For aspiring actor , getting one step closer to making headway in Hollywood was as “simple as responding to a Facebook post.”
The 21-year-old Armstrong-born performer, who currently makes his home in Vancouver, recently won the Producer’s VIP Badge Giveaway from to the 24th annual Austin Film Festival (AFF).
The coveted pass to the worth approximately $600, includes Stratford’s entry to four days of conference panels, eight days of festival screenings, access to exhibits, access to the “priority line” for entry, and more.
Founded in Austin, Texas in 1994, the non-profit organization formerly called the Heart of Film Screenwriters Conference, initially functioned to launch the careers of screenwriters, but has since grown to serve all filmmakers and runs year-round programming and initiatives aimed at promoting and assisting young filmmakers. These programs culminate in the film festival and conference that Stratford is attending.
The festival runs from Oct. 26 to Nov. 2.
Stratford, who was “thrilled” to learn that he’d won access to the the prestigious event — which is rumoured to have attracted the likes of Johnny Depp and Dan Rather— said he entered Enderby Entertainment’s contest in September, and “completely forgot about it.”
“I was sitting on set one day waiting to be used [as an extra] and checking Facebook to kill time, and went to the Enderby Entertainment Facebook page and came across the video announcing the winner of the contest and was shocked to hear my name,” he said during an interview Tuesday.
After seeing the video, Stratford said Enderby Entertainment President & CEO, Rick Dugdale contacted him personally to give him the news.
“Even though we had a lot of entries from around the world the European marketing team drew a name from Armstrong—and it turns out he’s an aspiring actor. And now he’s about to embark on this whirlwind trip to Austin with full access to all the panels and parties,” Dugdale said in an email to The Morning Star.
“He’s pretty darn excited.”
For Stratford, who admittedly has not travelled outside of Canada since he was a child, the term “whirlwind” only begins to encapsulate the six jam-packed days that await him.
Having discovered a love of performing and theatre as a child, Stratford cut his teeth in high-school drama classes and local theatre productions. He was also a member of his high school’s award-winning competitive dance team, and has since performed in several short films. He was named “Best Senior Male Actor” for his role as Sam in at the BC Student Film Festival in 2015.
More recently the burgeoning performer has racked up credits, both on and off-screen, on high-profile projects including the films andwhich stars Johnny Depp and is reportedly due out in 2018. On the television front, Stratford was involved in the Netflix hitwell as The 100. He has just completed his first commercial for BC Dairy “Put Your Adult on Pause.”
Looking forward, Stratford said he hopes to earn an Academy Award some day and says he’s excited to cash in on the networking opportunities attending a major film festival will afford him.
“I travel around B.C. a lot for work, but I haven’t really even left the country since I was a kid, so I’m really looking forward to getting out there. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”