Anna McNiven sits down for a great interview, discussing her rising success in a land stars and dreams, one who doesn’t limit herself to just acting, but exploring producer options, along with opportunities to direct as well.
BC: Who is Anna McNiven and what is this latest science fiction film you have yourself involved in?
AM: Anna is an Australian born actress, writer and producer. The latest sci fi film is one of my very own about a cyborg called Mae 144. The short has been shot and now the feature is in development.
BC: In addition, you’re a producer on the horror film “Followed” in post-production, how did you come about? And what is that film about?
AM: The film is based on a true story about the mysterious death of Lisa Lam in a hotel in Los Angeles. The main characters go to a haunted hotel to report it for a blog and end up in a lot of spooky trouble.
I came about becoming a producer on this film after assisting on the film. I totally fell in love with the script and whole production. When we wrapped we needed to raise more funds for postproduction, which is where I stepped in to creating campaigns and reaching out to industry contacts to get behind it to finish it!
BC: From our understanding at Rogue Cinema, you have co-written a new horror film set shoot soon? Any juicy details on that one?
AM: YES! This I something I am really excited about! We are aiming to shoot in the farmlands of upstate New York later this summer. The film is called Noise Farm, and I play one of the lead characters that becomes a very maddened mother when her and her family are kidnapped and taken to a horrible farm. She is a badass and annihilates anyone on her path in getting her family back. I have been developing this film for literally 3 years now with my writer, so it feels good to have it finally coming together with an amazing team.
BC: Since you are involved with many projects in front and behind the camera, how do you balance them all?
AM: It isn’t something that I ever thought I would do, the multitask thing, but I figured if something is going to stall me in getting something done I am better off just working it out myself to get a job done, which is why I have been a director, writer, producer, and acted on some of my own projects. This then made me realize I can stay busy on films wearing a few different hats along with my acting, which especially for my own projects has been very liberating.
BC: How difficult was it to write, produce, and direct the comedy short Appointment?
AM: It defiantly was a jump in the deep end, I remember sleeping only 3 hours per night during shooting it, but it paid off and yeah I think just jumping into it was a sink or swim situation, so I kicked on hard and swam for it. And it was definitely a big learning curve giving myself the task to work it all out.
BC: What movie inspired you become involved in cinema? Actress or directors you aspire to be like?
AM: Wow this is a hard one to answer. So much has inspired me. All art forms inspire me to make films. Music, film, poetry, dance, visual arts and life in general.
I grew up in a creative household so that must have been one of the catalysts for my need to pursue a creative career; it was just something that I could not really ignore.
The other night I watched Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, which I have not watched in years and it reminded me how genius he was. He creates this whole other world with all of its absurdities and deeply profound messages in a way that is inspiring and hypnotic. And essentially what the attraction is with such films is that they are able to bring to light such interesting subject matters which are just reflecting aspects of real life. And it makes you digest certain things in a way that perhaps you wouldn’t see from such a perspective.
This kind of work inspires me. It’s the highly intelligent, highly creative masterpieces that alter perceptions that I love.
BC: In 2016, you worked on many projects, two westerns Traded and Cold Chains, Hard Hearts and Blood Hands what roles did you play and hardest part to deal with when doing western films?
AM: Yeah 2016 attracted western roles for some reason. And strangely too, in both films the characters I played were “prostitutes” one a salon girl in Traded called Giselle and a water siren prostitute called Charlene in Cold Chains Hard Hearts and Bloody Hands.
The hardest part in both of these films was dealing with the elements. In Traded we were shooting long days in the dusty dirty ranches which would get really cold at night but super hot in the day and I was wearing a corset and layers upon layers of clothes for the costume I had. And for Cold Chains, we shot out in the national park in Oregon which was pretty cold at the time, trekking through the forest, which in the scenes shot required me to be bare foot.
It made me realize how hard it would have been during that era. When I would get back to my accommodation after each day of shooting with all of my creature comforts of shelter and hot showers etc., it just made me feel so grateful for living in these times with the privileges we have now that we did not have back then.
BC: How does one become so involved in Burbank International Film festival? All the hats you where what are those again? And what is the film festival about differing from the countless others?
AM: I wanted to get involved purely out of the passion to get behind a festival that is all about supporting filmmakers. So I went for it and was accepted on the board. I am judging the film entries and helping to coordinate the festival, fund raising and any other events leading up to the festival every September. It is hard work, but absolutely worth every minute that I donate my time to. It makes my heart feel good knowing that I am helping to grow a support system for many talented filmmakers for their chance to further their careers and keep the industry alive and expanding. And the rest of the board are all equally driven to serve filmmakers in providing opportunities.
BC: At the festival, you state you’re a judge of the film submission, does that judging ever impact your method of auditioning or acting on set as you know what others are looking for in the film?
AM: No I don’t believe so. I judge by what I feel and value so really my judging comes down to that.
BC: Everyone needs outside interests to recharge themselves for another role. What are your interests?
AM: Music, listening to it whether at home on a record or out at a show, playing instruments, singing. Healthy cooking, meditation, nature walks, and in summer heading to the surf!
BC: What are the other projects on the horizon for you that the readers need to be aware of?
AM: As mentioned before, Mae 144. Some theater performances at the Matrix Theater in Hollywood with the ATC, another psychological thriller feature.
BC: Where can the readers and fans find you online to keep up with your upcoming work?
AM: Indeed! Facebook fan page, Twitter and Instagram.
Thanks – Baron Craze