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Entries in Producer (14)

Monday
Apr172017

Call Answered: Tom Malloy: "Fair Haven" and "Midtown"

Tom Malloy, Photo Credit: Birdie ThompsonIt's always exciting when an interview I did with one person leads to an interview with another. It was because of my interview with Fair Haven filmmaker Kerstin Karlhuber, that I found my way to actor/writer/producer Tom Malloy, who produced and co-starred in the film.

It was great getting to learn more about Fair Haven from Tom (a film about a young man who returns to his family farm, after a long stay in ex-gay conversion therapy, and is torn between the expectations of his emotionally distant father, and the memories of a past, loving relationship he has tried to bury) as well as all the intricacies of his career including the other films/TV shows he has produced/starred in, including the Amazon comedy series Midtown (co-created with his friend stand-up comedian Scott Baker) about the banter that happens between cops.

For more on Tom be sure to visit http://tommalloy.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

1. After my interview with Kerstin Karlhuber, I am so excited to have the chance to speak with you! So, let's start with Fair Haven, which you produced and co-star in. What attracted you to this story? Why did you want to produce the film & co-star in the film, as opposed to just one or the other? What were some of the challenges of being both producer and actor? From the moment I read it, I thought the quality of the screenplay was top-notch. I was attracted to the project because it was such a sweet story, a story of a father and his son, and, at the end of the day, was all about love.

Kerstin asked me to produce, and she wanted to shoot it in Vermont. I initially turned it down because I didn’t have the bandwidth to get away and didn’t want to be away from my kids for too long. But then I called her back and asked if she’d be able to shoot in Rochester, NY, where I have a lot of family, and the rest is history.

As for producing, almost all of the projects I’m involved in have me as an actor somewhere. I believe, in 14 films, I’ve only not played a role twice. Acting is still my greatest passion. On set, with a film like this, since I was the sole producer, I only took a small role, a day-player type role. I believe I shot for 2-3 days. That’s the only way to do both. In the films (like Love N’ Dancing or The Alphabet Killer), where I was the lead role, I was lucky enough to have other producers involved who were able to cover for me!

2. In addition to Fair Haven, you also star in and co-write/produce the comedy series Midtown on Amazon, which is the brainchild of you and former NYPD Cop/current stand-up comedian Scott Baker...about the banter that happens between cops. First of all, how did you and Scott come to know each other and how soon after did you go, we should create this show? What do you love about working with Scott? Do you have any real life cop stories you can share with us? Scott and I met on the set of the movie Anger Management, with Adam Sandler. We were both playing NY Yankees in that movie, no lines. He and I hit it off right away, and the banter you see on Midtown is the exact banter between us in real life! We just play off each other so well, which is why I love working with him.

My favorite times are when I throw something out comedy-wise, and he picks up on it and throws it back to me. That’s when I know we’re in total comedy synergy on stage or in the show…which is completely improvised.

As for real-life cop stories, Scott wrote the book The Funniest Cop Stories Ever, which were true stories of the NYPD, so he’d be a better one to ask!

3. Who or what inspired you to become an actor, writer, producer? I remember when I first came up with that concept, around 2004. I told my agent at the time that I was going to be an actor/writer/producer, and she told me I was foolish to not focus on one of them. I claim that the same agent today is telling her actors: "You need to be all three." So much has changed with the business, and I have so many actor friends out of work or taking jobs in other industries because they can only do one thing. Being a "triple-hyphenate" has allowed me to not work anywhere outside the business and thrive! Plus, intrinsically, I’m an action-oriented person, so sitting around was never an option. I always just wanted to create my own projects.

4. Another film you starred in is Hero of the Underworld, where you play the overnight manager of an upscale hotel who takes it upon himself to become the savior of a guest who's been nearly beaten to death by her boyfriend. There is a line I love in the trailer that says "Every man gets a chance to be a hero or a coward." When in your life have you been the hero and when have you been a coward? Yes, I love that movie and it was based on true events. But good question about hero/coward. I’ve played the hero many times, I believe…broken up fights, helped people on the street, etc.  As for coward, I can’t think of the last time where I really felt that way. I try to live my life with the "no should’ves" rule. I never want to walk away and think "I should have done that," or "I should have said that." Not to say that I don’t get scared! I have tons of fear, but I just NEVER let it stop me. That’s a key to success right there…never let fear get in the way. Accept the fear and just do it anyway!

