Anita Cordell is a beautiful and talented actress who has also tackled a number of jobs behind the camera. We got to work together when she played the role of bridesmaid in Providence. Her sweet spirit is evident both onscreen and off camera.
When did you first develop an interest in film acting?
I started getting interested in film acting in about 2006. I come from stage, so it was an interesting switch, but I LOVE it and have been very busy in commercial work as well as film work.
What was your first role?
My first role was a one liner, playing a waitress. My line was, “How may I help you?” A funny story about this project started when I saw the casting call. I had not yet engrossed myself into the ‘hustle’ of finding roles yet, so this was my first one. The casting call asked for a male and female in their upper 60’s-mid 70’s, if I remember correctly. I am not that, but wanted to delve into this industry. So, I reached out to the director, Toby Tolbert of Kansas City, and asked him if there were any other parts. He invited me to the casting call, and of course, I did not fit the bit for what they were looking for. But, he saw my passion and cast me as the waiter. And, just so you know, my husband laid the foundation early on by supporting this role. We even left our family vacation early so that he could get me to the set on time because he knew it was important for me to begin this journey. Even though the part was small, AND volunteer, my husband showed me that he was a BIG fan, and he’s never changed his support for me.
What faith-based films have you been in?
My most recent one was having the honor of being a part of the silent film Providence. I’ve also been in Jim Stovall’s The Lamp, Three Blind Saints (w/ Stelio Savante), September Skies (w/ Jenn Gotzon), Works in Progress. I played the lead in Bad Neighborhood, and one of the leads in Pitching Hope (W/ Timothy Perez and Joni Adahl) and a few others are Freedom of Silence, and Last Ounce of Courage.
What led to you getting involved behind the camera as crew?
To be honest, I was on the set in 2010 of September Skies in Washington with Jenn Gotzon. Jenn and I were brain storming of ways to get me more involved with the 168 speed competition out of LA. Due to logistics, I wasn’t able to get to LA for the big casting day with the teams participating in that city, and I knew that many of the teams did not have a budget for flying actors in to be on their teams. I learned real quick this is a passion competition and all involved volunteer their time and resources, but yet, I just KNEW I was supposed to be a part of it. So, Jenn said, “Anita, why don’t you produce a team and that way, you can act in it and still compete?” She encouraged me based upon my connections, that I should be able to pull it off. I left the set, went home and pulled a team together to produce my first film, a speed competition. Yes. It was quite exhilarating and stressful, all at the same time. The short film was called Living Waters, directed by Brad Burrow. Since then, Brad and I have worked on several other projects, including another 168 film competition where Francine Locke (Nashville) and I worked together as ‘Thelma and Louis’ type characters.
What different crew positions have you held?
I’ve mostly worked as a Producer and a Casting Director, but have also worked as a Craft Supervisor, Location Supervisor, Script Supervisor and a PA. I also want to Direct this coming year, and possibly assist on camera eventually.
Which do you prefer – behind the camera or in front of the camera?
I much prefer in front of the camera, but in this industry, creating your own work, or helping to create your own work seems to be helpful in keeping actors on the set more. I think it’s important to be versatile while learning more of the aspects to film making. I truly enjoy Producing on the Pre-Production side while also having a team for Post-Production, like I had arranged with my short film Charismata. Joni Adahl and I worked together on that. She was amazing at the Production work with the Post Production aspects of Administrative responsibilities and kept that little film alive MUCH longer than I did. I absolutely believe it’s important to have a GREAT team of people around me and I’m grateful for those God puts in my path.
Tell us about some of your more recent film work.
I recently wrapped a feature film called Lottawana. And, before that, I was recently on the set of ‘So Broken Up’ (with the Vetter Brothers), as well as Providence (with Faith flix), and we just finished our first episode of STAY – a pilot series starring Eleanor Brown (Courageous). I was also the lead in a short film called House Mother, which is a part of a series of shorts that will expose some of the horrors of human trafficking in America. House Mother is my most recent project that I produced as well, and recently won the Silver Award at Kingdomwood.
What upcoming projects do you have?
First, we are hoping for more episodes with STAY in the upcoming year, so please stay tuned. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Eleanor and the team, and look forward to some exciting announcements in the works with this (hopefully) ongoing project. ALSO – in the commercial world, I am still the current Spokespeople for a company called ‘Slim 4 Life/Quick Weight Loss’. The commercial campaign is airing in the Florida region, Texas, Missouri and Kansas. I have also been notified that my commercial with Toucan Can Opener has been airing Nationally. Many of my friends keep texting me letting me know they’ve seen in in their market. That includes Las Vegas, AL, FL, Los Angelas, Washington, MO and KS.
I have also been cast in MOMO (Directed by Kevin Kraft), Kidnapped Runaway (Produced by Aaron Allen), and several more projects still waiting for announcements.
I want to encourage all of those actors out there who have a desire to work more in this industry. No matter where you live, make the world around you thrive by living out your passion. I love what I do and can’t wait to work on more film projects in the upcoming years. There are several things that I want to leave you with along with putting God first:
- FRIENDS: Make sure that you surround yourself with those who will encourage you and support you – NO MATTER how high they get in their exposure. This industry ebbs and flows. Make sure you are around those that you trust and that will be there for you through thick and thin.
- 2. ACTING CODE: I also encourage each of you to develop, BEFORE you get on set, what your individual ‘acting code’ is going to be for you and your family. If you develop this early on, you will walk onto each set knowing your boundaries that will tie your faith, your family, your mission and your life all together for the purpose God has for you.
- 3. MARKET: Do not be discouraged if you live in a smaller market. I’ve had to preach this to myself SO MANY TIMES. But, you CAN stay busy in other cities outside of Atlanta and LA. And, if you have to hire someone to help you market yourself – do it! Lots of people do. In reality, some of the people who are ‘out there’ more aren’t any better at acting than you. They just might be marketing themselves more strategically. I always say to myself – ‘Ever learn. Always grow’.