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VIFF 2016 Interview: LAVENDER actress Peyton Kennedy

LAVENDER's Peyton Kennedy at #VIFF16
by Jason Whyte

"LAVENDER is about a woman (Abbie Cornish) who, after she loses her memory, begins to see unexplained things after her psychiatrist suggest she visit her childhood home. LAVENDER is a psychological thriller, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves supernatural dramas with twists. It's a great movie that tells a story in an unexpected way, and I'm thrilled it is showing at the Vancouver International Film Festival!" Actress Peyton Kennedy who stars in LAVENDER which is playing at the 2016 edition of VIFF.

Before we get into LAVENDER, we have been following each other on social media since the South By Southwest premiere of your also-new film AMERICAN FABLE as I gave that movie a big hit of press for my coverage this year. You certainly are getting a taste of the film festival life! I am curious, what was your first SxSW experience like for you and what has your festival experience been like since then?

My first film festival was Cannes in 2014 with Atom Egoyan's THE CAPTIVE, when I was 10. I then went to the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival for CUT BANK. But South by Southwest was unique in that AMERICAN FABLE is my first lead in a feature and first American role. The film was received with critical acclaim, so SxSW will always be really special. With AMERICAN FABLE, I also attended Geena Davis' Bentonville Film Festival and the Chicago Critics Film Festival (Editor's note: run by's own Erik Childress!). LAVENDER premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, which was another great film festival experience. I just feel so fortunate to be a part of all of these events and look forward to attending many more!

The less said about your role in LAVENDER, the better. I have seen it and also don't want people to know going in. But is there ANYTHING you can say about your character or the movie itself?

I really can't say much about my role in LAVENDER. My part is small but pivotal. As you can see in the trailer, my ominous presence gives a little taste of what LAVENDER is like!

Director Ed Gass-Donnelly sure knows his way around movies; I loved his earlier films SMALL TOWN MURDER SONGS and the LAST EXORCISM sequel, and I admire how he puts together his unique brand of storytelling. How did you come to work with him, and what was it like working on set with him?

There are three child parts in LAVENDER, and I auditioned with a lot of great local talent. I was thrilled when I booked the part, and Ed was a really enthusiastic director. I loved his vision throughout filming, especially the living photographs he created in the film. He really trusted his actors, which inspired me to deliver my best performance. I hope I have the chance to work with him again!

You worked with some truly incredible talent like Abbie Cornish, Justin Long, Dermot Mulroney and more. Tell me about your favorite moments working with the cast!

Working on LAVENDER with Abbie, Justin and Dermot was a gift, and I am extremely grateful I had the chance to work with and learn from them. Every moment was incredible, from eating lunch together, to filming really intense scenes, to celebrating the movie at the Tribeca Film Festival.

What would you say was the biggest challenge overall for you in working on LAVENDER?

I would have to say the biggest challenge for me working on LAVENDER would be that I had to convey so much emotion in such a small amount of screen time. But in the end, I'm extremely proud of the performance.

Again, without giving much away, when you saw the completed movie for the first time, what was YOUR reaction to the overall movie. What did Peyton Kennedy think?

I had goosebumps! LAVENDER'S pace, music and performances are so beautifully eerie. I can't explain how satisfying it is to see everything come together.

What should people be excited about the most by seeing LAVENDER at VIFF 2016?

I think people should be excited by the fact that LAVENDER is many genres in one movie: family drama, suspenseful mystery and supernatural thriller. It gets into your head, and makes you think about the unknown and your own memories. I think that people attending VIFF 2016 will be very intrigued by this aspect of the film, and I'm excited to see their reactions to the movie!

Based on our Twitter chats and conversations over the year, I noticed that you’re a big movie buff, just like me. What are types of films that you like to see currently? Favorite actor? Filmmaker?

I love movies. I love drama films, psychological thrillers and movies that tear at your heartstrings. I love movies that make you sit at the edge of your seat because of the suspense. I love movies that make you feel something, that makes you want to do something, movies that make you feel like you are in the film with the actors, which in some cases I am. I have lots of favourite actors, but I would have to say my number one favourite actor is Jennifer Lawrence. She is so believable in every one of her performances, and she is the kind of actor I aspire to be. As for filmmakers, I have worked with well-known filmmakers like Atom Egoyan and up-and-coming filmmakers like Anne Hamilton. There are many other talented directors and writers I would love to work with, too, including David Cronenberg, Wes Anderson, Debra Granik, and so many more.

I mentioned the SxSW acclaimed AMERICAN FABLE earlier. Do let us know when the film is coming out so everyone can see it!

I am very excited to announce that AMERICAN FABLE has been picked up by IFC Midnight, and it will be released in theatres in winter 2017!

What are you working on right now?

I am currently filming WHAT THE NIGHT CAN DO in West Virginia. This coming of age story centers around my character Luana, whose parents (Max Martini and Mercedes Mason) take her and her grandmother (JoBeth Williams) to visit her ailing grandfather Hugh (Stuart Margolin). Hugh helps guide Luana though the trials of love, loss and reconnection.

We have been following each other on social media for quite a while, and I really admire how you connect with your fans. What is your favorite part about using social media as an actor?

As an actor, I'm thankful that I live in this day and age where I can connect with my fans and everyone I have worked with using social media. I also really love that I can promote the brilliant productions I have had the honour of being a part of. Lastly, I love that social media lets me have dialogues with other film and television lovers like myself!

We have a lot of eager film fans and filmmakers on here, many of whom are looking to get their start in the business. If you could say anything to them as advice, what would you tell them?

Set goals, train, understand the business, don't let "no" get you down and be ready to work really hard.

And finally, what is your all time favorite movie and why?

Other than my own films, I would easily say my favourite movie ever is THE SIXTH SENSE, directed by M. Night Shyamalan. What I love, like what is featured in LAVENDER, is the element of the unknown. I don't want to spoil anything, but the ending is the best I have ever seen. Other films I love are WINTER'S BONE, THE SHINING, THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING and every HARRY POTTER movie!

Be sure to follow Peyton Kennedy on Twitter at @peyton_kennedy, Instagram and more info on

This is one of the many films screening at the 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival taking place in beautiful Vancouver from September 29th to October 14th. For more information on this film screening times, point your browser to

Jason Whyte,
Twitter: @jasonwhyte / Facebook: jasonwhyte / Instagram: jason.whyte

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originally posted: 10/08/16 20:43:39
last updated: 02/14/17 07:58:23
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