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An Interview with Brinna Kelly, Writer and Star of The Fare

by Mike Haberfelner

November 2019

Brinna Kelly on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie The Fare - in a few words, what is it about?


The Fare is a sci-fi/fantasy/mystery story and an homage to The Twilight Zone.


Other sources of inspiration when writing The Fare?


The Fare is my homage to The Twilight Zone, one of my favorite TV shows of all time. So that was definitely the heaviest influence. Other influences include The X-Files, Star Trek, and Black Mirror.


Now what were the challenges of bringing The Fare to the screen from a producer's point of view, and how hands-on or hands-off have you been as a producer, especially since you're also the writer and star of the movie?


We had a limited budget and an extremely tight shooting schedule on this film. The biggest challenge was to make sure we make our days and film everything we needed. During pre and post production, I was a full time producer. During production, on-set producer duties were taken over by producer Kristin Starns and co-producer David Midell, so I could focus on acting.


What can you tell us about The Fare's director D.C. Hamilton, and what was your collaboration like, in pre- and post-production as well as on set? And since this is not the first time you're working together, what can you tell us about your previous collaborations, and how did you two first meet even?


DC and I met through mutual filmmaker colleagues about a decade ago. We have since collaborated on 2 feature films and several shorts. We work well together because we have similar tastes and sensibilities. DC's talents as a director lie in his distinct and stunning visual style - as a writer, I cannot ask for a more dedicated and talented director to bring my scripts to life.


You also play the lead in The Fare - so what can you tell us about your character, what did you draw upon to bring her to life, and have you written her with yourself in mind from the get-go?


Penny is a woman who is equal parts melancholy and mysterious, and exuberant and enthusiastic. She is a charming presence and she is immensely taken by her handsome driver Harris. Their budding relationship is the heart of this story.


I had always written the character for myself to play. I was an actor long before I became a writer, so when I conceive a story with a role in it appropriate for me, I write with the intention of performing the role.


What can you tell us about the rest of your cast, and as writer-producer, how much of a say did you have or claim in casting The Fare?


The Fare is a 2-hander performance wise. So during the production, my co-star and I basically just played off each other's energy. The takes were long, we only had 1-2 takes per setup, it was almost like performing scenes from a play. It was great fun.

There was no real casting process, I wrote Penny for myself, and Gino Anthony Pesi was our only choice for Harris as he embodies that role exactly the way I pictured it.


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


We only had 6 days to shoot the film, so the on-set atmosphere was one of fast-paced excitement. We knew we were constantly against the clock, so everyone gave 100% in order to make our days.


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of The Fare?


The Fare has played at 8 film festivals so far, both domestically and internationally, and it's been a very humbling and exciting experience for us. The audience response has been enthusiastic and warm and the critical reception has been across-the-board positive. The reception of The Fare has exceeded every expectation of mine and I am so grateful for that and so proud of the work our amazing cast and crew has done.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I currently have several scripts I would love to develop, but my favorites are a horror-comedy in the vain of Shaun of the Dead, and a domestic horror/thriller. I think audiences will have a great time at both films! Hopefully The Fare will connect with audiences and they will want to see more from me, and that will open the door to more projects in the future.


What got you into the filmworld in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


I was a child actor from the age of 11. I appeared in several television shows in my native country of China. From there, I studied at and graduated from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to The Fare?


After film school, I began my writing career, first writing for standup comedians, then moving on to writing for an online sketch comedy show, before finally becoming a feature screenwriter about 10 years ago. The Fare is my second produced feature script. My first was 2016's The Midnight Man. I have also done various rewrite work for other writers' scripts.


Going through your filmography, one can't help but notice on most of your films you've served as actress as well as writer and producer - why is that, and which aspect(s) of the filmmaking process do you prefer, which could you do without?


I've been an actor for most of my life, it's the job I am most familiar with. However, most actors don't get to create the characters they play. Once I became interested in writing, I realized what a true thrill it is to create a character from the ground up, to have ownership from inception to completion. It's the part of the job I enjoy most. But I love everything about filmmaking and there isn't a single part, pre production, production, or post production, that I would do without. Some people say the hardest part is the financing and fund raising process, and that's what they wish they could forgo. But I believe the right to make a film is earned, and if one cannot convince a financier that one's film is worth investing in, then perhaps that film shouldn't be made... So enjoy the process, all of it. Truly, it's a privilege just to be here.


Writers, filmmakers, actresses, whoever else who inspire you?


There are so so many, but off the top of my head, I would say the most influential inspirations of mine include: Aaron Sorkin, Joss Whedon, Shane Black, Gene Roddenberry, Rod Sterling, James Cameron, James Gunn, Denis Villeneuve, David Sandberg, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman, and Nicole Kidman.


Your favourite movies?


Aliens, The Matrix, The Fugitive, Star Trek 2, Star Trek First Contact, Galaxy Quest, Shaun of the Dead, and the MCU. (I'm a populist when it comes to movies!)


... and of course, films you really deplore?


'Deplore' is not a word I would use on a narrative film. There are many things in real life more deserving of that word and that feeling. When it comes to movies, some are for me, some are very much not for me, but at the end of the day, it's always some filmmaker's hard work, and it'll be for someone. Personal taste-wise, I don't care for films that feel overly self-indulgent on the filmmaker's part and don't take the audience's experience into consideration.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?


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Please look for the handle @brinnakelly on Twitter and Instagram and Brinna Kelly on Facebook if you want to find me.

The Fare's social media handles are:

Facebook: @lostcheckercab

Twitter: @lostcheckercab

Instagram: @thefaremovie


Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Just that I am very grateful to you for taking the time to talk to me and watch the film. The Fare was a true passion project from start to finish and our only hope is that it'll find the audience who will enjoy it!


Thanks for the interview!


Thank you!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


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On the same day
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... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD