Games Fiends Interview: Agnes-Nicole Winter of The Gold & The Beautiful
Today we talk with Agnes-Nicole Winter – star, producer and writer of The Gold & The Beautiful (slated for release later this year). Winter features alongside popular actors Kevin and John Farley, as well as soap star John Aniston. Join us as we discuss the challenges of working with family, the awards the film is already racking up, and Agnes-Nicole’s advice to aspiring filmmakers.
Tell us about The Gold & The Beautiful.
The Gold & The Beautiful is a hilarious adventure/comedy feature film about a spoiled Beverly Hills blond socialite (played by me) with a little dog and a big trust fund that is the kind of character we know all too well here in LA.
On her 35th birthday, she is forced out of her comfortable existence by her billionaire father (played by John Aniston) who decides to send her in to the California desert on a treasure hunt with hopes that she will learn that there is more to life than designer shoes and handbags.
In her excitement, she heads out with her brother (Sam Golzari) and a team of professionals (including John Farley, Tony Schiena, and Rebeka Montoya) to find her hidden treasures. On the hunt, she is forced to overcome numerous challenges and even evade the money-hungry henchmen trying to beat her to the gold.
Every part of this film, even the all original sound track, was created to support The Gold & The Beautiful image. Overall, it’s fun and entertaining film for the whole family with lots of heart and smiles. The success of The Gold and the Beautiful is a glorious vindication of hard work, talent and drive. I was awarded the Outstanding First Lead Performance Award at the Treasure Coast International Film Festival for The Gold and the Beautiful which also captured the Audience Award at the same Florida event.
Our charming family comedy has also been awarded the Southern California Motion Picture Council Golden Halo Award for Film Achievement, The Film Advisory Board’s Excellence Award for Best Feature and been nominated for Best Comedy Feature by The International Family Film Festival. I am thrilled to get these recognitions. It means so much that my film is an audience favorite because as film makers we make films for the audience, and I’m poised to reach a much wider audience now that The Gold and the Beautiful is available for international distribution.
As writer, what inspired you to write this story?
Writing the script I was inspired by “The Young & The Spoiled” celebrities misbehavior in public. I thought this could be them ten years from now if they don’t change their lifestyles. I was privileged enough to work on plenty of other film projects in the past. After learning lots of the ins and outs of script writing, I decided to take fate in to my own hands to create a family film that without all the violence and crude humor that was appropriate for the whole family. While raising Cristofer and Alexander (Winter’s sons), I struggled to find films appropriate for them to watch that I would also enjoy and my goal with writing “The Gold & The Beautiful” was to really alleviate that lack.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in bringing The Gold & The Beautiful from an idea to a feature film?
The biggest challenge that I faced in bringing The Gold & The Beautiful to completion was building the appropriate team. This is a great challenge for every filmmaker and requires a lot of time and a long process. You need to surround your self with trustworthy key crew and producers and that is what led to Cristofer and Alexander’s participation in the film. They were a part of every step of the development process; I knew I could work with them and that the necessary levels of knowledge and trust are there. On the independent level, where films are made without ample funding, I had to ensure that the team we put together would be as efficient as possible with every dime that we received from the investors.
In addition to writing, you also produced and acted in the film. Was it difficult to juggle so many jobs at once?
Wearing so many different hats can be very challenging and it can only be done with a very professional and devoted team, who is there for you to support and advise you. We were lucky to have so many highly qualified, talented, and established crew in Hollywood available to us.
It’s always a lot of juggling in a production, small or large. Wearing three hats is a triple challenge and responsibility. You must be prepared for this and we spent extra length of time in development and pre-production with my team to line things up as precisely as possible so the production would run smoothly behinf the camera when I was in front of it on set. I would not recommend this setup for new producers, but if you decide to take the challenge, my advice would be to surround yourself with the most amazing production team you can find, you can trust and depend on when you are wearing all these different hats.
The Gold & The Beautiful stars some veteran actors, including John Aniston and the Farley brothers. How have their talents and experience enhanced the film?
Yes, I surrounded myself with terrific talent on the film. Jennifer Aniston’s veteran actor father John Aniston plays my character’s father in the movie. The brothers of late funnyman Chris Farley, John and Kevin Farley, also impress in supporting roles while the director was experienced Hollywood insider Jack Serino and the theme song, Gimme Gimme Gimme, was written by two time Oscar nominee Carol Connors.
