In 2007, Kathy and James Choiniere's 168 Film "Bag" starred a very young and undiscovered Nathan Kress. The film won Best Comedy and Nathan received a Jury "Honorable Mention" award as a Supporting Actor for his role as Albert.
The film was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Best Scriptural Integration and Best Editor. Here are some thoughts from Nathan on 168 Film, Faith and Hollywood.
How did 168 affect your career?
168 provided me with a chance to stretch myself and do something out of my comfort zone. Everything about the concept of the festival was so foreign to me, from the audition process to the DIY (do it yourself) feel of the production. I think it caused me to be more confident moving forward with other opportunities, because I was better equipped to handle an assortment of new hurdles that I hadn't encountered before.
What do you think is the value of doing short films?
I think short films are great because it has benefits and drawbacks. The cool thing is that it doesn't take long to put together (even shorter for 168) compared to larger projects, so it's a great way to learn the ropes of the industry in a more forgiving, entry-level way. The disadvantage, however, is that you have to have a talent for telling a story clearly and concisely. There is no room for over-drawn exposition and lengthy setup. You have to be able to convey the message in a short amount of time, which takes quite a bit of creativity.
Would you recommend 168 Film to actors? Why?
Absolutely!! It's just a great environment, full of uplifting people and a SAFE place to work on your craft. I think that's my favorite thing about it... you know that there won't be compromises in content. Just creative people making stories worth telling. Plus, it's great for seasoned actors, as well as newbies. It's a wonderful opportunity to get your feet wet.
What's next for you?
I did a movie that's currently out in theaters, called "Into the Storm," and am eagerly anticipating the release of a web series that I was given the opportunity to be involved in. It's called Video Game High School, and I had been a fan of it for years. The makers of the show found out, and offered to write me a part! It's set to premiere October 13th.
Do you have any aspirations behind the camera?
Definitely. As I've gotten more experienced, I've been very interested in the production aspect of the industry. I actually have plans to make my directorial debut in a few months!
What do u think of the recent success of so many faith based films?
I absolutely love it! It's so encouraging to see that those films are gaining traction. It's great to see the increase in production value and money being put into these movies, because the industry is finally realizing that people really do want to see them.
How has the success of iCarly and your being so recognizable to so many affected you?
It's changed my life in a lot of ways. It has brought about incredible blessings that I could never have imagined, and also brought it's fair share of trials as well. Since the show took off, I've kind of lived in a fish bowl, often being watched and scrutinized. It's hard being a role model, especially in this industry. But, it's something that I feel so strongly that I have to do. Every day, I hear from kids all over the world that they look up to me and respect me for the way I live my life. And that's a phenomenal burden, that can ONLY be carried by walking hand in hand with God. Without him, I'm nothing in this place.
What's your favorite film/kind of film to watch? To act in?
I'm a sucker for military movies, or anything action-adventure. If I could take my pick of one genre to be cast in, it would definitely be some kind of gritty war piece.
What advice would you give to struggling actors to encourage them?
Well that's challenging... because my words depend heavily on their relationship with God. If they don't have that, it's very hard to say anything meaningful. But to those who are trusting that they have been called to this industry for a purpose, we have no choice but to stay the course and keep God as our central focus. If we lose sight of that, we become victims of a merciless profession. God is constant when all else is variable.