It’s no surprise that Ayeshah Rose - the prominent Australian model and actress, best known for ‘Home and Away’ and ‘Underbelly’ and most recently seen in series ‘In the Parts’ - won Best Actress from the Independent Awards for her role in ‘Shoulda’ and Best Acting Duo with her co-star Damian Sommerlad at the New York Best Actor Award Festival.
Her performance is heartfelt as much as it is alluring, bringing together all of the complex layers of a human being in such a manner that one would be forgiven in forgetting that they were watching an actor and genuinely thought they were watching a girl, searching for love.
Ayeshah’s effortless and genuine approach to this character blurred the lines of acting and human.
In one moment in the penultimate scene, Ayeshah maintains a steady gaze opposite her co-star (played by ‘The Casuals’ Damian Sommerlad) which captures her character’s vulnerability and desire for love all in one split second.
There were many moments where when you have multiple roles in a production where you find yourself split with what is the priority in the moment and I kept having to bring myself back to how completely disabling it could make your performance. To be in a state of the character and be able to remind yourself to stay there was truly powerful.
It’s this type of finesse and nuance - embodying seemingly contradictory elements that ultimately accumulate to build a presentation of a three-dimensional human being on screen - that has served Ayeshah well throughout her varied career, where she has delivered standout turns in films ‘Angel of Mine,’ and ‘My Day Job,’ as well as television projects like ‘Underbelly’ and more recently in ‘Deep Pockets, Empty Hearts’ and ‘Dick Slider.’
Another moment is built up with curious precision by the director and star, where Ayeshah’s character is shown to be checking her cue cards to help her answer questions on the date.
It’s a surprising turn of events that is heartfelt and believable, but nonetheless comedic given the actress’ presentation on screen as a typical leading lady. It’s a choice like this, presented with such believable conviction and almost skewing towards the portrayal of a human being dealing with social awkwardness bordering on OCD, which expresses the unique perspective and artistry of Ayeshah as a performer. In short, she has a range that’s both specific as much as it is globally universal.
Co-star Damian Sommerlad eloquently sums up the experience of what it is to work with Ayeshah. "It was a miracle watching Ayeshah Rose go from directing me and give me insight to her intention when she wrote the project then to jump straight into her own character and just do it. I haven’t seen this much at all and it's a very unique asset.”
No wonder the film has attracted the attention of prominent industry figures and organizations like the NYC Filmmakers and Vegas Cinefest International Film Festival. Those organizations have limited their screenings during COVID, but welcomed 'Shoulda.'
In a crystal clear confirmation of 'Shoulda’s commercial success, the filmmakers have secured multi-platform distribution through esteemed company First Focus International. This means the film is available to millions all over the world via Amazon Prime and Binge, solidifying Ayeshah as one of Australia’s biggest exports and acting names.
The road to distribution for filmmakers is typically fraught with challenge, but executives at First Focus found the film so great, its acting in particular, that they were convinced it would resonate with viewers not only amongst American subscribers, but other countries too where the platforms are available, such as Europe and parts of Asia.
“I’m very grateful, and am excited for the future.”