Tom Malloy5. You are also starring in the upcoming series Dropping The Soap with Jane Lynch, which is a behind-the-scenes look at a failing soap opera. With all the shows and films you've been in, what is the juiciest behind-the-scenes story you can tell us from a project you just knew was not going to do well? Such a great show, so ridiculously funny! I’m so proud of the show. I knew from the moment I watched it that it was going to be a hit. As for juicy stories, those would have to be after the premiere because my distribution company (Glass House Distribution) acquired the series after it was finished.

6. Let's just play with the show's title for a moment...If you were to "Drop the soap," what would you hope to find after you picked it up? Hopefully not a naked guy behind me in a prison shower. I think that’s where that expression came from!

7. You got to work with one of my idols...Betty White! What was that experience like? What did you learn from her? That was the highlight of my career so far!. She was so incredible…everyone on set immediately wanted her to be their grandma! 

As for learning something, it was just great to watch her have fun! A lot of times actors take life too seriously, and she was having fun with her lines and that was so great to watch. So I guess the lesson there is to have fun with your performance, and the audience has fun with you.

Jack Black & Tom Malloy at the Renal Support Network annual Charity Poker and Bingo Tournament8. When you are not acting, you enjoy playing Celebrity Poker Tournaments and participating in the West Coast Swing Dancing competitions. In poker, the highest win is a Royal Flush. What, in your career thus far, would you consider to be a Royal Flush? And when was a time you were like, "I fold"? Yes, I LOVE poker. A Royal Flush in my career would be the first day we started shooting Love N’ Dancing. That movie was a nightmare to get going, and it was such an accomplishment to actually make it happen. I’m still hurting that it didn’t become a major hit, and I’m developing a new dance film/romantic comedy that I hope to produce and star in this year.

As for, "I fold," that would have to be the time I had all this money from Beijing to shoot three movies and the people funding it just disappeared. I was in the middle of shooting a film, and, though I was able to finish it, the money was gone. I had to shut down production offices and let people go…a nightmare!

9. What do you feel the rhythm of dancing has taught you about the rhythm of life? Again, I think the intrinsic lesson is to have fun. Your body stores so much of your emotion, and expressing emotions through movement is a fantastic feeling.

10. As an actor who has be interviewed time and time again, what is one question I didn't ask that you wish I had (and please provide the answer to that question)? Q: What’s an important lesson you teach your kids?

A: Never grow up. Always have the innocence and wonder and joy and laughter of life to keep you going. People who "grow up" are just beat down from society and negative reinforcement, and imposed "rules." I’m still a kid and will never change that.

11. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? My goal is to start drilling down my focus as specific as possible. Sometimes I get spread too thin, and I have to keep telling myself not to say yes to everything coming at me because then I won’t be able to truly be 100%. So I’m going to focus more and more everyday!

Tom MalloyMore on Tom:

An award winning and critically acclaimed actor, Tom wowed Hollywood with his stunning turn in the indie-cult favorite GRAVESEND in 1998, which was produced by Oliver Stone.

Most recent films include: SCREAMERS (Coming Fall 2017), HERO OF THE UNDERWORLD (on VOD everywhere) directed by John Vincent, starring Tom, Nicole Fox, and Quinton Aaron (for this film, Tom won BEST ACTOR at the Chain NYC Film Festival, and BEST ACTOR at AC Cinefest, FAIR HAVEN (Coming to SHOWTIME Summer 2017) directed by Kerstin Karlhuber, starring Tom Wopat and Michael Grant, ASHLEY, directed by Dean Ronalds, which was in theaters in 2013, and is now on VOD, LOVE N’ DANCING, which was directed by Rob Iscove (She’s All That), and stars Amy Smart, Tom Malloy, Billy Zane, Rachel Dratch, and Betty White; the psychological thriller THE ALPHABET KILLER, directed by Rob Schmidt (Wrong Turn, Crime & Punishment in Suburbia) and stars Eliza Dushku, Cary Elwes, Tom Malloy, Timothy Hutton, Michael Ironside, and Oscar Winner Melissa Leo; and a thriller directed by Mary Lambert called THE ATTIC, starring John Savage, Malloy, and Elisabeth Moss.

Tom is currently starring with Comedian Scott Baker in the improv cop comedy MIDTOWN, which can be seen on Amazon, now in it's second season.

Tom is a graduate of the famous Improv Olympic (IO) Training Center in Los Angeles (former graduates include Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Steve Carrell). Tom has also appeared in principle roles on LAW & ORDER, THIRD WATCH, KIDNAPPED, THE SIEGE (with Denzel Washington) and ANGER MANAGEMENT. As a Stand Up Comic, Tom has appeared at Caroline's Comedy Club and the Broadway Comedy Club in NYC, and at the LA Improv.

In addition to his work as an actor, Tom is an accomplished author whose book BANKROLL: A New Approach to Financing Feature Films is considered the "gold standard" of indie film financing instruction. A second edition came out in 2012.

Tom has also competed and taught classes in the smooth, hip-hop dance style known as West Coast Swing. He was trained by seven time U.S. Open Champion Robert Royston.

Tom has trained for years in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, first training with Royce Gracie back in 1992, prior the UFC even existing! He currently trains in Beverly Hills with the legendary Rigan Machado. He is also a professional poker player, and for over a year was one of the highest ranked celebrity players on the now defunct MegaFrame Casino.

Finally, Tom worked for 10 years as a nationally known motivational speaker for adults and kids. He traveled across the country spreading his positive message to students of all ages. Over the years, he has spoken to more than 100,000 students.

Tuesday
Mar072017

Call Answered: Sonia Blangiardo: Tainted Dreams on Amazon

Sonia BlangiardoI was a HUGE All My Children fan. I started watching the show because Eden Riegel's character "Bianca" was going to be coming out as a lesbian. From the first moment I watched that storyline I was hooked. I then became engulfed in everyone's storyline from "Greenlee and Leo" to the return of "Kendall" to "Krystal and Babe" to the start of "Fusion," I was loving every moment.

In 2013, I first got wind of a new show being developed called Tainted Dreams, directed and produced by Sonia Blangiardo, and starring All My Children's Alicia Minshew, Michael Lowry, Terri Ivens, Walt Willey, and Bobbie Eakes. I couldn't wait to see this show. After four years of waiting, Tainted Dreams has found a home on Amazon (now Emmy nominated)! In addiiton to the above, Tainted Dreams also features Natalia Livingston, Austin Peck, Colleen Zenk, Grant Aleksander, theatre favorite Anthony Wilkinson, along with a host of other soap stars. If you are a soap fan, Tainted Dreams is the show for you! Watch it now on Amazon!

Come behind-the-drama to find out the real stories that made Sonia such a success + the tales that helped create Tainted Dreams!

For more on Tainted Dreams be sure to visit http://tainteddreams.com and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Cast of "All My Children"1. Who or what inspired you to become director/producer? Ever since I can remember, I always was creating stories in my head. One year when I was about nine, my brother, cousins and I were vacationing together. I sketched out a musical with six or seven performances and I forced them to put on a "show" for our family. I can't imagine it was very good! I don't think I could have even begun to understand what directing and producing was at the time, but in retrospect, I think the inspiration came from an overactive imagination and a need to be in charge!

2. Most people are lucky to work on one television show, but you have had the good fortune of working on five iconic soap operas All My Children, One Life to Live, As the World Turns, General Hospital & currently, Days of Our Lives. What do you enjoy most about working in the soap world? Everything...I love the genre, the pace, the efficiency of the way we work...I love that we keep telling stories with characters that have been a part of our lives for many years. I love that day in and day out you get to work with the same group of people that truly are your family and we get to create. We are all there for each other during our milestones in life...weddings, births, birthdays...it is a unique and beautiful experience.

3. In addition to Days of Our Lives, you are also the creator/director of the new Emmy nominated web series Tainted Dreams, about the twists and turns of life on a soap opera. What made you want to create this show? They say write what you know and this was a world I felt that I knew pretty well. I truly believed that at times, what was happening behind the camera was more fascinating that in front. I also wanted to show how much fun we had. We worked in a creative, yet structured environment. I don't think any other genre can say this. Going to work every day to see my "family" was a amazing part of my life and I thought that was something that would appeal to the audiences. I am so thrilled that thanks to Amazon, these stories can finally be seen.

4. I was attracted to Tainted Dreams because of Alicia Minshew and Terri Ivens, whom I LOVED on All My Children as well as Walt Willey and Bobbie Eakes. The show also casts actors from other soaps you worked on and the world of theatre. What is the best part about getting to work with everyone under one roof? The beauty of creating something that is your own is that you get to make the decisions. I've been doing this for a very long time and I knew I wanted to surround myself with talented, kind and generous people and I hit the jackpot on that. As far as working with my off-Broadway cast, they are also my family, so it was always a given that I would blend the "families." Anthony Wilkinson who plays "Anthony DiGiacomo" is the playwright of the Big Gay Italian franchise and my real life "Angelica's" Anthony, so upon the first inception of the idea, he was always going to be a main character because I wanted to showcase that friendship.

