Worthington native’s short film to premiere at Georgia film festival
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Branden Lee Roth has written and starred in his own short films before, but this time around, the Worthington native was working on a tight deadline.
His newest film “Tomcat” — which will premiere Aug. 25 at the Marietta International Film Festival in Marietta, Ga. — was written, shot and edited in just 24 hours as part of a “film racing” competition.
“It was pretty intense,” Roth said. “I was up for 36 hours straight … it was craziness.”
In the approximately eight-minute film, Roth stars as a young man named Tom who identifies as a cat and, naturally, struggles to find his place in the world.
“It’s kind of a metaphor for anybody who’s ever felt different, or strange, or not like the norm,” Roth said. “It’s about him finding his own way and learning to be comfortable in his own fur, so to speak.”
The film is one of 15 finalists in the festival’s film race. It was mostly a two-person operation, with Roth taking care of the script and acting, and his good friend Randi Vieira doing the shooting.
“This character Tom is actually a part of a bigger series I want to eventually get produced and picked up,” Roth said. “This short is sort of a prequel to what the actual series is about.”
Known around Worthington for participating in plays, musicals and talent shows, Roth moved to Los Angeles shortly after graduating from Worthington High School in 2007. He attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, then began auditioning for roles. He’s been a part of several films over the last few years.
After performing in the 2013 film “Bloody Homecoming” along with Vieira, Roth began writing his own films, along with acting.
His 2017 short film “Hawaiian Snap” — a horror movie shot entirely through the perspective of the main character’s Snapchat photo and video messaging app — won the experimental category at last year’s OUT Web Fest digital festival in West Hollywood. He also wrote, produced and performed in the short films “Logan(+)” and “Different Shades.”
It’s been 10 years since Roth left his hometown for Hollywood, and the 29-year-old feels like he is “finally” discovering a voice for himself in the film industry.
“The industry used to be that you’re an actor, you’re a producer, you’re a director, but now, with this new age of social media and YouTube, you can wear multiple hats,” Roth said. “That’s where I want to be — producing and starring, making my own content and telling my own stories.”