CREATIVE VENTURE - Lacombe native Cassandra Johnston, who studied both acting and film production at Red Deer College, is directing a new short film called Ugly Girl along with Alex Adamson. The pair also penned the script for the project, which is set for releae this fall. photo submitted

Lacombe filmmaker excited about brand new project

Cassandra Johnston and her team are gearing up to present Ugly Girl

A Central Alberta filmmaker is thrilled about tackling a new project that will hold an empowering message.

Cassandra Johnston, who studied both acting and film production at Red Deer College, is directing Ugly Girl along with Alex Adamson. The talented duo also penned the story and, according to the synopsis, the film focuses on Charlie, a girl with odd facial features who enters a talent show to, “Prove that it’s not how you look, it’s how you feel.

“A daunting three days until the performance, she takes the weekend to master her chosen craft. With fearless determination and uncompromising courage, she navigates the gruelling art of tap dance. Feeling great, the takes the stage and gives the audience the performance of her life.”

Johnston also wrote a directed another critically-acclaimed short film a few years back called Mending with Gold, which landed on the festival circuit as well. That experience is part of what spurred her on to further explore this magical means of artistic expression, although of course she has long been immersed in the fascinating craft.

“We film June 10th to the 15th, and we are going to be filming around Lacombe,” she said, adding the film will ultimately have an 80s/90s sensibility to it. She’s also scouting a couple of Red Deer locations as well.

As to the film itself, Johnston is excited to not only launch production on it, but also to see how it will ultimately impact audiences.

She’s also the title character in the project, which will ultimately run about seven minutes in length.

“It can’t be more than 10 minutes,” she said, referring to production guidelines set out by Storyhive, the organization which funds films and supports filmmakers with mentorship from the National Screen Institute.

For Johnston, acting provides that intrinsically fascinating opportunity to interpret a particular character.

“You get to be anybody,” she said. “And that’s what got me into it — telling these stories through really interesting characters.”

She does, however, admit that there are limitations with it in terms of the types of roles that are typically available much of the some.

But with directing, the sky truly is the limit.

The ability to have creative control in an array of areas is endlessly enticing.

“When you act, you go and you do your part and you leave and then what they do with it is up to them,” she explained. “Directing is the exact opposite. You collect all of the these little parts and then you put it together into what you want it to be.”

As to Ugly Girl, Johnston describes it as a ‘feel good’ story. “We want it to be really fun.” she said.

“We don’t want it to be all serious business. We want the filming to be fun, the editing to be fun — and again, it’s going to have those 80s and 90s vibes which I’m really stoked about because I like that style. It’s another reason I like movies so much – you also get to put your style on it.

The idea for the project surfaced a few years back.

“I’ve had the idea for a film called Ugly Girl for about three years now,” she said, adding that the story didn’t immediately flesh out. Conversations led to its growth and development, however, and it ended up being what she describes as a really cool story.

“It’s different and original,” she said.

As to the message, it’s about how people need to feel good about themselves before other experiences can be perceived as feeling good as well.

In the original clip pitched to Storyhive, Paige describes Ugly Girl as a film that, “Explores what it’s like to be a woman with fearless determination who has yet to find her purpose.

“The film is an inspirational underdog story touching on the themes of perseverance, self love, dedication and courage that will resonate with people of all walks of life. This film is for anyone feeling lost or behind, negative about career choices, swamped by perceived failures, or has ever just felt plain ugly. Just remember, it’s not how you look – it’s how you feel.”

Looking ahead, Johnston wants to keep exploring the art of filmmaking and she’s also found shooting music videos to be a fun and thoroughly creative venture as well.

As to Ugly Girl, watch for its release this fall.

For more information, you can find Ugly Girl on facebook.

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake Yettis marching towards playoff spot

The team is currently in second place in the league

Central Alberta Buccaneers pillage Vandals 64-19

Bucs’ notch second win of the season convincingly

Central Alberta Humane Society presents cat yoga

Proceeds will be used to care for the shelter animals

Exciting singing opportunities await with Choirs Red Deer

A new opportunity for those who love to sing will soon be available in Red Deer

Country star Aaron Pritchett set to hit Westerner Days

Pritchett performs July 18th on the Centrium mainstage

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

National sports organizations have to report allegations of abuse immediately

Sporting organizations will lose federal funding abuse goes unreported, says Kirsty Duncan

Former Somali child refugee fights to stay in Canada

Former child refugee Abdoul Abdi’s judicial review set for today in Halifax

U.S. border separations ripple through midterm campaigns

Several Republicans to break from President Donald Trump amid boarder separation issues

AFN chief accused of being too close to Trudeau

Perry Bellegarde insists he is not that close to the Liberals as elections looms

Three injured after industrial explosion in Newfoundland

The roof of the warehouse was blown off in the explosion near St. John’s

Ottawa Senators trade Mike Hoffman, less than a week after allegations involving partner

Following the trade Senators make no mention of allegations against Hoffman’s partner

Late goal gives England 2-1 win over Tunisia

At the last World Cup in 2014, England couldn’t even win a game

Canadian military police officer pleads not guilty to sex assault

Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre, 48, entered his plea today at a court martial proceeding in Halifax

Most Read