So, what if you had planned a simple night in to celebrate someone’s birthday and an uninvited guest just happened to pop in? What if another unasked visitor came to the door, and another and another until things just sort of got out of hand? Then you find out that a mass text had gone quite wrong and the evening’s thoughtful and rather reserved celebration plans had changed into something completely different and completely unwelcome? Well, awkward situations like that have no doubt happened before and will happen again and that is the premise of Omar Salas Zamora’s motion picture Happy Birthday Duncan.

MICHELLE NORDLANDER

The film was written and directed by Zamora and stars Michelle Nordlander as Lauren. Zamora is first and foremost a film director, having helmed Young Americans, Say You Love Me, Kenny’s Okay, Lusca, Domesticated and Hollow Bedrooms, which is currently in production. However, in 2015 he became interested in theatre and the craft of playwriting. He began to envision a movie that was similar to a play in many ways, something which gave actors the freedom of movement on a set or location with the cameras following them and working around them. The actors/characters would then control the scenes although the general and specific structure of the story, plot and action would remain embedded.

Zamora saw Michelle Nordlander when she played the lead in the successful play Goodbye Freddy by Elizabeth Diggs, and he invited her to have a coffee meeting and talk with him about his upcoming film Happy Birthday Duncan. He told her that he wanted to inject a sense of theatre into the film. Michelle was very receptive and told Omar about her ideas for the character Lauren, who she would play and the way she wanted to navigate through the story.

MICHELLE NORDLANDER

Michelle also said that she “was extremely intrigued when Omar contacted me about the script. You have somewhat more freedom when you do a stage production, but never really in films, so that really sparked my interest in becoming a part of it.” Michelle knew that she would have a great time on set. “We all got along so well. But making a film like this with so much freedom for the actors we still had to be tight and on the same page,” Michelle said. “What became interesting whilst playing around with the scenes was that we found a lot of secrets between the characters which will become obvious in the film. Making this movie was such a fun challenge, I’ve never been part of a project like this before.” The film also features Calvin Picou, Kelli Anderson and Austin Bosley. Happy Birthday Duncan is scheduled for release this summer. Michelle Norldander is currently playing the main villain in the ultra popular webseries WitchHaven PI, directed by Christopher Oh.