DIFF opens doors for filmmaker America Young and Festival goer Kelly Eichenholz

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As the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens. For one visiting DIFF filmmaker and an aspiring actress, a door closed and two opened.

America Young at the Dallas International Film Festival 2012

Filmmaker America Young

Last year,  Los Angeles filmmaker America Young flew into town to represent her short film at the Dallas International Film Festival Presented by Boardwalk Auto Group Volkswagen Dealers. Titled GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS, the film was a collaborative effort of six female directors, and Young felt honored and fortunate to be able to represent her work on behalf of the diverse all-female cast and crew.

But soon her luck seemed to run out. Just before boarding the flight to Dallas, Young found herself without a place to stay. Her scheduled host family had to turn her away because their two children had suddenly become very ill.

It was a “door slammed shut,” according to Young. While the Festival would take care of her first night’s stay in Dallas and had arranged for a chaperon family to pick her up from the airport, Young no longer had a place to stay for the rest of the week. She scrambled to look up hotels, on a very short notice, in a city she had never been to before.

When she landed at the airport, her chaperon family—Phil and Cindy Eichenholz and their daughter Kelly—insisted that Young stay with them. And so another door opened, not just for the traveling director, but also for Kelly, an aspiring actress.

Kelly Eichenholz

Actress Kelly Eichenholz

“America and I immediately hit it off,” Kelly says. “She was open to answering all of my questions about the business as well as telling me all about her life in Los Angeles, which I found thrilling.”

After several conversations about acting, directing and their mutual passion for film, a camera bulb flashed in Young’s head, and she invited Eichenholz to visit LA and try out for a role in her upcoming feature project, THE CONCESSIONAIRES MUST DIE!

“Just from speaking with her, I knew she was perfect for the film,” Young says. “After trying out, the crew and I fell in love with Kelly, and they would have revolted if we didn’t cast her.”

The Eichenholz family had supported Kelly’s interest in film since she was five years old, when she had signed with the Kim Dawson Agency. Her love for the cinema continued to grow ever since, and when she had the chance to work on a feature film, Eichenholz jumped at the opportunity.

How I Met America
by Kelly Eichenholz
Casting Kelly
by America Young

Such a fortuitous situation is definitely a case of “right place, right time.” But for Young, coming across a someone who was a “perfect fit” was more than random coincidence; for her it was the result of being at a festival that she believes is put on for, and put together by, enthusiastic and personable people.

“The most remarkable thing about the Dallas International Film Festival is that every single person involved was a true film lover and supporter,” says Young. “Every person I spoke to had not only heard of my film but helped me promote it, and I was blown away by the warm, welcoming people, the quality of the films, and the classiness of the events.”

For her part, Eichenholz says working with Young has been equally pleasant.

“I was relieved to find that the people were not only welcoming but understanding throughout the process,” Eichenholz says. “The best part of the audition was seeing the light in America’s eyes and knowing that I had an opportunity to bring her vision to life.”

The entire process behind the making of THE CONCESSIONAIRES MUST DIE! will be live-streamed online at




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