Sonia Blangiardo, Michael Lowry, and Alicia Minshew5. Alicia's character, "Angelica," is loosely based upon you. What qualities did you see in Alicia that made you go, she would be a great "Angelica"? I did not know Alicia when I was creating the character of "Angelica" for over a year. For whatever reason, the more I flushed out the story, the more I kept seeing her in my head. When I finally met her to ask her to be a part of Tainted Dreams, it all clicked and I understood why. We clicked. Alicia is strong, yet sweet. She can be vulnerable without ever compromising on integrity. It was one of those things that can't really be explained. I just knew she was "Angelica."

6. I love how the show weaves between the fictitious soap opera Painted Dreams and what's really happening on Tainted Dreams, it's a fine, fine line, sometimes being hard to tell where the fiction ends and reality begins. When has there been a time in your life when the lines between fiction and reality were blurred? I'm sure there are many more than I care to admit! I've always called Tainted Dreams the Grey's Anatomy that occurs in a soap studio instead of a hospital. Lines get blurred in life all the time, especially in the work environment. When you add that you are spending 60 plus hours a week with the same people, telling stories about power, sex and betrayal...it's kind of inevitable that you get caught up in that.

Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos as "Haley and Mateo" on "All My Children"7. Since I was such a big All My Children fan, what was one of your favorite story lines from your time working on the show and what was one story line that you were like, this is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen, let's wrap it up"? Wow...there are so many. I think one of my favorites was the tornado one which left "Julia" blind. The "Noah/Julia" story line was real and gut-wrenching and just so memorable, another was "Brooke's" ectopic pregnancy. Julia and Michael poured their souls into that one and you just felt their pain. "Alec" sleeping with "Arlene" behind "Hayley's'" back...as you can see, the list goes on. I don't know about a story that I wanted to see wrapped up, but I do remember shooting on Valentine's Day at midnight, a very very pregnant Kelly Ripa getting raped. That disturbed me on so many levels!

8. You have worked with some of daytimes biggest hunks. If you could have been cast as their lover, who would you have wanted to been matched up with? In my 25 plus years, I have seen a multitude of gorgeous men and women. So much so that after a while, you almost become immune to it. What connects me to people in general is their kindness and generosity of spirit. Because of that, I am lucky to call many of the "hunks" I've worked with good friends because beyond the great looks, they are amazing people.

Sonia Blangiardo9. What has been the biggest event to happen in your life that could have been a soap opera storyline? I saw many things happen behind the scenes that quite honestly, without revealing names have made it into Tainted Dreams. Personally, I took a vacation to Miami with two of my AMC besties and one friend wanted to go to another club. It was 2am and I asked her if I could just run up to the room to change my ridiculously high heeled shoes. She wanted no part of that and tapped an arbitrary guy walking in front of her and asked him to pick me up and carry me to the club. He did and we ended up being together for six years.

10. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? I want to learn the virtue of patience. Sometimes there are so many things going on in my head that I want to have the option of pressing an escape button for about 10 minutes and just think of nothing. I need answers yesterday and that is not always possible for sure.

Sonia BlangiardoMore on Sonia:

Sonia Blangiardo is a two-time Emmy winner with over 20 years of experience as a producer/director. Sonia is the Creator and Executive Producer of Tainted Dreams, NYC BRAND PRODUCTIONS’ first scripted drama. Sonia was the Supervising Producer of Prospect Park’s online production of All My Children. She has worked in television as a producer/director for ABC’s General Hospital, All My Children, and One Life to Live, as well as CBS’s As the World Turns. She directed the revival of the Off-Broadway hit My Big Gay Italian Wedding in New York City. Sonia, a member of the Directors Guild of America, also directed and produced Boys Just Wanna Have Fun and My Big Gay Italian Wedding (both as ANNDEE PRODUCTIONS), which was nominated for an Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Play Revival. In addition, Sonia directed and produced a SAG pilot script for You Don’t Know Jack with Three’s Company‘s Richard Kline and Mr. PEC-Tacular Arm and Chest Workout DVD with Big Brother‘s Jessie Godderz and soap star Austin Peck. Sonia is also the founder of CARLO’S GOAL, a non-for-profit organization for pancreatic cancer research.

