Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 10/29/2020 – Julie Reifers has many short films in the festival circuit, including the award-winning horror film, Trapped Inside, directed, produced, and written by Usher Morgan by Dark Passage Films seen at The Atlanta Horror Film Festival, New York City Film Festival, N.J. Horrorcon, and winner for Best Horror Short at The Revolution Me Film Festival in NYC. Julie’s roles range from the Ditzy Blond Bombshell, Soccer Mom, drug addict, to horror. She has a depth of nuance that is most sought after.
Share your background.
When I was eight-years-old I was in my first beauty pageant. It was called The Miss Chesapeake Pageant in Virginia. We had to learn the Candyman song and perform for the opening number, we had a bathing suit competition, evening gown competition, and the whole shebang! Anyway, we were about to move to Florida. My parents said that if you win this we will stay in Virginia until next year. (I am sure they were being nice) Unfortunately, I did not win, nor did I even place, but the magic of being in front of an audience and people cheering for you, I remember was exhilarating. We did move to Florida after that but I never stopped doing pageants. I still entered them in Florida and never won, but I kept on trying. I finally won 1st runner up, but there were only two of us in this competition. LOL! Seriously, so I really lost. HAHA.
I learned at a very early age about rejection and I believe this is why I have been an actress for so long. I have a backbone. I know this business is full of rejection. But when you have even one win it is so awesome. During this time my friends and I would always dress up and put on shows for our parents and their friends. (God bless them) As I got older I continued to enter pageants and I finally did win the first runner up in a pageant that actually had a lot of contestants in it. The actual winner of the pageant was not able to go onto the next competition so the first runner up got to go in her place. I went to the competition in Orlando and it was so cool and really big. I won second runner-up in the talent competition and I actually won For Miss photogenic. Ironically the actual winner of the pageant that did not get to go, Tammy Walters, became one of my best friends in high school and she went on to win Miss Barbizon which was super cool because she was able to ride on a float during a Jacksonville Beach parade and I got to ride with her in a really pretty dress and look-super cool and wave to everyone. This is such a southern thing. Lol. So, I knew I wanted to perform in front of people, the rest of my life.
Tragically, Tammy was in a terrible car accident after high school and was in a coma for quite some time and her life was altered forever at no fault of her own. Although her mind was still so sharp she did have short term memory loss and she was never quite the same, she kept her funny personality and spunk through until the end. She is a true inspiration to me and why I work so hard to be an actress to be everything that I could possibly be and also be a help to others in the world. She just passed away this year, but I know that she is now with God in heaven and is looking out for me every day as my guardian angel.
I did finally enter one last pageant in high school my senior year with all of my high school friends and with that, again I won the first runner up and Miss congeniality. I never officially was crowned a winner, but I know I have already won just from this beautiful life God has given me. My favorite part in most of the competitions was the talent portion of it and I knew right away all I wanted to be was an Actress.
When did I get my first break?
My first break came when I landed a role in an Indie feature film in Tampa, Florida, Bending All the Rules I went to the audition not expecting to get it but I did it was the lead’s best friend which landed me my Screen Actors Guild card, which was not an easy thing to get. This was in 1998 after I had already lived in New York from 1993-1997 trying to be an Actress where I fell into casting instead and I also fell into bartending which pretty much made me forget what I was doing in NYC. Having too much fun. That is a whole other story!! But I went back to Florida to get married and while there a few cool things did happen like landing this role in Bending All The Rules. The Star of the film was none other than Bradley Cooper who was just starting out himself, I believe. I had a feeling he was going to be pretty big, he was not only gorgeous but very talented.
Your impressive range of roles including, Ditzy Blond Bombshell, Soccer Mom to the gritty, edgy, blue-collar, low rent drug addict. Do you have a favorite role? Which role was the most challenging?
I really love playing the gritty, nastiest looking characters. I don’t know why, I think it’s because they are challenging, especially to make them real and not too over the top, which can happen. I love to dress what you think the character would dress or look like, so you become them. A lot of times when I play these drunks or homeless or depressed characters, there are no words. You tell the story through your eyes. I have been told many times, I would have been great in the silent era because my eyes and facials tell it all.
I play a homeless woman in a short, “Lizzy On Leroy Street”. I loved this role because she is so vulnerable and real, just had some really tough times. I played her so beautifully as the Director told me, it was some of my best work he has seen. It was challenging in so many ways.
How have I evolved as an Actor?
This is a really good question. life has been tough for me. As for many others. I’ve been through so much in my life, and not to sound cliche’, but it has shaped me into who I am today. It has brought confidence in my acting because of all my struggles. I am like the little engine that could, I have fallen many times, but I keep getting back up and fighting the fight. One of my motivational songs is by Mary J. Blige, “I”m The Living Proof,” because I won’t give up the fight. I have been at the bottom, but I am living proof that never giving up, doing the next right thing, being rigorously honest with myself, and having my higher power, which is GOD for me, that I will succeed and I don’t mean fame and fortune. But being happy, joyous, and free is my goal. That is what will make me the Actor I want to be!
I never knew I could cry just by being in the moment and saying the words as a character without having to think about my past like my grandmother dying or something horrific in your life that happened. I’ve become so connected in my characters and just feeling the words so the tears just flow.
Tell us about the feature film, “Pickings,” written and directed by Usher Morgan.
It is a genre film. It is compared to the works of Quentin Tarantino. It’s a mixture of film noir, spaghetti western, and comic book genre. It’s kind of a feel of Sin City. Lead Actress, Elyse Price was such a badass along with Producer Katie Vincent as her daughter and Joel Bernard as the uncle. The film is about A mobster and his gang of thugs trying to shake down a neighborhood bar, but they mess with the wrong Southern Family with a Dark Past. It is on Amazon Prime now. When I went in for the audition through backstage, I went in for a totally different character and I did not get that role but they did call me and say we do have something that we think you would be great for. It has no lines but it would be very featured and I think it would be completely hilarious. It turned out to be sexy Mary and sexy Mary was the town drunk. The best part about this role was the makeup. They blacked out my teeth and they used a blow dryer to dry my teeth. I put on my wardrobe, they tangled my hair and right then and there, I just became Sexy Mary. I didn’t have to do very much because the look alone sold the character. My little scene was very funny. They did some outtakes on me and I pretty much ended the credits. It was a great set and cast and crew. Picking’s Trailer- https://youtu.be/9sDlN9UOh7
You have many short films on the festival circuit, including the award-winning Horror Film, Trapped Inside, by Dark Passage Films. Tell us about your character. How did you prepare for this role?
Yes, I do have several films on the festival circuit and one of them is Trapped Inside a horror film by the same director and producer Usher Morgan and Katie Vincent from “Pickings”. they brought me back in to play Betty whose house is well, you need to see the film. It is a very well made horror short film. It has won many awards and been to many horror festivals. Anyone who wants to be in Horror films needs to learn how to wear sclera lenses. They take a little bit of time to get used to it. But once in the eyes your character just comes to life. The makeup for this film was just incredible. And each character brought such an authentic take to their role. There was no crazy B movie screaming. It is a real horror. I don’t want to give away too much so please stay tuned to watch this film on Halloween. it is now on YouTube. It was released on October 23rd and had its final film festival at the Vancouver Horror Show on October 24th. It is a must-see and who knows it may become a feature film. Here is the link. https://youtu.be/9s-MORIhrhk
What do you enjoy about horror?
Horror films are exciting because it brings up so much adrenaline and wow when you are in character and play with the others it is spooky. It’s like going through the most incredible haunted house during Halloween and being scared over and over again. I love it.
You Co-Producer for the Feature Film “Misty Button” which won many awards, including Best Picture at The SOHO International Film Festival. Tell us about the film.
Yes, I am Co-producer on a brilliant Indie feature film Misty Button which is a dark Irish comedy directed and written by Seanie Sugrue. It was shot in 9 days on a 50,000 dollar budget. The movie is about 2 Irish lads being asked to place a $10,000 bet on a racehorse. James and Owen make a fatal mistake of pocketing the money. The two Irish immigrants face a crisis when Misty Button comes in 35 to 1.
It won for the best feature The Audience award at The Soho international film festival 2019 and also the best feature at The San Luis Obispo International film festival in California. It went on to many festivals including a few in Ireland. It has been negotiated for release for European Distribution. You can now see it on Amazon Prime. So fingers crossed.
Share your advice for young Actresses who want to get into horror.
I started working with Seanie Sugrue after sending him my materials. Someone said he was brilliant so I took a chance sending him my things, hoping he would look at them. He did and gave me a lead role in his play “love is dead” where I played Betsy, a much older lady and it was a very funny role. We played at the Secret Theater and was very well-reviewed.
I then decided to enter a short film challenge run by The Actor’s Green Room. You had a very short amount of time to write a script, produce and use the 8 actors given to you and film it with a budget of $5000 dollars. I knew Seanie could do it. So, I gave him a storyline, had my rock as my Executive Producer, John McGinty, and we cast the roles as best we could and filmed it within 4 days. We made it to the “Best Of” Showcase and screened it for Industry guests. The film was called Tammy Smoke. I, of course, was Tammy Smoke, and let me say it was a challenge, but with an editor “Brian Patrick Scherrer” and director like Seanie, his team, it turned out pretty damn good!
Soon after, Seanie came to me with his Misty Button Script. I had a few friends I knew could invest and so we did Misty Botton. It was shot in NYC in 9 days and you would never know it. That’s how great his team is and the acting is superb. The Irish Humor is Brilliant. And he wrote a little role as Tammy Smoke for me to replay in this film. My friends John McGinty, Sandra Causey Largacci, and Ashton Clay were the Executive Producers, whom I introduced to Seanie. I owe them a debt of gratitude for taking a chance on me and this film, not having known anyone else involved very well. But that’s teamwork. Others were producers later on in the process, and the cast and crew were incredible. Here is a link to the trailer.https://www.imdb.com/video/vi2672541465?
What is next for you?
I just received a silver award for Best-Supporting Actress in the short film Gleam for the Independent shorts awards in Los Angeles. Gleam is in the festival circuit now and I cannot wait to see its continued successes. The cinematographer Bryan Wolfinger has already won several awards for his beautiful work as well as the Director and writer Christelle Chalupa. And the star opposite me, Yuliana Selene is such a beautiful young talent. There are talks in the works of making this a Feature Film.
Julie is represented by Andreadis Talent Agency and JHA Management in NYC.
Acting Reel 2020 https://youtu.be/IyiIRt4SWVk
Acting Reel 2020 https://youtu.be/IyiIRt4SWVk