Sunday, September 9, 2018

HollyShorts: Pin-Up - Michelle Bonilla Interview

Photo Content from Michelle Bonilla

A Native of Hollywood, California, Michelle Bonilla caught the acting bug at a young age. By the time she was 10 she was studying voice, music, dance, and theatre at Los Angeles City College's Arts Department. She went on to major in Drama at California State University Northridge. Her first Equity audition landed her the role of Renee, in the critically acclaimed Dark Rapture by Eric Overmyer at the prestigious Kalita Humphreys Theatre in Dallas, Texas. In Los Angeles her theatre credits include The Walt Disney Concert Hall, Toyota Symphonies for Youth; As You Like It...Fresh, The Matrix; Wilding, The Road Theatre Company; The Circle, The Bilingual Foundation of the Arts; the West Coast Premier of Eddie Sanchez's Award Winning, Clean, at The Celebration Theatre; Borderlands (Co-written by Dana Stevens) at Second Stage; and Sato's Dream in Blue, East West Players. Michelle also co-wrote, produced, and starred in Mal Vista, at The Tamarind Theatre. Bonilla made her big screen debut in Above Suspicion, with Christopher Reeve and Kim Cattral. Her other film credits include working opposite Jason Alexander and Faye Dunaway in Dunston Checks In; The Rich Man's Wife; with Halle Berry; Trial and Error, with Michael Richards, Jeff Daniels, and Charleze Theron; Homegrown, with Billy Bob Thorton and Hank Azaria; Price of Glory, with Jimmy Smitts; Lansky, with Richard Dreyfus; True Friends (Winner Gold Jury Award- Best Independent Film- Charleston International Film Festival), and most recently in Sexual Life (Official Entry of The 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival), with Tom Everett Scott, Anne Heche, and Dule Hill. As well as Kill Your Darlings (2006) , with John Larroquette, Lolita Dovidovich, and Gregg Germann. She has worked with acclaimed directors such as Jonathan Lynn, Ken Kwapis, Amy Holden Jones, Stephen Gyllenhaal, Arvin Brown, and John McNaughton.

Michelle's impressive list of television credits includes recurring roles on The Bold and The Beautiful, Saving Grace, 24, The Profiler and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, where she originated the role of Teresa Morales, the first Mexican-American School Marm. She recurred as Harms, the sexy Latina paramedic on NBC's, Emmy Award Winning Drama, ER, for an impressive 12 Seasons. Michelle also is the creator, writer, and producer of various projects, including the award winning short film "Slip Away" and the comedy web series "Failing Upwards", which was chosen by ABC News as "A web series to watch" Bonilla is also a proud recipient of The ALMA Award (American Latino Media Arts Award) for her portrayal in PBS's, Award Winning Foto-Novelas Series, Seeing Through Walls.


The feature version of my film, Pin-Up, examines the origin of obsession, whether over love, art, even life. This piece goes deep into mother/child bonding, or lack thereof and the effects it can have later in life. The need for beauty, art, creativity is in so many of us and Lana’s journey is one I have experienced myself. And I believe this is a universal feeling. The film will rely on special effects, visual and sound, to create a world that looks, sounds, tastes so beautiful that the audience will prefer to live in it over their own life, just as Lana does.

Uninspired and in her forties, celebrated photographer, Lana Freeman, searches for the elusive visual "perfect moment." When a young waitress saves her life, Lana believes she's found the perfect muse. But as she becomes more and more obsessed with the young woman Lana pulls away from her husband, her work, and the people who love her, not realizing that the muse could destroy her life. Starring Angela Sarafyan, Christina Chang, and Michelle C. Bonilla.

Christina Chang ― Lana
Christina Chang was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, by her Chinese-Filipino father and American mother. At 17 she moved to the United States to study Theatre & Film in her mother's home state of Kansas and later studied acting in Seattle, USA. Chang went on to gain a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she won her first professional acting job in the play "Naomi's Road" at the Seattle Children's Theater. From there, she progressed to the off-Broadway production of Tina Landau's the "Trojan Women."

Once in New York, Chang gained several guest and recurring roles on various programs including Cosby, Guiding Light, and As the World Turns. She appeared in the feature films Random Hearts (1999), 28 Days (2000), Deadline (2000) and Girls Club (2002). She also hosted Globe Trekker, also known as Globe Trekker (1994).

