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"Conceptually, Thursday’s Speaker is tremendous." – Leah Gehlsen Morlan

     Rodrigo (Del Zamora) would like everyone to stay sober and keep comin’ back.  Rodrigo is “Thursday’s Speaker,” the guy they bring into the AA meetings to keep everyone feeling fresh, alive, and motivated.  He’s the guy who’s been sober for 15 years and who is the success story against which all other addicts should measure themselves.  Rodrigo is also most-likely wasted.

     Conceptually, Thursday’s Speaker is tremendous.  The idea is that Rodrigo is barely hanging on by a booze-soaked thread.  He’s got a job selling cars for a tyrannical junk-hawker (Talbot Perry Simons) who suspects Rodrigo’s secret, but who needs him to keep pushing his death traps to unsuspecting customers.  He’s got a kid he doesn’t know, a woman who cares but who’s got her own baggage with which to deal, and a really big secret to keep, especially for an AA legend.  Regardless, though, of all of the weight he’s dragging around, Rodrigo, himself, keeps coming back.  He keeps showing at the AA meetings, giving his inspirational speeches, and bedding all manner of young recoverers.  And he’s living his life in a cloud.

     Del Zamora, as Rodrigo, is likable, earnest, and not without his own brand of long-haired, Dude-esque charm.  My favorite scenes in the movie are the ones during which he bonds with Sam (Andrew Shea), the son he’s never known.  I like them because they’re effortless.  Shea doesn’t try too hard, and Zamora waves his mane around in wide-albeit wrinkly-eyed enjoyment.
In fact, the film’s most enjoyable moments are when the three leads (Zamora, Shea, and Ashley Ledbetter as Sam’s mom April) don’t try too hard.  Everything about this film’s narrative is “rough.”  Everyone’s got a tough road to hoe, and the humor and relaxation lie in scenes like the one wherein Sam asks his mom for some cash.  April leaps to give him some, reaching for her purse, and unceremoniously pulling out several wrinkled, sweaty one-dollar bills, which she’s earned stripping.
TS is shot through the lens of tanked eyes and it’s a fun take on the relatively serious subject matter.  Most of Rodrigo’s conversations are fish-eyed, and time flows in fast-tracked traffic sequences.  Most of the characters seen through Rodrigo’s POV are close-up and mildly distorted, if only simply because of their proximity to the camera.

     I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the performance of J. Anthony McCarthy as Rodrigo’s buddy-cum-savior Nigel.  His is a performance worth noting; he’s warm, genuine, sentimental, and a little bonkers toward the end.  The cherry on his interventive sundae is a fantastic laugh which allows for a little perspective (and levity) at the end of TS, which is precisely when the viewer (and Rodrigo) needs it most.
– Leah Gehlsen Morlan

     Rodrigo owns this room. He's the best twelve-step speaker in town, maybe in the state. He inspires people. He helps people. Unfortunately everything he says is a lie. He says he's been sober for fifteen years but he was drunk last night. He was drunk the night before. He maintains the lie, though, because this is his family. His friends are here. The girls love him here.

     Rod's balance is thrown when an old girlfriend moves back to town with a teenage son in tow. His budding friendship with April and Sam is the most honest relationship in his life, and turns Rodrigo's perspective upside-down. Thursday's Speaker is a dark comedy dealing with unplanned pregnancy, used car scams, twelve step programs, and family.

Best Feature Film
2013 Columbia Gorge International Film Festival

Best Narrative Feature
The Indie Gathering 2013

Best Director
The Indie Gathering 2013

Best Director
2013 IFQ Film Festival

Thursday’s Speaker is an independent feature film currently screening at festivals and seeking distribution. See the screenings page for upcoming screenings.

