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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sharing the Silver Screen with Stars

Last June I was blessed to be cast in 'Learning to Fly' an American Film Institute (AFI) short film for its Directing Workshop for Women program.  In the film, I play a young mother to an imaginative little boy who develops a friendship with his odd neighbor that he believes could be a superhero. 

This movie was just a sheer joy and pleasure to be a part of.  From the talented director, Juliana Penaranda-Loftus, whom I instantly bonded with during our first meeting at the callback session, then there was Andrew Tenorio, my son in the film - one look at him and you just want to eat him up and already a pro at such a young age.  My fellow castmates who are ridiculously talented, Michael J. Sielaff and Jayden Maddux. And of course the professional and kind.    

LtoR: Actor - Kikey Castillo, Director - Juliana Penaranda-Loftus, Actor - Michael J. Sielaff, Actor- Jayden Maddux (front) & Actor - Andrew Tenorio (front)

Finally, after almost a year of waiting to see the film, AFI screened the Directing Workshop for Women showcase 2013 at the Directors Guild of America (DGA).  There were 8 extremely talented women directors and 8 mind blowing short films.  I was super impressed with the caliber of films and actors in all the movies and our film stood its ground solidly amidst the bevy of titanium films.  I'd have to say, the ultimate reward for me was sharing the silver screen with some pretty amazing women actresses in Hollywood.

It started with actress Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect, The Mindy Project) who I really liked in Pitch Perfect...side note, I also ran into her in the ladies room at the HBO Golden Globes After Party looks like we run in the same circles LOL, Rumer Willis, graced us in a provocative yet tender film, Brooke Shields made a cameo, Ashley Williams (How I Met Your Mother, Saving Grace) whom you may not know by name yet but works so much, Mireille Enos (World War Z, The Killing) she looked familiar then a week later I see her in the trailer for the movie 'World War Z' playing Brad Pitt’s wife and I was like hey, there’s the women from the AFI short – pretty cool, Shohreh Aghdashloo (X-Men: The Last Stand, 24) I’m a big fan of hers, she’s a powerful actress with a commanding presence in everything she does.

AFI's Directing Workshop for Women Showcase Trailer

It was a flawless evening where I got to see spectacular films and mingle with my fellow cast and crew of ‘Learning to Fly’.  I am so proud of the film we showcased and grateful to have been part of the process from start to finish, and what a finish it was!  As I walked to my car in the pouring rain (it stormed that night and I do enjoy a good storm) I had a smile across my face, it was a smile mixed with a sense of accomplishment, pride and the feeling of “yes, yes, yes,...I LOVE BEING AN ACTOR!”  

Special Thanks to:
  • Producer, Chrissy Kerns - an all around wonderful woman and terrific producer
  • Casting Director, Lauren Bass - who remembered me from long ago and called me in for the part
  • Writer, Traci Carroll - for your beautiful story
  • Hidden Village Films
  • Jason Loftus
  • All the crew - too many wonderful people to mention individually

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I'm a Cindo de Mayo Parade Grand Marshal?

Me along with my three other beautiful Hola LA! co-hosts we were the Grand Marshals for Cyress Park's annual Cinco de Mayo Parade!

What an gift to be included in the Cypress Park Parade which has a 22-year old tradition of having a Latino Celebrity serve as Grand Marshals - and this year Bel Hernandez, Dyana Ortelli, Naibe Reynoso and myself took that coveted honor - wow, even as I write this, I realize how so darn cool that is!  

Personal moments that happened behind the scenes:

As Grand Marshals, our duties included a VIP Meet and Greet breakfast reception where we got to mingle with fellow entertainers and meet great people from the community.  But it's never an Hola LA! outing without some sort of  "excitement"  happening.  As it turns out, poor Dyana was lost and could not find the VIP reception location (so she missed breakfast, coffee and the meet and greet).  Many calls and texts later and still lost, her phone died at the very point the parade was starting and our parade car was taking off...with out Dyana!!   We three took off sad that Dyana got lost and had to miss the parade but, we had to go on and wave and say HOLA to all the beautiful faces of Cypress Park.

A favorite heart fullfilling moment on the parade route for me was when I would lock eyes with a little boy or girl and say "hi mija" or "hi mijo"...their eyes would grow wide as saucers and their smile would grow really big...that made my day each and every time. 

Was the parade route really short?  Or was I having too much fun?  because before I knew it, we were parked at the festivities location - where we were to be introduced on stage and the fun party would continue with food and entertainment.  As we were parked, still sitting in the car chatting and taking pictures, out of nowhere DYANA shows up!  She missed the whole parade but she made it to the festivities.  Apparently she found a cop who kindly drove her to us.  As she sat shotgun (although it would have been hilarious to hear otherwise) she regally waved out of the cop car window - getting in her parade   Reunited, we finished out our Grand Marshal duties strong and had a very fun day!

Excited about our sign!

Ready to take off, missing our colorful Dyana, no really behind the smiles we were sad :( 

Still sad :( we managed to lift our spirits
I'm hoisting our Hola LA Celebrity Grand Marshal trophy!  Cue song... "We are the Champions..." 

Ta-Dah!! Real smiles of JOY as Dyana magically appears
Dyana was born wearing that sombrero LOL

On stage introduction to the crowd and officially presented our wonderful trophy

Special Thanks To:
Rafael Lopez, the parade’s celebrity liaison - you were just wonderful Rafa!
Ed Reyes, L.A. City Councilman has partnered with Cypress Park Neighborhood Council in helping with some of the city logistics and permits to host the parade
Cypress Park, for having us represent your wonderful city

New Episode Airs
Saturday, May 25th at 6:00pm on KCAL9
Sunday, May 26th at 4:30pm on CBS2

Latin Heat Article on the Cinco de Mayo Parade:

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