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Local Kids Star in Dramatic Short Film So Much Yellow

A film showcasing two of Storey County’s youngest movie stars will premiere in Reno at the Reno Tahoe International Film Festival (RTIFF.org) which runs from September 7th through the 10th.

One of over 500 submissions in the 2017 version of the RTIFF, the short film So Much Yellow will showcase two Virginia City Highlands residents, Kayline and Otto Gavenda. Parents Brandy and Jim Gavenda could not be more proud. As Jim Gavenda shared with The Teller: “We’ve seen the movie twice. We had tears of pride as parents seeing our kids on the screen and cried real tears watching them tell the story in the movie.”

Jim and Otto Gavenda on set

Set in the 1960’s, So Much Yellow is a story of love, family and trauma. Bruce (Otto Gavenda), a little boy with Down syndrome, and his older sister Colleen, (Kayline Gavenda) help tell the story of a sibling bond and the day it faces its toughest challenge.

“We heard about the project through the Down syndrome Connection in Danville. We were curious about the project because it was looking for a brother and sister to tell the story through the eyes of the siblings. We decided to see if they might have some interest in Otto and Kayline. We weren’t really sure what to expect, but we knew the bond between our children would transfer through onto the screen,” explained Brandy Gavenda who works at the Storey County Sheriff’s Office on C Street in Virginia City.

Producer Erica Milson and Kayline Gavenda discuss a scene in So Much Yellow

After consulting with casting director Gail Williamson (Glee, American Horror Story) about how to reach out to child actors with Down syndrome, and how to create an inclusive film set, the production team embarked on an extensive search, auditioning over 30 kids. They eventually selected Otto and Kayline to play a young brother and sister caught up in a painful situation beyond their control.

Local Kids Impressed Film Director

“We were struck by the deep connection between Kayline and Otto right from the start. They enjoyed being together immensely. Also, Kayline is a great big sister, skilled at playful leadership. This was one of the keys to deciding they were the right kids. We are telling a powerful story that deals with the closeness of the sibling relationship. The child’s perspective is the key that makes this story so genuine, and Kayline really solidified the story with what she did.” said Director Erica Milsom.
“We are trying to tell a nuanced story that deals with a profound and pivotal moment in a child’s life. Otto’s warm smile and playful presence, and Kayline’s strong sibling instincts all lent themselves to the film, and you can tell the relationship between these two is genuine. They weren’t acting the bond, they had it.” explained Producer Todd Shaiman.

Kayline and Otto Gavenda in the Family Station Wagon

The film is inspired by a true story. It was shot in Northern California over three long weekends in the spring, when the yellow mustard fields are in full bloom. The post production process took over a year and the entire production was assisted by a wildly talented group of volunteers who have day jobs at places like Pixar and Google.


Kayline Gavenda nominated for Best Actress, So Much Yellow Nominated for Best Dramatic Short Film

RTIFF Executive Director Emily Skyle talked to The Teller about the festival. “Our mission with Reno Tahoe International Film Festival is to bring the final layer of art to the community. The Reno Tahoe area has vibrant Art, Theater and even food scenes and we wanted to bring film back to the region. We relaunched the RTIFF with a host of new players guided by a few of the old leadership team and we hope to return a world class film experience to the area. We are passionate about Film and have conducted an international search to bring the best of the best to Northern Nevada. The short So Much Yellow represents exactly that. The film is haunting and engaging to watch, beautifully filmed and magnificently acted. It is remarkable how much emotional story telling is wrapped up in the 15 or so minutes of the film. We were moved by this film and that is reflected in the fact that the film was nominated for best dramatic short and Kayline Gavenda was nominated for best actress.

Jim and Brandy are excited to have Otto and Kayline in this moving short film. The film is a part of Short Film Block 12, showing at 12:00 on Sunday September 10th. Members of the Comstock Community are encouraged to buy tickets online and come to see So Much Yellow and the other wonderful films scheduled to run during the four day festival. For more information on the festival, click here. To buy tickets, click here.




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About Sam Toll

Sam Toll is a native of Gold Hill and returned home in 2016 after 35 years in the Sacramento Valley. He enjoys old cars and loud music. And writing.

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