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February 21, 2015
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Tom Kemnitz Jr. plays Jonah Price in THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH

1Q: Tell us how you became involved with The Happiest Place On Earth, and how you prepared for the part.

I saw a casting call on the internet, went though two rounds of auditioning and got the job.

The actors I like to watch are always really well prepared so I sort of adopted that. I needed to learn how to ride a bike, so I worked on that an hour a day. I met and followed around a few folks that worked in the same profession as Jonah, the character I play. That was really helpful. And I did a lot of script work getting clear on what story I wanted to tell and crafted a very detailed backstory and inner monologue for Jonah. Then once production started, I read the script once a day and listened to thematically relevant music.

2Q: Cinequest Film Festival is hosting the World Premiere of The Happiest Place On Earth. Explain to us how it feels to bring this film before audiences for the first time, and what do you think their reaction will be to your film?

It feels great! I have no expectations for how people will react to the film. But I am very grateful to anyone who takes the time out of their day to see it. I’ll be on hand for the first two screenings, so whether you want to hi-five, awkward hug, or throw rotten produce at me- I’ll be there.

3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making The Happiest Place On Earth.

Worst- Mainly involving the wildlife of central Florida….. Having a waterbug on my face was a low point. Encountering snakes wasn’t my favorite thing either. Oh, and also losing the director, John Goshorn’s wedding ring.

Best- It was a very exciting time. I was trying new things, John was trying new things, Jeff Gross the cinematographer was trying new things. And we had no idea how much of it was going to work. But going through that process was a thrill. I remember on the car ride down, I had probably the best nights sleep anyone has ever had in a car outside of a McDonald’s because I was just so happy to get to make this film.

4Q: Festival audiences often have to make hard decisions about what to see, and the catalog descriptions sometimes run together. In your own words, why should people see your film?

Folks should see the film if they want to. If they don’t want to, they should go see something else.

5Q: Time to pre-plan: You just won the Oscar for The Happiest Place On Earth. Give us your acceptance speech.

haha, I would like to thank our fearless producer Julie Opala for teaching me how to ride a bike. Our director John Goshorn for not firing me when I lost his wedding ring, Mrs. Goshorn for not killing me as of yet, and the crew who were wholly supportive of me sleeping on set, which is… not typical of most award movies.

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