “you know what looks good on the monitor, and shoot for that”. It just simplified the process of having a very clear target to focus on when you have so many other components around you that can be daunting at times.

What advice would you give to a newbie director who wants to make it in the industry?

Dream, hustle, create, and do not give up.

If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?

A young Harrison Ford, we both started off as carpenters.

What are your future plans?

I’m currently in the festival phase and distribution of “I Want To Thank The Academy” which is going to be huge. I just got booked to direct a pilot titled “Home”, and then I’m tacking a movie on the Alien phenomena.

Is there is anything else or interesting you can tell us.

This upcoming film is a testimony to anyone out there with a dream. I grew up in the Los Angeles equivalent of South Central LA in the 1990s. The probability of a kid like me growing into the person I am today was slim. My entire childhood was something out of a Lifetime movie, and yet, I made it to Hollywood. What is interesting is how film saved me. It gave me the opportunity to triumph over my past. What is also interesting, is that anyone has the chance to make it. Often, the harder the struggle to get here, the more you have to express in your art.

Director Spotlight: Find Out More About Julie Kalceff

FIRST DAY SEASON 2_Director Julie Kalceff_photo credit Matt Byrne

Julie Kalceff is an Emmy award-winning Australian writer, director, and producer best known for writing, directing, and co-producing the television series First Day. This ground-breaking story of a 12-year-old transgender girl starting high school was the first Australian series to star a transgender actor in the lead role. It sold to multiple territories worldwide including Hulu (US) and CBBC (UK). In 2021, the series won the International Emmy Award for Best Kids Live-Action Series. That same year, First Day won the Rose d’Or, and a GLAAD Media Award (Children and Youth) which honour media for their fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBTQIA+ community and the issues that affect their lives. The second season of First Day was released in March 2022 and is available on Hulu in the US and ABC iView in Australia. 

In 2020, Julie was part of a “powerhouse female directing team” that spearheaded the feature film anthology drama Here Out West.

Julie first gained international attention when she created, wrote, directed, and produced the global hit digital drama series Starting From Now. Attracting critical and popular acclaim, it is one of the most-watched web series in the world – amassing over 190 million views in 230 countries. The series was also sold to and played on broadcast television in Australia.

FilmCentral magazine recently caught up with Julie to discuss her journey in the industry, and here’s what went down:

 Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started in the industry?

I started in the industry as a screenwriter. I used to read a lot as a child. My mum worked in the library at my primary school. Every day after school I’d go to the library and read while I waited for her to finish work. I got my love of books and stories from her and always wanted to be a writer. When I was nearing the end of high school I was encouraged by the teachers at my school and the adults in my life to find a “real” job. They saw writing as a hobby at best and not something that should be pursued as a career. It was considered wise to have “something to fall back on”. Lacking the confidence in myself as a writer and not having the courage to stand up to them, I did what they said and trained as a high school English teacher. It was only after I’d been teaching for 5 years that I realised I had to make a change or I’d regret it for the rest of my life. I resigned from my job and started teaching myself screenwriting. I was accepted into the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) in 2001 and completed a two-year Masters of Film and Television (Scriptwriting). While there I had my first taste of directing when I co-directed a short film I’d written called ex.

FIRST DAY SEASON 2_Evie Macdonald, Jackson Evans, Director Julie Kalceff_photo credit Matt Byrne

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

For me, the most difficult part of the artistic process is sustaining self-belief. You have to be incredibly persistent in this industry in order to make inroads. I spent ten years post-film school struggling to find my place in the industry. It was another three before I had my first TV credit. Those first ten years were especially difficult. I had no idea if I would ever have a breakthrough in my career. The one thing I knew was that if I gave up, that breakthrough would never happen. 

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to viewers what they want?

I don’t think these are an either/or proposition. I believe viewers want to watch screen content that is original. The breakthrough in my career that came ten years post-film school only came about because I decided to make a short-form online drama series called Starting From Now. At the time, people argued that drama wouldn’t work online, that only stand-alone comedic episodes that can be shared amongst friends stood any chance of attracting an audience. We made five seasons of Starting From Now over three years. I wrote and directed all thirty episodes, which quickly became my film school as a director. The series sold to SBS and has accumulated 190 million views to date. In short, there are a lot of viewers who want to watch content they haven’t seen before.

FIRST_DAY_S2_Elena Liu as Olivia and Evie Macdonald as Hannah_photo credit Matt Byrne

Where do you draw your inspiration for your stories?

When I graduated from the AFTRS I thought I had to write films and television series similar to those that already existed. I thought this was the only way to get something made, to land that first credit. The problem with that approach is you’re not writing from the heart. You’re trying to imitate, rather than create. A major turning point for me was when I realised I had to write the types of stories I wanted to see. I had to write from the heart and put myself on the page.

If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?

You will find your place in the world. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

What was an early experience where you learned that screen content had power?

