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Cathy Summa-Wolfe
, Director
Communications & Community Relations

Former College of Marin Actor Returns Home for Film Screening

Seducing Charlie Parker has won more than 20 film festival awards; Gordon earns three

Kentfield, CA—Nov. 30, 2011—Heather Gordon, who used to brighten the College of Marin theater stage as a gifted young student actor,  is back at home this week to celebrate the screening of Seducing Charlie Barker, which opens in theaters Dec. 2. The dark comedy has won more than 20 awards in the independent film festival circuit. Gordon, 27, has received three for best actor.

“COM is like my family,” Gordon said. “These are the people that mean the most to me. I could not have had the successes without them in my life.”

On Saturday, Dec. 3, Gordon will be at the Smith Rafael Film Center or the screening and to answer questions and talk about her experiences along with film director Amy Glazer and producer Lynn Webb.

Screening of Seducing Charlie Barker
Starring: Daphne Zuniga, Heather Gordon, Stephen Barker Turner, David Wilson Barnes
Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m.
Saturday’s show will be followed by Q&A with Gordon; Amy Glazer, director; and Lynn Webb, producer.
Smith Rafael Film Center, 1118 4th St., San Rafael; (415) 454-1222

“I’m so proud of it,” Gordon said. “I have confidence in the film.”

The movie, written by Theresa Rebeck, is described as a “a dark satire of the Manhattan entertainment industry in which a gifted actor (Charlie Barker) begins his fall from grace as he encounters a chameleon-like social climber.” The movie grew out of a 2008 theater production in San Francisco in which Gordon played the social climber, a part she returns to in the movie.

Since leaving College of Marin in 2006, Gordon has performed in numerous theater pieces, educational dramas, television commercials and pilots. Crowned Miss Marin in 2008, she went on to make the top eight of the Miss California contest that year. She also earned a masters degree in the elite Acting at the American Repertory Theater/MXAT Institute at Harvard University. This is her first foray onto the big screen.

No one is surprised at her success.

“She has an incredible range that they haven’t even tapped yet,” said Robin Jackson, College of Marin Production Technician who has been with the Drama Department for 19 years. “She’s one of those rare very beautiful women who is not afraid to make herself look stupid. She will do what she needs to do for a role. I think when people find out how funny she is people are going to be surprised.”

Coming back to Marin for the screening is important, Gordon said. It’s a place where her acting career bloomed. The instructors “have always been supportive and helped me pursue this dream of mine. This accomplishment is theirs.”

Gordon started acting at the age of six. At age 11, she was training at the Marin Theater Co. She took private singing lessons and her comedic skills helped her earn the title “class clown” in 8th grade.  A graduate of San Marin High, Gordon studied at College of Marin from 2002-2006, with a break for a year-long Kaiser-Permanente educational theater program.

Her first performance at COM was a nonspeaking role in the Grapes of Wrath for which she won Actor of the Year. In the next few years, she returned to the College of Marin stage for a variety of roles. She was Billie Dawn in “Born Yesterday,” Viola in “Twelfth Night” and Abigail Williams in “The Crucible.” She received the College Of Marin Robin Williams Scholarship as well as five Best Actor awards and went on to perform in productions throughout the Bay Area.

At COM, Gordon was encouraged to continue her stage and screen passion. She credits the late Carla Zilbersmith, a drama professor and professional actor, James Dunn, an instructor who founded the drama department, Allen Taylor, Jeffrey R, Bihr, and numerous other instructors with expanding her professional acting skills.

“Carla Zilbersmith was such an important person to me,” Gordon said. “She and Jim (Dunn, founder of the drama department) both saw something special in me and pulled me aside.”

She now lives in Los Angeles where she has worked in a TV pilots directed by Jonathan Prince (“American Dreams,” “18 Again” and “Camp Nowhere.”); performed the voices of two lead characters in a 2012 animated film, “Skyforce” directed by Cameron Hood and several commercials. She plans to start shooting her second feature, “December Dilemma,” in March.

About the College of Marin Drama Department

Founded in 1964, James Dunn who wrote the basic curriculum and began building a viable educational theatre program that has won international acclaim. Thousands of students have taken classes and been successful in all fields of the theatre and allied arts. Distinguished alum include: Robin Williams, David Dukes, Kathleen Quinlan and David Ogden Stiers and many others. Currently we have students all over the world working in repertory, film and television, directing on and off Broadway, teaching theater in high schools, conservatories and universities as well as attending such institutions as Julliard, North Carolina School of the Arts and New York University.

Department accomplishments include:

2003 – A student’s original play - Eleven Variations on Friar John’s Failure - was subsequently published by Playscripts and given a full run at the College.

1997 – A campus-wide interdisciplinary study of the ‘60s culminated in a production of HAIR which drew sold-out audiences to the 600-seat theater.

1984 - Nicholas Nickelby is the first college production to win a Bay Area Critics Circle Award.

1983 - A round-the-clock reading of Shakespeare’s complete works featured Robin Williams performing A Comedy of Errors as a solo piece.

1971 - Taming of the Shrew, wild west-style, was invited to attend the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and won Best Production. A command performance was given for Princess Margaret.

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