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Tammy Massa

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Hester Schell

Bay Area Casting News

Ju$t Under a Million
Titles, Credit, Production Stills

Snap Shots of our Premiere: Sunday, December 30, 2007
Beverly Hills Hi-Def Film Festival

Welcome. Jump back to previous page for production photos gallery!
We hope to see you at a screening soon.
Stay tuned for Festival Updates.

December 26, 2008
Reprinted with permission.

photo: Candy Campbell


By Stacy Trevenon [ ]

The writers' strike didn't stop Half Moon Bay resident Hester Schell from getting her 18-minute, short comic film "Ju$t Under a Million" into the Beverly Hills Hi-Def Film Festival, where it will be screened Sunday, Dec. 30.

This comic farce looks at movie executives desperate to find another hit and the next "it" writer to come up with it. Jaded, having seen it all, they don't hold much hope of finding someone - until 8-months-pregnant Jan shows up with a story as old as the hills - but still worth another look.

"I can't think of a better place to premiere a farce about Hollywood" than this festival, Schell said in a press release about the film. "We are thrilled to be invited."

The film was shot in January, in San Mateo County, using the latest digital filmmaking technology and a Bay Area cast and crew that included some of Schell's students from the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking.

Schell served as the film's executive producer, producer, writer, director, art director and production designer. Coastside resident Jennifer Celestre, owner of Able-Body Pet Care, was an extra in the film.

"The film came together quite quickly, and just took off," Schell said. "It has a life of its own."

It has gone to other festivals around the country, and Schell "has (her) fingers crossed" for showings in film festivals in Berlin and Portland, Ore., and at the Cinequest festival, as well.

She said she would love to have it screened locally, but that first it must make its way through the film festival circuit.

The film will be screened at 5:30 p.m. at the Fine Arts Theatre at 8556 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills.

"With the writers' strike going on, our timing for this premiere just couldn't be better," Schell said. 

Hester Schell, director/writer on Rodeo Drive: A convertible in December!!

Inside those clear glass cubes are Rodeo Drive's
Holiday decorations: Crystal Chandaliers!!

Monday, December 31, 2007
10:14 AM EST


A Newark High School graduate will be showing her film in the Beverly Hills Hi-Def Film Festival later this month.

The film by Hester Schell, a 1972 graduate of Newark High and current resident of Half Moon Bay, Calif., will premiere on Sunday, Dec. 30, at the Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Schell wrote, produced and directed the short comic movie, "Ju$t Under a Million" "I can't think of a better place to premiere a farce about Hollywood than the Beverly Hills HD Festival! We are thrilled to be invited," she said.

Schell studied drama with Newark resident Polly Bray, mother of local podiatrist, Dr. Jim Bray. She teaches film acting at the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking. The film is about four movie executives who desperately need another hit, and the contest to find the next "it" writer. They've seen it all, heard it all, and things just aren't going very well until Jan shows up, eight months pregnant with a story as old as the hills. "It's all, all been done," exclaims Bob, who has just about had it with his business partners. "Hey, how about another Hamlet! God knows we haven't seen enough Hamlets!," Ray suggests.

"Just Under a Million" was shot utilizing the latest in digital filmmaking technology in San Mateo County, Calif., with a Bay Area cast and crew. The film has been submitted to numerous other prestigious festivals including the Berlin Film Festival, Aspen Short Festival, AFI Dallas, Portland Film Festival, San Francisco and San Jose's Cinequest Film Festival. "We haven't heard yet about these next festivals. We hope to hear sometime in January," said Schell. "I would really love to go to Germany for the Berlinale. We've got our fingers crossed." The comedy was written in January of this year. Actors were cast in April, and the project was shot over the summer. Editing began in August and continued on to early November. "The film came together quite quickly, and just took off. It has a life of it's own. I just hope we get into all the festivals we've applied to. It's all very exciting," said Schell. "And with a writers' strike on, our timing for this premiere just couldn't be better. "


"I was impressed. I knew it would be good,
but I wasn't prepared for it to be THAT good. The writing,
the directing, the production, the premise, and the surreal
ending that was a completion and a sudden left turn."
Mike Welch, joke doctor and stand up coach.

Jon Carlson (Larry) on the big screen at the test run. 

Annie Scott Rogers, left, with co-stars
Kari Wishingrad and Tammy Massa, right.

Bay Area writer and comedianne Candy Campbell, left,
with co-star Kari Wishingrad, and writer/director Hester Schell, right.


Kari Wishingrad, at the dinner after the show.

H.Schell, K. Wishingrad

Big bouquet to go with our big smiles.





Hester Schell, left, with LA
award winning coach and actress, Caryn West.

Che Lyons, below, reconnecting with SF friends.