Sno Babies: Paola Andino And Katie Kelly Talk About Functioning Addicts [Exclusive Interview]

Kelly Andino as Kristen and Paola Andino as Hannah

Sno Babies gives a better understanding of what is a heroin addict. An addicts pain and struggle to hide it’s consumption at any price.

Here’s the synopsis of the film:

A gripping and emotive tale, SNO BABIES depicts the grim realities of addiction and its effects on a middle-class suburban town. Kristen and Hannah are best friends–smart, likable and college-bound– and also addicted to heroin. The pair of seemingly unlikely addicts spiral down a path of destruction, hiding their secret from well-meaning but busy parents behind pink bedrooms and school uniforms Sno Babies shows how easy it can be to both miss and hide the signs of addiction behind the façade of “good” neighborhoods and pleasantly busy communities.

Katie Kelly (Game of Silence) and Paola Andino (Every Witch Way) are the protagonist in this film that brings awareness to viewers. I had the opportunity to have a phone conversation to discuss Sno Babies.

Nancy Tapia: Hi, ladies!

Katie & Paola: Hi, Nancy!

Nancy Tapia: How exciting was it to be able to work on a project like Sno Babies that you know it’s going to open topics for a lot of teenagers.

Katie Kelly: Oh, so exciting! It was definitely a major blessing to be able to attach to a project like this. That like you said, is going to open up eyes. It is going to open up conversations that probably wouldn’t have had before. As an artist and a creator the main thing that I can hope for with my career is that I can continue to be a part of projects that not only fulfill me as an artist, but also help make a difference out there in the world. When I come across projects like this, it’s very far and few between. So when I read Sno Babies, it was almost like an instant assessment and I knew that I had to bring Kristen alive.

Paola Andino: We are so excited for the world to see Sno Babies after nearly two years since we filmed the project. It was such a gift to work with such collaborative individuals and it was very much a passion project for the both of us. We really got to stretch ourselves as actresses. It was definitely eye opening even as we were preparing to portray these characters. Because we did research a lot so we could accurately bring Kristen and Hannah to life. The fact that this could make a difference and we could even just save one life with the film is extremely exciting. Very gratifying.

Also Read: Director Bridget Smith Talks About Educating Through Sno Babies [Exclusive Interview]

Nancy Tapia: You said it was two years ago that you filmed this?

Paola Andino: Yes, ma’am.

Katie Kelly: Yes. Coming up.

Nancy Tapia: Do you mind sharing, where was this filmed?

Katie Kelly: Yeah, absolutely. We filmed in and around Philadelphia. We filmed in Yardley, Pennsylvania, Newtown, Pennsylvania, in those areas.

Nancy Tapia: What was the process to begin and playing these characters? They are not easy roles. You’re trying to really get the viewer to feel the struggle and pain of your characters.

Paola Andino: Yeah, me and Katie got together and we read countless articles. We were up to date with the news. We watched a lot of documentaries, films because not just emotionally but technically there are so many things that you need to get right when it comes to shooting up. When it comes to what is someone truly like when they’re high.

Then some other things that I don’t necessarily want to give away in this film, but it was important to us to really get this right with how we were doing it.

Katie Kelly: Yeah, even as Paola mentioned before, there were some days where we had professionals who dealt with those hands. Who worked in recovery centers and knew exactly how this process happens. How people get involved with this substance, their decline as they get more involved. So, that really helped us as far as us being able to channel the characters and do those actions correctly. It was such an amazing thing to be able to have those resources on set for us.

Nancy Tapia: I learned a lot from the film. The shoot up alone, was like a lecture. The varies body parts of where you can stick the needle to hide the evidence.  It’s pretty scary.

Katie Kelly: We really had no idea. It is so interesting to see that people who are functioning addicts, as they call them, that they hide their addiction. No one would ever know it. Not to my knowledge, I had no idea that there are people who are dealing with an addiction this deep and yet they still go on with their day to day life.

There are places where you can hide it. You can shoot up in places where it’s not on your arm. And I think it’s just very interesting to know that it is something that you can hide.

Paola Andino: Yes. I was going to mention that you really get an inside look with Sno Babies. So we show how easy it is to both hide and miss the signs of addiction. So Kristen and Hannah, on the outside they’re two very seemingly unlikely addicts. They’re likely college bound girls. Yet, they’re really self-destructing with their awful addiction that they’re dealing with.

Katie Kelly: Absolutely.

