The Damsel Hits Sundance with New Indie Film, “212”
When Priscilla Garita (Gabi Martinez) found herself out of work when Sunset Beach was cancelled in December of 1999, she did not go off into the sunset or spend her days on the beach, but rather began actively pursuing and always looking for a new gig in the entertainment industry.
Garita recently completed an independent feature film called “212” which was an Official Selection at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival/American Spectrum Category.
Sundance Film Festival has developed a reputation for championing indie titles to box office success. The festival is known as the 'hip and happening' event each year in Park City, Utah.
“I can not tell you the joy of being at the Sundance Film Festival, and seeing the screening of ‘212.’ The film was submitted, and I just have such faith in it,“ Garita said. “This was my first time at Sundance and it was so invigorating. The festival was so well run. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the film will be picked up by a distributor.”
“212” was shot in New York, and was titled after New York’s area code. The film is about three couples living in New York and struggling with relationships and everyday problems of life.
Garita said that making the film took less than a month, and she didn’t have to work many days. She described the whole experience as “a lot of fun.” She plays Lana, a role she won after actually auditioning for several other characters. Lana is a so-called “marketing tycoon” who tries to take Manhattan by storm. But has to deal with the reality of living and struggling with her boyfriend and yet trying to make her professional life succeed by throwing herself into more work.
“Doesn’t this sound like many people you know?” Garita said. “That’s what I love about this film, especially the simplicity along with a good story. I think that’s what drew me into taking on this role.”
Along with her starring role in “212,” Garita has appeared opposite Jacob Vargas in the independent film “Road Dogz,” which premiered at the Cinema Festivale (The Chicano Film Festival) in San Antonio, Texas, and has appeared in other independent films like “Undermind,” and “Bright Nights, Dark Days,” a Canadian short. She also made her stage debut in the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre Company’s Bilingual production of “Yepeto.”
Garita’s other stage credits include the U.S. Premiere of “Pentecost” at Yale Repertory Theatre, and the Off Broadway World Premiere of “One Hundred Gates.”
“I’d love to even do more films,” Garita said. “I enjoy independents. I’ve never done a big feature, but all in all I really love doing these (independents). I also enjoy working with directors that have good communication skills, and in ’212’ I had that.”
“212” is produced by Dan O'Meara and Chris Romano. The director is Anthony
Ng. The film is not a movie of Hollywood’s elite, but rather a cast of multi-talented rather unknowns, which makes it great where the film festivals have a chance to discover new talent, writers, and directors.
Garita said that doing the film is much different then her days on Sunset Beach. “I lived Gabi for three years, and I had a ton of people that do everything for you,” Garita said. “The budget with an independent like ‘212’ is much smaller, not as glamorous, but yet very rewarding. The film also moves so much faster the Sunset Beach or any other soap.”
Garita fondly recalls memories from Sunset Beach, saying that her most memorable moment was the sexual abuse trial “I loved the unraveling. My character (Gabi) was sexually abused by her father. It really makes you stop and think about real life,” Garita said. “It was a truthful moment, and as an actor it required me to do research of which I learned a lot.” The role garnered her a 1999 ALMA (American Latino Media Arts Awards) nomination for best actress.
Living in Los Angeles, Garita works as a substitute teacher in between acting gigs. But everyday she makes her rounds and books every available audition out there.
“I’d take anything suitable that comes my way. I love the business, and have no intentions of ever backing down,” Garita said. “In LA this is a way of life for an actor, and we cross our fingers hoping for something to come along.”
Soapdom wants to know, would you ever go back to Daytime TV? “Oh Definitely. Without a doubt,” Garita said. “Daytime TV is a great way to polish your tools as an actor and keep them polished for other jobs. Also I’d love to play an intelligent character, different from Gabi who was so bad, but I would enjoy the steady work, and I still really miss my Sunset Beach co-stars.”
For more information on “212” visit www.bluefishfilms.com