Having these veteran actors on set really helped to make each day on set more of a delight. The Farley brothers were extremely entertaining and kept everyone on set laughing, even when we were stuck on set for long days. They are hilarious comedians and really amazing at coming up with witty humor on the spot. John Aniston was so professional and was always there to offer his insight to everyone on set. Having this great cast in line really helped to keep the production crew high spirited. When meal time came around on set, they were always the most sought after at the lunch table for people to sit next to. Guaranteed fun times with lots of interesting conversation and laughter!
Everyone was incredible to work with, our chemistry is obvious to the audience and the industry and it was a real family atmosphere. That family atmosphere extended behind the scenes as I co-produced the movie with my fine grown sons, Cristofer and Alexander.
You’ve been quite popular as a reality television star (Swedish Hollywood Wives). Has that affected your credibility with the entertainment world in positive or negative ways?
It’s really easy to be typecast in Hollywood. If this show would have been filmed for the US market, then things could have turned out differently. But thankfully this reality show destined for Scandinavia did not require lots of the fabricated drama you see here in America. Instead, it focused on my life with the boys, our work together, and Global Star Films – our production company in Hollywood.
I was actually in production of The Gold & The Beautiful while we were filming Swedish Hollywood Wives, so this made it easy to give insight in to the film business surrounding my life. There was plenty of real drama there and we did a great job showing the audience what life in Los Angeles is like realistically, well at least as real as it gets on a reality TV show!
In general, our credibility was positively affected, especially since it provided huge marketing value for the project. The only exceptions come with the few comments about me being too “bossy” and “demanding”. OK, is there any other way to really run a film production?
Your two sons were involved in producing the film, and are business partners as well. What are the challenges and rewards involved in working so closely with family?
I didn’t really come across too many challenges while working with Cristofer and Alexander. After surviving the challenge of raising two sons as a single parent in a foreign country, we developed an unbreakable bond and connection, which benefit us greatly as a team. We are all dedicated, hardworking, and most importantly can trust each other. This really outweighs any challenge that might arise.
Having the opportunity to team up with them on the production was a real reward because I was able to see what fine young men they have grown to be. They are also very responsible and always here to support me. Today, Cristofer is a USC Marshall School of Business graduate and Alexander will soon be heading to film school. They have always been my motivation and drive to persevere over even the toughest of challenges.
As owner and founder of Global Star Films, you’ve been committed to creating films for families to enjoy together. In a time when so many types of entertainment are decidedly not family friendly, what has motivated you to take this path?
Truthfully, I wanted to bring back something I feel has been lost in recent productions – simplicity and heart. As I have mentioned, when raising my two sons, I found it difficult to find this type of simple and friendly films with a good message. These days most films, even for children, have some type of violence or crazy special effects worked in. Soon I realized that there really was a lack of these films, so I decided to make a film that I would have liked to show my children. No intense sounds or CGI, just a simple, feel-good, adventure/comedy film with a well-known and talented cast for the whole family to enjoy.
You’ve tried your hand at many different careers through the years, from modeling to optometry. What was it that drew you to a life in entertainment?
I realized at a very young age that I was very creative. I loved watching television shows and films because I admired and wanted to study all the actors. I dreamed about being one of them one day. My parents were very persistent about receiving a good education and having a backup plan. This helped me find a good balance between the creative and professional worlds and led me to be perfectly fit for film production. Today, I find myself enjoying both sides equally.
What advice can you offer to young people who are still trying to find their own niche in life?
The greatest advice that I can offer is to follow your dreams and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it or they won’t come true. Since I was young, I had a passion for film and fashion. Growing up in Sweden, I never let my dreams out of sight even when I was told to let them go. I was pushed in to optometry school and made the decision once I finished to come to Hollywood to pursue my passions. Since then, I have never looked back and made every decision to stay on the right path towards my goals. Only you know what is in your heart!
Then with your goals in mind, it is extremely important to pursue them actively. It’s not always easy, but if you position yourself properly, you can make anything happen. Find people with similar interests at clubs and organizations in your city and online, do research, and practice. With all of the amazing technology available today to each of us, answers to your questions can easily be found in a few clicks on the internet. You cannot be afraid to put yourself out there and you cannot be lazy. When reaching for the stars, you need to turn off the television and stay active. It’s your life and you are the only one writing your story. So what are you going to make of it?