NPR Review of Artful Gambit

Artful Gambit

A smart short with promise for future, feature-length films.

Artful Gambit

Director: Sigurd Culhane (Bukowski: Roll the Dice (Short)

Screenplay: Culhane, Kristen Shilton

Cast: Steve Brian (Lishy Lou and Lucky Too), Kelly Pantaleoni (Tentacle 8)

Runtime: 15 min.

by John DeSando

“I killed my husband.”

Short films have the burden of poetry—completing the theme with dialogue and images that carry little baggage but pack resounding meaning in that minimalist pack. Such lyrical (dare I use the term for a thriller?)  power Artful Gambit offers. This Festival de Cannes entry is a seductive drama about revenge nurtured by jealousy and memory.

Catherine (Kelly Pantaleoni) confesses at an institution where she has been involuntarily admitted about murdering her husband (Nathan Sapsford) to a psychiatrist (Cooper Thornton) . Her sadistic glee is perplexing as is her willingness to share the details of the crime. But therein lies the charm of this drama: Who really knows why we do even the most heinous crimes? Do we endanger ourselves to enter into that fraught world from which there is rarely a return?

The clever (it is after all an “artful gambit”) Catherine has the cunning of a Poe character in charge of her destiny and anyone who dares listen to her (think The Cask of Amontillado). In fact, the real crime may not be the husband’s murder but anyone’s complicity in listening to this very personal story of revenge and manipulation.

Who’s to say poor Catherine may not strike again even though her angelic mien, charming Aussie accent, and slit wrists distract from her recurring obsession for control? Why does a smart avenger instill fear even in a removed audience? Shakespeare knew the power and allure of revenge as well as Poe:

“If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?” The Merchant of Venice.

Director Sigurd Culhane has done his job corralling a tight script (together with Kristen Shilton), accomplished actors (see above), sparely haunting music (Alexander Hoggard), nimble editing (William Sharp), just the right compositions and lighting with an 8 mm interlude and unobtrusive slo-mo thanks to Andrew Aiello and the rest of the crew.

In other words, I hope this ensemble returns for a full-length thriller because a powerful short is always too short.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com

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Celebzter Q & A Corner

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Ray Bat

An Afternoon with GUESS model

and actress Kelly Pantaleoni – Cannes Film Festival 2014

Kelly-Pantaleoni-in-J-Squad-blue-dress-2(Kelly is a wearing a gorgeous turquoise Jsquad dress by Manish Vaid)

Already counting my fifth day in Cannes. The days passed here like a whirlwind. I have been up and running to so many different venues, walking to blisters on my feet but thinking back, every minute of it was well spent. On my last day in Cannes, I was able to enjoy a bit of the sun by walking along the beach and lunching with Kelly Pantaleoni at the restaurant Le Petit Paris.

I was introduced to Kelly Pantaleoni by Gene Chang who was there at Cannes Film Festival to representThe L.A Fashion magazine and to do the publicity of Kelly Pantaleoni as an entertainment lawyer. Kelly Pantaleoni came to Cannes this year because she is playing the lead female character in “Artful Gambit” by Sigurd Culhane, which had its world premier at the short film corner in Cannes Film Festival 2014.

Other than acting in movies, music videos and commercials, Kelly Pantaleoni has been working for GUESS jeans the past 4 years as a spokesmodel and was selected as a ‘It-Girl’ model search finalist for Bebe. Besides these major fashion houses she represents, Kelly came all geared with dresses and beautiful gowns to wear on the Red Carpet representing different fashion designers from L.A. It was no surprise to me that she was in Cannes for the Film Festival. Gene was praising her professionalism at her age. And you could tell that she was fast and smart, fully understanding the industry she is working in by getting herself invited to exclusive parties at the Cannes Film Festival. Most of all, she seems to have the talent to succeed both as an actor and model with her looks and her unique personality she brings along growing up in Australia. I am sure we will hear more of Kelly Pantaleoni and see her playing a major Hollywood movie in the future.

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Cannes Film Fest 2014 Spotlight

Exclusive Interview With Rising Starlet Kelly Pantaleoni

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There is no question, Aussie actresses are revered passionately and Kelly Pantaleoni herself is in line for long-term adulation. She is the leading lady in “Artful Gambit” which screens as part of the Festival Corner At Cannes. Kelly is set to beguile the senses as Catherine, a femme fatale who is complex and quite the manipulator in this tale of revenge. Hailing from a little country town called Deniliquin in New South Wales Australia, Kelly is charming the French Riveira as we speak and could well be a global addiction.

Here is the interview with the ravishing Kelly Pantaleoni:

1. Hi Kelly. Your feature “Artful Gambit” is screening at Cannes this year. Will you be there and what are you most looking forward to?

Yes I will be there for the whole festival, and I am most looking forward to sharing my film with industry people and watching other great films

2. Can you give us a tease of your role in “Artful Gambit”?

I am a woman that seeks revenge on a cheating husband in the worst way possible, you think I may have gone crazy but it’s all part of a larger plot that I had been planning out for months.

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3. You made the move to LA from Australia. How has been the experience living in such a glitzy place?

It’s very different to growing up on a farm, that’s for sure. Having access to nice clothing stores, the beach, movie theaters and museums is a luxury we never had in my hometown. I’m very grateful for where I grew up, but we didn’t have all of that stuff. It makes me appreciate it now

4. With so many successful Aussies in entertainment, why do you think Hollywood and the world are increasingly attracted to Australian entertainers?

