Chichester Youth Theatre member 18-year-old Romina Hytten makes her feature film debut in A Dark Reflection which premieres at the Capitol Theatre, Horsham on Thursday, February 26.
The film will also be shown at the Chichester Cinema at New Park on Friday, February 27 and Tuesday, March 3.
Romina, a sixth-former at Chichester’s Bishop Luffa, landed the supporting role of Molly Adamson at the age of 16 and filmed it the summer before last alongside Georgina Sutcliffe, Rita Ramnani and Marina Sirtis.
Sussex-based production company Fact Not Fiction Films are billing the film as Erin Brockovich meets All the Presidents Men, the story of a disturbing conspiracy at the heart of the aviation industry.
The fact-based movie is based on director Tristan Loraine’s research as an airline captain –research which saw him awarded one of the first-ever 26 British Citizen Awards (BCA) for his 14 year’s work on the issues raised in the film.
Filming took place in Horsham and around Sussex as well as in Jordan.
Romina got her big break by chance when she met director Tristan at a Farlington careers fair. Little did she know when she impressed Tristan with her acting ambitions that her first film role would take her to such dizzying heights – quite literally.
In her role as Molly, the airline captain’s daughter, she was filmed at the Southdown Gliding Club. Molly, already a trainee glider pilot, gets an aerobatic glider flight covered by the local paper. Molly’s pilot father comes along and meets the local journalist for the first time: a pivotal turning point in the film. Although Romina had never been in a glider before, she smiled her way through 22 consecutive loops and countless rolls with an experienced pilot, Guy Westgate, at the Storrington Club.
“I had to just hold on and look like I was flying and keep smiling!”
Romina admits hers is just a small part, just a few scenes, but the fun and the experience are immeasurable: “It was amazing. I didn’t know how they made films. I learnt so much about the whole process, how many takes it takes, all the different angles they have to film from.
“And the team was massive. It was amazing. It was all done so professionally. It was a really great experience.”
Romina, who lives in West Chiltington, is currently studying for A levels in drama, art and English with a view to applying for a place in drama school next year.
She will bring plenty of experience to those auditions. Romina joined Chichester Festival Youth Theatre in year eight: “I have done lots of shows with them. I just love being on the stage. That’s what I really love – though it is great to have a taste of film.
“The Youth Theatre is great. I did The Snow Queen, my first production in which I played a bee! And then in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, I played Lucy. That was one of my favourite shows. It was my first major role. And then I was in The Witches (the year before last, which played in the Minerva during the main-house’s redevelopment). That was really fun. It was so much fun to play an evil character.
“And then most recently I was in The Hundred and One Dalmatians. That was great. It was the biggest production we have ever done. I played the mother Dalmatian having to look after all my puppies. And it was great to be back in the main theatre. We were on the main stage with all the new dressing rooms. They were great. They were like mini-hotels!”
Director/producer Tristan Loraine said: “Romina was better than perfect for the part. She is so gifted and brave. Romina is one of the finest young actresses in the country.”