Kimberly DiPersia, Gateway High School Class of 2002, is now a New York City-based actress and filmmaker, performing in Off-Broadway and regional theatre, and most recently playing a small role in the TV pilot, Crash & Burn. Since 2013, she has been creating and producing her own work, including web series and short films. Her next film that she has written, is co-producing, and will be acting in, Junie & Frank, is extra special.
Originally inspired to become an actor by her grandfather, Frank C. Hills, who performed in many productions at the Melon Patch Players community theatre in Leesburg, DiPersia realized that it was time to do something she had only dreamt about for years.
“In all our time performing, we’ve never actually acted together,” she said. “I wanted to change that.”
Thus came Junie & Frank, a sentimental short comedy about a grandfather (Frank) and granddaughter (Junie). Frustrated that Junie has been avoiding his calls, Frank tells a lie to get her to drop everything and visit. They collect a rag-tag group of sidekicks on their adventure that deals with family, connection, and confronting loss.
“I wrote the film from my bittersweet realization that, quite often, we can take our loved ones for granted, and it is only when we are met with illness or death that we take the initiative to reach out and connect. My hope is that this film will be an inspiration to others,” DiPersia said.
While some of the cast and crew will be traveling down from NYC, the majority of the team will be filled out with locals, including cast members Thomas Noel Smith and Teresa Castillo. Additionally, the local vibe will be captured by filming scenes at Florida hotspots such as the Cocoa Beach Pier.
“We want to make Florida as much of a character as the rest of them, with cinematic wide shots and really capturing its essence,” DiPersia said. “I’ve always wanted to return to Florida to film something. This is the perfect project.”
The film is currently in post-production.
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