Growing up in a tough neighborhood and being a martial artist standing only at 5’5″ while competing with guys much taller than him, actor, stuntman and independent filmmaker Geo Corvera feels that many folks like himself can releate to stories centered on rooting for the underdog, something he beared in mind when he looked toward stuntwoman and multifaceted award-winning gymnast Kristina Baskett as the “perfect” pick to headline the late 2013 filming for his newest short, Triumph. “Kristina Baskett is a college level gymnastics champion bad ass!”. he writes. “She’s been training with me in martial arts and film fighting in last year and a half. She’s awesome, talented and picks up fast.”.
Starring Baskett with an appearance by actor and stuntman Kofi Yiadom (Star Trek, Blood Of Redemption, Man Of Steel), and featuring actresses and stuntwomen Michelle Jubilee Gonzalez, Vaia Zaganas and Michelle Alvarado Martins, Triumph tells the short story about small group of female bullies who direct their ire unto a young woman, who eventually decides she’s been a victim long enough. What ensues, of course, is her next confrontation which becomes her defining moment to even the odds once and for all.
I had the good fortune of getting in touch with most of the performers this week to discuss a little bit more about their involvement on this particular project, including Baskett, who had nothing but praise for her fellow stunt performers, as well as her director. “With a gymnastics background, I am still new to martial arts and have learned so much from Geo beyond what we even shot in this video.” says Baskett. “It was really gratifying to see the progress made through this project and I am thankful and exciting to keep learning and training with him and the rest of our group. I really enjoyed working with this group of people and respect Geo a lot as a director and teacher. Hopefully more exciting projects to come!”.
The last time I wrote about Baskett was late last year for one of collaborations with Sub Over Hype as part of Machinima’s promotional push for Mortal Kombat Legacy: Season 2. So I was delightfully surprised to see Baskett back in the spotlight after just these few months of networking with various performers, especially as she continues to step out of her comfort zone a little more to develop herself; something which she remains very emphatic about in the long term. “I love that is something different.” she writes. “I have done gymnastics for over 20 years, so to be able to use those skills as well as increase my skill set in other areas is something I never knew I would be able to do. Stunts was a new world to me that I didn’t know was an option for my future, and I fell in love with the process of movie making, and the idea of having no limitations in learning new skills.”
The same can be relatively said of Martins, a former professional dancer-turned-stuntwoman and actress who plays the lead thug who confronts Baskett‘s character before the final fight. In discussing her experience with Corvera, her word is backed solidly by her five year-long friendship and comradery with the fourteen-year stunt veteran whose credits include The Rundown, Eragon, Act Of Valor, Iron Man and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Martins tells Film Combat Syndicate, “My experience on the project was great. It was a great balance between professionalism and a having good time! Plus, Geo is a great fighter. It makes it easier when you really trust your coordinator. And I really adore the other three ladies.” And Zaganas, a four-year stuntwoman, former professional champion boxer, screenfighting trainer and coach hailing all the way from Burnaby in British Columbia, has known Corvera for two years, and says had fun with Baskett and her fellow performers during their numerous rehearsals and while filming. “He’s easy to work with.”, she says of Corvera. “He knows the business very well. He has vision.”.
Zaganas hopes to advance her career in stuntwork, as well as acting, while continuing her other passions in boxing, martial arts, and training other actors in preparation for certain roles. You may catch her upcoming credits in future episodes of the hit TV show, Law and Order: SVU, in addition to writer and director Mark Netter’s upcoming horror thriller, Nightmare Code, and Chris Parson’s crime thriller, A Cloud So High, this May. Martins also hopes to continue to learn different aspects of the industry while working and immersing herself in the stunt community as a means to becoming to a better performer. You will find her upcoming credits this year in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s upcoming crime thriller, Sabotage, in addition to Nicholas McCarthy’s Home, the Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer-directed Starry Eyes and LazRael Lison’s Private Number which is currently filming.
Triumph is one of five short films Corvera is currently working on as he enters the new year while continuing to work on his reel and feature more stunts in films, including his upcoming performance in Danny Trejo’s next action thriller, Bullet, and the Daniel Petrie Jr.-directed drama, Dawn Patrol.
Remember to subscribe to the YouTube channel through the embed below. For information on Kristina Baskett, visit her official website and follow her on Twitter, and look out for her on the big screen this year when her performance is shown in director Neil Burger’s new sci-fi action thriller, Divergent. Also, be sure to visit the official website for Michelle Jubilee Gonzalez, and follow Vaia Zaganas on Facebook and Twitter as well.