For her latest film, Calgary born-and-raised actor and director Caitlyn Sponheimer decided to put a holiday spin on the ugly sweater party.
That’s the scenario that drives Ugliest of Them All, which Sponheimer directed and wrote.
The short was shot in Toronto and went online last week as part of 20th Digital’s Freeform platform, which is screening different shorts as part of its 25 Days of Christmas online film festival.
Sponheimer co-starred and co-produced 2020’s award-winning Jasmine Road, which was shot in Calgary and the Bragg Creek area. It was a fish out of water dramedy about a Syrian family that end up living in a ranch in southern Alberta and the relationship they form with a lonely, old cowboy who takes them in. She’s also appeared in TV series such as Transplant and The Boys.
Jasmine Road, which Sponheimer co-produced with her husband director Warren Sulatycky, won a jury award at the 2020 Calgary International Film Festival for Best Canadian Drama feature. The duo also teamed up for an earlier feature, April in Autumn.
Sponheimer is prepping a new feature she’s directing and acting in called Wild Goat Surf, which she describes as “a coming-of-age story about a young prodigy skateboarder and her mother growing up in a very hard situation.” The film is being funded by Telefilm and will be shot in June, 2022 in Penticton, with Sponheimer and Sulatycky co-producing.
As far as directing goes, long before 20th Digital gave her the gig directing Ugliest of Them All, Sponheimer had a different directing gig. That one was at St. Francis High School in northwest Calgary, where Sponheimer won the Marilyn Potts Scholarship for excellence in the performing arts, leading to directing a one-act play called Bus Stop.