Sunday
Feb052017

Call Me Adam: Dimo Hyun Jun Kim: Interview at Theatre at St. Clement's

Dimo Hyun Jun KimI love a good psycho thriller, but there aren't many musical psycho thrillers, so I was quite intrigued when I found out about Interview, a new psycho musical thriller, produced and directed by Dimo Hyun Jun Kim.

In Interview, a seemingly innocuous job interview for a writer’s apprentice quickly turns sinister when the true motives of the interviewee, "Matt," are revealed. Unveiling the myriad pieces of haunting evidence kept hidden for the past 10 years, the interviewer, "Dr. Eugene Harper," and the interviewee now have to investigate a murder mystery to find the true killer of a young girl whose corpse was found floating on a lake. The twist – while there are two people in the room, there are seven different personalities to be probed. The intoxicating question of what is real and what is not will quickly drive the audience to the brink of insanity.

Interview will play at the Theatre at St. Clement's (423 West 46th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue) through March 5! Click here for tickets!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a director/producer? I was born in South Korea, and at age four I watched my very first musical, Cats, at the Seoul Arts Center. The following year, my parents brought me back to the theatre to see a Korean adaptation of Cats. Even at a tender age, I realized that the original musical was a phantasmagorical spectacle and theatre was where I belonged.

By age nine, I had decided to create my very own musical. The producer, Do-yoon Seol, allowed me to watch Cats gratis daily after noticing my enthusiasm for the show. As recorded in my diary, I watched Cats eighty-six times. When the tour ended, I knew every line by heart and understood how music, dance, verse, costume, scenery, and orchestra fit together. And from that very moment, I longed to be a great director despite my parents’ disagreement.

2. When did you decide to start your own theatre company? What has been the best part about this venture and what challenges did you face in creating it? I founded DIMO KIM MUSICAL THEATRE FACTORY in 2015 to produce COMFORT WOMEN: A New Musical. I had numerous challenges trying to create everything from ground zero, with no connections or networks in NYC. I had to learn how radio signal works, and how to deal with insurance, payroll, the IRS...it wasn't easy. However, it was amazingly rewarding to solve one issue at a time and put together a show.

3. After making its world premiere in Seoul, Korea and sold-out runs in Kyoto & Tokyo, you are now bringing Interview, an original psycho musical thriller to NYC for a limited run. What made now the right time bring the show to NYC? After producing two original shows in New York, I had the urge to bring a show that was successful in Korea to NYC audience members. Coincidentally, Suro Kim, who was the producer of Green Card: A New Musical, also wanted to bring a hit show from Korea to the US. That's how it all started.

4. What do you hope NY audiences will embrace most about this show? Psycho thriller musicals aren't too common in New York City but it is a very popular genre in Korea and Japan. I really want the audiences to see how one actor, Josh Bardier, plays six different roles at the same time - it is absolutely amazing.

Josh Bardier, Adam Dietlein and Erin Kommor, rehearsing "Interview"5. Why did you want to produce & direct this show? I wanted to show NYC audiences the high quality of Korean-born musicals. Also, because the show deals with domestic abuse and mental health issues, I wanted to approach the story as sensitive as I could - and I believed I could.

6. Interview tells the story of a psychologist, a criminal defendant & a legal system that would stop at nothing to gain an alleged killer's confession, even if it means driving the accused to the brink of insanity. When has there been a time in your life when you have been pushed over the emotional edge? When I was producing/directing Comfort Women, I received numerous calls from far-right Japanese people threatening to harm me - that gave me serious anxiety issues.

7. In Interview, a famous psychologist & author call a temp agency for an apprenticeship. The perfect candidate appears at his door. Witty, studious & eager to please, "Matt Sinclair" quickly makes an impression with "Dr. Eugene Harper." All is not as it appears, however & what starts as an interview, quickly turns sinister as the author's true motives are revealed. When have you been in a situation where something appeared to be one thing and it quickly turned into something completely different? When I was preparing for Green Card: A New Musical, I had a meeting with a sponsor - he looked like a total gangster. But he turned out to be the nicest person ever! I was pretty surprised. :)

Dimo Hyun Jun Kim8. Over the past 20 years, South Korea has become the third biggest market for musical theatre, after New York & London. As a producer, what has been the best part about the growth of musical theatre in South Korea and what changes do you feel still need to made there? When I turned 15, I began questioning why new musicals were always made in English and never made in our native Korean tongue. Something was missing from the industry. At 16-years-old, I tried to compose and direct a musical by myself, in vain. Three months of work and savings was lost. I decided to pitch my proposal to many Korean producers, who were kind, but they told me without further explanation that "no new musical will ever start in Korea." This was not an acceptable answer to me therefore I decided to go to New York City to make musicals. I presumed if I make a name in the city that is Marshall McLuhan’s proverbial "global village," licenses to play my musicals could always be sent back home.

