Krystal White is not just a talented actress, but a natural filmmaker. Krystal’s love for the arts started at a young age with school plays, dance, gymnastics, painting, and a passion for musical instruments (including the piano and the violoncello). As a Greek African-American, she has been developing her skills on both sides of the Atlantic. Her passion for the art of filmmaking was born on the set of Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix.
Interview by Stephen Thompson, Ph.D.
Welcome to OpenBeast, Krystal. Tell us about yourself.
As a kid, I very rarely could ignore a stray or hungry animal. I was always bringing them home. A love for art (and animals) has been a part of my life for as far back as my memory goes. I started riding horses at the age of five, and the first picture I ever remember drawing was of a horse. Soon after ballet, gymnastics, and music came into my life. In high school you wouldn’t find me hanging out in the cafeteria at lunchtime. I was up in the school attic playing an abandoned piano. And growing up in three different countries (the US, Greece, and England) has definitely had a strong influence on who I have become. In terms of art, it’s given me a much more colorful palette to work from.
Talk to us about your passion and acting career.
I’ve known since I was barely a teenager that I wanted to make films. I was (and still am) interested in more than one aspect of filmmaking; from costumes, to writing, to acting. It’s the final product that I’ve always been in love with. A film is a work of art that takes the incredible collaboration and the effort of a great number of people – just so that you can escape for two hours, and live someone else’s life, or visit another world, or laugh, or cry, or learn something new. And that, to me, is a very powerful thing. How a film can affect you and open your eyes to something and make you feel. It is exactly what inspired me to want to get into the art of making films.
What is Persephone all about?
In LA, your chances of getting what you want are better when you decide to get creative and make things happen yourself. If you want to be a part of a beautiful story and film… create it yourself (smiles). Of course, makes all the difference when you are surrounded by people who believe in you. I couldn’t be doing this without the passion and artistic drive of actor/director Louis Mandylor (who we all know from My Big Fat Greek Wedding). Persephone is perfectly described as a passion project. It’s not about profit. It’s about sharing what I believe is an achingly beautiful story about love. We reached deep into our hearts to start developing this story about the forbidden love between a dancer and her pianist. Peter Lancett, our writer, has written an amazing script; a script which just won the heart of the wonderful Lainie Kazan who is now on-board our ship as well.
So what would be your role in Persephone?
Apart from providing the personal dreams, fears, and hopes that this story has grown from, I am the lead and executive producer. It is my job to raise as much money as I can by September 15th, via Indiegogo.com (the popular independent project fundraising site), so that I can afford to make this production the best it can be. Through this site we are offering “perks” to contributors, from signed storyboards to dinner with us in Hollywood! Let me tell you, “crowdfunding” (and with such a short deadline!) is really tough (laughs)!
What’s your one best gig thus far?
I was a wardrobe trainee on the film “Mamma Mia!” with Pierce Brosnan and Meryl Streep. The hours were long, the days started insanely early and ended late. But, we were shooting on the Greek islands, on the crystal clear water beaches of Skopellos and Skiathos, with views of sunsets and sunrises you can only find on the Greek islands. I can’t imagine a gig that can top that; until Persephone, which is my best, because it’s so personal.
Any other upcoming projects or initiatives you would like to mention?
Persephone, Persephone, Persephone. For the next couple of months, Persephone is my life (smiles).
What are your leisure time activities?
Gosh, do I love a good cupcake (red velvet or Boston Cream). I love going to the movies. And I love playing with my neighbor’s adorable cat (laughs). Other than that, lately, I’m working pretty much all the time.
Dogs or cats?
None of my own at the moment, hence why I end up taking care of everyone else’s pets at some point.