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Actress and filmmaker Natalie Gee used the tried and true method of writing what you know. After finishing acting school, Gee took a job working with an elderly man who had early onset Alzheimer’s. She turned her experiences into a short comedy film, “All Is Not Lost” which screens at the HollyShorts Film Festival in Los Angeles on Aug. 17. The film is about Calvin, a man with early-onset Alzheimer’s, and Claire, his unorthodox caregiver, and the friendship they form while Calvin comes to terms with his sense of loss.
Gee had such a strong vision for the film she wrote, she decided to tackle directing it as well. Her time as a film festival programmer and screener helped her pick up filmmaking tips. She used films as her study material and networking with other filmmakers helped her make her vision a reality.
The right actor is about a connection
Although it can sometimes be challenging to find older actors, Gee was able to find leads that fit the profiles she was looking for. When her original plan to collaborate with a casting director fell through, Gee decided to look through the Backstage talent database to see if she could find an actor who would connect with the material and be a good fit. When she saw Robert W. Smith’s photos she says, “He’s so expressive… and I thought that fit the role really well.” For Barney, she was looking for someone really playful. When she saw Tadashi Mitsui’s reel, “I just kept getting this vibe that this guy was really fun.”