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Christie Sanford

Christie: "A good mentor is so
important to find".

Conducted by Phil Davies Brown
November 19th, 2004

I had the pleasure of chatting to Dante Tomaselli regular Christie Sanford recently, about her roles in all of Dante's features so far.

For a lady that often ends up looking demonic and scary she sure was nice. Read on for her experiences on the set of the forthcoming Satan's Playground.

How did you first get into acting?
I first fell into acting in high school, doing talent shows and plays. Then in college I took my first acting class- just for fun. I ended up getting the lead role in almost all of the plays, so I made it my major- I graduated with honors in drama!

How did you go about getting into the industry?
After college I did a lot of work backstage in theatre and decided I just had to be onstage. So, I found an acting coach, and moved to New York. After a lot of auditions, I decided to go into more formal training, and began work at the William Esper Studios.

Did you continue to study and if so do you feel that your training was beneficial?
It took a long time to find the right place to really study. I do feel that it was beneficial in that it gave me the foundation and tools to find what was inside me, and to get to know myself. I have since studied privately with a wonderful film acting coach. A good mentor is so important to find- and sometimes so difficult. As they say, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear".

Your first feature was Desecration for Dante Tomaselli, how did you first hear about the project?
I first heard about DESECRATION (actually it was an audition for a short horror film called MAMA'S BOY) after answering an add in Backstage. I auditioned for Dante and got the part!

What was the audition like?
The audition was really interesting for me. I had made one short student film prior to this, which I had the principal role in, but Mama's Boy was really my first film audition. My background was theatre, and my film coach told me that if I auditioned for a film, and they didn't tape the audition, not to expect a lot. Dante taped the audition.

Christie: "Night of the Living Dead
will live forever".

How long did you have to wait before you knew if you had the part or not?
I didn't hear anything for about two months. Then I got a call from Dante asking me to come film a trailer. That was the Beginning.

Were you excited to be working with a new director or were you skeptical?
No- I was skeptical about being a new film actress.

Are you a fan of the horror genre?
I have always been a fan of Hitchcock, David Lynch, and the macabre. I love the Exorcist and a lot of the really old, old horror films, like the first Dracula (of course Bram Stokers was great) and Frankenstein. Night of the Living Dead will live forever.

What was it about Desecration that attracted you to it?
To work with the occult in film seemed like the ultimate experience. Dante's theme in DESECRATION with Catholicism hit home- I couldn't resist.

How was the shoot?
The shooting experience was a bit different on HORROR. It's different on every film. A lot of us from DESECRATION had a better sense about each other, and it was somewhat like "going home", whereas DESECRATION was a new experience for us all.

Was Dante very supportive as a director?
As a director, Dante is receptive and encouraging. I always feel that I can open up, and express any ideas I have going on about the character. Dante is so talented and focused, and has such a true understanding of what he wants from his actors. Dante supports his cast completely. He lets us offer ourselves totally, lets us create our own interpretations of his characters. He enjoys his actors, and all his films thus far have been totally character driven. There is nothing in this world like working with Dante Tomaselli! I am so fortunate!

You will next be seen in Satan’s Playground what can you tell us about the project?
I can't wait for SATAN'S PLAYGROUND to be released. It was a terrific shoot, so much fun, and a lot of hard work. We shot in the bitter cold of January, with space heaters and propane stoves everywhere. It felt like Antarctica! But the cold actually served to keep us all together- when not on the set, we would all huddle around a heater or stove somewhere and talk. The most interesting and funny things would surface!

Christie: "The most interesting and funny
things would surface!".

Have you had a chance to see the finished film yet?
I did have a chance to see SATAN'S PLAYGROUND recently- in a private screening with Dante.

What can we expect from the film?
You can expect a film like one you've never seen before. I was terrified and thoroughly entertained at the same time.

The film has an excellent cast. Did you enjoy working alongside them?
The cast of SATAN'S PLAYGROUND are a terrific group of people. I've never had so much fun with so many entertaining individuals. As actors, everyone gave their all. Not one was unprepared. Felissa Rose is an amazing actress and individual, Ellen Sandweiss is an in depth human being and actress, Edwin Neil is so far above ground he's unstoppable, Irma Ste. Paule sets my heart on fire, Ron Milkie is a great personality and terrific in this film, and Danny Lopes and Sal Piro are just tremendous human beings and actors. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

What will you be working on next?
Right now my next project is a feature film called THIEVES, a remake of an old Shelley Winters film called THIEVES LIKE US. I will co star as "Neva" the head of a group of professional bank robbers. It is an interesting script, a drama.

Is it likely that you will be in The Ocean?
Well, I'm not sure about there being a part for me in THE OCEAN- but that's ok- I know Dante and I will work together again soon- Of course if there is a part, I'll take it! (WOW - am I easy!)

"Thank you ever so much for taking part in this interview Christie.
And we wish you the very best of luck in the future."

Visit Christie's website here: www.christiesanford.com

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