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On the Spotlight: Rachel Fiona Gilchrist

Rachel is an accomplished 16-year-old actor, model and dancer from Scotland. She made her professional debut in the West End in 2015 and since them has appeared in a number of films including Case Files and Slap. Rachel has also modeled

around the world including runway appearances at London Kids Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week. Her new Holiday film premiered this month at the Alexandria Film Festival and we cought up with Rachel to find out all about it.

First of all, how are you and your family doing?

We are all well and keeping safe, thank you. It has certainly been a crazy year, and one I’ll never forget, but we are lucky

that we have kept healthy.

Can you tell us more about your new film? What is about?

My most recent project is the short film ‘The First Noelle’. It’s a Christmas film full of Christmas magic. The story follows Noelle, an LA publicist, who tries to escape a Christmas with her family by flying to an isolated manor in the Scottish

Highlands. Things don’t quite go to plan for her and she finds that can’t escape the magic of Christmas after all.

How was the filming process? Did you shooting process? Did you film in the US or the UK?

The shooting process was amazing. The entire cast and crew travelled to Arisaig in the Scottish Highlands from Scotland,

England and the US for the three shoot days. We all lived in the manor house the film was set in and ate breakfast, lunch

and dinner together every day. It really felt like a family and I felt so lucky to be part of such a talented group of great people. As it’s a Christmas film there was a lot of Christmas magic in the script. This made for some fantastic shooting experiences. Without giving too much away one of the scenes saw the main character, Noelle, change outfit by magic

in one scene. I thought for sure that this would be edited in post-production but the costume designer, Melanie Bowman, actually created an outfit that with the help of a group actually changed while the Jake and I delivered two lines to the camera. Another example was part of the film where Jack and Jill take Noelle into their favourite room; a room where it snowed inside. The set designer, Nicola Ellis, transformed one of the sitting rooms into a magical indoor snow globe where it really did ‘snow inside’. These are such great memories that I will always treasure.

Did you audition for it?

If so can you share some details on the process Wendy Faraone, the Director of the film, has been my acting coach for around 5 years now. I had also worked with her and the Writer and Producer, Elizabeth Mihelich at a staged table read in LA a couple of years ago. Given the project was shooting in Scotland, they thought I would be ideal for the role. My brother in the film was Jake Satow, another student of Wendy’s, and she felt we would work well together. She was absolutely right as from our first zoom read through we had a great connection and I loved working with him; he is such a great actor and a lovely person.

What is your character? How would you describe her?

My character is called Jill. Her Dad is the owner of the manor Noelle comes to for the holidays. There is a lot unsaid in the film about the backstory of the family however we know that Jill and her brother, Jack, don’t have a mum around. While Jill is young, you see her stepping into the mum role with Jack sometimes, trying to keep him in check. It’s clear the two of them are very close and adore their Dad. She is a very clever girl and picks up on a hint from their housekeeper to try to bring their Dad out of a deep sadness he is in which we assume is because he has lost his wife. Jill seems to have some magic of her own which we catch a glimpse of and I really loved that side of her character.

What was you most memorable moment on set?

The whole three days on set were memorable. I learned so much from working with such talented people but had so much fun as well. What was funny was that the lead actor, James Robinson (Washington, Outlander, Braveheart), had been cast by Wendy and Elizabeth in LA and it turned out that he grew up about two streets away from where I live now! It was also amazing to work with Kahyun Kim (American Gods) as I had loved watching her in Freaky Friday and Austin & Ally. The whole experience was really special; there was definitely Christmas magic on and off screen.

Any upcoming projects in the horizon?

Unfortunately COVID has put a lot of plans on hold for now. At the moment I am back in lockdown and we have a travel ban in place which means I am very restricted in where I can go. I am hoping that I new film project which has been in planning for a year or so now may be able to commence next year sometime.

What would be your ultimate dream role?

I would love a starring role in an episodic TV series like Once Upon a Time or Pretty Little Liars. I love character development and these ongoing series allow for so many sides of a character to be explored.

Where/when can we watch your latest film?

‘The First Noelle’ is currently screening at the Alexandria Film Festival and a great thing about it being on-line this year is hat anyone can buy a ticket and watch all the films.

Any celebrities you’d like to work with in the future?

I really admire Sarah Hyland’s work. I would also love to work with Briar Nolet and Elizabeth Gillies.


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