We travel so far and sacrifice so much to make it in Hollywood, that it becomes more of a “I have to be a success” rather then “I hope to be a success”. It takes a certain person to start a new life in a foreign country, and I think that hard working attitude and professionalism when it comes to taking our careers seriously is something that attracts and intrigues people to us. We work hard, but also enjoy life and don’t lose focus of what truly matters.

5. Tell us any interesting and/or funny incident on set that you can remember.

Well when I arrived on set the first day, I was in the mind set of Catherine which was very dark and evil. I think I scared some people on set as I was “In character” for most of the time, and after we wrapped I had people come up to me and ask if I were ok because I wasn’t acting myself. I guess that means I did a good job right?!

6. What are your upcoming projects and what is your dream role?

I have some modeling jobs lined up and a music video that i’m shooting next week. My dream role is to play a strong, powerful lead in a feature film that inspires and moves people. I would love to do a period piece or action film- maybe both at the same time, who knows!

7. In this image-intensive industry and having previously won a Best Swimsuit Award previously, do you think having a healthy, sexy body adds extra appeal for an actress?

I think it opens a lot of doors, but then people will focus more on that then your actual skill if you don’t have the talent to match it. I’d like to be known for my acting ability more then my body, as anyone can look good but not everyone can act well.

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8. As a model/actress in a well-known place of gorgeous women, what have been some of the challenges you’ve had to face?

Although modeling comes much easier to me, it is still tough to get jobs when you’re up against girls that have all the right stats to fit the clothes and are taller then me. As a model, i’m too short for a lot of agencies and jobs, which limits my opportunities a lot. And it’s hard to please everyone, i’ve heard so much mixed feedback it’s ridiculous- too skinny, too curvy, too old (I’m only 23!) too young, too “sexy”, not sexy enough… clients all want different things, and it’s hard to always fit the mold of what they’re looking for. The competition is tough, so there will always be a girl that is perfect if you are not.

9. Tell us more about your life away from the screen? What are some of your passions?

Because I grew up on a farm, I love the outdoors. I used to be a competitive horse rider, so I’m very happy when i’m riding. I also love writing, hiking, road trips, bike riding on the beach and going down to visit friends in San Diego. Music festivals are a fun past time of mine too, as I love dancing and listening to great artists. It’s very inspiring.

10. Lastly, what do you think best represents being an entertainer? Is it distinctive beauty, the talent to stir hearts or the ability to connect with audiences?

I believe that inspiring, educating and uplifting others are the most powerful things entertainers and artists can do. If I can make people feel better then how they did before watching a film I was in, help them relate to a situation and feel they are not alone, or inspire them to get more out of life, then I feel I have done my job.

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Deniliquin Pastoral Times article for “Artful Gambit”

Deniliquin actress’ Cannes debut

A short film that featured Deni girl Kelly Pantaleoni, who now lives in LA, will appear at the 2014

Festival De Cannes in France.

May 6, 2014 3:44am

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Deniliquin actress and model Kelly Pantaleoni.

Deniliquin actor and model Kelly Pantaleoni has starred in a film that will appear at the upcoming 2014 Festival De Cannes in France.

Artful Gambit, a short film made in the US, is a surreal psychological thriller that dives into the twisted mind of a newly admitted mental patient.

Pantaleoni, who has lived in the US since 2009, plays the protagonist role of that patient, Catherine, who was found to be her husband’s killer.

‘‘Artful Gambit was written by my buddy, Sig, who stayed with me and friends when he moved to Los Angeles from New York,’’ Pantaleoni told the Pastoral Times.

‘‘I was cast as the lead without hesitation; he must of saw a bit of crazy in me after living together!’’

Artful Gambit’s writer, Sig Culhane, produced the short film in August last year at Burbank, LA.

Pantaleoni said she was hysterical when she discovered it was chosen to appear at Cannes, which is held from May 14 to 25.

‘‘I was so excited, I jumped all over the hotel room,’’ she said.

‘‘It was such a surprise; I hadn’t heard anything about the film in months and I wasn’t sure what was to come of it. It was the best news I could have possibly hoped for.’’

Along with other crew and cast members, the aspiring actress will make her way to Cannes next week for the screening.

‘‘I’ll be going for the duration of the festival, leaving LA on May 13,’’ she said.

‘‘The festival will be a great opportunity to promote the film, network, meet some heavy hitters in the industry and enjoy the south of France.’’

Since moving to Los Angeles 3 years ago, Pantaleoni has had the opportunity to be involved in a number of acting and modelling roles.

‘‘I’ve done music videos with Avril Lavigne, TV shows like Californication, and I can even be spotted in Marvel’s film The Avengers.

‘‘I’ve been a Guess spokesmodel for four years, working for them at their annual Coachella music festival pool party just recently.’’

But fame has not made Pantaleoni forget her roots.

While back in Deniliquin visiting her family in 2012, she starred in Lee Kernaghan’s music video Beautiful Noise, which was filmed on the Hay plains following the Ute Muster weekend.

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Papermoon Editorial shoot- Downtown Los Angeles

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Downtown Coalition -Editorial

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Just Funky -Catalog Shoot

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LA Star Denim -Editorial on Hollywood Boulevard

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