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Alicia Hayes talks about her short film ‘Pripyat’

Filmmaker and actress Alicia Hayes chatted about her short film “Pripyat.”

Alicia Hayes
Alicia Hayes. Photo Courtesy of Alicia Hayes
Alicia Hayes. Photo Courtesy of Alicia Hayes

Filmmaker and actress Alicia Hayes chatted about her short film “Pripyat,” which stars Andrew Gray, Elina Golde, and Malcolm McDowell.

Alicia Hayes will serve as director for this project. It was produced by Hayes and three-time Emmy winner Birgit Muller (“The Bold and The Beautiful”).

Inspiration to write ‘Pripyat’

On her inspiration to write this short movie, she said, “Initially, I wanted to write a screenplay that would weave together my love for ballet with a compelling dramatic narrative. I stumbled upon a gripping account of a Russian music and dance troupe forced into a propaganda performance the day after the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.”

“My emotional impact was immediate, bringing me to tears. It sparked a conviction deep inside of me that this story needed to be told. ‘Pripyat’ became my dual commitment to showcase the contrast of the beauty and grace of ballet and the chilling exploitation of art in the face of government deceit,” she elaborated.

‘Best Short Script’ for ‘Pripyat’

This film won an accolade for “Best Short Script.” “It was truly wonderful that my work was elevated by my peer group and recognized for excellence. I was overjoyed and in disbelief at the same time for it was an award I least expected. What made it more special is that Actor Andrew Gray accepted the award on my behalf,” she said.

When asked if this screenplay taught her anything about herself, she responded, “Wow, that’s a loaded question. First, the screenplay was challenging to write because I wanted to ensure that this event was given the care it deserved. I learned that my compassion for humanity fueled my emotions and allowed me to articulate the written words in the screenplay. In addition, it enforced my own personal belief to never give up on my dreams.”

The digital age

On being a filmmaker in the digital age, she said, “Technology allows me instant access to a global audience and receive feedback in real time.  We are living in a dynamic era where creativity thrives beyond traditional constraints. I can connect with viewers in ways never imagined before.”

Plans for the future

On her future plans, she said, “I personally find fulfillment in the fluidity and spontaneity of each day, allowing the organic creative process to shape my future without the constraints and confines of rigid plans.”

“I guess in a way, that is a plan, it’s God’s plan and I don’t question it because God always surpasses any preconceived notions and expectations I have about myself or my future. God is the author of creation,” she said.

“I have been gifted as a filmmaker and PLAN to always stay on that path. It’s all about the journey and it’s glorious,” she added.

Working with Andrew Gray

She had great words about working with actor and filmmaker Andrew Gray. “Andrew Gray is a beacon of inspiration and the consummate professional. Beyond his striking physical appearance, his inner beauty radiates,” she said.

Hayes continued, “Every personal interaction I’ve had with him has become an addiction of sorts, because I’m always left wanting more. We speak quite often and can talk for hours, and yet time seems to stand still, a testament to the depth and richness of the connection he fosters.”

“Collaborating with Andrew is a true blessing and continually exceeds my expectations. He is not only a model and actor but an incredible storyteller that makes me laugh and cry but, what truly sets him apart in the world of entertainment is his rare commitment to forging his own path, unaffected by popular norms,” she acknowledged.

“Andrew is deep rooted in his personal convictions, and he remains steadfast, showcasing an exceptional work ethic and resolute moral character. His refusal to compromise on these principles is evidence of his integrity, elevating him to a unique position in the world of entertainment,” she said.

Career-defining moments

On her career-defining moments, she shared, “I can’t pinpoint a particular moment in my career that defines who I am. Yet, years ago, I had an epiphany that shaped my identity as an artist. The statement I crafted during that time, ‘Imagination is the language of creation,’ remains a fundamental principle influencing all my creative works.”

Advice for hopefuls in acting

For young and aspiring actors, she said, “For aspiring filmmakers, my advice is to seek mentorship or opportunities to learn from experienced professionals. Be a keen observer and an active listener, ask questions, and immerse yourself in the environment and the creative process.”

“Most of all, Trust your creative instincts, embrace the unknown and stand out!  Never be afraid to explore unconventional methods…be a pioneer! You were made with a unique destiny, go unravel the extraordinary purpose that awaits you,” she exclaimed.

Success

On her definition of the word success, she said, “The word success means that I have achieved a meaningful impact on others, experiencing joy in the process, and fulfilling my creative purpose in the world. Kind of like finding your groove while dancing, where every step brings joy and purpose.”

To learn more about Alicia Hayes, check out her official website, and follow her on Instagram.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 20,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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