Once again, the Alberta media industry recognizes the talents of a young St. Albert actress for her outstanding achievement in the film industry.
Last week, the Alberta Media Production Industries Association (AMPIA) announced finalists for the 41st annual Alberta Film and Television Awards.
The awards celebrate film, television, commercials, music videos and new media. There are 184 finalists competing a various artistic and craft categories.
In an arena thick with veteran professionals, the virtually unknown Ilana Anderson, 13, received a nod for Best Performance by an Alberta actress in the television film A Louder Silence.
To say the Grade 7 Ä‚Â©cole Sir George Simpson School student is happy to be in line for a Rosie Award is an understatement.
“I was thrilled. I still am. It’s amazing to receive something like that after so many years. And at such a young age. Apparently my acting was pretty good,” says Anderson who alternately enjoys hanging out watching Disney movies, performing on the school cheer team and competing in track and field.
She is the youngest St. Albert actress to be nominated for the film industry award. In 2009 Jessy Mossop, 15, a triple threat performer, was nominated for her role in the musical pilot The Kois.
A Louder Silence, directed by Nicolette Saina, is the story of CTV London bureau chief Clark Todd who was wounded and died in the Aley Mountains during the 1983 civil war in Lebanon.
Both CTV and Superchannel licensed the film and it is told from the point of view of Anna, Todd’s oldest daughter. The time is 30 years after his death and Anna, now a journalist, is still not over her father’s loss. Trying to work through the pain, she recreates scenes in her mind with memory flashbacks. Anderson plays Alex, the youngest daughter.
“She’s (Alex) the fun one. In one scene we’re at the table. She’s (Anna) trying to talk and I’m trying to make a joke and I get kicked under the table. And at my birthday party I like to show off,” notes Anderson.
Born in England, Anderson received her first taste of acting when cast in the popular award-winning British sitcom Outnumbered!. It starred Hugh Dennis and Claire Skinner as the mother and father outnumbered and outmanoeuvred by their three children.
Anderson, at the time was six years old, and was contracted to play a neighbour for two episodes.
“My friend ran a modelling and talent agency and she asked if Ilana was interested. We took her to London for an audition and got a call back,” said Miriam, Anderson’s mother.
Just as Anderson’s television career was taking off, the family immigrated to Canada.
“There were a lot more opportunities, more value for money and more opportunities in education for the girls. They’re now doing French immersion,” Miriam continues.
Once ensconced in the city, Anderson auditioned for St. Albert Children’s Theatre productions but stopped after two terms.
“I can do the acting part, not the singing part.”
Fortunately, ImagiNation Films was scouting for a cute young girl with a British accent to play the role of Alex. Within a day of contacting the casting director, the nine-year-old received a callback.
The film was shot between 2011 through to 2014, in various locations from Lebanon to England to Canada, with the bulk of production taking place at Edmonton’s Film Alberta Studio. It has an upcoming screening on Superchannle this summer, later followed by an airing on CTV.
In an interesting turn of events, Anderson’s screen mother, actress April Banigan is also competing for a Rosie in the same category. Anderson conveys nothing but praise and support for Banigan.
“She was very funny. And she was so helpful. Both David MacInnis, my screen dad and April were very professional. If you needed help, you could always ask and they were always ready to help.”
The award ceremony takes place at the Shaw Conference Centre on May 23. For a complete list of nominees visit ampia.org.