The audience response to Starting From Now took me by surprise. We received countless messages from viewers saying how much it meant to them to see a show about four women who happened to be lesbians but their sexuality wasn’t the focus of the series. The simple act of seeing complicated and complex characters who weren’t tortured by their sexuality or ostracised by society meant a great deal to our audience who had been historically underrepresented on screen.  You can’t underestimate the power of seeing yourself and people like you on screen. As long as these depictions are multi-dimensional characters who aren’t mined for cheap laughs or trauma, they can lead to a greater sense of self-worth, inclusion, and acceptance.

Screen content is incredibly powerful. It not only has the potential to do a great deal of good but it also has the potential to cause harm. As a filmmaker, I’m responsible for the work I put out into the world. I have to be mindful of the impact of my work and, as such, am very particular about the types of projects I choose to work on.

Can you tell us more about your latest film/television project?

My latest project is First Day (Season 2). First Day is a 4 x half-hour family television series about Hannah Bradford, a transgender girl in her second year of high school. It stars Evie Macdonald as Hannah and is produced by Kirsty Stark (Epic Films) and Kate Butler (Kojo). Kirsty produced the first season, as well as the stand-alone 20 minute episode on which the series was based. Both Seasons 1 and 2 of First Day are available on ABC iView in Australia and Hulu in the US (with more territories to follow).  

Has it won any awards or had any big achievements yet?

Season 1 of First Day won an International Emmy Award, a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Kids & Family Programming, the Rose d’Or for Best Children and Youth Series, a BANFF World Media Festival Rockie Award for Best Live-Action Series (Children 0-10), a Kidscreen Award for Best Live-Action Series, First Prize in the Live-Action Television Category at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, and the ATOM Award for Best Children’s Television Program. It was nominated for two AACTA Awards – Best Children’s Program and Best Screenplay in Television, the SDIN (Screen Diversity Inclusion Network) Award and was a finalist in the Screen Producers Australia Awards.

It has sold to multiple territories around the world including the US, UK, Canada, France, Japan, Israel, Brazil, Taiwan, and South Africa.

FIRST DAY SEASON 2_Director Julie Kalceff, Elena Liu, Max Vasquez_photo credit Matt Byrne

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Find people you trust and work with them whenever possible.

What advice would you give to a newbie writer/director who wants to make it in the industry?

There isn’t just one pathway into the industry. Work hard, never stop learning, treat everyone equally, and, I know it’s difficult, but try not to compare yourself to others. If you keep doing those things, you might just find your own path.     

What are your future plans?

I’m currently in the development of a couple of longer-form TV series and a feature film. I’m also attached to co-direct a feature documentary that’s slated to shoot later this year. The majority of my work has been as a creator/writer/director and while I’d like to continue doing that, I’m also interested in directing more projects I haven’t created or written. I have US management and hope to work in both the US and Australia in the future.

Meet The Man Behind The March 2022 Issue Of FilmCentral Magazine: Rahel Romahn

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Rahel Romahn is a Western Sydney-based actor, known mainly for his roles in The Principal, Here Out West, Alex and Eve, Australian Gangster, and many more. He has appeared in several Film, Television, and Theatre productions in the last 15 years, with multiple awards, for his performance in the internationally acclaimed The Principal. He has worked on numerous films, and US TV shows in the past year, one of them being God’s Favorite Idiot, starring Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone. He is also the lead character in the upcoming Australian film Streets of Colour.

FilmCentral magazine recently caught up with Rahel to discuss his journey in the industry, and here’s what went down:

Can you tell us more about yourself?

I am an avid fan of theatre, playwrights, cats, all animals, motorcycles, talking to myself in the mirror, films, and cinema, creating my own unique style of fashion, food, playing football (soccer), and Liverpool FC.

How did you get started in the entertainment industry?

I was an oddball recluse who loved to mimic people and accents. I realised there was employment for my unconventional talents. I heard about a film course on the radio when I was 13, and that is where my journey into acting began. After that, I started doing screen acting workshops in a rundown old building for $30 a night, doing a new scene each week with a new partner. It was a very underground class, nestled deep in the mean streets of Sydney.

Photo Credit: Ali Nasseri

Which factors do you think contributed to your success as an actor?

Obsession. You have to be obsessed with the art form or career you are involved in, and only then can you achieve maximum success. If you are not thinking about it and improving your ability all day, every day, you better believe someone out there is, and their tenacity will subsequently be the reason they attain great heights and book the job that was destined for you.

Which do you consider to be the standout roles of your career to date?

The first major supporting lead role I played was Tarek Ahmed in The Principal for SBS. It was an important moment and role as it finally offered me the chance to truly put into action my ability in the craft of acting. My character was conflicted, confused, angry, sad, strong, vulnerable, scary, and gentle. It is not often someone of colour in Australia gets the opportunity to showcase such a complex character, and it has been my favourite released TV Series role thus far.

My first feature film leading role followed soon after, and I played Nick in Down Under. This dark comedy film was a fantastic role for me to showcase my comedic ability and timing. I was able to bask in the joy of a larger-than-life-failed thug who wants nothing more than to enact rage on others as he has not accepted himself. It was an excellent way to include a commedia dell’arte style character who was driven by physical urges.

