Actress Kate Lyn Sheil

Actress Kate Lyn Sheil just arrived in town this morning. The New York-based actress is here at SFF to help promote the five—count ‘em, FIVE—films she has screening at the festival. I sat down with her at the Filmmakers Lounge this afternoon to find out more about all her different roles.

Tell me about the different films that you’re in.

I’m in Empire Builder, which is Kris Swanberg’s feature that she directed about a mother who takes her young child out to a family home in Montana, a sort of homestead, and what happens subsequently after going there. And then I’m in Sun Don’t Shine, which is a movie directed by Amy Seimetz that’s about two lovers on the backroads of Florida…

What are the different characters that you play in each of the films?

In Sun Don’t’ Shine I’m playing a young woman from Florida who is grappling with the hand of cards that has been dealt to her. It’s about her relationship with her boyfriend, and they’re sort of desperate and maybe ill-equipped to handle what’s been given to them. Then in Empire Builder I think the character is more independent and sort of trying to strike out on her own. It builds on her relationship with her baby what that’s like, to have a child and have it all be very new. Then I’m in Somebody Up There Likes Me, which is directed by Bob Byington, and I play the ex-wife of Keith Poulson’s character. I’m sort of a catalyst in that movie for what happens. Then I’m in Dan Sallitt’s movie, The Unspeakable Act, and I have very, very small part—I have one line, maybe—and I just play a friend of the main character. And then in V/H/S I play a stalker in one of the segments. I don’t want to spoil the film…

Don’t tell me any more! That’s one I really want to see.

You may not recognize me.

So were all of these being filmed at the same time?

They were all filmed within probably a three-month period. Empire Builder was actually the last one, and that was in September. The rest were done in the earlier months of summer.

Is this your first time coming down for the Sarasota Film Festival?

It is, yeah. We shot Sun Don’t Shine in the St. Petersburg area. I think this is my first time in Sarasota. I used to come to Florida with my family when I was younger, and I know we went all over so I may have been here before, but in my adult life this is my first time. I can’t stay for very long—I have to leave on Friday—so I probably won’t be able to make it to all that much but I want to see as many movies as I can before I leave.

Is there any movie you’re particularly looking forward to seeing?

My friend Dustin [Guy Defa] made a short called Family Nightmare that is really fantastic and I’d love to see that again. And I really want to see Leave Me Like You Found Me, an Adele Romanski movie, and I want to see Richard’s Wedding. My friend Dustin, who made Family Nightmare, also acts in Richard’s Wedding and Lawrence Levine, who’s my roommate, acted in it as well.

How many movies have you been in?

Altogether, maybe 15 or something like that.

It’s pretty interesting that one-third of them are here at this year’s Sarasota Film Festival.

Yeah, it’s great. I think all of the filmmakers are incredibly talented so it’s just lucky for me that I got to work with them.

Screenings of Sheil’s films:

Empire Builder: today at 5:30pm, April 19 at 4pm

Sun Don’t Shine: April 19 at 6pm

Somebody Up There Likes Me: April 21 at 7:45pm, April 22 at 3pm

The Unspeakable Act: April 19 at 8:15pm, April 21 at 9:30pm

V/H/S: April 20 at 10pm, April 21 at 9:45pm

Photos by Evan Sigmund

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