CSIF Member Spotlight: Samantha Ferrari<< back
CSIF's Member Spotlight this week is Samantha Ferrari, a local filmmaker and actress, who has recently completed a project using CSIF facilities, equipment, and volunteers!
CSIF: The project you're currently working on isn't a traditional film shoot. Can you tell us a bit about the project?
Samantha Ferrari (SF): I’m very excited about my current film project, which began shooting on July 7th. It’s not a typical narrative, but a series of unrelated scenes from a variety of genres starring Albertan actors and written, directed, and produced by myself. The creative process is unusual--I get to know the actor and discuss with them what sorts of characters they enjoy playing, then I go on to design scenes that suit their strengths and show their range. I work with the actor in the weeks leading up the shoot to fine-tune the scripts while also booking locations, actors for the secondary roles, crew, equipment, etc. The end result is mutually beneficial to the actors and for me as a director: we both gain experience in our areas of interest (film/television acting for them and directing/producing/writing for me) and we will both use the finished scenes in our reels to showcase our talent and hopefully help us gain more work down the line.
SF: This project came out of my desire to direct, write, and produce, and the gumption to create my own projects! I have several other more traditional film projects written, including a web series, a short film, and a music video. In order to obtain funding to produce these other projects, it will help to have proof of what I can do as a writer/director/producer. I met ACTRA member Anne Hawthorne a few months ago and she mentioned she had some acting students who would benefit from having solid demo reels. We put our heads together and came up with the idea to shoot demo reels for them from scratch, and she put me in touch with those who were interested. This project is being shot by CSIF member Philip Nelson! I particularly love working with kids; the first actor I had the pleasure of working with is 11-year-old Megan Boyda from Wetaskiwin--it was her first ever film shoot and she knocked it out of the park!
CSIF: You have a lot of experience working in the Calgary/Alberta film community. Can you tell us a little about your experience in film?
SF: After I completed my bachelor’s degree in English I knew I wanted to write for film and television. I didn’t know anyone in the industry or how I might get started, so I began acting again for the first time since my late teens to network and gain experience on set. I love acting and it’s something I will continue to do for the rest of my life--it’s a skill that allowed me a way into the industry and I have learned the most about directing through being an actor. Acting has also taken me to some really cool places including California, Toronto, and the ghost town of Rowley, Alberta.
After working primarily as an actor for a while I wanted to get my feet wet as a screenwriter. In 2017 I funded and produced my first short film, Dear Stella. Self-producing, writing, and acting in Dear Stella taught me the ins and outs of planning and executing a film shoot. The next role I wanted to take on was director, so I approached Calgary musician Hello Moth with a story treatment for his song, “Lucid Dream.” He liked my concept and hired me to produce and direct the music video in 2018. I had a blast directing the ghoulish ‘80s dance party and ever since then, I’ve been searching for more opportunities to direct.
Beyond acting, directing, writing, and producing, I’ve been fortunate to work on a number of Alberta productions as a production assistant, assistant director, grip, and makeup artist. Most recently I was involved with the televised 2019 Rockie Awards at the Banff World Media Festival and the Norwest documentary premiering this weekend. Diversifying means that I get more opportunities to be on film sets and then can apply my new knowledge to my own projects.
CSIF: What is next for you?
I will be shooting scenes for my current project intermittently over the next few months while also editing the scenes for the actors’ demo reels. I’m also going to be acting in a few projects this summer--one is the fifth episode (which I wrote with creator Dan McDougall) of award-winning web series High Strung, another is a short film produced by NUTV, and another is a music video for Rayelle to be filmed in Los Angeles. As busy as I am with current projects, I’m committed to making time for more work as a director/producer.
Where can people find out more about you?
My website is www.samanthaferrari.ca, which includes my bio, social media links, and contact info. If there are any actors out there who want to work on a demo reel with me, I’m currently booking shoots for late summer/early fall.