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Performance Acting alum takes the lead in feature film by Canadian writer and director Adrian Murray

‘Retrograde’ starring Molly Reisman explores truth, justice and accountability
By: Asmaa Toor
May 23, 2023

Performance Acting alum Molly Reisman is the star of Vortex Media’s newest drama film, Retrograde, written and directed by Canadian filmmaker Adrian Murray. The film follows the main character, Molly, a young woman who gets into a minor traffic citation with local authorities. This causes a spiral into an all-consuming obsession for Molly who is distraught with the experience. 

Reisman’s experience working on the film was no new stride, as Retrograde is the third film she’s done with Murray. What differentiates this film from the rest is that Murray wrote this film with the idea of featuring Reisman in mind, even naming the main character after her. 

“It was the best experience working on Retrograde and it really felt like summer camp to be honest,” she said. “In the last two movies, I had been more of a peripheral character so I was really excited when Adrian told me he had the idea of writing a movie that featured me. It was a great time making this film with all my friends who I admire and learn so much from.”

Two actors sit in a car and look behind through their back window

Molly Reisman stars as “Molly” and Sofia Banzhaf stars as “Gabrielle” in director Adrian Murray’s film RETROGRADE, a Vortex Media release. Credit: Vortex Media Inc. 

The film, as a whole, features a dramatic plot filled with twists, emotional moments and scenes that make the audience wait in suspense on their edge of their seat. Interestingly, Reisman explains that the film does not contain any music or soundtrack at all, letting the acting and screenwriting speak for themselves.

“The biggest surprise for me was that there is no music at all in this movie, there is no score, for any moments and so there’s no ‘movie magic’ to carry the audience through,” she says. “But because of this, the audience can really get into the mind of the character and embody the scene. I think it was hugely impactful in Retrograde and really adds to the depth and drama of the storyline.”

portrait of molly reisman in a blue shirt

Molly Reisman is a Perfomance Acting alum and the lead in Retrograde

Lessons in and out of the classroom 

During her time in the Performance Acting program, Reisman said she involved herself in a balance of acting and business classes to ensure she was well prepared to enter the industry. She also says that the program also allowed her to explore different acting techniques and styles in a safe learning environment. 

“Acting requires a lot of vulnerability and being silly and sometimes you perform perfectly and that's a great feeling, but other times you're off and that's a less great feeling,” she recounts. “But I think that having the space to be that vulnerable to explore was very impactful. My professors always created a really safe environment to learn and try new things and make mistakes.” 

In addition to classwork, Reisman explains that the Performance program instilled many skills related to teamwork and working with different people on various projects. 

“The acting program taught me a lot about collaboration, which I think is the most important tool, especially in the creative industries,” she said. “Nobody works in a vacuum so it's really important to be able to know how to communicate with people both in and out of your industry. That’s one skill I definitely use in my everyday life.” 

Inspiring the next generation of performers

As someone who has worked in musical theatre, production and acting, Reisman advises students who are looking to break into the industry to build their network while they’re in school, and be open to any experiences that come their way.

“My best piece of advice is to tend to the relationships that you're building right now. What I have learned so far is that your friends, essentially, are your network,” Reisman said. “Along with that, be open to the opportunities and stay curious about what your community is doing, because that's where everything starts.”

Retrograde was recently screened at the Canadian film festival in April and is now available to watch in theatres. 

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