LolaIntroducing Lola Jane Hollins to our short film, “Nellie!” This beauty just turned 4-years-old on Valentines Day. Lola was adopted by her family at 16-weeks-old. She’s a fierce lover, a best friend to her 6-pound Chihuahua/Poodle adopted brother, and strives endlessly to please her human family. She loves to fetch, run, take long walks, and is an awesome guard dog. Lola doesn’t rest until all her human family members are home in bed. She does have a kryptonite which is tennis balls and treats ~ which we plan to give her tons of on set! Welcome, Lola!

 

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Introducing Columbus-based Brett Hunt in his first role as the guard, “Barrett,” who investigates a suspicious incident during “Nellie.”

“With this being my first role as an actor, I believe it was a perfect fit for me,” said Hunt. “My character is raw and impressionable, has that ‘new to the job’ feel as if he recently joined this (jail). He wants to do his job and do it the right way, but  he also knows where he is and the history of the world he now lives in. And in some places, the world doesn’t always work the way it should. He’s a character that we meet at his most impressionable moment and we get to learn which direction his moral compass points.”

Hunt said the script is what drew him into the role, as well as the depth of the characters.

“As I try to write my own scripts, I’ve developed such an admiration for great shorts that can tell a complete story, and this is one of those,” said Hunt. “In the limited pages and time, you are able to get a real sense that you’ve been with the main characters, in this world, and can easily envision life for them before the events of this story. To have that connection and then experience the events of this story with them is so much fun. The opportunity to be involved with a writer/director who is able to accomplish that is an honor, a blessing, and a great way to start acting.”

Hunt said understanding the morality of his character and why he makes choices the way he does will be integral to playing Barrett well.

“He knows how to do his job. He knows right from wrong. But he also knows that he’s ‘not in Kansas anymore’ and that things aren’t necessarily by the book in this town,” said Hunt. “What he does with that ultimately shapes who this guy is.”

All the characters are uniquely positioned to grow in this short film and they use humor within the darkness to do so. It’s a natural caveat of this particular world, said Hunt, who said he believes the lightness adds to the film.

“I believe it is all in the truth of the character and the world they live in. Knowing (my) character, the world (he’s) lived in, and the experiences in life ultimately help and allow you to play to the humor in situations where society would cringe,” said Hunt. “To the characters in this world though, these situations are ‘just another day’ or maybe just a funny way of life sorting itself out.”

“Nellie” begins production in March 2018.

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Joe Kidd, a Central Ohio-based actor, producer, director, and Marine, joins the cast of “Nellie” as one of its guards, Smitty, a sarcastic, but lovable character that adds lightness to the film.

“It’s an awesome character that adds a little humor to break up some pretty intense moments,” said Kidd, who’s been involved with filmmaking for more than 10 years. “Nellie” will be his 60th project. “I’m excited to be a part of such an amazing cast.”

In fact, Kidd said the tremendous cast is what got him most excited about the short film.

“I’m just honored to be a part of this amazing group.”

The script is dark and many of the characters have ulterior motives and quirky complexities. Kidd said his character, Smitty, is more focused: “My character has a very clear goal he wants to achieve and he is not a very dark character.”

“A big part of my character is to add humor in a pretty tense moment,” said Kidd. “I believe the key will be to keep from going over the top which could easily be done with Smitty.”

Nellie begins filming in March of 2018.

 

 

Deanna Sherman, and her daughter, Brenna, join the cast of “Nellie,” playing wife and daughter to the lead, John.

“I am always drawn to productions where I can share the screen or film with my own child,” said Deanna, who, herself, has been acting since age 6. Her recent credits includes supporting roles in the 2016 Sundance film, “The Land,” soon to be on Netflix horror film “6,” and Netflix feature, “The Horse Dancer.” She’s also had lead roles on several shows on the Investigation Discovery channel including “Homicide Hunter” and “Evil Twins.”

“I love watching Brenna grow,” said Deanna of her daughter, who’s been acting and modeling since she was 3-years-old. Brenna’s credits include supporting roles in thriller, “Clovehitch” playing Dylan McDermott’s daughter, “A Walk With Grace” with Jason London and Stephen Baldwin and horror film “6,” which has a deal with Netflix.

