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

PHOTOS: Blackfalds holds annual Charity Check-stop

Central Alberta Victim Services and Blackfalds FCSS benefits from donations

Blood donor clinic set for Dec. 24th in Lacombe

Canadian Blood Services has called for more than 30,000 blood donors across the country

U19 Sting ringette goes 3-2 in Lacombe tournament

Spruce Grove goalie keeps Central Alberta out of medal round

UPDATE: Lacombe Generals finish 2018 on four-game win streak

15 goals in two games has Generals sitting pretty

40-year Big Brother match a gift to Lacombe man

Andy Pawlyk and his Little Brother Chris Selathamby honoured at BBBS Awards Night

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

Trump signs order to create US Space Command

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to create a U.S. Space Command.

Groups preparing new pipeline legal challenge, argue government’s mind made up

A Vancouver-based environment charity is readying itself to go back to court if the federal government reapproves the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Notorious Toronto triple killer gets third consecutive life sentence

Dellen Millard gets third consecutive life sentence for father’s death.

‘Subdued’ housing market predicted in B.C. through 2021: report

The Central 1 Credit Union report predicts “rising but subdued sales” over the next three years, with little movement in median home prices.

A journey through 2018’s top pop culture moments

Was there any pop culture this year? Of course there was.

‘A stronger Alberta:’ Ottawa announces $1.6B for Canada’s oil and gas sector

Price of Alberta oil plummeted so low that Alberta’s Premier said Canada was practically giving it away

Canadians to get low-cost data-only mobile phone plans within 90 days: CRTC

Bell, Rogers and Telus will provide plans as cheap as 250MB for $15

Four per cent of Canadian women report being sexually harassed in the workplace

One per cent of men report being sexually harassed in the workplace

Most Read