New York indeed has a great theatre district, but when I arrived here in 2010 I found a dilapidated local Asian theatre community that seemed in a state of infancy. I realized quickly that there was a lack of Korean and more generally, pan Asiatic representation, both in the creative teams and in the roles offered in Broadway, Off-Broadway, and even regional theater productions. As a result, since my arrival in the United States six years ago, I have worked hard to create more opportunities for Asian casts and creative teams to find a voice in the large plethora of the enchanted world of theatre and theatrical artistry. My ultimate goal is to become one of a few directors to lead the Asian theatre community to a new recognition on the world stage.

9. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? I wanna sleep one percent more every day. This will give me the energy to put on a better show every single day!

Dimo Hyun Jun KimMore on Dimo:

Dimo Hyun Jun Kim is a theatre director from Seoul, South Korea, Chairman of Dimo Kim Musical Theatre Factory LLC & Theatre Department Chair of Born Star Training Center NYC. Dimo made his Off-Broadway debut with Comfort Women: A New Musical, nominated for Best Off-Broadway Musical by BroadwayWorld & the first all-Asian Off-Broadway cast to be led by an East Asian national. Other Off-Broadway shows include Green Card: A New Musical & Innermind. Selected credits include Richard III, See What I Wanna See, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, West Side Story, Advice to the Players, The Cherry Orchard, Godspell, The Upper Lip, Finding My Way Back Home, Promenade, Life is A Dream, West Side Ballad, Our Town, Art, Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Spring is Arising & Jesus Christ Superstar. In June, Dimo will be producing the Asian Musical Theatre Festival in Lincoln Center.

Wednesday
Oct122016

Call Answered: Guy Kent: Autumn Lights

Guy KentI love the daylight. While I love the brisk air of autumn and the smell of wood burning fireplaces, summer is my favorite season because the days are so long allowing you to easily lose track of time. When I heard Autumn Lights was filmed in Iceland during their longest daylight season, I felt an instant connection. After watching a preview of this film, I was engulfed. Like the long days of summer, this movie flew by with it's beauty of scenic Iceland and the complexity of the story. Which brings us to Guy Kent, the lead actor, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing.

Autumn Lights is about an adrift American photographer (played by Guy), who after discovering a deserted crime scene in remote Iceland, crosses paths with an intriguing European couple (Marta Gastini & Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson). As his fascination with them intensifies, he slowly finds himself entangled in their mysterious lives. Guy does a great job in this film. His character, "David" is quite mesmerizing and I couldn't wait to find out more about him as the film went on. The story is very layered in plot, but like the photographs Guy's character "David" takes, the layers are slowly peeled back revealing the truths you are trying to figure out in the film.

Autumn Lights will have a limited release starting October 21, including Cinema Village East here in NYC!

For more on Guy be sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

For more on Autumn Lights follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. This October, your film, Autumn Lights, is being released. Angad Aulakh wrote and directed the film, while you produced it. You and Angad met by chance after a death in your family. Through that tragedy came a really great partnership between you two. How, through your pain, were you able to focus enough to connect with Angad? The circumstance of what led to us meeting was definitely unique. At the time, I had just graduated from film school at USC, where I also was studying theater, and I was hoping to meet someone who I could collaborate and create with. But it’s not every day you meet someone who you want to scale a very large mountain with, and then scale another mountain, and then another. And meeting Angad out of that was very much a gift. We’re likeminded and we both thrive when we’re working hard, so it was very natural to fall into working with one another. Less than a year after discussing what would be our first script of four, we were entering pre-production on Autumn Lights.

2. How did you juggle being both actor and producer? What did you learn from the process? From the beginning, we had a very clear idea of the film we wanted to make, and I think I can also speak for Angad when I say that it was crucial for us in juggling two different and demanding jobs, no less for our first feature film together. It was important for us to build trust and create an open line of communication with the entire team during pre-production so that when cameras were rolling, I could focus on my work as an actor and Angad as a director, and feel comfortable with that. I enjoy being busy and I enjoy both of these jobs immensely, so it never once felt like "work" in that sense. And, I learned a great deal about myself in the process and gained a greater understanding of what it means to collaborate with a team. I definitely look forward to continuing to juggle both of these roles.

