Looks like I'm overdue for an update! I've been keeping busy with auditions, projects, travel and making the most of the summer.
I shot a few new projects:
In other news - I consider myself a life long learner - and so back in February I signed up for the NYU Tisch Film & TV industry essentials certificate course. I'm working my way through at my own pace, but am excited to see how this knowledge will further amplify and influence my career - particularly my hopes of bringing my first screenplay to life.
Very recently I returned from a two week trip to Costa Rica! What does that have to do with acting? Not much, other than I am a firm believer that the best actors are ones who live their lives fully and experience the world beyond "the industry". So when I had the opportunity to visit Costa Rica (never been) and chaperone a group of future veterinary students (love animals! Was an RA in college!) I thought - why not? And it was plenty of work, but also incredible. We soaked up Costa Rican culture, worked with all kinds of wildlife, spent a 2 night stay essentially in the jungle (ever woken up at 5am to the sound of howler monkeys in the trees right out your window?), toured a coffee farm, and my favorite of all - we visited the Costa Rican Sloth Sanctuary. We met the incredible Dr. Becky Cliffe, the world's foremost expert on sloth science and biology, and founder of the Sloth Conservation Foundation, who took the time to speak to our group about the vital work they're doing in understanding sloths and conserving their natural habitats. I have been mildly obsessed with sloths for several years and following the Sloth Sanctuary with the hopes of going some day - and it did not disappoint! I'm looking forward to more travel in the next several months to San Juan, Puerto Rico and to several locations in Japan (life and Covid-19 permitting) - though these trips will be purely for fun :)
Live fully, stay weird, take care of each other, and I hope your summer included a few smiles :)
What on earth do I mean by Literal Scarlett Pineapples? Well news comes in threes, so I'm referencing three recent projects in various stages I'm now a part of!
Literal Revolution - written by Dylan Johnson, is a short film produced by Hollywood Casting and Film here in Chicago. This short has undergone quite the journey. Originally a concept by writer Nick Bain and cast just as the pandemic was starting to worsen in early 2020. The original concept required some crowd scenes and was indefinitely delayed. HC&F made the decision to go a different direction with the concept, bringing in their resident screenwriter Dylan Johnson and utilizing the originally selected cast. Come to April 2021, and we were able to shoot this delightful script. Looking forward to seeing the final cut in the near future!
Scarlett - I stumbled upon a somewhat short notice casting for the role of "Emma" in Scarlett, an indie feature film by local filmmaker Sam Vainisi and produced by Serrawyn Pictures. It was serendipitously brought to my attention by the director of Tin Roof, Rebecca Rinehart (who also happens to have a role in Scarlett). This suspense/thriller is the sister film to Violet, Sam's first directorial feature film venture - and I was thrilled to find out I've been cast and will be shooting in Mid May! Sam's working is detailed, edgy, and puts you on the edge of your seat.
Pineapples - rounding out recent project news, I had the pleasure of shooting a small role in the short film Pineapples with Great Fire Productions in mid-April. If you haven't heard of Great Fire in Chicago yet, you likely will soon. This young production company is quickly producing a number of exciting projects, from music videos, to branding videos, to narrative shorts and more. It's a very supportive group and was fortunate enough to have worked with one of the founders, Cameron Greenebaum, on past projects.
I know myself and many in the industry are thrilled that work is picking back up - and best of all, I'm fully vaccinated as are more and more folks on set - back to safe sets means back to working safely. Stay safe out there friends!
I've often joked about my desire to be the next big #ScreamQueen of B horror films. Let's be real though....I would be DELIGHTED to be known as a Scream Queen of the horror genre. Watching and making horror films is so much fun; whether it's the thrill of being scared, laughing at the absurdity, or geeking about the awesome (or sometimes terrible) effects, performances, and characters.
So I'm very excited to announce that I've been cast in another indie horror feature film, Tin Roof! Tin Roof is written and produced by Rob Mello, best known for his roles in Happy Death Day & Happy Death Day 2 U among a long list of credits. It is directed by Rebecca Rinehart, who directed, co-wrote (with Rob!), and produced the upcoming film The Embalmers, and has starred in plenty of indie horror herself including Frightvision, Boobs Blood and Mayhem: Volume 1, and Bloody Hooker Massacre - among many others. Tin Roof follows the story of Five adults as they attempt to save a beloved summer camp threatened to be closed permanently due to recent unfortunate events. We'll undergo principal photography in September and I am so thrilled to be part of the main cast of this killer project as "Kat"!
