Monday, June 21, 2010

Former BHS student hits big screen in summer indie film

By Theresa Colella

Burlington High School has produced some famous actors, from Amy Poehler, star of Saturday Night Live and the films “Mean Girls” and “Baby Mama,” to Steven Wright, stand-up comic and actor in “The Muse” and “Coffee and Cigarettes.”

Could 2008 BHS grad Alyssa Freedman, who is starring in the new indie-film, “Sunblocked,” be the next to join their hall of fame?

Sunblocked, directed by Jessica Saccardo, a friend of Freedman, started filming last summer and is set to come out this summer (exact date undecided).

“Sunblocked” is the story of a young girl, Aloe (played by Shannon Carter), who has given up on the world. She has a bad job, a crazy family, and is still nursing the wounds of an ex-love. The only person that Aloe can depend on anymore is her best friend Derek. However, Aloe’s world is about to be turned upside down when new guy Frank comes to town. Will Aloe take a chance at a new start or let her heart remained “Sunblocked” forever?

“It’s a really funny and endearing movie,” Freedman says, “bound to put a smile on your face.”

Freedman, who has been acting since the age of 12, was active in the drama department since her freshman year, when she was in the dance ensemble of “Jekyll and Hyde.” She continued participating in the high school musicals, “Anything Goes” her sophomore year, and “Thoroughly Modern Millie” her senior year. She also acted at the Burlington Park Playhouse, and took acting classes at Huntington Theatre in Boston.

There was, however, one time on stage that meant the most to her.

“I think the experience that most shaped my acting performances was my final performance for Mrs. Ford’s drama class. I performed a monologue about child abuse in front of almost a full auditorium. Afterward, I had people I didn’t even know come up and tell me that I made them cry,” Freedman recalls.

Getting such a response was thrilling, but especially because it was a monologue.

“The thing about that performance that was different from any other I’ve done is that it was me, only me.”

“Sunblocked” is Freedman’s first acting experience since leaving Burlington High. She heard about the film from the director, Jessica Saccardo who she used to work with. When Jessica found out Freedman used to do some acting, she urged her to audition.

“It was a very relaxed process,” Freedman said. “It [the audition] had two parts, and it was honestly the most enjoyable audition I’ve had.”

In the end, Alyssa was cast as Kerri, the bubbly, flirty coworker of the main character, Aloe.

Filming the movie, however, was not as simple as one might think.

“It’s not all glamorous,” Freedman said. “I’ve had curling irons dropped on me. I’ve spilled beer all over the set,” she laughs. “Like with any other sort of production, things go wrong.”
One day during filming at Salem Willows Park, a large group of people started setting up sound equipment on a nearby stage. The movie needed footage of exactly that kind of scene so the director at first was feeling lucky. The feeling changed, however, as the group started shouting, “Praise the Lord, Jesus Christ,” over and over again. The chanting become so loud that Alyssa’s crew couldn’t do any of their own scenes because the microphones picked up every word the activists were saying. And because they were filming on public property, the crew couldn’t do anything about it.

“It was the kind of silly encounter you’d never think would happen, but it did,” she says. “Looking back now, the whole thing is just hilarious.”

Freedman grew up as one of those little girls with big movie-star dreams, and making her first film has not disappointed. She describes it as one of the greatest experiences of her life.

“Even when we need to hurry and get scenes done, [filmmaking] is fun. Even the stress is fun,” she says. “It’s like a big party every time we have to film, but not only do we get to hang out—we’re making a movie at the same time.”

1 comment:

  1. I cannot wait to see this movie! I saw the trailer and it looks awsome!