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Del Zamora - Rodrigo
Del Zamora was raised in various locations across the Southwest of the United States of America. His family dates back to the 1500's, and even further back, on the Mescalero Apache side of his family; in what is now known as Lincoln County, New Mexico. Del is a Mescalero Apache/Chicano mix. His great, great, grandmother, Nestorita Lara, who lived to be 114 years old, was painted by the famous Southwest painter, Henrietta Wyeth. The painting, "Dona Nestorita", hangs in the Roswell, New Mexico, City Museum. Del's godfather, was Domingo 'Sunday' Lopez, father to golfer great, Nancy Lopez.
Del attended schools in Roswell, New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Woodland, California, San Francisco, California, Alameda, California, and Los Angeles, California. Del graduated from Leuzinger High School, on the honor roll. A straight 'A' student, all of his school years, he received a full scholarship to UCLA.
However, his father, coerced him into turning down school, and taking a computer technician job. Del took the computer job. He worked in that industry for 4 years, before, deciding to pursue an acting career. Though successful in the computer industry, Del walked away. He drove his brand new Chevrolet Van, to New York City, and attended classes with the great Stella Adler. He studied for a little over a year, then returned to Los Angeles, to pursue an acting career. He lived in his van, with his small dog, Chivo, for 3 years and 5 months. Del refused to do any work, besides acting or crewing, on movies and TV shows. During this time, Del did most of the 80 student films, he has acted in. He crewed in several dozen other student films. He also reapplied to UCLA, and was accepted, with a full scholarship intact. As Del began the transition, to the Motion Picture/Television Department, as a directing student at UCLA; he was cast by English film maker, Alex Cox, in Repo Man (1984). This was Del's film debut, and his breakthrough role. Though Del made some money as an actor, on Repo Man, he did not move out of his van, for another year; and in actuality, was living in his van, with his dog, while Repo Man, was shot. After that, he was promptly cast in RoboCop (1987), Born in East L.A. (1987), and became a 'go to' Latino actor. Del has worked on both coasts of the USA, and is bilingual in Spanish and English. Initially a stage actor, he rapidly adapted his skills to the silver screen. He is known as a very versatile, strong actor, who can play a wide range of characters, in drama and comedy. A veteran actor, of over 3 decades, his latest work in True Blood, as brujo (shaman), Don Bartolo, is proof positive, that Del Zamora, still does top shelf work, well into his early 50's. A true character actor, who has worked with some of the biggest stars in the World.
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Ashley Ledbetter - April
A Texas gal, Ashley spent some time in Atlanta before making it out to the west coast a few years back. She promptly enrolled in a Meisner training program and has been acting consistently since.
In a short period of time, Ashley has attained over 20 credits including the lead roles in Thursday’s Speaker, Frank’s Dead, and Rosemary. She was also cast as the quirky and comedic Heather in the television series High Rise, and can be seen on stage and in numerous commercials.
Ashley began her acting career in Atlanta and still works on both coasts. She is a graduate of the Joanne Baron/D.W. Brown Studio in Santa Monica and has been honing her comedic chops with The Groundlings. A big thanks to Gary Hebert for casting her on this project- it was so much fun to be a part of.
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Andrew Shea - Sam
Moving to Los Angeles in his mid teens, Andrew began to pursue his acting career. He can be seen on TV in appearances on iCarly, Justified, and Newsreaders. Feature film roles followed with Expecting and a lead role in Thursday’s Speaker. Andrew is currently pursuing a degree in audio engineering and acting as much as possible.
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Ali Mullin - Melody
Prior to THURSDAY'S SPEAKER, Ali Mullin co-starred in COMPULSION, which premiered at the prestigious 2012 Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner. Since then, Ali has appeared on ABC's THE MIDDLE as well as various skits on JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE.
A native of Orange County, Ali began her acting career at age seven, performing in shows at South Coast Repertory. Her work there eventually lead her to Los Angeles to pursue a full-time career in motion pictures, television and modeling, at age sixteen.
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Talbot Perry Simons - Hank
Talbot was born and raised in the Bronx, New York, U.S.A. Talbot is a U.S. Navy veteran and a multiple award winning actor, writer, director, producer and composer.
Talbot has performed in over 30 stage productions, numerous TV shows like “Hill Street Blues” and a dozen or so films like Billy Crystal’s “Mr. Saturday Night” and Domonic Paris' "The Sleepless" and has garnered the best actor laurels for three different characters, Lenny Bruce in "Lenny", Manny in "Teamsters Basement" and Tommy a veteran with P.T.S.D., in "Still the Drums".