“This particular project is a challenge for us both because neither of us has had to do an accent yet,” said Deanna. “We have been practicing and it’s nice to be able to learn something new together!”

Nellie begins production in March of 2018.

Kristina Kopf

Columbus-based Kristina Kopf joins the cast of “Nellie” as the title character’s mother, Clara Belle, a warm-hearted Southern who takes her daughter in after a horrifying incident.

“I’m excited to bring the spirit of the character to life, and to work with some talented actors ~ I love spending time with creative people, bringing stories to life,” said Kopf. “I’m also very excited to work with Steph Greegor, the director and filmmaker, who emphasizes and encourages women in film.”

Kopf’s film experience includes roles in the feature films “Axe Giant,” “Madtown,” “Cleveland Abduction,” “Oracabessa,” “75,” and “Looking for the Jackalope.” Kopf recently starred in the feature film “The Street Where We Live,” currently in festivals.

Kopf’s character, Clara Belle, is the most pure in the script, bringing much-needed light and warmth to a serious drama.

“My character doesn’t hold the darkness of the film,” said Kopf, who will spend time learning the character’s life in preparation for the role. “I like to wear the character around, get into how she moves and speaks, what she thinks of everyday situations, how she feels about the people in her life and in her story. Once all of that is in place (and I’ve memorized the dialogue), all that’s left is to be fully present.”

Clara Belle’s lightness along with some of the script’s dark humor brings a relief for the audience.

“I think humor is generally funniest when it’s delivered sincerely,” said Kopf. “And so the humor comes out of being completely immersed in the moment, even if the moment is dark.”

Nellie begins filming in March of 2018.

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Kentucky native Lucas Bentley is set to play the “joker” role in the upcoming dark short, “Nellie.” His role as a confidant of the title character, Nellie, acts as both an antagonist and an emotional relief for the audience.

“I’m excited to play the role of Harold because, to me, I see him offering some comedic relief at times by way of his truthfulness – albeit blunt and rude,” said Bentley, who’s been a professional actor for over a decade. He was drawn to role initially for its villain character, Grayson, but quickly discovered he enjoyed the script for other reasons.

“I liked it being a Southern Gothic Tale done without mocking the region,” said Bentley, who can be seen in the Cincinnati-shot, Independent Feature Film “Josephine Doe,” as well as “A Kind of Murder,” which stars Patrick Wilson & Eddie Marsan.

For now, Bentley will prepare for the role by getting into the head of Harold and discovering his “wants/needs overall…How he truly thinks of Nellie will go a long way, I think, when he interacts with her and John.”

As for the dark humor within the script, of which Harold is mostly responsible, Bentley said, “It’s not forced. It’s humor that occurs in the moment unbeknownst to the character(s) because of their personality.”

“Nellie” begins production in 2018.

Aaron Sinclair

Bowling Green State University alum Aaron Sinclair joins the cast of “Nellie” as its antagonist, Grayson, a disconnected sociopath who sends the short film’s lead characters on Hero Journeys all their own.

“Grayson drew himself to me, versus the other way around,” said Sinclair, who spent time reading multiple roles within the screenplay, but ultimately ended up as the villain. “I’m excited because I don’t get to play the bad guy enough. It’ll be nice to slip into something more menacing…I don’t think of myself as a particularly menacing individual. Though I do hear I have a tremendous case of ‘resting-bitch-face’ so maybe there is something to that.”

Sinclair, a SAG-eligible actor and writer, said it was “the feel” of the script and its “sense of place,” that drew him in.

“I get a strong vibe of deep south, sweaty nights, humidity. Something about the tone or the language exudes imprisonment,” said Sinclair, whose BGSU degree is a BFA in Creative Writing. “I haven’t worked in that ‘space’ before, so I definitely wanted to be a part of that world building.”

It’s a very dark world and a very dark character, one Sinclair said ultimately considers himself the “only ‘human’ in his world.”

“All the other players are simply utilities. I’ll have to click into a frame of reference that delves worse than ‘I don’t care’ when it comes to the other people in the scene. I’ll have to find that place of numb selfishness,” said Sinclair. “Or maybe the same place a gamer goes in a console RPG where you are the only real character and the game characters are just interactive window dressing. They feel nothing, so you can do anything to them.

“I frankly think we all have the proclivity to dehumanize, to some extent or another,” said Sinclair, who’s currently pursuing an MBA in IT Management from Western Governors University. “I just need to be comfortable exploiting mine.”

