Well, isn't this amazing! The film that I assistant-directed last fall, 50 WORDS, has been accepted into the SARASOTA FILM FESTIVAL!
It's an honor for the film to have its World Premiere in Sarasota, as the Sarasota Film Festival was recently called "One of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World" by Movie Maker Magazine. The competition to get into the festival is fierce, and there's a limited number of films they can fit into the programming.
50 WORDS SCREENING DETAILS
"50 Words" will be screened as part of the Shorts 11: Florida Showcase at the Art Ovation Hotel at 1255 N Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236.
Sunday, April 15, 3:00 PM
Saturday, April 21, 11:00 AM
Tickets are available to the general public here:: https://www.goelevent.com/SFF/e/SHORTS11FLORIDASHOWCASEPROGRAM
Here's a link to the Sarasota Film Festival film guide - (50 Words is on page 73!) There's also details about all the wonderful independent movies and festival parties:
Opening Night Film & Block Party - April 13, Selby Five Points Park
Out of the World Party - April 20th - Art Ovation Hotel Ballroom
Closing Night Film & Chill Under The Stars Party - April 21st, Selby Five Points Park
If you have no idea where to start, this interview on At the Movies with "Gus Mollasis" gives a great overview of the festival.
See you at the movies!
When I knew I was going to be spending some time back in my hometown of Overland Park, Kansas, in between gigs, I KNEW I had to get involved with something, somewhere. In between auditions, casting trips, vacations, and yoga, I was looking for an opportunity to stretch my artistic wings and utilize some new tools.
As luck would have it, I reached out to my high school drama teacher, Ms. Laurie VanderPol, and she was in need of a director for the Spring Rep Show at Blue Valley West High School. The Rep Theatre class is the highest level of acting you can take at BVW, where it combines the skills you've learned in acting class and applies them to a performance-based class. Basically... you get to put on shows.
The challenge was finding something that would work for the entire class - should we pick a big comedy? A musical we can do without a budget? Or how about... work with the students on acting through song and create our very own Broadway-style Cabaret with solos, duets, full-scale production numbers with kicklines and choreography?! SOLD!
I started working with the students, many of whom had little-to-no vocal training, in January 2018. We met twice (sometimes three times) a week during their Tuesday and Thursday class time (1.5 hours). I asked them to step completely out of their comfort zone, as I barked "a-5-6-7-8" at them. What happened over two month's time was a miracle.
Through blood, sweat, and yes, some tears, we created a 15-number revue with songs ranging from Golden Age to Contemporary. With a dash of Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton to Chicago and Wicked, we put together a unique amalgamation of Broadway greats that allowed the students to shine. We worked together to take the musical numbers out of context and place them within confines that worked for our piece. It transformed the music, the students, and most definitely, myself.
Piecing together a revue reminded me of my time creating "Sisterly Love," a cabaret I did with the incomparable Alana Opie, my siamese twin from Side Show back in 2014. Being part of the creative process in producing something new is so special.
I am endlessly grateful for the opportunity to work with the students of BVW, Ms. V, Ms. Opheim (our student teacher), and special assistant Derek Brookens (who helped create the pivotal finale, "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life" from Spamalot). I can't wait to see what the future holds for these bright stars!
Danae DeShazer is an actress, singer, and dancer living in Sarasota, FL.