In related horror news, the forthcoming Evil Lurks has graced its first billboard on the 210 highway near LA, and will be coming to a billboard near Chicago soon. Definitely fun to cross the "be on a billboard" item off my bucket list! We've also picked up another official festival selection for the trailer with the March 2021 DMOFF (Directly Monthly Online Film Festival). We'll find out if the trailer won any awards from DMOFF soon.
In addition, the short horror film Love Me Tinder in which I play a small part has started making its rounds in the festival circuit, and snagged its first official selection in the 2021 MLC Awards. I have to say, writer/director/producer Sean Patrick Leonard did an excellent job with this short and in particular the lead Mickey O'Sullivan pulls off a darkly brilliant performance. Hoping for more official selections (and wins??) coming our way :)
My next bit of news has nothing to do with horror but I am excited/nervous to share that the guest appearance as a player/character on the Star Wars RPG podcast, NRPR: New Republic Radio, has finally dropped! The episode is being released in multiple parts, and part 1 is available now as "S1A7 – A Bridge to Tomorrow, Part 1" on Apple Podcasts and Podbean. If you like Star Wars and RPGs, this podcast is a whole lot of fun and explores an imagined Star Wars universe in an anthology of encounters set during the events after Return of the Jedi. While I've played my share of Dungeons and Dragons with friends, I've never felt particularly "skilled" at it, and playing "live" with the Star Wars RPG system for the first time was definitely a step outside of my usual performance endeavors - but all in all I had a great time and I think it turned out pretty well! So if Star Wars RPG is your thing, please give it a listen and subscribe/rate at Apple Podcasts or Podbean.
Apple Podcasts Direct Link: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/nrpr-new-republic-radio/id1502724299#episodeGuid=newrepradio.podbean.com%2Ff39cf7db-df3a-3259-831b-877f648122b8
Podbean Direct Link: https://newrepradio.podbean.com/e/s1a6-%e2%80%93-a-bridge-to-tomorrow-part-1/
After a quiet and restful holiday and new year... and gritting my teeth through freezing cold Chicago weather and the tumultuous political and cultural landscape we're all navigating... I am pleased to share that Evil Lurks, though still in post, has started earning awards for its trailer! We won best trailer in the Hollywood Blood Film Festival and the Rome International Movie awards, and made it to the Semi-Finals for Best Trailer in the Vegas Movie Awards. Once the film is complete (coming soon in 2021), it'll be open season in regards to film festivals so hopefully more awards to come (fingers crossed!). In the meantime, Homecoming Massacre has been making the festival rounds throughout 2020, and ended the season with 12 official selections and 4 wins (including an audience favorite award!), as well as its debut screening at the Highlands Film Fest.
Does it seem like I enjoy doing horror movies? Because I definitely do :) #screamqueen
Posters & trailers below!
The pandemic has caused a lot in the entertainment industry to shift, speed up, and slow way down in different areas. I'm thrilled to say I feel like I've hit warp speed - I am now represented by Gray Talent Group! I am forever thankful and humbled by my time with Dream Team Talent and am so encouraged by Vilma & the agency's tenacity, care for the talent, and the opportunities they're bringing to Chicago and beyond.
Gray Talent Group has proven to be one of the top and most well-respected agencies in Chicago and are making their mark in LA and NY as well. My husband Jonah, also an actor, has been represented by Gray for several years, and as more casting offices are looking for talent that are real couples or people quarantined together, the time seemed right to get our representation "all in one house". I can't wait to dive into whatever opportunities may be on the horizon. Onwards!
Gray Talent Group, Inc.
727 S. Dearborn St. Suite 312, Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: 312-663-1659 | Email: email@example.com
Today (11/16) is the day! The Gaia Miracles audio drama podcast has officially launched and is available on all major podcasting platforms. If you're a fan of audio drama and mysteries/detective stories I think you'll really enjoy this series.
This story follows an investigator as he searches for answers to the "miracles" the world has experienced as it reckons with environmental destruction and its aftereffects.
New full episodes on Mondays, with mini-episodes on Fridays. I appear in mini-episode #4 on December 11th.
