Her bubbly personality and precocious reading abilities landed her a starring role in a feature film and in November, you’ll be able to see the talented Six Nations youngster on film.
Keris Hope Hill, now seven and in second grade at Oliver M. Smith Kawennio School, is the face of Rosie, a movie about a young First Nations girl who is sent to live with her aunt after her mother dies.
Filmed mostly in Hamilton during the summer of 2021, Rosie is Keris’s first feature film. She landed the lead role with no prior acting experience, but her audition, which showcased her screen presence and reading abilities, clinched the breakout role for the budding young actress.
Her mom, Tammy Point, said her daughter’s kindergarten teacher notified her of the serendipitous casting call and what happened next was a testament to Keris’s natural talent.
Keris was chosen to play Rosie out of an Ontario-wide search.
“One of the main things it said was ‘no experience necessary’,” said Point. “They got a ton of submissions. It was a pretty big role, just from the couch to the film set.”
Keris has done some competitive dance, so that was helpful as she transitioned to acting, her mom noted.
But Keris has always had an expressive and vivacious personality that prompted people to say she should be an actress, said Point.
“We never thought much of it,” she said, adding that if something landed in their lap, they would pursue it.
And it just so happened that this opportunity did land in their lap.
With Keris’s naturally well-spoken personality, the role was hers.
“A lot of kids came in for auditions and couldn’t read,” said Point. “It’s not very common for senior kindergarten kids to read. That was just a bonus for us. She’s a really strong reader. She does love books. Every night at bedtime, on the weekends, she’s got a book in her hands.”
During filming, Keris did very well at taking direction, said Point.
Mom was there to watch daughter for all the filming and practiced rehearsing the 106-page script with her.
“I wanted it to be so that she was’t getting upset when had to read the script.”
She set up Keris in a cozy nook in a room off the kitchen with a blanket and snacks to make it interesting with lots of breaks in between reading and memorizing.
“It didn’t take long. She has this crazy memory. She had a lot of emotions wrapped in the character. She was happy most of the time. There were times she had to be angry. It was quite a big job for her.”
Filming was five weeks long.
“She was a little pro,” her mom said.
She has since performed in other roles, one for a series called Little Bird, filmed in Winnipeg this past spring.
Rosie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this fall and is currently on the festival circuit. It’s produced by Indigenous actor and filmmaker Gail Maurice.
There will be a theatrical release on Nov. 11 at Cineplex in Toronto at Yonge and Dundas.
The movie was also played at the ImagiNative Film Festival.
“The more butts in the seats the longer it will play in the theatre,” said Point.
It’s also playing at the Hamilton Playhouse on Nov. 11 and Nov. 12.
You can purchase tickets online at playhousecinema.ca
“I know there’s a lot from the community that want to see it. It would be safest to buy advanced tickets.”
Keris said she enjoyed acting in the role.
“I like being an actress because I get to make new friends and you get to watch it on tv. I just love filming with my friends.”