A native of San Jose, Vanessa has always wanted to be an actress and follow Natalie Portman’s career. Having been close to being a choice for the ice skating Nationals until she hurt her knees, Vanessa knew that performing was in her blood. “It’s the only thing that makes me truly happy and complete.” At first, she reports, it was a bit of a struggle trying to convince her parents that this was the career path she had chosen, especially since her parents highly value advanced education. But as she kept coming back to Los Angeles to pursue acting, her parents became supportive and allowed her to attend the New York Film Academy where she met Suzanne.
Laura, on the other hand, only recently came to the golden state. Born in Palmer, Alaska and raised in Littleton, Co, she took ballet for many years and perhaps might have chosen that as a career if it hadn’t been for a bout of spinal meningitis that forced her to take time off and think. She realized that her favorite ballet role had been Titania from Midsummer Night’s Dream because of the added amount of acting in the role, and decided to make a career switch. She too enrolled in the NY Film Academy and met Suzanne.
Both girls will be performing in the film noir “ Deception,” which will be screened at the seminar.
We asked the girls what it means to be a successful actress. “Just because you are not on the A list doesn’t mean you are not successful,” Laura pointed out as she expressed an interested to work behind the scene at films, while Vanessa talked about going into psychology. Each girl understood that to succeed in whatever they have chosen however, it is important to stay focused and that means doing only what is needed to highlight their desired careers.
It’s for this reason that they are again helping Suzanne De Laurentiis in her second annual Cinema City International Film Festival, which will be held Sept 29, 30 and Oct 1 at the Universal Sheraton in Universal City. It will feature both shorts and full length features, as well as competitions for the best films and best scripts. (Unfortunately the deadline for this year’s contest is already past but next year’s Film Festival will have another chance for filmmakers, writers and actors to promote their work.)
As with the prior event, this year monies raised from the silent auction will go to American Veterans charities. The “Feature of the Evening” award will be presented to Gary Mortenson and Scott Laney for their documentary about the lives of the pilots who are responsible for safely transporting the President as they fly Air Force One. Presenters will include Ed Asner, and other celebrities.
The Cinema City International Film Festival is known for its support of American soldiers. The men and women of the National Guard who joined them last year were treated to a fishing expedition in Alaska courtesy of one of the festival sponsors, William Steigers, an environmental consultant.
Suzanne’s goal for the film festival is to encourage and showcase the works of many young filmmakers, writers and actors and get them the exposure that they need to succeed in the business. Along with other numerous success stories from Suzanne’s business mentees, it seems like Vanessa Luberti and Laura Marie Steigers are off to a great start.