Want to know what it’s like being part of a movie? We caught up with Bentonville High School sophomore Olivia Burtis, an extra in the film “F.R.E.D.I.,” to find out! “F.R.E.D.I.,” a film about a high-tech, intelligent, lovable robot and the friendship he finds in 15-year-old James, was shot in Bentonville and won the Audience Award for Best of the Fest at this year’s Bentonville Film Festival. We talked with Olivia to find out what it’s really like behind the scenes while making a movie and about filming right here in her hometown.
How did you hear about the casting call for extras? Did you immediately know you wanted to be involved?
My friend told me and some other girls about the movie and how she was an extra. She insisted that we should do it with her and that it would be fun to do as a friend group. As soon as she told us, I also knew that it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So I emailed the casting guy the night before (because that’s when I heard about it), and he told me that he’d love for me to come!
Was being on set/filming different than you expected?
Yes, it was definitely different than I expected. It took all day to shoot one scene! At least, all day for me. We got there at like 10 a.m. and didn’t get home till like 5:30 p.m.
What’s one thing that surprised you about filming the movie?
It surprised me how different it looks behind the scenes! It was weird seeing all the monitors and cameras and all the equipment needed for just one scene!
What was it like filming a movie in your hometown?
Amazing! Bentonville used to be a small town but now because of this movie and the film festival, Bentonville has grown and keeps on growing! I think the movie definitely helped put Bentonville’s name out there.
How would you describe the overall experience?
Outstanding! Everything was perfect! The movie was amazing, I had a great time doing it, and seeing the behind the scenes stuff was so cool!
What is the funniest thing that happened during filming?
The funniest thing I remember was that the ice cream I had gotten between cuts melted, so I had sticky fingers the whole time!
What did you enjoy most about being in this film?
I enjoyed being with my friends during the process, and being able to see myself on a movie screen!
What was your reaction when you heard that “F.R.E.D.I.” won the Audience Award for Best of the Fest?
Well I knew it was going to win. It was an amazing movie and there was no way it couldn’t!
Is acting something you wish to continue to pursue?
Yes! I’ve always loved acting and being an extra showed me what it looks like behind the scenes and what the actors really do, and that’s definitely something I’d want to do!
For now, Olivia will be starting her sophomore year this fall. But, afterward who knows, maybe we’ll see her again on the big screen someday!