Oct. 24--Terissa Kelton is hitting the red carpet Sunday at the four-day Austin Film Festival.
The Victoria-born 24-year-old will be premiering "3 References" alongside the production company Twitchy Dolphin Flix.
Kelton and members of the film crew will join nearly 200 audience members at the Galaxy Highland 10 Theatre to watch the movie on the last day of the Austin Film Festival.
"I'm a little nervous, but that's part of the excitement -- to be a little nervous about it," said Kelton.
She plays a lead role of Kelly, who is an ex-girlfriend of the main character Nick, played by Christian Swacker.
The film, said writer and director James Christopher, is a coming-of-age story about a guy who has to present three references from his past girlfriends to the woman of his dreams.
"It's definitely a comedy. There are dramatic parts, but it's pretty hilarious," said Kelton, who also helped produce the movie.
Christopher, 32, cast her as a lead actor because of her talent for film. It can be hard to find actors who know the difference between stage and film acting, he said. She is good at allowing her emotions and actions to ride on the surface, whereas stage acting can be exaggerated.
"She brings a natural vulnerability to the role and really anchors the cast," he said.
Kelton started working with the Austin-based film company as an extra about four years. But long before she starred in her first play, she grew up in Cuero attending John C. French Elementary School. When she was older, her family moved back to Victoria and her parents home schooled her until they moved to Seguin, where she went to public high school. It was there that she debuted in "Seussical the Musical."
"I fell in love with acting after that and decided I was going to study it in college," Kelton said.
She's been working with Twitchy Dolphin Flix acting roles and helping produce and direct film shorts.
Christopher, who is one of four founders of the company, has seen her grow not only in front of the camera but also on the business side of things.
"Keep your eyes out for her. She's got incredible talent and a lot of integrity," he said. "I think those two things will keep her working for a long time."
While she doesn't have plans to leave Austin any time soon, she's hoping to cut out her own slice of the independent film pie.
Her dream is to build a name for herself in the independent film industry and continue working as a Jane of all trades with Twitchy Dolphin Flix.
Since she's had the chance to hop around to different film festivals across the country, she noticed just how much the independent film industry differs from the big Hollywood scene. It's a community-oriented industry, and these companies are creating great films, Kelton said.
"My heart really is in the independent scene. It's where I got my start," she said.
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