Tag Archives: Cristina Rosato

Cristina Rosato and Greyston Holt among first to film during pandemic

While many cities and provinces are still mapping out how, exactly, television and feature films will resume production during COVID-19, Cristina Rosato and Greyston Holt are already back at work.

The real-life couple is among the first of North America’s actors to re-start filming, starring in the TV-movie For Better or Worse, in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley. And while Rosato and Holt didn’t have to worry about social distancing when it came to working with each other—they are a couple after all—not so the case with the rest of the cast and crew.

“We originally thought we might be back filming For Better or Worse, very conservatively, in August, September or October,” Holt says, on the line from Vancouver alongside Rosato. “When we got the call that we would potentially be filming on June 8 as a start date, it was surreal. It didn’t make sense that something was coming back that early.” But, with pandemic cases in B.C. holding steady, the project went to camera with guidelines to keep everyone safe.

Rosato describes the taking and recording of daily temperature checks for everyone on the cast and crew, with the stipulation that anyone having a fever would be immediately tested and would not return to set until the testing was complete; no one had a fever or became sick. Everyone reported to a sanitization station and put on masks. Champlain Media, the production company behind For Better or Worse, had everyone involved in the project stay in the same resort during filming.

“We just always wore a mask,” Rosato says. “And then when we were rolling, we would take them off.” Because of the way the script was written, day players and extras were kept to a minimum and only a very small, core cast interacted with each other.

For Better or Worse stars Rosato as Olivia Owens the owner of a community garden centre. Holt portrays Brian Wolf, a property developer for low-cost housing. Brian’s aim is to tear down Olivia’s garden in favour of subsidized housing. There is, of course, friction between the pair that only grows when they’re paired up for a friends’ wedding. It’s the light-hearted TV-movie fare we’ve come to expect from projects like Holt’s previous work in A Very Country Wedding, A Puppy for Christmas and Love is a Piece of Cake. Holt believes that, with the world being such a crazy place, viewers like to watch people falling in love and jump at the chance for some light escapism.

With pandemic fears continuing, For Better or Worse couldn’t be more timely, content-wise. And, with production ramping back up, Rosato and Holt realize For Better or Worse could serve as the template for TV and film.

“We felt a real responsibility to do it right and not mess it up for everyone else,” Rosato says. “We were very, very aware of playing by the rules and we hope that other people can get back to work because of it.”

Image courtesy of Shawn Goldberg/Shutterstock.

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Web series Ghost BFF puts the focus on mental health via two friends. And one of them is dead.

It’s important to talk about mental health. And while Bell does a great job stressing that one day a year in January, it’s something that should be done the other 364 days too.

Launching its first season of 11 episodes, Ghost BFF is available for streaming on Elizabeth Banks’ WhoHaHa’s website now. The brainchild of creator Vanessa Matsui (Lost Girl, Seed), Ghost BFF explores suicide and mental health through the eyes of Amy (Matsui). It’s been three years since Amy’s best friend, Tara (Tiio Horn, Letterkenny) died of a drug overdose. Amy has given up painting, is engaged to Mitchell (Dan Beirne, Space Riders: Division Earth) and battles with anxiety and a bad tummy. Suddenly, Tara appears—her ghost BFF, get it?—and throws Amy’s life into total disarray.

For Matsui, the idea for Ghost BFF came from a deeply personal place.

(l-r) Cristina Rosato and Vanessa Matsui

“It’s loosely inspired by a time when one of my best friends, following a period of depression, almost died by suicide,” Matsui says. “It was a very dark time. And, also, it was coupled with wanting to create my own work and being inspired by incredible female creators.” Ghost BFF is a project three years in the making, first as a short play Matsui performed in a friend’s basement before the possibility of being a short film was explored; ultimately Matsui pitched Ghost BFF as a web series to Katie Nolan (Hot Mom), who partnered to co-write and co-produce it.

The Centre for Mindfulness Studies features in several episodes as Amy strives to explore her own mental health, where she’s going in life and what her relationship with Tara was and still is. There are, of course, characters in Ghost BFF who advise Amy to “snap out” of what she’s going through mentally and stop taking her medication because they think she’s “fine.” It’s frustrating to know there are still people with that attitude towards mental health, and just drives home the need to educate and discuss.

(l-r) Jane Moffat, Dan Beirne, Rick Roberts

Yes, Ghost BFF concerns a serious topic, but it’s not all doom and gloom. There are plenty of laughs thanks to Matusi’s physical humour as Amy, Horn’s foul-mouthed Tara and the gloriously shallow Mitchell, and truly heartfelt moments too. Amy and Tara’s screaming match in a later instalment opens the door to honesty and regret.

“We definitely felt like we were walking a fine line [with the content],” Matsui says. “Obviously, I wanted to be respectful and sensitive to anyone who has suffered from depression or is suffering from depression. But, at the same time, my instinct was always to make this a comedy. Comedy can be cathartic. Sometimes through pain comedy emerges.”

Ghost BFF is available for streaming on WhoHaHa’s website.

Images courtesy of Babe Nation Creations.

 

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