Renee O’Connor might be best known for playing Xena’s sidekick Gabrielle in the long-running series, “Xena: Warrior Princess,” but the Manhattan Beach resident has also dabbled in directing, writing and producing as well.
Her short, “Words Unspoken,” will be screened at Method Fest Sunday, March 28, beginning at 1 p.m. as part of its “Sibling Sacrifices” block of shorts. The short is the story of a man and his estranged sister who battled childhood demons as their abusive father lay dying. The short was based on a story in a New Zealand paper.
“I wanted to explore the themes of people exploring their sense of feeling free in their life and finding the path to forgiveness,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor said it took her six months to write the script.
“I explored it with actors in a class to see what was working and then I would go back and create some revisions,” said O’Connor from a set in Dallas where she’s shooting her latest film. “The actual preproduction of the short film took one month.”
Besides herself, her husband, Jed Sura, stars as her brother. Randy Crowder stars as her father. The challenge, she said, was working with the two children in the film, but she said it was an “exhausting and exhilarating” experience.
“I’ve been doing lots of things in my many years as an actor and also as a director and now producer, but the one thing I really have never done before is working with children in the capacity of directing them to have an authentic, very natural performance,” she said.