Angie Nolan takes a leap 

Local actor and director launches The Whistler Actorsphere

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ANDREA HELLMAN MAVEN STUDIOS - act up Angie Nolan recently launched The Whistler Actorsphere to represent local talent and teach acting classes.
  • PHOTO by Andrea Hellman Maven Studios
  • act up Angie Nolan recently launched The Whistler Actorsphere to represent local talent and teach acting classes.

Angie Nolan took a big leap in 2018.

After 18 years with the Whistler Film Festival—most recently as its director of industry programming—she left a steady job to pursue her own creative projects.

"I love this festival and I love that I got to talk about my own projects with people I admire (this year)," she says. "It was freeing and it was cool to go as a creative. It was like, 'Yeah. I like this! Way more, please.'"

Those projects include two feature films for which Nolan is currently finishing up rough drafts. One is a "rock 'n' roll family drama," that she's keeping under wraps for now. The other will hit a little closer to home for locals.

"(It's) going to be a very indie feature," she says. "It's a mountain-town story. It's going to follow four different stories—the real-life version of the town, not the ski porn or the slapstick comedy of life in a ski town. It's more written (about what) we live and experience. I'll touch on the magic too, but the stuff that's heightened here compared to the rest of the world—that life in this bubble; love lost, celebration of life, the elements."

She's applied for grants and is determined to move the production forward in 2019. "I will be pooling (people) in left, right and centre to be part of that one," she says. "That will be a super cool indie project."

To that end, Nolan—who was named the Champion of Arts and Culture at the 2018 Whistler Excellence Awards—also recently launched a new project that will both nurture and help represent local actors. The Whistler Actorsphere—which had a soft launch in November, but will be in full swing come January—has two objectives. One is to serve as a database of Sea to Sky corridor actors that local productions and bigger movies shooting in the area can tap into.

"(Local actors) always get asked to do interesting, strange, wild and wonderful things and there's no real sort of organization behind it," Nolan says. "I also feel like sometimes we have to represent ourselves more proactively in a way that is more professional. We do professional things, but we don't always get paid or treated (like) we are ... I thought, 'We need more of a home base for us."

The second part of The Whistler Actorsphere is acting classes. Nolan will be teaching classes—mostly for adults, but some for teens as well—ranging from improv for everyone to more specific workshops for experienced actors looking to launch into the business.

"It's amazing; you'll have someone (in Whistler) working coat check saying, 'I did four years of Shakespeare in the Park in Australia' and it's like, 'Where have you been this whole time?' Or, 'I was a child TV star and I want to get back into it.' It blows my mind."

Classes coming up for January include Improv Your Acting, an improv class open to beginners, running Jan. 7 to 28; Intro to Acting for the Camera, with acting techniques, scene study and character development, from Jan. 9 to 30; Intermediate Acting for the Camera from Jan. 10 to 31; and The Business of Acting Workshop, which will help aspiring actors with everything from presenting their headshot to creating a demo reel and finding the right agent, on Jan. 13.

"I'm trying to write two feature-film scripts and eventually direct those. To be teaching acting is a great muscle for a director. It keeps it up for me, too," Nolan says.

Taking the leap from gainfully employed to self-employed was scary, but the timing felt right, she adds.

"(There have been) a lot of big personal life changes, a lot of loss, in the last two years and it makes you rethink the course of your life and what you're really doing," she says. "I know intrinsically, to the depth of my core, that I'm a creative person. I felt really fulfilled at the Whistler Film Festival, as far as the job goes, and I'm really proud of the work I got to do there, but I spent a lot of years nurturing a lot of filmmakers and creative and watched their careers grow and flourish and I felt a pang. I could be doing that too ... It's like standing at the top of a double black diamond and you can't see anything, but you go anyway. You trust."

For more information on The Whistler Actorsphere visit whistleractorsphere.com.

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