Thornhill’s triple threat

Risa Stone on how she bal­ances act­ing, writ­ing and pro­duc­ing by Jes­sica Padykula

Thornhill Post - - Life -

I needed to have some­thing I re­ally wanted to say, or what’s the point?”

Most chil­dren spend count­less hours play­ing dress-up and make­be­lieve, cre­at­ing imag­i­nary worlds as a cre­ative way to pass the time. For Toronto ac­tor Risa Stone, this child­hood rite of pas­sage was not only fun, but also helped put her on the path to an act­ing ca­reer.

Stone, who at­tended West­mount Col­le­giate In­sti­tute in Thornhill, be­gan at­tend­ing film and act­ing camp at Har­bourfront Cen­tre as a child and de­cided to pur­sue a ca­reer in act­ing when she was 17.

“As a young child I was al­ways want­ing to play pre­tend and dress- up. Re­al­ity wasn’t fun enough,” she says. “I was very fas­ci­nated with fan­tasy, and I loved the idea of be­ing in an­other world or be­ing a dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter.”

De­spite the fact Stone took drama through­out high school and counts it among her favourite sub­jects, she notes that noth­ing spe­cific made her want to act pro­fes­sion­ally dur­ing that time.

“It wasn’t un­til af­ter high school that I started re­ally train­ing. I made the choice to pur­sue act­ing as a ca­reer and treated it like a trade, like a plumber or elec­tri­cian,” says Stone.

Af­ter at­tend­ing York Univer­sity where she ob­tained a bach­e­lor of arts, Stone went on to train with some of the best in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als the city has to of­fer, in­clud­ing Lewis Bau­man­der, David Roten­berg and An­gela Be­sharah.

Stone’s most re­cent film, Man Eater, made its premiere at this year’s ReelWorld Film Fes­ti­val as part of the ACTRA Shorts pro­gram in Oc­to­ber. The film, which ex­plores the world of on­line dating and the mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion’s re­la­tion­ship with so­cial apps, was the first project Stone not only starred in but also wrote and pro­duced. The ex­pe­ri­ence was a pos­i­tive one for her and taught her a lot about the film­mak­ing process.

She ini­tially wrote Man Eater as a short story be­fore turn­ing it into a film.

“I thought about writ­ing for a while but also thought I needed to have some­thing I re­ally wanted to say, or what’s the point?” she ex­plains.

It was while talk­ing to a friend about on­line dating and about how mil­len­ni­als live that she knew she’d hit on some­thing she could re­ally delve into.

Next up for Stone is a lead­ing role in the fea­ture film Space & Time, which re­cently pre­miered at the Austin Film Fes­ti­val.

“It’s a pretty large role, and we had a great team behind the film. I got to work with some of Canada’s best ac­tors,” she says. The film, writ­ten and di­rected by Shawn Ger­rard, also stars Vic­to­ria Kucher, Amy Jo John­son, Steven Yaf­fee and Andy McQueen.

Go­ing for­ward, Stone says she wants to con­tinue tak­ing on chal­leng­ing roles.

“I want to keep do­ing what I love and keep work­ing. I feel re­ally blessed that I’ve come this far.”

Stone’s film ‘Man Eater’ pre­miered at the ReelWorld Film Fes­ti­val

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