Buxton teen makes big film debut

Movie star: Buxton resident Zana Rockwell will shine on the big screen when she appears in the film The Grand Palaver.

Movie star: Buxton resident Zana Rockwell will shine on the big screen when she appears in the film The Grand Palaver.

Buxton’s Zana Rockwell can’t wait for the short film she is staring in to open the Sydney SciFi Film Festival.

The 13-year-old has a leading role in MSquare Productions’ The Grand Palaver where she portrays a geeky teenager named Chili.

The film, which goes for 15 minutes, follows three children who are bored on their summer holidays.

They try to find something to do when through the window they see their next door neighbour dragging black bags outside.

“I am the geeky character so I spy on the neighbour and I try to figure out what he is doing,” Zana said.

Zana said the strange man was building a contraption in his shed and curiosity got the better of the children.

“The film is about kids going on an adventure and it has magic in it,” she said.

Big break: Zana Rockwell stars in a short film titled The Grand Palaver which will be screened at the Sydney SciFi Film Festival. She plays a geeky teenager named Chili.

Big break: Zana Rockwell stars in a short film titled The Grand Palaver which will be screened at the Sydney SciFi Film Festival. She plays a geeky teenager named Chili.

The Wollondilly Anglican College student secured the role after getting through an audition and call back round.

“During the first practice lesson I met the other actors and we received tips from a vocal coach about how to do an American accent,” Zana said. “Myself and the two other actors had to become close because we are friends in the film.”

The film was shot in January over three days in the Hunter Valley.

“There were lights, sound and cameras like I had seen in movies,” Zana said.

The film will be screened for the first time at the Sydney SciFi Film Festival on Wednesday, October 11 at Event Cinemas on George Street.

Zana is a dancer and enjoys acting on stage. She said she wanted to be an actress after seeing children act on television advertisements.

The teen also has an agent at Bettina Management and the short film was her first role.

“I enjoyed testing myself and I was proud of how I acted in the film,” Zana said.

“The hardest part was being confident and having the right level of confidence.

“I received a lot of encouragement from the crew when I was nervous or didn’t know what to expect.”

Zana said she was able to learn her lines and needed to practise getting into her character.

“All the other actors have to learn their lines so I didn’t want to be the weakest link,” she said. “I got the script and studied it a lot.

“The most important part was being in character so I looked up geek traits such as playing with my glasses or different ways of talking.”

Zana said she had watched the film in a private screening and was excited to see it again at the festival.

The teen said she loved the experience of working on set and wanted to pursue acting as a career.

Details: scififilmfestival.com