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Stars align for Julie Elizabeth Knell

Lake Oswego actress experiencing success at each corner


SUBMITTED PHOTOS - Lake Oswego actress Julie Elizabeth Knell has a lead role in Zilla & Zoe, an independent film being made in Portland by Scalise Pictures.

Lake Oswego actress Julie Elizabeth Knell recently had the kind of week we all dream about; success met her at every corner. She began shooting for a new feature film and learned that her television pilot was going to Netflix’s development department.

Titled “Zilla & Zoe,” the feature film is a comedy, similar in style and humor to “Little Miss Sunshine.” It features Zoe, age 10, who is obsessed with making horror films. A deadline for a big horror contest is coming up, and Zoe is determined to win. But when her father, concerned about her increasingly gory activities, orders her to stop making horror films and shoot her sister’s wedding week instead, Zoe has no other choice. To win the contest of her dreams, she will have to turn her sister’s wedding into a horror film.

Knell plays Cora, an East Coast blueblood from a wealthy family. She is a loud, brassy, bossy socialite and has a genuinely warm, loving heart.

“We are also looking for extras,” Knell said. “Particularly kids from 10-13 for the school shoot day and adults over 30 to volunteer their time.”

“Zilla & Zoe” is a heartwarming and quirky comedy that explores family and the importance of accepting people for who they are. Screenwriter/filmmaker/director Jessica Scalise once spent a summer working as a wedding videographer.

Another filmmaker on her team was obsessed with horror films and his wedding footage had an eerie, horror-ish quality. Though it wasn’t particularly appreciated by brides, Scalise found it fascinating how different cinematographers can alter footage of the same event to give an entirely different feel.

The screenplay was a quarter finalist in Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope Screenwriting Contest.

Scalise Pictures relies on contributions from those who want to support independent filmmaking and women in the arts to create its films. Contributions from $1 to $10,000 can be made online at scalisepics.com, with a variety of interesting backer rewards. Those unable to make cash contributions can contribute by helping spread the word about “Zilla & Zoe.”

Filming of “Zilla & Zoe” will be completed mid-August. Post-production work is slated to be completed by the end of 2015.

Learn more online at scalisepics.com or on Scalise Pictures’ Facebook page.

Knell’s award-winning TV pilot “Till There Was You!” was first presented as a staged reading at Lakewood Center for the Arts during the 2014 Fertile Ground Festival. The script is now under review by Netflix’s development department.

“There is still fundraising we need to do until we get the green light,” Knell said. “There are DVDs to be duplicated, print cartridges, and I’d still like to pay my actors who were so generous with their time.”

You can view the Fertile Ground staged reading online at dreamwithjulie.com/till and donate to cover the costs involved bringing the work to the public.

Contact Barb Randall at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or brandall@lakeoswegoreview.com.

A family dinner scene from Zilla & Zoe.

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