Updated: Dec 17, 2018
Actor Tyler Doyal, Director Dante Costello, Actors Bernie Janssen, Chris Fuglerud. Brandon with Star Tahmoh Penikett. Photos by Marli Braun.
Dante Costello's first film appearance was at the age of 11 when he was cast as 'Robbie' in the low-budget Indy film 'Survival Guide' shot in December 2012 in Toronto, Ontario. Brandon has appeared in several short films as well as Calico (2015) a full length feature he wrote/starred/directed/edited, and shot at the famous CL Ranch Studios west of Calgary.
Dante is the creator/writer/producer/editor of No Place Like Home, a reality/documentary style TV pilot shot in Alberta Canada in 2017 that deals with homelessness and its underlying issues, and the successful eradication implemented by the city of Medicine Hat Alberta, who have been homeless free since January 2015.
He has several film projects in development and is currently co-writing a western with ACM award winning Nashville publisher/producer David Kastle and a feature film in development with Canadian actor Tahmoh Penikett, a thriller called "Encounter".
Dante was born in Cornwall, Ontario and now resides in Alberta. He is an incredibly talented
17-year-old director, writer and producer. He just finished his latest film ‘Supposition’ in April 2018, with Canadian Star Tahmoh Penikett as the name actor in his film. The film was shot in Drumheller and Calgary over the span of a month with his cast and crew – loving every moment, forming strong friendships with another over the duration of the film!
Dante was compelled to make his film after Robert Rodriguez had issued a challenge for fellow directors to make a feature film for $7,000 or less. Brandon rose to the challenge and has a lot more coming!
Q and A
When did you first know you wanted to work in film?
I've had a passion for film making for as long as I can remember. According to my parents, I initially expressed an interest at the age of 4-ish, when I asked them what I had to do to become a director. They told me I first needed to learn how to read and write and so I did, I got my first camera and computer at the age of 5, started shooting stuff, and haven't stopped since.
2. Who are your biggest inspiration and who's work you respect and watch?
I take inspiration from many, many people, but right now the person who inspires me the most would have to be Ryan Gosling. Ryan is from the same hometown as myself, being Cornwall, Ontario, Canada, and seeing someone from the same place do such incredible things and go as far as he has is very inspiring and encouraging.
3. What kind of films do you want to keep making?
Hopefully ones that people can enjoy, and learn something from. If just one of my films can move just a single person, and inspire them in some way, then I'd consider my goal accomplished.
4. What struggles do you face been a Teenager but a filmmaker who is very serious about his craft?
At my age, the biggest struggle I face is people taking me seriously. Nobody wants to take orders from someone so young. Which is perfectly understandable, that's the toughest part. I can't argue with the fact that I shouldn't know what I'm doing. However, luckily for me, I've proven myself by completing a feature film (Calico), and I've surrounded myself with some incredible people who do recognize my talent and do take me seriously. It's something that I worried about all my life, but didn't end up being as big-a-deal as I had expected. It doesn't matter if it's a man, woman, if you're 15, or 85, all that matters is what you produce. That's what people are going to see.
5. What have you been up to in the last while, what are you working on?
I'm always occupying myself with various projects. Right now I'm working on 3 different short film projects, being All You Need is Love, starring Elizabeth Landry and Tracy Foster, which is currently in post-production, Darkest Hour, starring Ryan Cansdale and Mira Maschmeyer, which is also in post-production. Additionally, I'm in pre-production on a short film starring Telayne Beatty, more info on that soon. I'm the director/producer/editor of all 3. The biggest thing I'm working on right now is a feature film called Encounter, which is a sci-fi thriller film.
6. What do you want to achieve this year?
You never can tell what the year will bring, but I hope to continue highlighting the talent of local actors/actresses with these short films, and securing funding for Encounter and beginning principal photography on it.
7. Tell us about your newest project, Encounter.
Encounter is a sci-fi thriller film. On the eve of the one-year disappearance of their father, Dillon, teenage film making enthusiast, and his older sister Alexis, go visit their estranged uncle on his farm, where they encounter strange phenomena. It's a screenplay I wrote at 12 that I've since revised with Elizabeth and my father.
8. What would you say your style of film making and editing is?
I'm not sure anyone can recognize their own distinct style, from subjective point of view, but I hope my style can be described as deliberate. I want nothing about my films to seem rushed, or sloppy, unless there's a conscious decision to do so. I think a good film is one that's been completely thought-out and explored, as is best demonstrated in filmmaker Stanley Kubrick's work.
9. What do you like about acting?
I would have to say I enjoy the child-like aspect of it. Something about being able to play pretend in a professional environment is very appealing to me.
10. What do you look for specifically when you are casting for your projects?
I look for the actor that simply is the character. Since all characters are written to reflect real people in some way, I try to find the actor whose personality closest reflects that of the character. Often times I'll find the right actor for the part before even seeing them perform.
11. What would you say have been your successes in the last year?
I would have to say my biggest successes in the last year would be…
- CALICO, my first feature film.
- ENCOUNTER, my second feature film, which is currently in pre-production.
- All You Need is Love & Darkest Hour, two short films which are currently in post-production that I'm very proud of.
12. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
It’s quite hard to tell, but in 5 years I hope to have gathered a much larger audience, I hope to have a few feature films under my belt, and I hope to be moving forward with even bigger and more ambitious projects.
13. Who is on your team?
I have some incredible and supportive people behind me. My parents, Elizabeth Landry, actress, producer, and CEO of 4YourEntertainment, my manager, Ron Sampson, whose other clients include Gary Busey and Stan Houston, and all of the great people involved in the Alberta film industry. My team is constantly growing, and I’m always delighted to collaborate and invite more people into my circle.
14. What else are you up to in your career?
I’m working on various projects every day. Right now we’re securing funding for Encounter, I’m finishing up two short films (All You Need is Love, Darkest Hour), and working on a short film with Telayne Beatty, as mentioned earlier. I’m also in contact with Vulcan Television, vTV, and I have some exciting things coming up with them, though I can’t say too much just yet.
15. Where can we follow you on social media?
You can find me on Twitter & Instagram @dantecostello_