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An Interview with Kristin West, Star and Producer of Seeking Valentina

by Mike Haberfelner

May 2015

Films starring Kristin West on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Seeking Valentina - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?


Seeking Valentina is a psychological thriller about grief, and in a way, a surrealistic love story. The great thing about my character, Valentina, is that you, the audience member, get to decide who she is, if sheís a ghost, a runaway, a hallucination or a dream.


What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much of Kristin West can we find in Valentina?


The director Armin Nasseri [Armin Nasseri interview - click here] and I had many discussions about the enigma of Valentina and how to convey her mystique while maintaining her as a flesh and bone reality. To create the character, Armin and I really had to foster a deep partnership. It was sort of like playing counterpoint with another musician, as an analogy. Valentina and I do share a special hobby, which you will see in the film, so thereís a lot of me, Kristin, there.

I am playing against type as Valentina as well, which is always an exciting challenge, so I drew from one of the other times that Iíve played against type. A very astute acting coach of mine had me play Laura in The Glass Menagerie in scene study, which is completely against type for me. I drew on that work for this too.


How did you get involved with the project in the first place, and how did you end up on the production side of things as well?


Armin and I went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts together, so over the years weíve developed a mutual respect, admiration and trust working together. Over a year ago, Armin showed me a draft of Seeking Valentina and asked me what I thought. Many drafts later and five months of pre-production beginning in late 2014, we have Seeking Valentina.

I went to the University of Texas at Austin and have a B.S. in Radio-TV-Film. Iíve always envisioned myself as an actress that produces, so I geared my education toward actualizing that goal. Armin and I have acted and co-produced together before, so it was natural for us to team up on Seeking Valentina.


What were the main challenges when producing Seeking Valentina - and did you have any creative control (outside of your acting) over things as well?


We covered 500 miles in six days shooting this film. The logistics of getting our cast and crew safely to each location was an amazing challengeóbut we did it! We spent three days in Big Bear Lake, which is 7,000 feet above sea level and it was snowing, which was awesome.

My job as a producer was to give Armin choices for his movie that were within our budget. Ultimately, everything you see and hear in Seeking Valentina was Arminís vision and choice. I helped to create a menu, so to say, for Armin to pick from.


What can you tell us about your director Armin Nasseri [Armin Nasseri interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?


Armin knows more about films and filmmakers than anyone I know. Heís an encyclopedia of film trivia, so heís fun to collaborate with. His knowledge of film gives him a lot of material to draw on.


Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere!


Everyone on the Seeking Valentina team is enormously talented. This was a huge adventure for everyone involved. Our first day in Big Bear, we had a birthday party for Ali Bavarian [Ali Bavarian interview - click here], the lead actor, because he was spending his birthday with us on set! Ali is a tremendously talented individual and very dedicated his acting craft.  

It wasnít totally a party atmosphere. We were there to work. I am blessed to have worked with professionals like Mo Whelan and Vida Ghaffari [Vida Ghaffari interview - click here] along with the entire cast and crew.

It was intense, but in the best way a film set can be intense, because we were deeply committed to creating the story in these special locations. My hope is the audience recognizes our commitment and enjoys the film as much as we enjoyed the process.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


After we wrapped on Seeking Valentina, I went on to act and produce Strangers in Book. This was a great collaboration with me and my Seeking Valentina castmate Vida Ghaffari. This is currently in post-production and I canít wait to see it fully realized.

I am also in a future episode of Hellís Kitty alongside other wonderful scream queens such as Chanel Ryan, Lynn Lowry, Victoria De Mare and Kelli Maroney. If you hate cats and love horror, be sure to check Hellís Kitty out.

I am thrilled to be part of the cast of Expel the Wicked, shooting in August in Arizona. Many horror luminaries are in this cast, including Bill Oberst jr [Bill Oberst jr interview - click here] and Debbie Rochon [Debbie Rochon interview - click here]. Keep tabs on this project because it has an all-star cast.


What got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive a formal education on the subject?


I have been acting since age seven, when I wanted to be in my countyís production of Charlotteís Web and I played Fern. Since then, Iíve been on stage or on camera. Besides going to film school, I also went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts to study acting.

One of my most formative experiences in acting was preforming in the Shakespeare at Winedale troupe which is an original practices Shakespeare troupe that performs in a historic barn in Winedale, Texas. If youíve ever wanted to test your commitment to acting, then do what I did and do Shakespeare in residence in a hot barn all summer.

I went on to take workshops at the Globe Theatre in London and was privileged to study with the Master of Voice Stewart Peace and the Master of Movement Glyn Macdonald. I still use the techniques I learned at the Globe in my acting work. Every experience I have as an actor is a learning experience.  No two sets, directors or scripts are alike.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Seeking Valentina?


As a character actress, Iíve been blessed to get to be chameleon of sorts. I played Investigator West in Billy Ponís horror feature Circus of the Dead. What I may be most recognized for is my appearance on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.


Besides making movies, you have also done your fair share of theatre work - so how does performing on stage compare to acting in front of a camera, and which do you prefer, actually?


Acting on stage is a direct feedback loop. The audience laughs or cries. Thereís even an energy you can also access between you and the audience that in my view, can feed a performance. On camera, thereís you and your partner, which is why itís so important to be a supportive scene partner. Sometimes, itís just you and you have to feed that from within. I love both, truthfully.


Actresses (and indeed actors) who inspire you?


Iím a huge fan of Ann Bancroft. Peter Dinklage rocks my world too. I love the whole Game of Thrones cast. Meryl Streepís ability to shift into just about anyone she wants to be is always inspiring.


Your favourite movies?


Iíve always loved Amadeus, just because I think anyone whoís in the arts has both their Salieri and Mozart moments. Iím a fan of Werner Herzog as well, my favorite of his being Nosferatu the Vampyre.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


Women are fifty percent of the world, but only about a quarter of speaking parts in major films. As an actress, I am constantly reading casting notices and I canít tell you how many times what Iíve read is just someone looking for a talking Barbie doll. Women are multi-faceted. They love; they suffer. Thereís a lot of secret crevices of womenís lives that shouldnít just be on the womenís cable networks. Films that make women into caricatures are not for me.


Your website, Facebook, whatever else?


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x-rated  find Kristin West at

Please visit me on I am also on Facebook at and on Twitter at @kristin_west. For a look at my other credits, visit my IMDb at


Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


I care deeply about how many people in the world are in a constant state of hunger. Over the years, I have volunteered with many organizations to alleviate hunger. With all the resources we have, no one in the world should be going hungry, especially children. Working on a narrative film that really engages the issue of hunger would be a passion project for me.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD