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Brandon Koen brings on the laughs in new award-winning comedy ‘Night Shift’

For renowned British Actor Brandon Koen, acting is as much about performing as it is about learning. Whenever he embodies a new character, he learns a new aspect of humanity, an insight into another life. It is for this reason that he so enjoys his craft, as he is able to experience so many different things in front of a camera, often that he never would be able to do otherwise.

“Acting is storytelling, and the goal is to convey the truth of the character through performance to give the audience an experience. Whatever that experience is, it’s entertainment that’s being provided and entertaining the audience is paramount,” he said.

Koen has starred in a multitude of award-winning films that have seen massive acclaim at both international and national film festivals, such as Benji, The Little Picture, and Foible. He also had a supporting role in James Crowe’s successful horror movie, House of Salem, which premiered at Frightfest United Kingdom and has since terrified audiences around the world. He has a knack for serious roles, knowing how to captivate an audience through emotional moments. However, he is extremely versatile.

“When I began acting, I never thought of myself as a funny person and therefore expected to learn to be a dramatic actor, but I’ve since found a real love for comedy,” said Koen.

One of Koen’s more recent projects has allowed audiences around the globe to see his comedic chops. The film, Night Shift, follows Cody, a ride app driver who witnesses a friend group deteriorate after a costume party. Koen was immediately intrigued by the script when he read it. Ride sharing apps have become a standard in our daily life, and he was excited to explore this new phenomenon and portray the driver getting to witness the hilarious falling out of a group of friends.

“It’s incredibly funny, whilst also super relatable and that’s what attracted me to the project,” he said. “I loved the very realistic nature of this story, it’s something we all deal with in our everyday life. Whether we're coming home from a party at night, or like me, use it as your primary form of transportation. It’s this bizarre dynamic where you’re constantly interacting with strangers, as a passenger, but then also as a ride sharing driver you’re constantly interacting with even more people from all walks of life. I think this story is a very interesting look at how we live in this technological age, and how we sort of dismiss the human behind the wheel as a component of the app rather than a person.”

As the driver, Koen had the unique acting challenge of conveying a large amount of comedic relief through few words. He was the witness to the events, and therefore had to bring on the laughs predominantly through body language and facial expressions, acting as a liaison for the audience. He also found key moments in the script to chime in with ad libs, reinforcing that the character is very much in the moment, reacting as any would witnessing such a hilariously horrific event. “This was such a fun character to play, I thoroughly enjoyed the shooting of it. We shot the entire film in a car, and I had pretty much free range to create the character. The majority of my characters moments in the film are unspoken, so I got to play around a lot with reactions to the activity in the backseat of the car. This freedom to create allowed me to give the character lots of fun quirks and I was able to really let go and enjoy the experience,” he said.

Night Shift premiered earlier this year, and has since had an extraordinary festival run. In addition to several awards for Director Ricky Cruz, including Best Dark Comedy at the Top Shorts Film Festival in April and the Festival Award for Best Indie Short Film at Festigious International Film Festival, Koen’s outstanding performance was recognized by audiences and critics alike. He took home the Best Supporting Actor Award at the Actors Awards Los Angeles, where he also won Best Ensemble alongside Sandra Itzel Licea, Ydalie Turk, and Isobel Hyland.

“It’s such an honor to be recognized for our work at such prestigious film festivals all over the United States. It’s so gratifying just to have your ideas and vision seen through from conception to completion, so the validation just makes the experience all the more humbling. I’m definitely proud of my Best Supporting Actor Award, because it was a character with few lines that I relied heavily on my body to perform with. I’m also incredibly pleased that we were able to win the award for best ensemble as it was such a treat to work with people I not only work well with, but also have great friendships with. It’s great to share success with friends and it makes the experience all the more meaningful,” Koen concluded.

Night Shift is guaranteed to bring on the laughs, so make sure you check it out.

By Annabelle Lee
Photo by Deidhra Fahey
July 31st, 2019

Brandon Koen brings on the laughs in new award-winning comedy ‘Night Shift’ Reviewed by JaamZIN on 8:08:00 AM Rating: 5
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