Wednesday, October 15, 2008

One to Watch: Tanna Fredrick

From BeansTalk friend, Lori DeWaal: Tanna Frederick's story is right out of an old Hollywood fairy tale. A young actress from Iowa hoping for a break writes a letter to a famous director, which earns her an audition that leads to the part of a lifetime and rave reviews. But Frederick's story is about much more than luck - it's also the success story of a gifted performer, dedicated to her craft and confident in her ability to make things happen, on screen and off.

When she first wrote independent director Henry Jaglom, Frederick admits that she hadn't seen any of his films. But after meeting him and starring successfully in one of Jaglom's locally produced plays, she quickly became a fan and was thrilled when he wrote the role of Margie Chizek for his fifteenth feature, "Hollywood Dreams." While there are some similarities between Margie and Tanna - both are from Iowa, and both are in love with films from the Hollywood's Golden Age - Margie is a barely contained neurotic mess, at an emotional and professional breaking point when she happens to meet an industry power broker who thinks she could be a star.

The New York Times noted that her "irresistible" performance is "as startling as it is touching," and other critics have described her work as "jaw-dropping," "radiant," "Oscar-worthy," "fearless," "stunning," and "spellbinding." The “Hollywood Dreams” DVD release is set for May 6th.

Frederick's performance earned her Best Actress kudos at last year's Montana International Film Festival, and propelled the film to Best Picture honors at the San Luis Obispo Film Festival and the Best Comedy award at WorldFest Houston. She most recently won Best Actress at the Fargo Film Festival.

Following up on her successful collaboration with Jaglom, she starred last fall in his play "Always - But Not Forever," where critics again hailed her talent as "marvelously textured," "riveting," and "honest." She will next star in Jaglom's "Irene in Time" with Victoria Tennant, Andrea Marcovicci, Karen Black and David Proval, due in theatres March 2009. Later this year, she will begin production on "Queen of the Lot" and reprise her role as Margie. "Queen of the Lot" picks up Margie's career three years after the end of "Hollywood Dreams" and will co-star Noah Wyle.

Off-screen, Frederick has proved just as driven and talented. A fitness aficionado who runs daily, she is also an expert at Tae Kwon Do, and has been a passionate surfer for two years. Last year, she co-founded the Make a Wave Project, an annual surfing event benefiting the Oceana Foundation (next year it will be held January 24, 2009 in Santa Monica.) She was also behind the creation of the Iowa Film Festival, which debuted successfully two years ago and has tripled in size. But whatever her endeavor, Tanna Frederick brings passion and imagination, and seems poised to find great success on the road ahead.