Written by Michelle Botello
It was a sold-out show for the short film Saturday night. Jared Jacobsen's short film Happy Birthday or Felicidades made its premier at the Media Arts Center in North Park. The film is about a mother who takes her twins for a surprise birthday trip into TJ. She is bipolar and her impulses makes her do things that gets her into trouble. Hopes for the short film to turn into a two-hour film with proper funding is the next step.
Most of the actors were chosen by Jaqueline Grajales, 33, producer, who picked out the cast from TJ and seeing the audience's reaction to the film, Grajales said, “ It makes me happy, really happy, because I love the film, it's good. Tijuana looks good. We have a lot of crew of TJ, sensational talented people, I love the short film.”
One of the main actors is the mother and she plays the role of a mentally ill woman/mother.
She had just seen the completed film for the first time at tonight's event. Anthia Gillick, 30,leading actress/mother, said, “It was great. It was really interesting to see the arrangement, like the way that Jared kind of cut it together, the way that it told the message more...he got the flavour of the mental illness and like the mania of it all.”
There is an excitement about this film going to the festivals. Gillick said, “It was really great to see and I thought it turned out wonderfully and I'm really excited to see how it goes in the festivals if we can get it into a feature or something.” Gillick met Jacobsen through a casting session in Los Angeles. She said, “We connected and he liked the way I interpreted the story and we got to do a call back.” Gillick is set on spreading a message through her roles in film.
Gillick said, “The message I'm always trying to work with and spread through film is conciousness and acceptance of other human beings.” She said, “ My goals right now are to get as big a platform as possible to spread that message..whatever level of fame that I can get to really like help people understand each other better and I think that's like a duty as a visible artist . If you're stepping into somewhere that has visibility and fame to me need do be bettering humanity...affect change .”
Even one small role for this actress makes an impact in the film. This part had everyone laughing with a food fight in a TJ bakery. Angelica Grajales, 21, actress/panadera, filmed in TJ, and met Jared through her sister who is his friend. She said, “When I was little I wanted to be an actress, and I am. It can happen.” She also does her own makeup work on her own in TJ.
She is passionate about her own career as working with genes and she also gives one hundred percent backbone to her brother, Jared. Natashia Jacobsen, 37, scientist, said, “I'm a supporter, I love to see his films, just hear what he's working on next.” Jared wasn't always into film as a kid growing up. Natashia said, “It was a passion that really started and developed later...Jared was always so active, right. He always spent a lot of time always doing stuff, surfing, tennis, and like athletic, you know, very much outdoors. I actually don't remember him spending much time like indoors and in front of the TV.” She said she was excited when he chose to make films.
The way it started for Jared said Natashia, “It was really after he got back from Mexico that he really started to pursue that passion. He went down there a couple of years and then you know came back and started making films.” Natashia is a scientist and has a passion in her job as well.
Friends of Jared came to the event. Lia Ortega, dentist, 45, has known Jared for 16 years said, “It was really exciting when he decided to get into the film making field.” If she had to say something positive about Jared, she said, “Everything I have to say about Jared is positive. He is like a happy person always finding the good side of things of everything, of situations. He has a great heart, great person., always there when you need him. He's a great person in any aspect that you can think of.” His friends attended the premier and were a great support to him.
There were two young children in the short film and one of them was Cruz Kamena, 12, actor/twin, whom talked about the experience in his acting role. He said, “It seemed hard in some parts, and some parts that were confusing and hard because we had to keep on doing it, but it was really really fun.”
Kamena met Jared through Barbarella Pardo, who is in charge of casting in Baja Studios, who introduced Kamena to Jared and Jared was looking for a kid his age, Kamena said, “He asked me to say some parts and I got them.”
Kamena has hopes and dreams and said, “You know, being an actor, it can be hard sometimes, I don't want to go out into the big acting world because it can get kind of weird. It can get hard. So I love acting and maybe I'll continue it , I'll continue trying to get some castings and stuff, so that's I think I will go the way just how my life tells me to go.”
To help support Jared's film financially, which is one of the main elements that help make this film happen, Lenell Carter, 56, said, “I'm here to support a friend I've known for at least 25 years. I was actually a financial analyst with him a long time ago and I just got really excited about his dream that he's following. You typically don't get to see people actually follow their dreams so I was here to support Jared and it turned out great, I loved it.”
Carter and Jared worked for a marketing company together and he said, “So Jared was actually in a little cube next to me about 25 years ago, and now I see him, his name is up in lights, I love it!” Carter gave some financial support to Jared to help the film, he said, “He reached out and it was just pretty seemless.” Carter did not want to disclose the amount he donated.
It is this kind of support that, without it, none of this would be possible.
Jacobsen invited people to come watch personally. Paul Rea, 29, said he met Jared eight years ago and Jared invited him to come see the premier. He showed up and was thrilled to see the movie.
Visual cast in Happy Birthday or Felicidades include Anthia Gillick, Cruz Kamena, Angelica Grajales, Paco Mufote, Alexa Reddy, Tarazina Vital, Liliand Moreno Reynoso, Gina Pinales, and Landers Pinales.
Jacobsen's site StephenJakeVideoProductions
The San Diego Latino Film Festival is March 14-24, 2019. For info on the Center go to [email protected]