Sherren Lee produced and directed The Things You Think I’m Thinking, a short film about a black male burn-survivor and amputee who goes on a date with a regularly-abled man. The film explores the main character’s demons and how he faces intimacy 10 years after his accident. This award winning film will be making the rounds at different festivals this summer. Get to know the woman behind the scenes and read the interview below!
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Sherren! Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get into filmmaking? When did you know you wanted to get involved in making movies?
I grew up wanting to act and participating in all the school plays. In university, I directed a play for the first time and have not acted since. It had never clicked in my head that directing could be something I can do, but as soon as I had a taste of it, I knew it was what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. I didn’t go to film school, so when I graduated from McGill with a Bachelor of Commerce, I only looked for film and television work, proceeded to work in production for seven years while creating my own independent work on the side. I didn’t give myself an alternative.
Olunike Adeliyi is a rising star, nominated for her role in BOOST for Best Supporting Actress by the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards. Her strong presence can also been seen in Darken where she plays a warrior, and the upcoming feature, Chaos Walking alongside Tom Holland (Spider-man: Homecoming) and Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens). Get to know the talented actress in our interview below!
Tell us about your upcoming feature film, BOOST. What can you tell us about your character, Amina Nour?
Amina is a hard working woman, caring for her two sons, and trying to keep her family together and out of harms way. She reminds me of my mother, an immigrant to Canada trying to make a better life for herself. Amina found she had to work ten times harder than most people who are originally from Canada, to prove she deserves to be a part of the Canadian fabric.
In Mary Kills People, Abigail Winter’s character, Jess, deals with her relationship with her mother who may be hiding a deep, dark secret from her. Outside of this dramatic role, Winter lives a fully creative life not just as an actor, but also as a writer and musician/singer. Find out more about her in our interview below!
Hi Abigail, thank you for chatting with Defective Geeks! First off, tell us about Mary Kills People and your character, Jess.
It’s my pleasure! Mary Kills People is a unique, trail blazing drama about a doctor named Mary Harris who also moonlights as someone who helps the terminally ill with assisted suicide. In the world which the show in set, doctor assisted suicide is not yet legal, so Mary must hide this part of her life to her family. I play Jess Geller, Mary’s sensitive, intuitive teenage daughter. She can sense that her mother is hiding something, and as Mary grows more and more absent, Jess is not only confused but also feels she’s taking a back seat to her mom’s “double life”. This results in a very rocky relationship with her mother. Additionally, Jess finds herself in a tumultuous relationship with her bad-influence best friend, Naomi. Naomi plays with Jess’ romantic feelings, who is in the middle of coming to terms with her sexuality.
You may not see him on screen, but David Lester has helped shape one of the more stunning series on Hulu, The Handmaid’s Tale. He discusses his role as an assistant director on the show and how it has helped him on his own projects as a creator and director. Read about his creative journey and of course, he tells us which superpower he would pick!
Hi David, thank you for doing this interview with us! First of all, tell us a little about yourself and the kind of work that you’ve done.
Thank you! I’m a director from Toronto, having previously done shorts and music videos and in the process of writing my first feature. And when I’m not creating my own work, I work on set as an assistant director currently on season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale. Generally my work explores themes in relationships, the struggles of long-term commitments, family dynamics, and I next want to explore the seemingly impossible task of overcoming a mental block that has taken over your life and passion.
Talented and hardworking, Annie Chen was born and raised in Taiwan and found her passion for the performing arts at a very young age. Annie trained at the prestigious School of Toronto Dance Theatre and started her career with a bang— she danced with Lady Gaga on stage at the 2011 Much Music Video Awards and Korean pop star, PSY at the 2013 Much Music Video Awards. Despite her success in dance, Annie is also currently pursuing a growing acting career. Read our interview with her to find out more about her journey.
Hi Annie, thanks for speaking with us! You have had an interesting creative journey, can you tell us more about how you got into acting?
I had always wanted to be an actor as a kid but didn’t think it was something that I could do for a living because I didn’t see many representations of myself on screen. Two years into my career as a professional dancer I decided to go for it and paid for my first acting class. It was exhilarating, and from there on I have been pursuing it professionally and of course, always updating and training. It was not an easy transition especially coming from a strong dance background. I was put in a box and not taken seriously as an actor. On top of all that I was also a female ethnic actor and would often audition for roles that required an accent or spoke mandarin. However, the industry is slowly evolving. There are more female directors, writers, and the lack of diversity on screen is being acknowledged.
Lee Lawson is both an actress and a writer based in Toronto, Canada who can be seen playing a diverse range of roles onscreen. She can be seen in independent films starring as as a soldier dealing with PTSD in director Tamara Moos’ Kavod, a young teacher navigating the childhood crush of a gifted student in Hue’s Theatre and as Leaf Girl in Joëlle Wallinga’s conceptual collaboration with child writers; Cave Big, Cave Small. We chatted with her about her journey in acting and her upcoming projects.
Tell us more about yourself and what inspired you to become a creative person and pursue acting. What has that journey been like for you?
Hi! so happy to be chatting with you! It’s funny; I certainly wasn’t the typical actor kid. I was quite shy; a day dreamer. It took me a really long time to find my way into onscreen acting. I always felt this instinctive pull towards story telling, but theatre never fit quite right. It was so freeing when I finally discovered the Independent film scene. In front of the camera I felt like there was no distance to contend with. For me, acting for camera is an incredibly intimate experience. My artistic journey has been all about finding the right medium, material and community to work within.
Asian American ComiCon was one of the best conventions I’ve been to in awhile, possibly a new favorite of mine. When I planned to attend the convention, I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew there were a couple of interesting panels I wanted to see and George Takei will be there. Definitely enough of an incentive to go, especially just to show support to fellow Asian-American creators and the community.
The afternoon turned out to be one of the more memorable and inspiring day I’ve had as a creative person and as an Asian woman.