Aerial Robinson’s ’Birdie’ to be featured Saturday at Film Makers Showcase
Aerial Robinson and her son, Noah, are featured on the official poster for her short film, “Birdie.” The 13-minute film will be showcased at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, July 29, 2023 at the St. Louis Film Makers Showcase at the Hi-Pointe Theatre, 1005 McCausland Ave., St. Louis, Mo.
(Poster art by Aerial Robinson)
MARY LOU MONTGOMERY
Can a woman have a career as well as a family? Or must one wane while the other rises?
Aerial Robinson of New London explores that topic in a 13-minute short film scheduled for showing at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, July 29, at the St. Louis Film Makers Showcase at the Hi-Pointe Theatre, 1005 McCausland Ave., St. Louis, Mo.
The film, titled “Birdie,” examines the real-life dilemma experienced by a woman juggling the mundane of motherhood and the creativity of pursuing her dream.
“The film starts off with me living my life out in New London, and going through the mundane life as a mom; going to work. My friend (from Los Angeles) flies out to Missouri, and he wants to come visit me. We talk about old days, in Los Angeles, and we get into: can you have a career and a family? (His character is) a big director in Hollywood, and is craving a family; I believe you can have both with enough support from people around you.”
The friend from California is played in the film by Aris Alvardo, who had a recurring role as Caesar, the chef at Luke’s Diner, on the popular TV series, 'Gilmore Girls.’
Aerial, a 32-year-old New London native, spent four years during her 20s in Los Angeles, pursuing stand up comedy and acting, before moving back to New London. Once back home, she fell in love with and married Mason Robinson, and now they have a 2-year-old son, Noah.
“My movie was originally about a mother who kinda lost herself in motherhood, and fell into a short depression as she raises her 2-year-old,” Aerial said. “The mother wonders what would have happened if she stayed in LA and pursued her acting career. It is based on my thoughts and actions. I want society to question it: Do the things we want to do? It’s up to you.”
“I learned a bunch of things while I was out there (in LA). “It is very weird how it works out there; I had a lot of successes, but it is not anything that is known to the rest of the world. I think that I had success; I worked with amazing teachers, studied under Joe Palese, (acting coach, actor, director and writer), and Lauren Patrice Nadler, (acting coach and director). My biggest claim to fame, I was able to open for Bill Burr as a comedian.
“I came home to help my family with stuff, met my husband, fell in love and had my son. I never went back. (Acting) has always been a passion of mine. During early days of Noah he was colic, my identity became him. ‘How’s the baby?’ I wanted to get my identity back and writing was the way I did that. I wanted to feel like myself again. So I started with what I knew.”
‘Birdie on the circuit’
This is the second time “Birdie” has been selected for inclusion on the film festival circuit.
The first, in June 2023, was at the Marina Del Rey Film Festival in California.
“Thousands of films are submitted and hundreds are accepted,” Aerial said. “I won an award at the 2023 Marina del Rey Film Festival: I won best actress in a short film.”
“My director, Shana Gagnon, was my best friend in California; she lived across the street, before moving home to Michigan. We very much collaborated on this film. She’s an award winning director and had the directions I needed in order to come up for a game plan to get a film crew together.
“It only took four days to film. But leading up to those four days I worked on gathering income, investments, for about a year, I was also writing and rewriting; I wrote the script three times. There were a lot of revisions. is the director, one of the producers. She was a huge help in getting all of this going.
“I got sponsorships in town; I made a whole sponsorship packet. I feel like art brings the community together, so I wanted everyone in the community involved.”
Primary sponsors were Grand Pharmacy in Hannibal; Andrew White and Tom Boland Ford; Lola McDonald from McDonald Stone Co., in New London, and Aerial’s parents and husband, Thomas and Michelle Cox and Mason Robinson. “The town of Hannibal really stepped up and helped.”
“Michael Gaines of the Hannibal Arts Council was one of my biggest supporters. They (HAC) have done a lot for me,” Aerial said.
“Sabrina West was also a huge sponsor. Her company’s name is S.W. Enterprises.”
“A lot of my extras are people from the community; I put a post on Facebook, and friends of friends contacted me. Production assistants included Jeremy Darr and Allison Kerr. “They have been such a light through this entire process. They did it for no money, they just believed in me and the project. And they just continue to help, they are so supportive. It feels good to have people believe in you and your project.
“Sabrina West, she is a huge family friend, my best friend in the whole wide world. She drove out here from Michigan to be a PA. She helped do cooking and cleaning and gave support through the whole thing, emotionally, physically.”
Local businesses donated film locations.
Those locations include Sportsman’s Bar. “It costs a lot to film on location. They stepped up and helped me bring my vision to life.”
Also, Hillside Care Center, owned by Brandi and Kevin Lionberger. This business is now closed, but were open at time of filming.
Aerial and Mason’s house in New London also served as a filming location.
Feeding the crew was carefully coordinated in advance. “We provided food on the set. My husband did most of that. We cooked home meals. We tried to treat our people the best that we could, even though we are on a small, micro budget.”
“The majority of my crew are from Michigan,” she said, “three flew out from LA: Deidra Kathleen, Allishia Claressa Knotts and Aris Averado.”
Anybody can attend Saturday’s showing. “It’s like a regular movie, you pay ticket fee $15,” Aerial said. “The more people that go and support us the better. We are trying to get into other festivals that are academy qualified. We are SAG micro budget; we have Screen Actors Guild actors in it. We had to go through the Screen Actors Guild to be able to contract to use their actors. If we can get into an Academy qualifying film festival and win certain awards, then we can qualify to submit to the Oscars, to be considered for an Oscar. That’s how the film festival circuit works. Any film or short film that is registered with SAG is eligible, but it’s never a guarantee. That would be lovely if we could.”
Cast and crew
A Reel Endeavors film in association with Phantom Films
Featuring: Aerial Robinson, Aris Alvarado, Mason Robinson, Noah Robinson, Deidra Kathleen, and Allishia Claressa Knotts
Edited by Adam Gould
Director of Photography, Randy J. Williams
Sound and drone, Broe
Executive Producers, Michelle Cox, Thomas Cox, Sabrina West, Aerial Robinson and Shana Gagnon
First assistant director, Jazmine Broe
Gaffer, (chief electrician in a motion picture or television production) Deidra Kathleen, Sabrina West
Story by Aerial Robinson
Written by Aerial Robinson and Shana Gagnon
Directed by Shana Gagnon
After studying acting for four years in Los Angeles, Aerial Robinson is at home in New London, Mo., with her husband, Mason, and son, Noah. The premise of her short film whether she, as a mother and wife, can still fulfill her dream of acting. Photo credit????