Tune in using the links below & make sure to subscribe and unravel the mysteries with us!
Quick update to announce that the trailer for EVIL LURKS is now live! We've had an awesome response so far and we're hoping to premiere the full film in Spring of 2021. Check it the trailer below!
Make sure to also visit evillurksmovie.com to get on the mailing list and learn more about this indie slasher/suspense thriller.
The work continues despite the industry slow-down and the difficulties of Covid-19. Stay safe out there, wear a mask, and make a plan to vote! And maybe squeeze in some good horror films, because it's spooky season and we're all staying inside anyway :)
Here's a few updates on what I've been up to:
Ellipses final cut release
The short film "Ellipses", produced by Hollywood Casting and Film has made it's full-length debut! This was the short about art and relationships I got to shoot on my birthday earlier this year.
Ellipses Short Film
NRPR Guest Appearance
The Alexis Project
I can't resist anything sci-fi, so when local filmmaker Jeremy Applebaum asked if I was interested in starring in his sci-fi proof of concept piece "The Alexis Project" for a film competition, I agreed immediately. It's essentially a trailer for a movie that is yet to be written, but centers on the creation of an android by dubious means, who becomes desperate to become truly human. This piece was written and directed by Jeremy, with DP Jakub Wasowski, gaffer Dru Montague, sound Hardy Willis, makeup by Alana Areyzaga. and co-starring Erika Marks and Martin Davis. The piece should be done and available to watch soon, but in the meantime here's a couple behind the scenes photos.
"Literal Revolution" Cast Announcement
Crystal Lake Lager / Spoof Commercial
What started out as voiceover for a fake radio ad for "Crystal Lake Lager", a fictional beer of choice in the upcoming indie feature "Love Me Tinder" by Sean Patrick Leonard -- has morphed into a full length 80's horror inspired beer commercial. We spent a cold and rainy Sunday in the woods doing our best "meet cute" of classic hockey-mask wearing murderer and oblivious sexy lost girl, bonding over delicious Crystal Lake Lager....before the inevitable murdering happens. We were cracking ourselves up despite the cold and hopefully we'll end up with a spoof commercial to get a laugh out of classic horror fans. Excellent DP/camera work by Jeremy Applebaum, superb direction by Chris Shern, and assistance from Aaron Hawkins -- and of course co-starring "Love Me Tinder" creator/producer, Sean Patrick Leonard as our masked murderer. Here's a few behind the scenes shots from our shoot.
Renamed: Homecoming Massacre
What was once Birthday Massacre, became Night of the Wicked Clown, and is now Homecoming Massacre in its final form. Along the way it's garnered several more awards and selections in film festivals in the US and abroad. I've finally had a chance to see the film and it was such a crazy experience to see the finished product of something I acted in nearly 8 years ago when I was pretty new to acting on camera. If you love horror and slashers, make sure to check out the website to sign up for the mailing list and catch the next screening.
"A Series about a Series"
Last but not least, I'm excited to announce I've been cast as Alexa Breese in the upcoming web series "A Series about a Series". You guessed it, it's a web series about making a web series. The script is very clever and I'm excited to join this project. This project is just beginning pre-production, so more to come
This is what happens when I write updates late at night...oops!
Let Us Go - short film
I forgot to shout out an awesome short called "Let us Go" that I got to co-star in, produced and directed by the incredible Mal Burns! Written by Luke Silliman, sound and editing by Christopher Ott, DP Jay Nicholls, and co-starring Makala Scheel and Isabella Long. This short is in post but here are a couple raw stills from the shoot!
Evil Lurks - Trailer coming soon!
And of course last but not least, the "Evil Lurks" film official trailer is planned for release on October 30th - make sure to sign up for the mailing list at evillurksmovie.com to get the latest news and updates on the film and first look at the trailer and other content.
The entertainment world is moving in spurts and starts these days. While sheltering in place in Chicago and under various quarantine and safety conditions, I've managed to move forward on a few projects here and there. With good reason, we're all being cautious and taking strong measures to ensure the safety of casts and crews on sets and in rehearsals, doing as much as possible virtually and reducing risk of transmission of Covid-19. It's hard to know what the theatre, live entertainment, and performing arts industries will look like after this, as they've all been severely impacted in many ways. If you're reading this perhaps as an audience member or viewer of art and media, I hope we - the arts industry - have your support in the extension of unemployment benefits and support targeted to the arts and entertainment community, as many of us are out of work for the long haul, with no clear path to revive various parts of the industry that are currently failing and in some cases causes certain theatres and companies to close permanently. If during this pandemic you've read a book, watched a film or tv show, enjoyed entertainment content in really any capacity - you've benefited from our work that we're proud to produce - and hope you'll support the efforts to help the industry survive so we can continue to do so and make a living. Please call your state representatives and let them know the arts industry needs state and federal support to survive!
Whew - that being said, I do have a few updates to share over the last few months.
I'm IMDB official! Check out my official IMDB page and follow my profile to keep up with all my latest on-camera projects.
We were finally cleared to shoot the short film "Ellipses" with Hollywood Casting and Film, taking a variety of precautions on set to ensure everyone's safety. I played Shirley in this film exploring, art, relationships, and the unexpected. The film is currently in post and will be put up for festival consideration, but in the meantime check out this "Behind the Scenes" feature on the making of the film.
George Berlin: Dream Play Create
Confusion: Darkness Falls & the Fallen Rise
Night of the Wicked Clown
I'm happy to report that Night of the Wicked Clown, the horror feature finally coming to festivals and screenings after years of efforts to complete post production, has received a number of festival recognitions and is booked for its first official screening! Currently the film has received the following honors, however final wards are still waiting to be announced in several cases:
GenCon 2020 Official Selection (awards TBD)
International Horror Hotel 2020 - Honorable Mention & Screening 9/12/2020
The Horror Movie Awards 2020 - Semi-Finalist (final awards TBD)
Southeast Regional Film Festival 2020 - Official Selection
What a time to be alive, huh? So we're not really captive as I indicate in the title, but I'm a sucker for alliteration. And to be honest, my day to day hasn't greatly changed in light of the coronavirus pandemic, as I work from home and prefer time with my husband and a small group of friends over big social gatherings. We moved our weekly friend hangs to Zoom/Netflix Party nights and sessions of online gaming, and have reduced our outings to only essential trips. I know it's huge adjustment for many. Many of my upcoming projects are paused or rescheduled for tentative future dates. The film and theatre industry have for the most part come to a screeching halt.
So how do we move forward when the whole world seems to stop?
Well we have a big beautiful online community of creators, so when there's a will, there's a way!
I've jumped onto a couple fun projects to keep the creative juices flowing - a "Line by Line Shakespeare" exercise, organized by a collaborator Britain Willcock, where he chose famous speeches from Shakespeare's works, then randomly assigned individual lines to different people, leaving us all open to interpreting and acting out the words ourselves. I got a line from Lady Macbeth, and it was so interesting to see everyone's interpretations.
Another fun collaboration from afar, put together by Chicago filmmaker Jeremy Applebaum, was the idea to put together some kind of film with a bunch of different people, but with footage put together from our own homes using what equipment was available to us. The result is a short film entitled "A Sheltered Rehearsal", about a group of theatre actors whose production of A Winter's Tale is cancelled due to the pandemic...but the director demands they continue to rehearse via Zoom. There's a twist in there too - however we went ahead and submitted the short to a couple "Quarantine Film Festivals" (yes that's a thing now), so I'll have to wait to share the footage for now.
I have managed to keep a few irons in the fire on more "official" projects too!
VO for Documentary Short
Last but not least, I've been hired to provide some narration voiceover for a documentary short which profiles the works of animator George Berlin, highlighting his unique work in projection mapping to massive buildings to create beautiful site specific digital works of art. This project is in process, we just have to wait to record my VO at a nearby studio once the shelter-in-place order is lifted.
As soon as restrictions are lifted in Chicago and across the country, I know we'll all be busting at the seams to create and tell our stories. I'm excited to see what kind of art we can create from this extremely challenging moment in our history. If quarantine has proven anything, it's that when people are bored at home, they turn to creativity - to movies, films, books - the work of artists. My hope is that drive for great storytelling and art will push us into a new era of artistic expression once we're beyond the "age of corona". Health & Love to all <3
PS - I've made some major changes to my site layout - going with a 1 page scrolling version so you don't have to click around as much to find things! Click my name at the top of this web page if you're on my site, or navigate straight to Amanda-Winston.com
Come here for the latest on Amanda's projects, reviews, photos, and more!