Talbot has played everything from characters to leading roles in TV, films and stage and as performed as a stand-up comic at some major clubs on the Hollywood sunset strip, like the "Laugh Factory" and the world famous "Comedy Store".
Talbot produced, wrote, directed, starred in and composed the original music for his first feature length movie, "Still the Drums" and won Best Film, Best Directorial Debut, Best Actor, Best Screenplay and Best Song at the 2009 New York International Film Festival.
In January 2012, Talbot was recognized for his work in “Still the Drums”, by Guinness World Records® as the most awarded individual filmmaker in the world with the most awards in different filmmaking categories (5) for one motion picture, breaking Charlie Chaplin’s 60 year world record in filmmaking.
Talbot has been a member of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television Artists, since 1975. He has been writing, and directing plays, writing screenplays, performing on stage, TV, and in films for over 35 years consistently receiving rave reviews and has been awarded for his work a total of fourteen times.
In 2011 Talbot won his second feature film screenwriting award at the Los Angeles Screenplay Competition for his screenplay "PLANES - The GANGSTER ZONE” which he plans to produce in 2014.
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J. Anthony McCarthy - Nigel
J. Anthony has been knocking around Hollywood for a few years now. You can catch him on TV shows like Castle, How I Met Your Mother, and Braddock & Jackson (the new Kelsey Grammer/Martin Lawrence sitcom on FX).  He’s also been in numerous films, both Hollywood & indie.  
His work on Thursday's Speaker has been one of his favorite experiences in Hollywood.
He still does his own fight/stunt scenes, having studied martial arts and stage combat since his teens.  He is proud to be the fight choreographer for his web series And Boris (
He is pleased to be a member of Theatre Unleashed, having participated in the last 3 years at the Hollywood Fringe Festival including the TU productions of Round Rock.
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Gary Hebert - writer / director, executive producer
Gary Hebert attended Michigan State University business school where he spent his time writing, watching movies, and playing guitar. He decided that film school was probably a better choice and enrolled in the Grand Valley State film program. Upon graduating in 1997, he worked briefly in local production in Grand Rapids but moved to Los Angeles to start a career in film.
Discovering a talent for motion graphics, he worked on a number of well received film title sequences, including Van Helsing, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Kingdom, as well as numerous commercials and broadcast packages. For several years, his electronic music project, Null_Objct, was the focus of his attention. The first full length album, 2003's The Blind Clockmaker received significant college radio play around the country. A follow-up album is in the works.
Gary spent several years concentrating on his writing resulting in the screenplay, Walter's Grill, which received honors at the Beverly Hills Film Festival in 2007. Also during this period, Gary wrote and directed several short films including Bird Fan which premiered at the Vail Film Festival in 2007 and Daniel Finds His Walking Stick which won Best Animated Film at the Sedona International Film Festival in 2009.
Written in 2009 and shot in the summer of 2011, Thursday's Speaker is Gary's first feature film. In addition to writing and directing, Gary also edited the film and composed most of the music. Additional music was donated by bands that Gary plays with; The Long Count and Jon Lee. Self produced and micro-budgeted, the film is finally making it's way out into film festivals in 2013 and seeking distribution.
Gary made his first film, a claymation short, at the age of 10.
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Lisa Stacilauskas - cinematographer, executive producer
Lisa Stacilauskas has acted as camera operator or cinematographer on numerous television shows, reality shows, documentaries, web series, short films and music videos including projects for: Disney, Hallmark, MTV, Spike, ABC and NBC as well as numerous independent productions. Recent TV Credits Include: NBC’s “Community”, MTV’s “Teen Wolf”, Disney’s “Starstruck”, ABC’s “Homeland Security, USA”,and Comedy Central’s “Comedians of Comedy”. Award winning shorts include: “Dot Got Shot”, (winner of awards at Honolulu, Polygrind and Atlanta Underground Film Festivals), “Trysting”, winner of a DGA Award and a student Emmy, and “Prescription (for Happiness)” winner of Best Drama at IndieRoar. After receiving a BA in Communications and French from the University of Michigan, Lisa spent several years traveling. She later earned an MFA in Cinematography from Art Center College of Design. She is inspired by the collaborative nature of filmmaking and recent advancements in technology opening doors to storytellers. Lisa seeks projects that are meaningful and visually interesting. Recent projects include the web-series,“Divergence”, along with independent features: “Thursday's Speaker”, “Marriage Material”, and “The System is Broken”.