My second feature film leading role was Tez in a film called Streets of Colour. This film was dear to my heart as it was a character who was fighting for the right to be able to see his son. He is a troubled young man, deeply in need of some encouragement and direction in his life to that he can ultimately change his life for the better. It was such a wonderful emotional journey, and I look forward to people seeing it.

A role I had great fun performing was Little Crazy in a show called Australian Gangster. I was given full freedom to improvise with this role and was able to tread the fine line between someone hilariously funny to psychotically scary—such a wonderful dichotomy.

The role people have not yet seen is my character in the soon-to-be-released Apple TV Series Shantaram. I cannot divulge too much at this point, but one word I can use to describe my character is a psychopath. I believe he will be a standout character due to his sheer vividness.

Photo Credit: Ali Nasseri

What are your weak points when it comes to acting? How do you try to improve them?

I am not sure if an actor can have weak points. I believe it is all about adding many techniques to your artistic palette, so to speak, and once you have a vast array of hues, you can polish and shade them with more detail, specificity, accuracy, and delivery. I will always go to acting class. I want to learn until my last days. That is the beauty of admitting you will never know everything, the excitement of discovery.

What has set me apart from most is my propensity for intensity and versatility. I can adapt to any genre, tone, speed, or atmosphere and do it while performing at optimum levels with absolute precision. I don’t need to sell it; the work will speak for itself.

What have you learned from the Directors that you have worked with throughout your career?

I have learned that the Director’s most important role is casting the right actor. That is 90% of the job complete. They pick the right person with the right feeling, musicality, physicality, energy, and demeanour. Once on set, it becomes about nuance, specificity, choices, guidance, and examination of the deeper meanings and subtext of a circumstance, atmosphere, or psychology. A Director helps guide the performer to achieve maximum potential as the Director has the vision ingrained in their psyche. Much like designing a piece of art, whether it be Edvard Munch’s The Scream to Norman Rockwell’s Homecoming Marine. Each frame is carefully crafted, with the actor being either the salient aspect or the object of subtle neutrality.

What are some of the difficulties of the acting business?

The difficulty of the acting business is the sheer number of people involved in it – the ratio of available roles to the amount of out of work actors. You also have to perform at your absolute best every time you act, as first impressions matter. You want your first time being seen to be memorable and exciting, as this will propel you into an energetic forward trajectory. You also have to have the right team that knows you and your instrument, so they can best support and facilitate your journey.

Photo Credit: Ali Nasseri

What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?

This may differ for many actors, but I absolutely love bringing a script to life. It is where I can stamp my uniqueness, my instrument, my colour, and the qualities that make everyone an enigma. The biggest issue about bringing a script to life is feeling strongly about the way a scene is played out and being challenged to perform in a manner that does not feel justified or in agreeance with your own impulse and vision. The key to sorting out that issue is to articulate your points very distinctly, listen to the opposing views, and work out an artistic compromise. Or you could just shoot two different takes.

What do you do when you are not filming?

Mostly, I work on my acting, play football (soccer), watch lots of movies, TV shows, and theatre, and always try and learn a new skill. This year, I learned how to ride a horse, ride a motorcycle, and learn a few stunts. I also love to hang out with my close friends and discuss everything from career to activities and what to eat for lunch.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far? Or career highlights?

There are a few memorable events. It is being nominated for an AACTA and Logie award, being artistically supported by Larry Moss, being able to make my family proud and recently I was in a TV Series where my character who was meant to be killed off in episode 6, got written in until episode 12, as the Producers loved my performance. The most recent highlight was being named the 11th recipient of the prestigious Heath Ledger Scholarship, presented by Australians in Film, which is the biggest honour an actor can receive in this country. The list of judges who had chosen me as the winner included Jacki Weaver, Chris Hemsworth, Alia Shawkat, Nina Gold, and Rachel Perkins. Heath Ledger is one of the most important actors of all time and to be associated with him and his family is something I will cherish for eternity.

Photo Credit: Ali Nasseri

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

This is a tough one. I find all people interesting. I like to watch and observe behaviour, voices, tones, emotions, and subtext. It can become mentally exhausting and unbearable at times, but human beings fascinate me. I often feel like an alien from outer space until I realise, I am also human. I would say, in the industry, I have been lucky to meet and work with Peter Andrikidis, Kriv Stenders, Steve Lightfoot, Bruce Marshall Romans, Charlie Hunnam, Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone, Abe Forsythe, Kip Williams and Luke Pasqualino. Those are just a few of the top of my head names. I have been blessed to meet and work with so many more amazing industry pioneers.

If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?

Al Pacino. No need to even think about that one.

Photo Credit: Ali Nasseri

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

I want to achieve the absolute greatest heights a person can achieve in an artistic career and then help others achieve the same. I know one person cannot put an end to all of the world’s problems, but if I can at least help one person, it’s something.

Is there anything else interesting you can tell us about you?

There is no language or accent that I cannot learn for a role. Try me.

Who is your representation at the moment?

I am currently represented by the agency Shanahan Management and managed by More/Medavoy based in the USA.