Guy Kent as "David" In "Autumn Lights"3. Autumn Lights is about an adrift American photographer (played by you), who after discovering a deserted crime scene in remote Iceland, crosses paths with an intriguing European couple (Marta Gastini & Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson). As his fascination with them intensifies, he slowly finds himself entangled in their mysterious lives. What do you relate to most about your character of "David"? I found "David" to be incredibly intriguing on the page. I immediately connected to his curiosity, that sense of rootlessness, his ability to carry on despite circumstances. There’s a lot going on underneath the surface and it’s through his fish out of water experience that the audience gets to experience this very foreign, almost fantasy-like world. And that fish out of water feeling is something I’ve experienced more than a few times myself. It can be an interesting, sometimes surreal thing. You sometimes find yourself taking on the role of observer, which "David" very much so did, and sometimes your actions surprise you, which again for "David," was certainly the case. I also think anyone who’s been in a relationship can relate to the heartbreak he endures and the sadness he carries with him as a result of that.

4. Since you are playing a photographer, what do you, as a person, look for when taking your own personal photos that make you go, "This would make a great moment to capture"? I am a lover of photography. I love photos that have an unexpected candidness to them, ones that encapsulate a moment that can’t quite be replicated. I think my personal tastes in photography actually align somewhere in between "David" and the character of "Johann." In the film, "Johann" shares his love of portraits with "David," portraits that he’s taken of strangers he’s come across. There’s something both fascinating and haunting about those images. They’re mesmerizing in a way.

Guy Kent as "David" in "Autumn Lights"5. Autumn Lights touches on themes of obsession, loss, and loneliness. When have you been obsessed, suffered loss, and been lonely in your life? How did you get through those moments? For me, the most important thing is how you get through those moments in time, who you surround yourself with and who your support is. I feel very fortunate to have friends and family whom I love very much and they have been instrumental at certain times in my life.

6. Most of these themes are seen through the eyes of a stranger in a strange land. When have you felt like a stranger in a strange land? What’s interesting is that I don’t think it’s a feeling that is always a result of physical location. I’ve been in Los Angeles of all places, a city where I grew up in, and have felt like that. I’ve been to several dinners while traveling where I did not know the language people were speaking in. And it is during moments like those that you tend to see things very clearly because you’re slightly removed. It can be surreal in a way. There are several moments in the film where "David" experiences that.

7. What were the top three funniest moments to happen during filming? Perhaps the funniest moments were when delirium set in after long nights and long days shooting. Then add in constant sunlight, we didn’t know up from down. We really enjoyed the company of everyone we were working with. Marta [Gastini] and I were always laughing with one another when we were not filming, and I think we needed it given "David" and "Marie’s" intense scenes together.

Guy Kent as "David" in "Autumn Lights"8. Autumn Lights marks the first independent American-Icelandic co-production in history to have been shot and fully completed in Iceland. What does it feel like to be the first independent film to have this co-production? Why did you choose to have the film take place in Iceland? The decision to shoot and then also complete the film in Iceland just felt like we were doing what was best for the production. But we didn’t have any awareness of its significance when we were doing it. It just felt like the right decision.

As for the initial choice of Iceland, it happened fairly organically and began with my and Angad’s love of Scandinavian film and Scandinavian chamber films. It also came out of practicality, given the region’s geography and isolation and what that meant for the story. And, the time of year we chose to film gave us nearly 24 hours of sunlight. That was instrumental in helping to create a surreal sense of time. You can lose sense of where you are in the day.

Originally though, we were focusing on production in Norway because of Angad’s family ties, however, production there wasn’t feasible and so we started to broaden our look of the region. We had been in contact with our Icelandic producers prior to that and the timing was right, so it made the decision to go in that direction fairly simple. I remember seeing a film shot in Iceland just before then, and afterward, I was in complete awe over the landscape. I remember my friend saying to me, "you’re going to shoot in Iceland, aren’t you?" It just felt like something that had to happen. But Iceland is a real jewel in so many ways and I think you can see that in the film. And it’s a country that is incredibly film-friendly.

