Sudbury actor makes his debut at Cinéfest on Friday

·5 min read

A 21-year-old actor from Greater Sudbury will make his debut at the Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival on Friday.

Colton Gobbo stars alongside Oscar nominee Naomi Watts in the film Lakewood, which follows a mother (Watts) who desperately races against time to save her child (Gobbo) as authorities pursue an active shooter in her small town.

Directed by Phillip Noyce and written by Chris Sparling, Lakewood was filmed in North Bay and screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in early September.

Gobbo, a rising star in the film and television industry with a recurring role in the hit Netflix series Ginny & Georgia, said filming Lakewood was a tremendous experience and he is excited that the film will be screened locally.

“This is my first ever film in Cinéfest,” said Gobbo, who is currently in Saint John's, NL working on CBC television comedy series Son of a Critch, which is slated to premiere in January 2022.

“I definitely attended Cinéfest for years – as an actor in Sudbury, that’s the glory. The only word that’s coming to me is surreal.”

Gobbo, who was born and raised in Sudbury, got his start in acting at nine when he played a small part in YES Theatre’s 2010 production of Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical.

“The creative and managing director of YES Theatre, Alessandro Costantini, has been a close family friend for years,” said Gobbo.

“When the theatre company was doing its very first production, there was a small part and Alessandro asked if I wanted to give it a shot. All of a sudden, here I am. Twelve years later and still doing the same thing.”

Gobbo landed his first role in television when he was 13, and he has appeared in TV series like Orphan Black and Titans. In 2019, he appeared in the film Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark written, in part, by Guillermo Del Toro.

After finishing high school in 2018, he moved to Toronto to study at George Brown College’s School of Media and Performing Arts – and the day after graduation he flew out to Newfoundland where he is working on his most recent project.

Towards the end of 2021, he will start filming season two of Ginnie & Georgia, which Gobbo said has been one of the best experiences of his life.

“I cannot say enough positive things about that production, and everyone involved,” he said.

“There was this strange collaborative and loving environment that was set up from day one where we didn’t have any negativity. Everyone was safe to work and make this thing that we were so proud of. Out of nowhere, it became the biggest show in Netflix history.”

Filming Lakewood was a phenomenal experience for him because he got to wear a number of different hats.

“We spent about two to three weeks shooting in North Bay in person. It was incredible. Naomi is amazing, and Phil, the director, is brilliant,” he said.

“After that, a lot of the film was actually shot on my phone in my living room in Toronto. That was where most of the work came in.”

The film, he explained, follows Naomi Watts’ character Amy Carr after she learns about an emergency at a local high school during her morning run.

It turns out, it is the same high school that s attended by her son Noah Carr, played by Gobbo.

“There are a lot of different parts of the film. We were trying to kind of simulate an Instagram feed,” he said.

“I downloaded a camera app on my phone. Phil would give me a ring, and we’d Facetime and talk about what the deal was. Then, I’d do a couple takes on my phone and send them off. Phil would send me his notes, and I would do another couple of takes.”

He enjoyed the experience because he got to try his hand at cinematography.

Gobbo’s advice to young actors looking to break into the industry is to put themselves out there as much as they can.

“So much of this job is just making a fool out of yourself, and that’s just one of the steps. You need to learn to make these mistakes and find a good spot to develop your craft,” he said.

“Just get involved. Put yourself out there and take the risk. There are so many great theatre companies in Sudbury, including YES Theatre and the Sudbury Theatre Centre. Theatre is a phenomenal place to start. The film and television industry is also booming in Sudbury right now.”

His favourite part about acting is that he gets to “play pretend” and fully use his imagination.

“The thing I loved about acting then is still the thing I love now, but I wasn’t able to put my finger on it at the time,” he said.

“When you’re working on a character, you have the chance to experience new things that you normally wouldn’t have the chance to do. You have the opportunity to take something from each of these roles and apply it to your own life.”

At the same time, he added, you get the chance to bring a part of yourself to the character.

“You get to create this conglomerate of personality and make all these different choices. It’s really give-and-take in terms of using your experiences and experiencing new things,” he said.

“It’s just opening up and trying to be the most empathetic person you can be.”

Lakewood will be screening at SilverCity during the Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival on Sept. 24 at 7 and 7:30 p.m.

The film will also be available on the festival’s virtual platform from Sept. 25 to 29 at 9 p.m.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.

Twitter: @SudburyStar

Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star

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