Her bubbly personality and precocious reading skills landed her a starring role in a feature film and in November, you’ll be able to see the talented Six Nations youngster in cinemas.
Keris Hope Hill, now seven and in second grade at Oliver M. Smith Kawennio School, is the face of Rosie, a film about a young First Nations girl who is sent to live with her aunt after her mother dies.
Filmed primarily in Hamilton in the summer of 2021, Rosie is Kerris’ first feature film. She landed the lead role with no prior acting experience, but her audition, which showcased her screen presence and reading skills, landed the lead role for the budding young actress.
Her mom, Tammy Point, said her daughter’s kindergarten teacher informed her about the crazy casting call and what happened next was a testament to Keris’ natural talent.
Kerris was chosen to play Rosie after an Ontario-wide search.
“One of the main things he said was ‘no experience required,'” said Point. “They got a ton of submissions. It was a really big role, just from the couch to the movie set.”
Kerris has done some competitive dancing, so that was helpful as she transitioned into acting, her mom noted.
But Kerris always had an expressive and vivacious personality that prompted people to say she should be an actress, Point said.
“We never gave it much thought,” he said, adding that if something landed in their lap, they would pursue it.
And this opportunity happened to land in their lap.
With Keris’ naturally well-spoken personality, the role was hers.
“A lot of kids came in for auditions and couldn’t read,” Point said. “It’s not very common for older kindergarteners to read. That was just a bonus for us. She is a very strong reader. He loves books. Every night at bedtime, on the weekends, she has a book in her hands.”
During filming, Kerris did very well directing, Point said.
The mom was there to watch the daughter for the entire shoot and practiced rehearsing the 106-page script with her.
“I wanted it to be so that he wouldn’t get upset when he had to read the script.”
He set Keris in a cozy corner in a room off the kitchen with a blanket and snacks to make it interesting with lots of breaks between reading and memorizing.
“It didn’t take long. He has this crazy memory. He had a lot of emotion wrapped up in the character. She was happy most of the time. There were times when she had to be angry. It was too much work for her.”
Filming lasted five weeks.
“He was a bit of a professional,” her mom said.
He has since played other roles, one for a series called Little Bird, which was shot in Winnipeg last spring.
Rosie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this fall and is currently on the festival circuit. It is produced by Indigenous actress and director Gail Maurice.
It will be released in theaters on November 11 at the Cineplex in Toronto at Yonge and Dundas.
The film also played at the ImagiNative Film Festival.
“The more stalks in the seats the longer it will play in the theater,” Point said.
Also playing at the Hamilton Playhouse on November 11 and 12.
You can buy tickets online at playhousecinema.ca
“I know there are a lot of people in the community who want to see it. It would be safer to buy advanced tickets.”
Keris said she enjoyed playing the role.
“I like being an actor because I make new friends and you can see it on TV. I just love shooting with my friends.”
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