Kristina was born and raised in Northeastern Ohio. She is the youngest of three sisters and the first in her family to work in entertainment. She began her work in theater at age 7, working with a local community theater program. After several years working in community theater, she began studying both film and theater acting through a series of workshops at the local community college. Kristina then went on to study at Cleveland Academy of Film Acting in Cleveland, OH, where she now also teaches.
Kristina always had a passion for dancing growing up and performed competitively for eight years. Her training included classical ballet, pointe, modern dance, jazz, hip hop, burlesque and tap. She is also a first degree black belt in Moo Duk Kwan Tae Kwon Do, trained in Hapkido and trained in stunt work.
ECIM: So what did you want to be when you were a kid?
KRISTINA: Acting was always my main focus, for as long as I can remember. There was never anything else for me.
ECIM: What inspired you to pursue a career in the film industry?
KRISTINA: Acting was always my passion, and I couldn’t imagine getting into any other industry. So, I started out on that path at a very young age and never looked back.
ECIM: How long have you been training in the martial arts?
KRISTINA: 5 years
ECIM: How has your training helped with acting or stuntwork?
KRISTINA: It opens up more possibilities for me, where I may not have gotten a role before due to the action work involved. It gives you more control, which helps with stunts, but also give you more confidence in everything you do, affecting the acting side as well.
ECIM: You’ve worn many hats in the independent film world from producing, directing, acting, editing, writing and even stunt work. Which role are you most passionate about and why?
KRISTINA: Acting had always been the factor that most drew me to this industry, but I’ve grown to love all of it. I think I have a good skill at producing. Writing has always been a huge passion as well. Stunts now go hand in hand with my acting career. I’d say the editing was out of necessity, but now it’s easiest to just do something myself, since I know exactly what I want. I don’t have a lot of experience in directing so far, but that may still be something I get into more in the future. I direct some of the shows on The Reel TV Network, and I recently directed some scenes for Lady Dragon (with Joe Estevez) which was a great experience. I guess, for me, it’s hard to separate any of it now. As long as I’m not doing all of those things at once, it’s not difficult, and I can enjoy being part of the whole process more.
ECIM: When did you get involved with the Indie Gathering?
KRISTINA: This was my 3rd year producing the festival, but I had some involvement before that. I started out as an actor attending the event for the competition and networking opportunity, and as I came to understand more and more about how the event was run, it drew me in. That’s when I got involved with the fest through volunteering and eventually became the producer.
ECIM: You are a producer and host for the event. How much has it grown since you came aboard?
KRISTINA: The event actually hasn’t grown too much attendance or submission-wise since I started, but the professionalism, effectiveness and overall experience others can have at the event has grown. I think there is a greater feeling of people being welcomed now, which is what a number of attendees have told me. This could be due to the fact that I make sure I know who is at the event – what their project was, what they do. I really love this event and what it stands for, so I just work to make sure it’s the best we can do it.
ECIM: The Horror Hotel has been around for two years now. Do you expect it to be as big as the Indie Gathering?
KRISTINA: There is definitely the possibility of it growing to Indie Gathering’s size, but with such a niche and a huge market for horror films, I see it potentially surpassing The Indie Gathering. Sure, everyone loves movies, but the horror genre has such a hard-core fan base from all walks of life. So, if we get the festival out there more, it could grow to be much, much bigger.
ECIM: What is your favorite genre to work in?
KRISTINA: I love almost any type of genre. I’d say I’ve probably worked in horror the most – only because, like I said, it’s a bigger market. There are more opportunities in horror. While I love working in horror, I would be very open to getting into more subtle roles. Psychological horror or drama, rather than the in-your-face, bloody, crazy films that are being made. I also love action, because it ties in my martial arts experience, and it’s always great fun. The one thing I probably don’t see myself doing is comedy. I’m funny, but not when I’m trying to be. 🙂
ECIM: So what’s next for you Kristina?
KRISTINA: Right now, my main focus is watching our current endeavors grow – the festivals, The Reel TV Network, “Lady Dragon”, etc. Now that the The Reel TV Network is going on Dish Network and DirecTV, it’s a big focus to improve the shows and get more finished. So, I’m looking for more filmmakers to highlight on my show, more projects to feature, etc. I guess that’s more of an ongoing thing. Aside from that, who knows? I have a few projects in the fire, and I’m always working on something. The big focus is finishing Lady Dragon and gearing that towards the possibility of making a feature version.