A native of Cleveland, Ohio, the young Athena Baumeister has successfully emerged into the world of “Young Hollywood.” A true jack of all trades, Athena has had roles in various short films and commercials and made her directorial debut with the short film “Who’s Suffering More.” Her directorial granted her the title of Prize Winning Short Film by Providential Film Festival and thus encouraged her to direct “Caroline’s Crush,” which was submitted to Kids and Teen Filmmakers in 2011 and awarded Best Film in her age group. Athena’s versatility with directing, singing, and acting has made her into the teen world’s hot new commodity. As a triple threat, Athena is a force to be reckoned with. She is currently working on two web series’ entitled “Correction House.” In this corky comedy series, Athena plays the character Rachel Butler, an adolescent next door neighbor who is living next door to a group of recently reformed convicts.
I had the opportunity to ask Athena Baumeister about her budding career as an actress and director…
How did your career begin in this business? I got into acting from doing a number of student films at the Florida State University film school. I loved it, and from my work there I met a number of people who have helped me get my career to where it is now.
As you are known for your roles as an actress and your accomplishments as a director, which element of the industry do you wish to pursue more – in front or behind the camera? I really want to do both filmmaking and acting. In my experience, being behind the camera makes you a better actor, and vice versa. Being able to do both in my career is my dream.
How did you manage to acquire all of the necessities and the knowledge that you would need to direct a short? How did you do so at the age of twelve? A lot of my first production was winging it. I had a camera, a tripod, a loose script, and a friend. A lot of the lines were improvised actually. It’s nice to have fancy equipment, if you can get it, but when you’re just starting as a filmmaker, you don’t really need it.
What did it feel like to win the Prize Winning Short Film by The Providential Film Festival for your film, ‘Who’s Suffering More?’ It was so unexpected! I was actually so sure I wasn’t going to win that I’d taken off my shoes (they were uncomfortable heels) and I ended up accepting the prize barefoot.
Where did your inspiration come from to write, act and direct the short, ‘Caroline’s Crush?’ That screenplay evolved in multiple iterations. The original idea is far from the finished product, but I’m very happy with the way it ended up.
Do you enjoy acting within your own films that you are directing? I like to have a smaller role in the films I direct. I’m usually too busy directing to give the focus to my acting that I as a director would want from a leading actress.
Are there any actor(s)/actress(s) that you have a perfect role set in your mind for them to play in one of your future dream projects that you plan to direct? I love Zooey Deschanel, I think she’s adorable and I like to write the kind of characters that she often plays–sunshiney, sweet but gullible girls.
What time of day is your favorite time to shoot? Late afternoon is a good time to shoot for a number of reasons. Actors usually have a lot of energy for several hours after lunch, and if you’re shooting outside, the light is nice and bright without being the harsh sunlight of noon.
How do you stay inspired as a writer? I think that it’s important as a writer to continuously take in new experiences and learn new things. If you get stuck in a routine, your writing will suffer. Also, I find that a little physical activity helps. Like Nietzsche said, “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.”
Where do you see yourself five years from now? I see myself as still in the film business in five years. I will have wrote and directed many more short films as well as progressed my acting career.
What are your favorite actives/hobbies outside of acting/writing/directing? I’m into music — I sing and play the piano — and still photography. I also love swimming, dancing, and boxing.
What is your favorite quote? “Utopia lies at the horizon. When I draw nearer by two steps, it retreats two steps. If I proceed ten steps forward, it swiftly slips ten steps ahead. No matter how far I go, I can never reach it. What, then, is the purpose of Utopia? It is to cause us to advance.” – Eduardo Galeano
To view episodes of Correction House click here! Athena’s second web-series “Facility House” is in currently in post-production.
Written By: Michelle Coveny