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Nancy Tapia: Yes. This film definitely educates you. It educated me. I, for example, would just say, “Okay, drug addicts, they’re just about the addiction.” But thanks to this film with heroin you give an example of how it all begins. The cost of a Oxy will being $80, but then you move on to heroin when it’s costing you, what $10, a little baggy?

Katie Kelly: $10 a bag. And it’s enough heroin in that little $10 baggy that’ll last you a while. It’s not just a one pill one time high. I think that’s what draws people to heroin is because essentially they’re saving money and they’re getting a better high. It is very eye opening to see that heroin doesn’t discriminate against a 16 year old honors student who’s going to go to an Ivy league school can get addicted to heroin just as easily as your sister, your brother, your mom, your cousin. It’s out there and it is rampant.

Sno Babies
Katie Kelly as Kristen and Paola Andino as Hannah

Nancy Tapia: Yeah…So for you Katie as Kristen, you had a few more stronger scenes. The scene in having to physically strip for a simple urine drug test. It also felt like Kristen was also stripping part of her soul. What was it like filming that scene?

Katie Kelly: Filming that scene was … I don’t even know if there’s really words to describe it. When you’re in scenes like this and when you’re tackling topics such as this, it is easy to lose sight of. It’s not really you that’s going through it, it’s the character that’s going through it. So with that being said, you have to take yourself to really dark, dark mental places. I filmed it at such a young age, I’m honestly so proud of myself for being able to pull those dark emotions off. It was rough. It was very rewarding and I feel that Sno Babies is a tough watch. But an important watch and I think that that goes back to even filming. It was tough to film, but it was important and it was for a better good.

Sno Babies
Katie Kelly as Kristen

Like you said, filming that strip scene, it feels like a piece of you. I feel like a piece of me was left filming and that scene. I love the way it turned out on camera and I just think it really shows how desperate Kristen was. How she was willing to go to any length to beat the addiction or make it seem like she wasn’t having the addiction. It just goes to show that people are very desperate to hide this. I just think it’s important that people do and they go get help.

But as far as filming that scene in specific, it was challenging. But there was another level of trust between me and the director (Bridget Smith) and it was a closed set of four. So everyone that was working on the scene, they were mandatory to be there. So, it was very closed and safe and at the end of the day. I felt like it was just my little safe space to just go and be an artist and do what I came to do.

Nancy Tapia: Yes, I felt the scene. I actually got goosebumps while watching it. To think that is how it’s done. 

Katie Kelly: I know. She felt so powerless in that moment.

Nancy Tapia: For you, Paula, there was a long quote said by Hannah. A quote that I think a lot of people can relate to. Doesn’t have to necessarily be for someone battling an addiction.

“You can be blessed with a great family and go to a great school and have a lot of friends and money and all the things that make your life seem perfect, but in the inside, things can be ugly and terrifying and hopeless.”

Paola Andino: Yeah, absolutely. Even you just repeating that quote to me. I’m picturing it in the film and it hits me and I’m the one that said it. I know the line, but it’s so true. I think even nowadays with social media being so relevant, especially for teenagers and younger audiences. It’s so easy to put up a facade that you’re okay. Sometimes the brightest smiling faces are the ones that behind closed doors, they’re suffering the most.

I think it’s so important to check in on the people that you love. Sno Babies shows how while parents are busy it’s easy for kids to get by with what they’re doing. So again, back to addiction it is not discriminating, it can really be anyone. It doesn’t matter.

Sno Babies
Paola Andino as Hannah

It also happens in the entertainment industry. We’ve seen artists that they’re rich, so successful, talented and you think they have it all. But they’re still using drugs as some form of escape and as a coping mechanisms. It’s nice to draw attention and awareness to recovery so people know that there are other outlets and there are other ways to cope with life when it gets too overwhelming. When it is too heavy and when it is too hard.

Sometimes it’s hard because not everyone has that support system and that’s why it’s important for programs to be funded and to not be so misunderstood.

Nancy Tapia: Well, thank you so much for your time. Awesome job! If I were your parents, I would say I’m very proud of you because this is educational film to be a part of. It is going to open a lot of topics at the dinner tables and with friends. People out there are in similar situations behind closed doors.

Katie Kelly: Absolutely. I really appreciate you saying that. It really means a lot that you received the film so well. It means so much to us.

Nancy Tapia: Of course! 

Paola Andino: Absolutely.

Nancy Tapia: And good luck with your future projects.

Katie Kelly: Thank you.

Paola Andino: Thank you so much.

Sno Babies will be available tomorrow September 29th in VOD

Source: LRM Online Exclusive


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