It’s great to see the diverse talents flourishing and the enchanting Elizabeth Frances could soon become a dazzler in her own right. In addition to her stunning Cherokee roots, she also happens to be half Filipino as well as her mom is from Negros, a province of the Philippines. Elizabeth was at this year’s Sundance promoting the must-see “Drunktown’s Finest” which was executive produced by the great Robert Redford. The riveting core of the film was its dramatization of the struggles of 3 Native Americans, stories which really should be seen by a wider audience. Elizabeth has a supporting role as Angela Maryboy for whom which many women can relate to.
Enjoy this interview with Elizabeth, the apple of our eyes and very soon the much desired face of the indie scene:
1. Hi Elizabeth. Can you tell me more about your role as Angela Maryboy in “Drunktown’s Finest?
Angela is a young woman living with her boyfriend Sickboy (Jeremiah Bitsui) who is at a turning point in her relationship with him. She is pregnant with his child and also helping to care for his little sister, while Sickboy is trying to figure out how to be a man and stay out of trouble. It’s a common situation, and I believe, a place where many women find themselves, in a place where they don’t know how to be a rock for their family while maintaining hope for a relationship that maybe they should let go of. She is very loyal and strong, but he is her weakness, and she’s holding out hope that he will be able to be the man she needs him to. But there is the question in her, how long to stick by him vs. what will be best for her and her baby on the way. They are both young people trying to figure out how to be parents very early in life.
2. What was is like working on “Drunktown’s Finest” and what was the best part of playing your character?
Working on “Drunktown’s Finest” was such a treat! Although the whole film was shot in only 15 days I believe, it didn’t feel as hectic as I know it might’ve in other situations and that is a lot due to the nature of the cast and crew who worked on it. You don’t always get the coverage you want or the rehearsal you’d like in such a whirwind schedule, but the atmosphere was very communal and supportive, and helmed by our amazing producers and our director Sydney Freeland, there was a confidence in everyone that allowed for some good work to be done. And you know, when you’re doing what you love on a good project, it never feels like work.
3. You were at the recent Sundance Film Festival. Tell us about that experience.
It was my first time at Sundance and it was AMAZING! It feels like Hollywood transported to the swiss alps. Everyone is walking around and talking about film, and you feel like there’s so much potential because of the mix of seasoned and new/fresh talent. Plus, the first time we all got to see the film in its entirety was the day of our premiere, which is nerve wracking and exciting, because youre sitting in a theater full of people that have NO IDEA (besides the blurb they give in the program) about what they are about to see. And when you hear people laughing or crying, you know it’s a genuine response because they had no clue what the film would be like. It was definitely a highlight.
4. Who are your idols and which actor/actress you envision working with in future?
Wow. Big question because I have SO many on that list known and unknown, and I feel the same on the director/producer side too. But the people I envision working with all have these qualities: brave, self knowing, grounded, risk takers who are artists first and know that when they take on projects. I read a great quote today that said “Focus on the work, and not the result of the work”. Actors, directors, and producers who thrive off the work they are doing…that’s for me!
5. “Drunktown’s Finest” has a strong female cast. Are women getting enough recognition for their performances especially in the independent arena?
I couldn’t tell you about recognition, but I do believe there is a shift happening for females as well as “minorities” (i kinda hate that word) let’s say…new flavors!…because audiences are getting faster and smarter and they want material that feeds that need. And that means that the female perspective needs to be shown. Today’s woman is smart, saavy, tough, but still feminine. And feminine doesn’t just mean scantily clad in lingerie, haha, it means in touch with the inherently emotional side of life. And where that emotion has been interpreted as “weak” or “irrational”, harnessed, it is really wise and nurturing. And those are the types of characters we are starting to see for females and otherwise underrepresented cultures, because the world is opening up, and the media will and must reflect that. If people demand it, if the consumer demands the intelligent and open minded take on things, diverse stories will follow. Ok, i’m off my soap box now.
6. What’s Elizabeth Frances like when she’s away from the camera? Is she the Good Or Bad Girl?
Haha, I suppose she’s a goof ball. I grew up kind of an ugly duckling, so i’m a good girl with a bad girl sense of humor, but I don’t take myself to seriously. I stay really active, love karaoke, and chilling at the beach or with friends rather than a big party. Although I do love to dance! I have to balance it all. Haha, this would be good on a dating profile.
7. Tells us one interesting and/or funny incident on set that you can remember.
I was shooting a film up in rural Washington and a lot of the film took place outside on a river, so we had river guides. And one of our guides showed me a photo of him holding a black bear like a pet. I said “Wow, what a tame bear”, to which he replied, “tame? it’s dead! Got a fridge full of bear meat.”. The rest of the film he kept offering to cook me some, haha!
8. Lastly, what do you think best represents being an entertainer? Is it distinctive beauty, the talent to stir hearts or the ability to connect with audiences?
Funny because I believe that those three combined are what make the BEST entertainers. The beauty and charisma that happens between a performer and an audience is an extremely powerful thing.