Don’t you love seeing work or a dream progress?! "Willow Creek Road" started out as homegrown idea and blossomed into what I called a “handshake heard around the world” as I spoke to the project’s creator Jenna Ciralli during the earliest planning phases.
Jenna discovered me and our friendship through a casting director in Montana, Tina Buckingham. In our first conversation, Jenna and I hit it off like two long lost souls that had a million things to catch each other up on. Down to my toes I felt goosebumps telling me this was something pretty dang badass.
We would not meet face-to-face until about six months later. Through phone calls we got to know each other. As she developed her idea, she shared grace to allow me to help her make early decisions in formulating the short film. As more people came on board, I felt changes in the script and vision that took every ounce of faith I had to keep putting one foot in front of the other! Jenna, myself, and her stepbrother Bayard moved forward to create a video for Kickstarter that supported this project’s beginning pre-production into its filming.
"Willow Creek Road" changed a ton in it’s direction, filming, and editing shaking every inch of my creative DNA until I finally surrendered into what this project wanted itself to be. The film secured me a solid supporting actress role as Joey along with earning an Executive Producer credit for fundraising, behind the scenes support, and assisting with visibility of the project and its progress. The friendship and sisterhood that’s grown between Jenna and I from walking through the fires of creation, to communicating through hard stuff, and encouraging each other, is priceless. Truly, its become a warm embrace of feminine heart energy that continues to grow into other projects, uplifting talented women, and shaping our courage.
Through Jenna’s heralding and pressing “Willow Creek Road” into the light, our film has become widely received at film festivals around the country. In this journey, I’ve stepped into my voice, thoughtfully shared my perspectives, learned to put my pride in check more and more, improved acting skills, and fallen in deep admiration for filmmakers, actresses, and actors crafting their stories. Remain on your path, stay in faith, and keep choosing actions that make your work, creation, life, and love progress!
BOZEMAN International Film Festival
MINT Film Festival - Billings, Montana Photographer: Kenneth Jarecke
South Dakota Film Festival, Aberdeen Photographer: Greg Gilbertson
Most recently “Willow Creek Road” played at the Oxford Film Festival in Mississippi. It’s slated for viewing at the Seattle International Film Festival March 7, 2019 and March 16, 2019 at the New Filmmakers Film Festival in LA, and at the Maryland International Film Festival. It will premiere in the Holly Shorts Monthly Screenings in Hollywood in April 2019.
The film has received accolades for cinematography, best actress-Jenna Ciralli, and has been a festival choice for award at the MINT Film Festival and Monmouth Film Festival. (Full list of awards and film festivals can be found on my under my Pics tab-Film for Willow Creek Road on my website!)
I’m taking my own advice, even as I write this. Celebrate and allow success to integrate into your bones. It calibrates you for more of those experiences and helps spread your wings in what you are creating in life. I am excited to take this experience forward into more auditions and continued exploration in producing film.
Much, MUCH loves xoxo
PS You can track our film and its progress on the Facebook page! (Search: Willow Creek Road Film) or just click on our film name to take you right to it!
Blog by Mary Riitano...
I'm a Montana actress on a journey sharing my heart and growth through blogging, stories, and poetry, I have faith you'll find empowerment and inspiration to create like a champion in your own life!
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