Guy Kent as "David" in "Autumn Lights"9. Since the film is called Autumn Lights, what is your favorite part about the fall season? I can proudly say that Autumn is my favorite time of year. It’s a time that brings people together. And I enjoy when the air is nice and brisk. I also think the sunlight in the Fall is the most beautiful. Angad has spoken about the title of the film, and how it’s not so much about the time of year that the film takes place in, but instead, it’s about the feeling that the season and its beauty evokes, that melancholy sense of time passing. I love that sentiment.

10. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Probably to keep reminding myself that it’s my world just as much as anyone else’s. Someone very wise has told me that on one or two occasions.

Guy KentMore on Guy:

Guy Kent is both an actor and producer. Guy’s entrance into film was twofold, receiving his B.A. in Film Production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles and training in theater at USC’s School of Dramatic Arts and the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. Following Guy’s introduction to NYU Tisch filmmaker Angad Aulakh, the two began a collaborative partnership forming Last Carnival. During the course of seven months, they developed four feature projects and produced two short films, one of which starring Guy alongside American Crime’s Caitlin Gerard. AUTUMN LIGHTS marked their fourth script developed and after just a year of meeting, Guy and Angad were entering pre-production on the project. The film signifies their first feature film collaboration, Guy as both actor and producer.

Monday
May042015

Call Answered: The Light of the Moon Facetime Interview with Carlo Velayo and Jessica M. Thompson

Jess Thompson and Carlo Velayo"Call Me Adam" went to the offices of Stedfast Productions for a video interview with film producer Carlo Velayo and writer/director Jessica M. Thompson about their debut film The Light of the Moon, about a woman who is sexually assaulted after a night out with her friends in NYC, and how this assault impacts the relationships in her life. Filming starts in the fall! Stay tuned to "Call Me Adam" to hear when this film will be released.

For more on The Light of the Moon be sure to visit http://www.stedfastproductions.com/lotm and http://www.seedandspark.com/studio/LOTM. Also, follow The Light of the Moon on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

"Call Me Adam's" video interview with Carlo and Jess about The Light of the Moon: 

Jess ThompsonMore on Jess:

Jess studied acting at three major drama schools in Australia between the ages of 12 and 21. She attended film school, majoring in Writing/Directing, at the University of Technology, Sydney, where she met Carlo Velayo. They quickly formed a formidable filmmaking duo and have made several short films together, including the award-winning films Hike and Percepio. Jess won the Kodak Award for New Directors for her first short film, Hike.

After graduating and globe trotting for a year, Jess became a Junior Editor at Mike Reed’s, the first post-production house in Australia. Here she quickly progressed the ranks to become a full time Editor, working on various television series, films, music videos clips and commercials.

In 2011, Jess traveled across North America for nine months and filmed a documentary series, The Land of Milk and Honey. She finished the trip in NYC and co-founded Stedfast Productions. Stedfast is a collective of visual storytellers who use imagery to entertain, inspire hope, provoke thought, and explore the human story.

During her time in NYC, Jess wrote, directed, and edited the short film, Across the Pond, which was selected as a finalist at Tropfest NY and the Bath Film Festival. She has worked as an Editor with Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, Liz Garbus, as an Additional Editor on the Sundance-winning film Watchers of the Sky, and as an Associate Producer on both the Indie Thriller 419 and on Academy Award-nominated, Sandy McLeod’s Seeds of Time. Jess just recently finished editing Cheryl Furjanic’s award-winning documentary, Back on Board: Greg Louganis and she looks forward to making her feature directorial debut with The Light of the Moon with her best friend, Carlo, by her side.

Carlo VelayoMore on Carlo:

Carlo Velayo attended film school and completed a double degree in International Studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. This is where he met Jess Thompson, with whom he has been making films with since 2003. In 2006, while Carlo was completing his year of exchange in Manila, the Philippines, their short film Hike was shortlisted for Tropfest Sydney. Seven years later, their short film Across the Pond was a finalist in Tropfest New York.

Carlo is a Producer at Stedfast Productions – a small production company he started with Jess Thompson in New York City. He is an Associate Producer on Cheryl Furjanic’s award-winning Back on Board: Greg Louganis and was a Researcher on Academy Award-nominated, Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s forthcoming documentary, Food Evolution. Carlo started out in VFX and post-production on Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby and George Miller’s Happy Feet 2 respectively.

Although Carlo holds a Masters in Anthropology, he is as skilled operating a Super 8 camera, recording sound, editing, or keeping a shoot day on schedule and on budget, as he is at writing a scholarly paper. He is keen to produce his first narrative feature, The Light of the Moon with his best friend, Jess, by his side.