Lo­cal ac­tor nom­i­nated for in­ter­na­tional award

Paul Wil­son por­trays fa­ther re­turn­ing home from war in award win­ning film

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY MELISSA JENK­INS

When Paul Wil­son learned that his per­for­mance in a sixminute film had been nom­i­nated for the Best Ac­tor cat­e­gory at the Los An­ge­les In­de­pen­dent Film Fes­ti­val, he was ec­static.

“It’s pretty freak­ing cool,” he told The Compass Wed­nes­day, June 3.

The film, Be­fore the War, was pro­duced by New­found­land screen­writer and direc­tor Ta­mara Se­gura. Wil­son was cast as her lead ac­tor, David.

The in­de­pen­dent film por­trays a fa­ther re­turn­ing home af­ter be­ing in the war. A voiceover in­tro­duces and closes the film de­scrib­ing Wil­son’s char­ac­ter.

“Peo­ple who knew him, say that my fa­ther ... was a ter­ri­bly beau­ti­ful man,” a woman’s voice is heard.

It was a role that Wil­son, who lives in Har­bour Grace, was born in the United King­dom but grew up in Australia, found in­trigu­ing.

The sto­ry­line of a sol­dier with post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der (PTSD) is a topic be­ing brought to the fore­front in re­cent years. The film gives a glance into the raw sit­u­a­tions that may arise from experiencing PTSD.

Although one main scene takes place com­pletely in­side the house, the only vis­ual is the out­side of the home. It was a chal­leng­ing scene for the 43year-old ac­tor, be­cause he had to act out a phys­i­cal al­ter­ca­tion with his wife in the film, and it was also the first time the actress that played the daugh­ter would meet him.

“They kind of wanted her to be weirded out by me a lit­tle bit,” Wil­son ex­plained, adding her body lan­guage to­wards him would be more awk­ward and real.

In one scene, Wil­son is sneak­ing around the bushes out­side the home of the wife char­ac­ter’s fa­ther to try and see his daugh­ter, which he ad­mits can be seen as creepy or as some­one who loves his daugh­ter so much he is risk­ing ev­ery­thing to see her.

Nom­i­na­tions

The film­maker earned the Michelle Jack­son Emerg­ing Film­maker Award at the St. John’s In­ter­na­tional Women’s Film Fes­ti­val. It was also the show­cased film dur­ing the closing gala of the same fes­ti­val that same year.

Re­ceiv­ing that award al­lowed Se­gura to give the film some fin­ish­ing touches, and when the fi­nal prod­uct was ready, pro­duc­ers sub­mit­ted it to the Los An­ge­les Film Fes­ti­val.

Early last week, ac­tors and film crew were no­ti­fied that Be­fore the War was nom­i­nated for Best Drama at the fes­ti­val.

It wasn’t long af­ter Wil­son re­ceived a call telling him he was up for the best ac­tor award.

“(I’m) very happy right now,” he an­nounced on Face­book when he heard the news.

What’s next

The ac­tor has been work­ing steadily since the re­lease of the film, in­clud­ing a re­turn­ing char­ac­ter on the last sea­son of Repub­lic of Doyle. He has also been a part of dif­fer­ent school pro­duc­tions and he di­rected and played Rooster in the pro­duc­tion of An­nie held at the Princess Sheila NaGeira Theatre last year.

Wil­son will take on some big roles this sum­mer dur­ing per­for­mances of Shake­spearean plays at the Per­chance Theatre in Cupids, which will also fea­ture fel­low lo­cal man, John Shee­han.

“That film was the start of a re­ally good year for me,” Wil­son said. And he hopes it’s just the be­gin­ning.

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