Actress Juliana Betancourth has us checking our beds in award-winning series Bite!

Growing up in the little town called Don Matias, Colombia, Juliana Betancourth dreamed of one day seeing her face on the big screen. In Latin America, television is a large influence in the community and culture, and Betancourth knew she was destined to become an actress. Her first time in front of the camera was magical, and she knew it was what she wanted to spend her life doing, and every time she steps onto a film set, she still feels grateful to be living her dream.

"Photo by Jhonatan Tabares"

Throughout her seasoned career, Betancourth has proven time and time again just why she is such an in-demand actress in both her home country and abroad. From the new and already iconic telenovela La Reina del Sur to the acclaimed feature Virginia Casta, to the music video “How to Treat a Woman” that helped launch the career of singer Casso Blax, Betancourth knows just how to captivate an audience, no matter the genre or medium. Her passion for what she does translates directly into her work, and viewers everywhere are grateful.

“Whether I’m on set or stage, I feel in total sync and vibration with my soul, body, mind, and emotion. Nothing else makes me feel that way,” she said.

Betancourth is currently preparing for the upcoming second season of her hit web series Bite!. The show follows a young couple as their rocky relationship is put to the ultimate test after an army of human-sized, militant bed bugs, led by Bed Bug MacArthur, invades their home. Based on a true story - mostly. Betancourth was immediately drawn to the humor in the story, and was eager to be a part of telling it.

“The script is based on the real experience that the writer had with bed bugs, only that led to exaggeration. All the ways that the protagonists try to get rid of the plague are actually used by ordinary people, and they do not work,” said Betancourth. “More than $250 million a year are spent fighting this plague and more than 97 percent of the pest exterminators have battled this plague in the last year. The figures are alarming.”

The Web Series that was pre-nominated for three categories for the 2018 Emmys, including Best Actress for Betancourth in the role of "Avalon", Best American Actor Danny Arroyo, and Best Comedy Series. This series has received another award from the public and jury prize for best short film at the Culver City Film Festival and was the official selection of the Louisville International Film Festival. It also recently won Best Dramedy Short at the 2019 Golden State Film Festival. It will soon screen at the Cote D'Azur WebFest, the first international web festival on the French Riviera. Many well-known actors in the Television Academy wrote back to the crew saying they loved the project, including Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and many more.

“When you do a project like this the last thing you think of is the awards, but when they arrive by accident, they do not stop being a great joy and a recognition of hard work. In fact, because of the nature of this project, we never thought it could be of interest to film festivals, so it has been a pleasant surprise to know that they are looking for us and reward us,” said Betancourth.

Betancourth’s character Avalón is a loving and responsible woman, who is forced to leave her house due to the infestation, and to put limits on her partner Remy, who does not have the same level of responsibility. Avalón is the only one who works and maintains the house. When an infestation of human-sized bed bugs is brought to the house by her partner, she tries to support him as much as possible, but the break is inevitable. She is loving but determined. Her character reaches the climax when her house is completely invaded and she must end this situation. A Latina woman with aspirations likes painting and art, but must work as a waitress to pay the bills of the house.

“Avalón is a character that conveys a message of empowerment of women because it shows their femininity, fragility, need for support and love, but also in the strength, the decision, and the firmness of a woman who is willing to do what it is necessary to put things in order, said Betancourth.

Betancourth achieves the comedy of her character from its very drama, showing audiences a side we had not seen in her many previous projects. Betancourth made sure to not only portray her character, but to create her. To do this, she integrated Spanish dialogue into the script to give the couple that air of daily life and to show her background, as one would speak their native language when relaxing at home. It is a comedy with a premise that is rather implausible, so to give nuances, she resorted to the dramatic situation that her character was going through, building a dramedy.

“I love the eccentricity of the script and playing a character who speaks English, Spanish, and Spanglish. The work team was wonderful, Danny Arroyo as the writer, director, producer and actor opened indispensable communication spaces. The atmosphere on set was magical, we had fun starting with when we came to makeup until we saw the repetitions of the scenes. We danced on the blue screen, it was a great family, including our cast of well-known actors in Hollywood, such as Kevin Caliber (Kal-El in Supergirl), Teddy Lane Jr, and Myke Michaels (Stranger Things, Guardians of the Galaxy),” she described.

The second season is currently in pre-production and will bring the problem of bed bugs to a higher level. This will not only affect Avalón and Remy, but the entire area of Los Angeles. At the end of the first season, there is a clue as to how this new infestation will begin, and Juliana is ready to expand the story with a higher budget and an increased fan base.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the first season of Bite! to catch a glimpse of Betancourth’s outstanding comedic and dramatic talents.

By John Michaels
April 24th, 2019

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