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Young Barrie filmmaker navigates 'very trick industry' en route to awards

'I was really intimidated by the other films and filmmakers and didn’t want to get my hopes up,' says Arianna Goarley

After a few years in front of the camera, Arianna Goarley decided to flip the script and take a look at things through a different lens  the camera lens that is. 

Goarley has written and/or produced four short films this year, something that came about after theatres  including Moving Art where she participated in dance and theatre programs  were closed due to the pandemic. 

“I have been acting for a few years and my agent suggested I make a little film with my friends to try and understand behind the scenes more,” she said. 

The Barrie teen, however, decided if she was going to do it, she wasn’t going to do it halfway. 

“If I was going to put in the effort of writing a story I wanted to make it big, and then I really liked it, so I continued to do it,” she told BarrieToday. “It was really fun to explore it further.”

Goarley said she initially got into acting because she always wanted to be on the other side of the screen when watching her favourite shows. Her love of acting then continued to grow after she began participating in local theatre. 

“A lot of the older dancers at my dance studio did it (theatre) and I thought it would be a lot of fun.”

For her first film, which Goarley said was filmed at MovingArt and also featured cast and crew from there, she opted to stay mostly in front of the camera. But when it came time to film the next one, she decided it was time to get more involved behind the scenes.

“That was cool since they were both mine, but I got to experience both sides. It was really different, but it still had the same adrenaline rush,” she said, adding she enjoys being both in front of the camera and behind it, and plans to continue to write and produce as well as act. 

Goarley’s first film, My Dance Teacher is a Vampire, even won two awards through the Nova Star Awards, which recognize outstanding young performers in the areas of film, television and commercials. The short film, which featured fellow Barrie teens Chloe Cameron, Julie Handy, Morgan Tanner and Luisa Rameriez, was awarded Best Ensemble (in the ages 11-to-14 category). Goarley also received an award Best Filmmaker in the 11-to-13 category. 

“I was extremely surprised and really happy, obviously. I remember looking at the nominations. I was really intimidated by the other films and filmmakers and didn’t want to get my hopes up. When they said I’d won, I was so happy, and especially with the ensemble award, because that meant it was good as a whole,” she said, noting the ensemble was made up of a group of her friends.

“Since it was a short and independent film, we had to double up on a lot of what we were doing. It was a lot of teamwork and testing each other to make sure it was the production we all wanted," Goarley said. "Seeing it recognized by other people made us all very happy.”

Goarley plans to continue writing short films, and said she wants to keep the stories focused on dance. She’s already sent out the casting notice for her next project, which she anticipates will be filmed in July.

She told BarrieToday it’s important to have a dance component in her films because she wants to create opportunities for others to dance and act in films. 

“It’s a very tricky industry to get in to, especially in dance because there’s less of it, so giving opportunities to my friends and other people in my area opportunities to branch out and do those kinds of things was one of my main focuses.”