An Interview with Heather Amos – By Nic Brown

 Some people are blessed with knowing what they want to do with their lives from an early age. Heather Amos grew up knowing that she wanted to act. Now this Heather is not only acting, she’s also working behind the camera with her friends and partners Rachel Grubb and Brooke Lemke at their film company Silent-But-Deadly Productions. Despite her busy schedule working on SBD’s current film Why Am I In A Box and shooting her newest feature The Spooner Sisters, this versatile actress has taken some time to talk with us about her new projects, Silent-But-Deadly Productions, and why Minneapolis is the place to be for independent filmmakers.

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Nic– Heather, how did you get started working in films?

Heather– I have wanted to act ever since I can remember and was always doing school church and community plays but film was always my main goal. However growing up in small town Iowa I didn’t really have access to auditions etc. I went to a small private college in North Dakota and got a drama degree. I directed acted wrote produced and traveled with various college stage productions which were all very small scale but I still really wanted to do film. About four years ago I moved to Minneapolis and started hitting the local audition circuit. I got cast as an extra in a student project for the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. It was a non-speaking role but my first experience with film. From there I just kept auditioning and getting small roles in music videos student films and indie features.

Nic– Do you feel that Minneapolis has a lot of opportunity for independent filmmakers such as yourself?

Heather– Minneapolis has so much to offer in the independent film realm. I think for the last few years its been on of the best kept secrets of indie film but with films such as "Sweetland" and "Juno" getting worldwide recognition I can’t see it being a secret much longer. There is so much going on here and while most of it is little or no budget there is an immense amount of talent and people who are just phenomenal to work with and so creative. It’s almost like a big family as cheesy as that may sound. I definitely think the world is going to take notice of the Twin Cities within the next few years. I’m not opposed to working in other markets. I will pretty much go wherever there is a good role but for now Minneapolis is my home base. It’s been such a great place to get my feet wet and learn without being totally overwhelmed and its also very competitive. I am always blown away by the level of skill of the people I work with and audition with. There are so many people who could be in NY or LA making tons of money and working on these huge ass blockbuster films but they choose to be here.

 Nic– You are one of the founders of Silent-But-Deadly Productions along with Rachel Grubb and Brooke Lemke. What do you hope to accomplish with Silent-But-Deadly Productions?

Heather– The goal of Silent-but-Deadly productions is to create more opportunities for women in film, both in front of and behind the camera, and to enrich the local film community. Rachel wrote directed and starred in our first feature. Brooke is directing a couple of shorts next. One was written by her and Ryan Stranjord and another by a filmmaker from Canada named Heather Beck. I am working on a couple of shorts I am writing and will direct as well. We want to see women play a variety of roles and be an active part of the filmmaking process and eventually do some teaching and mentoring projects with young girls who have an interest in film.

Nic– Silent-But-Deadly Productions sounds like it is more than your average production company. How do you fund your projects?

Heather– We are a non profit right now which means we rely on donations or our own money to fund our projects. We have a fiscal sponsorship through an organization called Springboard for the Arts. There are different levels of donations and perks that go along with all of those levels. People can donate anywhere from ten dollars to ten billion. It’s all tax deductible. There is more detailed information about all of that on our website.

Nic– So tell us about the feature your role The Spooner Sisters. What kind of character do you play?

Heather– I play Mona Spooner in "The Spooner Sisters." She is by far the best character I have had an opportunity to play. She has this vulnerability to her that I just love. Mona has been through some very tough things in her life and on top of all of that she is a witch who can never have sex with a man or he will die. She is very dark and depressive but at the same time there is almost this childlike quality to her. She is haunted and tormented by her jealous dead boyfriend back from hell then she meets Malcolm Mistling and figures that it’s ok to have sex with him since he his damned anyway but she actually starts to care about the guy. And she likes to be naked so there’s something for all the 16 year old boys out there. (And the reason I have been working out like crazy) I really hope that my portrayal of her will make people care about her and that she doesn’t come off as pathetic because she is not. She is just a troubled young girl who literally can’t escape the demons of her past.

 Nic– The Spooner Sisters sounds like a fascinating movie with its mix of the supernatural and human elements. What, other than working out a lot, do you think is the biggest challenge for you playing Mona Spooner?

Heather– One of the biggest challenges of playing Mona Spooner, other than being naked most of the time, is the emotional scenes. She cries a lot and she goes into some pretty deep and dark things. And she is naked while she is being emotional, so I will be exposed in every way. It’s kind of a scary place to go to as an actor. I want it to be convincing and not soap opera, but in order to do that I will need to go to those dark places inside myself and draw from those, but I love a challenge. I have played so many characters that weren’t a challenge at all so this is going to stretch me and help me grow as an actor.

Nic– If you had the chance to play any character in a film who would you like to play and why?

Heather– I have always wanted to play Joan of Arc. I have been fascinated by her since I was a little girl. I remember watching the movie "St Joan" with Jean Seberg in the lead and just being mesmerized. I love that Joan of Arc listened to her heart and followed her passion and her instincts even though it cost her her life. I am not really a religious person anymore but I am interested in the Supernatural and in Mysticism and I love that she believed in something so strongly.

Nic– Heather, you mentioned that you will be writing and directing some short films for Silent-But-Deadly in the near future. Will this be your first time directing?

Heather– When I am able to direct my first project for SBD it will be my first time directing film. I directed and produced theater in college but my school was really small so it wasn’t that much of a challenge. I am nervous about directing a film, but the more work I do behind the scenes the more confident I become in my ability to tackle different aspects of movie making.

Nic– Other than acting, you also do a lot of work behind the camera (writing, directing, etc…) and you are a model, so you have a diverse set of skills and interests. If you could be best known for any one thing what would you like it to be?

Heather– I would like to be known for being a decent human being. Someone creative and passionate who went after her dreams no matter what obstacles she faced. I hope people like my work as well but, it’s all so temporary in the grand scheme of things.