Sinclair said prepping for the role will start with the script itself.

“What do others say about him, what do I say about others, what do I say about myself? What can I glean about the tone of the character juxtaposed to the script? How does that jack into my own personality?”

And then once he gets “that kernel of an idea locked into my brain, the ‘why’ of the lines, I’ll work dialect to sort out approaches of the ‘how,'” he said. “One thing I have noticed already is an instinctual detachment from Nellie on a pronoun level. My brain doesn’t think ‘her,’ it thinks ‘it’. So, it is super amusing when ‘it’ has a name. Like naming a pair of jeans, it’s absurd.”

And absurdity, as well as some degree of dark humor is threaded throughout the script. Sinclair said the audience will feel a range of emotions, but his focus is on how he wants them to react to Grayson.

“I’d like the audience to bounce between being slightly comfortable with the guy to disturbed,” said Sinclair. “As an actor, I don’t think that he is funny. I don’t think the character himself thinks he is ha-ha funny. I think he uses humor as another tool to project power. Others laugh out of fear, and that is just fine to Grayson. He might entertain himself with others misery, but he is no jokester.”

Sinclair has appeared in SRO Theatre Company’s “The Lion in Winter” as Henry II, Third Lows Productions’ feature film “The Passion of Paul Ross” as Party Man, and commercial work for Kemba Financial Credit Union. He is represented by CAM Talent out of Grandview, Ohio.

Nellie begins filming in March 2018.

 

 

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Detroit-native Brian Bowman, who starred in feature films “Madtown” and “478,” joins the cast of “Nellie” as the tough, but forgiving Sheriff of a small, southern town in the United States. Bowman, who now resides in Columbus, said he’s played a cop or police officer in multiple projects, but this is the first time, “I actually get to give my police character some depth.”

“I’m excited to see just how far I can take this character,” said the devoted husband, father of four and grandfather of seven. He added he’s looking forward to the challenge that the location of the script offers.

“It takes place in a southern atmosphere so I’m excited about that challenge due to me being raised in the Midwest,” Bowman said. Plus, “being a horror writer, I loved the thriller aspect of this script.”

Bowman, who is also a manager, head writer and CFO for Black Jack Entertainment Agency, said prepping the role starts with studying notes from the director then “I close my eyes and envision the scenes. Usually when I do this I get a scene playing in my head with famous actors playing the parts. Whoever I envisioned playing my character is who I pattern the role after.

“This character is not too dark, yet he knows the secrets and darkness of the entire town,” said Bowman, a graduate of John Casablanca Modeling and Talent Management. “So to be able to wrangle such a town with that much darkness, then he has to basically be fearless and not opposed to going into a dark place himself.”

The key to managing the darkness of the script and the dark humor within it, is to just “let the scene flow.”

“Facial expressions and body language speak just as loud as dialogue in these situations,” said Bowman, who also carried an MBA from Franklin University. “Getting close with your cast mates and going over the scene until it flows naturally is how I would balance dark and situational humor.”

“Nellie” begins shooting in March of 2018.

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Dianna Craig joins the production of the short film, “Nellie,” as its lead in the title role. Nellie is a prison guard who finds herself in a horrific situation and must face her worst fears in order to survive.

“I’m excited by the chance to play a wider range of emotions and by the increased pressure to do justice to Nellie’s story as an actor,” said Craig, who explained the final version of the script, versus the original, gave her a lot to work with as an actor. “The whole story was deepened and expanded, giving Nellie’s arc more depth and a more optimistic conclusion.”

Craig, a self-described “Army brat,” joins the 34-minute short film following a childhood that saw her living in Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, and Kentucky, before she moved to New York and studied acting as an adult. She spent a decade in the Big Apple before making her way back to Columbus, Ohio, and earning roles in multiple films and commercial projects. Represented by CAM Talent, Craig is also a screenwriter, who does detailed character histories when preparing for her roles.

“I type out a stream-of-consciousness style history from the character’s childhood up to the events of the film,” said Craig, adding that the dark humor in “Nellie” is a very natural emotion for the characters in this script. “Humor is a valid part of anyone’s reaction to an overwhelmingly dark situation.”

“Nellie” is set to begin production in March of 2018.