Chang's other interests include working with children, following in the footsteps of her mother who is a school counselor. She speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, has studied the trapeze, and has an interest in social work.

Angela Sarafyan ― Sunny
Angela Sarafyan is an Armenian American actress. She has appeared as a guest-star in several television series such as Judging Amy (1999) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer(1996).

Sarafyan has acted in the feature films: On the Doll (2007), Kabluey (2007), The Informers (2008), A Beautiful Life (2008), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2(2012), A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (2011), and Lost and Found in Armenia (2012).

In 2016 she starred as Clementine Pennyfeather in HBO's Westworld (2016).

Roy Lee Jones ― Louden
Roy Lee Jones is an actor, known for True Grit (2010), Daredevil (2003) and NYPD Blue(1993).

Michael A. Goorjian ― Guy
Michael Goorjian, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, is an American actor, filmmaker, and writer. As an actor, Michael won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Special for David's Mother (1994) with Kirstie Alley. He is also well known for his role as Justin, Neve Campbell's love interest on the Golden Globe winning series Party of Five (1994), as well as Heroin Bob in SLC Punk! (1998). As a director, Michael achieved widespread recognition for his first major independent film, Illusion (2004), a film he wrote, directed and starred in alongside Hollywood-legend Kirk Douglas

Michael's acting career began at the early age of 14 when he decided to audition for a local theatre company thinking it was a 'cool way' to skip class. After landing the lead role in a 'not-so-cool play called Computer Crazy, Michael soon found out that the rest of the cast were all senior citizens and that he would have to perform the play at his own junior high. Despite this rather humiliating experience, Michael stuck with acting and eventually trained at UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television.

Michael's first big Hollywood break came as a dancer when in 1992 he was cast as Skittery in the Disney film, Newsies (1992), starring Christian Bale and Robert Duvall. What followed was starring roles in numerous films including Chaplin (1992) with Robert Downey Jr., Forever Young (1992) with Mel Gibson, Oscar-winning Leaving Las Vegas(1995), Hard Rain (1998) with Morgan Freeman and Christian Slater, SLC Punk! (1998), The Invisibles (1999) with Portia de Rossi, Broken (2006) with Heather Graham and Conversations with God (2006).

Michael also guest starred in countless television series including Lie to Me (2009), House(2004), Alias (2001), Monk (2002), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000), CSI: Miami(2002), Without a Trace (2002), Chicago Hope (1994) as well as a recurring role on Life Goes On (1989) as Ray Nelson.

Never straying far from the stage, Michael is a founding member of the Los Angeles based theater group, Buffalo Nights and starred in the West Coast premiere of Dennis McIntyre's powerful drama, Modigliani, which won him a L.A. Weekly Theater Award nomination for Best Lead Actor. With the 'Nights', Michael also received tremendous critical acclaim for playing title roles in both productions of, The Apollo of Bellac by Jean Giraudoux, and J.B. by Archibald MacLeish. Michael also won a LA Critics Choice and a Garland Backstage West awards for his original choreography for the L.A. production of the musical Refer Madness.

Video/Edit: James Vallesteros (@jamesvallesteros). Audio: Edward Chung.


HollyShorts takes place August 9-18, 2018 at the TCL Chinese Theater, Harmony Gold Theater and other locations in Hollywood. Nearly 400 short films will compete for the festival’s top prizes. Last year HollyShorts finalists included 3 out of the 5 Live Action Oscar nominees and the winning short Silent Child from Rachel Shenton and Chris Overton. This year, HollyShorts received an all-time record 5,000 submissions from over 80 countries. The competition will feature Live Action, Animation and Documentary Shorts as well as web series, student shorts, music videos, TV pilots, and VR. The festival also features a screenplay competition where the winning short gets greenlit, shot and shown at next year’s festival courtesy of Seattle Film Summit.

HollyShorts Film Festival is an organization devoted to showcasing the best and brightest short films from around the globe, advancing the careers of filmmakers through screenings, networking events, and various panel and forums. The Oscar Qualifying HollyShorts Film Festival showcases the top short films produced 40- minutes or less. Categories include Short Animation, Short Live Action, Short Documentary, Music Video, Webisode, Commercials, TV, and Digital Microbudget.
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