BTS: Finding Antonia

Finding Antonia was an exercise in being absolutely present and being open to allowing the evolution of a character to happen spontaneously and in absolute real time. I quickly discovered that the nature of creating a narrative film required that I approach characterization differently than I usually do when creating a role for the stage or for other kinds of media projects. Initial, skeletal conversations were had between Eugene and I…Nothing “formal”…..just conversations about the story in general and the challenges faced by people in real life who are actually living the issues faced by the characters in the film. Our conversations got me thinking about the humanity at the core of the issues which jumpstarted my imagination and got me thinking deeply about my character, Antonia; her needs, her reality in relationship to the needs and realities of the people she comes in contact within the world of the story.

All of my initial analysis and “human investigation” created a nice foundation to work from, but discovering who Antonia is, was truly flushed out in the process of actually making the film. We didn't spend time rehearsing. One could describe the process of creating the story as “improvisational”—The prompt or catalyst for the action and objective was in place—but ultimately, it was up to us (the actors) to find how to get there, in real time, in the environment, moment by moment—listening, responding, reacting and engaging—being ready for anything, as the camera was rolling. It was a wonderfully creative and exhilarating experience!

-Sally Vahle