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Sophia Palosaari spins for all to see

"Truth is not a possession, but it possesses you." This is a line from "Spin of Fabrications," a new film from Spiritual Cinema, which has local actress Sophia Palosaari playing the lead. Palosaari has a thing for dragons. It's true. In fact, in Rio Veradonir's newest opus, she even created and wrote a part specifically for a dragon. All of this is just part of the filmmaker and his muse's exploration into the central theme of philosophical truth.

More than just a pretty face, with wide, waterfall eyes, Palosaari is a lifelong student of the arts who bases a lot of her passion in intellectual integrity of a project. Case and point, "The Phantom of the Opera."

"I used to want to be in the 'Phantom of the Opera' so bad. I would listen to the two-disc CD every single night until I had not only the part of Christine memorized, but all the characters," said Palosaari. "I went to England and saw it five different times in her Majesty's theatre. I would pray every night that someday I would be in that show as Christine. I was obsessed."

But then the recent film version of "Phantom" was released, Palosaari found her dreams hit a flat note. "It kind of ruined it for me ... especially the fact that everyone loved the singing so much ... it was horrible, the 'Phantom' had never even had a voice lesson (prior to) beginning of production, and Christine was consistently flat. They were beautiful though, which I guess was all that mattered in the end ..."

Originally trained as a singer and dancer, Palosaari, a soprano, brings her loves for the abstract, and for artistic integrity as she makes the leap to film.

Palosaari's enamored pursuit of theater began as an acting and dance student at Idyllwild Arts Summer Program in Southern California, and for the past four years was a member of the Idyllwild Arts Festival Choir conducted by Grant Gershon at Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles.

"Actually, theater is my least developed talent," said Palosaari. But I'm fascinated by it due to the control you assert over a situation. You can look at (it), contemplate it and play it exactly how you want to. It's quite a positive affirmation." At 20, on hiatus from her year at Chapman University, majoring in theater performance, already has a string of affirmatives to her name.

In high school, Palosaari won first place for the southern Oregon district for two years in Soprano division of the yearly SOMEA regional music competition, placing fourth at State in 2006 singing "Noi Donne Poverine" by Mozart and "Das Verlassene Magdlein" by Hugo Wolf. She was a member of 2005's ACDA's National Honor Choir under the baton of Jeffrey Redding, and toured Europe with Ambassadors of Music under music director David M. Becker.

Palosaari was a voice student in Southern Oregon with Ellie Holt-Murray since since age 11, and vocal coach, Laurie Hunter.

"A vocal teacher and a vocal coach are different things," said Palosaari. "(from Holt-Murray) I learned the Alexander technique, focusing on breathing and use of the diaphragm. Breath supports basics of singing, leading to constancy of tone. It's the Zen part I guess. Hunter helped me access different literary choices. For example, I desperately wanted to do "Carmen" but she discouraged that due to age relation. One has a tendency to repeat the style in which something is learned, so matching maturity to a piece is very important."

Palosaari was first soprano in St. Mary's High School Choir, under director Michael Wing. She has performed in master classes with Grant Gershon, Don Brinegar and Carol and Nico Castile of the Metropolitan Opera.

So, what is the growing curve for starting as a lead in a motion picture at 19?

"Being a young actress can have its disadvantages not having as much life experience," said Palosaari. "But throughout this particularly long shoot, I've learned to have a lot of patience and how to interact with a lot of different people on a real level. We've filmed this over the course of two summers and so much has happened over that period that I hope added to the character." Although new to film, Palosaari has had local theatre experience, including Meredith Willson's The Music Man, in the role of "Marian the Librarian," The Fantasticks, as "the Mute."

So, when Palosaari landed the part in Veradonir's latest opus, she brought more experience and insight with her than may have been expected. In a world where a young artist's dreams so often fall prey to vacant commercialism in lieu of artistic integrity, Palosaari, through Veradonir, finally found a project in which she could truly flourish.

Essentially, "Spin of Fabrications" is a phantasmagorical odyssey in which a young woman walks through her own fantasies, encountering different apertures of herself to one day see the whole.

"I came up with this dragon," said Palosaari," because I thought it would be good to have a consistent character who could explain things in layman's terms because much of the dialogue is elevated. In addition, I thought it would be good to never have the dragon appear the same way twice."

This may add a few bucks to post production for Veradonir, as the beast of philosophical burden must be fully computer rendered, but the film-maker sees it as being worth it.

"(She) is just so close to the character, it's like she's just acting out her own dreams," said writer/director Veradonir. "She's had a lot of artistic ideas into the character and brought so much."

This high concept feature is part of launching Rio Veradonir's budding foundation, Veradonir, which he named after himself, meaning "River of Truth." The philanthropic organization is designed to facilitate world progress through growing chapters. Veradonir and Palosaari will be having a meeting to discuss progress with the film, set for release this coming June, as well as exploration of the Veradonir Patron Society this Sun, Nov. 11 at — p.m. at T's bar and Grill in down town Ashland, where the public is encouraged to attend. RSVP or learn more about the film at