Local actresses light up screen

Though acting is in her blood, Kari Wishingrad didn’t find herself drawn to the silver screen until sometime after moving to Sonoma 18 years ago.

“I grew up in New York City and I’ve been doing theater since I was a little kid,” Wishingrad said Thursday. However, “My interest in film started peaking around the late ’90s.”

That interest has led to a few films by now, including “Neon Sky,” one of a couple North Bay-centric movies appearing in this year’s Sonoma International Film Festival. SIFF’s program describes the movie as “the story of a small traveling carnival struggling to keep their way of life alive as they make their way across the highways and back roads of Northern California.”

Wishingrad has been in bigger-budget movies, “but this is the first movie that is (screening) here in my home town.”

When she first heard about the film, “a light bulb just went off in my head,” Wishingrad said. “I do this periodically – my intuition will kick in about a specific movie.” She contacted the writer-director, Jennifer Juelich, and eventually they met at a friend’s house in Napa. Wishingrad was given the role of Margie, sister of the lead character and a sorrowful individual.

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