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Bear Creek Studio alumnus stars in centerpiece film at SIFF

  • Written by Kirsten Abel, Features Writer

When Abby Quinn visited Washington for the first time last year, she likened the region to Ireland. “It was like my dream place,” she said. “I love rainy weather.”

The Michigan-born, Los-Angeles-based actress has been to Woodinville twice in the past year to record at Bear Creek Studio, and she’s back again to the area on June 3 when her new film, “Landline,” opens at Seattle International Film Festival.

Landline-movie-2Jenny Slate (left) and Abby Quinn (right) star in the new film “Landline,” which airs at SIFF on June 3 (Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios)Bear Creek Studio is a Woodinville recording studio known for its secluded, lush surroundings and barn-like facilities. Past musicians who have recorded at Bear Creek include Vance Joy, The Lumineers, Milo Greene, and Sera Cahoone.

“I felt way more creative having all this nature right outside the door,” Quinn said. “I learned that the environment is really important to me too.”

While  she has also done recording in Michigan and in Los Angeles, she said Bear Creek was an entirely unique experience.

Last August, she came back to record with her brother for his band, Doadie. “We were outside writing songs,” she said. “There’s a creek right outside the studio.”

Quinn expects to release her first EP sometime before “Landline” officially launches in theaters this July. Her sound, on display in the few songs she does have up online, is warm, folksy, and a little haunting.

Growing up, Quinn said she was influenced by her parents’ musical inclinations. Her mother was involved in musical theater and her father played guitar, covering artists like Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash.

Quinn started acting in plays around the first grade and started singing long before that.  For a year around age seven, she had Pearl Jam’s “Last Kiss” stuck in her head. 

“It’s a really dark song,” she laughed. “I would sing it all the time, in public, whenever someone came over.”
As for her acting career, Quinn landed her first agent when she attended a workshop in New York called the Broadway Artists Alliance. She was a junior in high school at the time.

“I sang this song about zombies and then later that night I got a call saying an agent wanted to meet with me,” she said.

Quinn is a relative newcomer to the film scene, which makes sense given that she just turned 21. Her part in “Landline” is the biggest she’s ever played.

The film, directed by Gillian Robespierre and starring actors like Jenny Slate, Edie Falco, and John Turturro, tells the story of a 1995 Manhattan family on the verge of splintering after two daughters discover that their father is having an affair.

Quinn plays Ali Jacobs, an angsty, in-your-face teenager and the sister to Dana, played by Jenny Slate. 

“It’s a really cool role,” she said. “It was kind of a cathartic thing where I could be really unapologetic and speak whatever the character was actually feeling.”

The most rewarding part of filming the movie, Quinn said, was the actors she got to work with.

“It felt like a very small set. A lot of the movie was just us spending time together,” she said. “There were definitely a lot of great moments acting-wise, but I think whenever I look back to it, it’s just the people.”

Catch “Landline” on June 3 at 5:30 p.m. at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian. Quinn will be in attendance along with Jenny Slate and Gillian Robespierre. Quinn’s music can be found on YouTube or on her Instagram account, @abbyjackwoman.

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