Local actress Naomi Duvall makes her Hallmark feature debut

In Hallmark feature film “Two for the Win,” Peterborough actor Naomi Duvall plays ski mom Margaret Ainsley, who bids in a charity auction to try to win a day with ski champion Justin O’Neill , performed by Trevor. Donovan. The film was shot in the Ottawa area in November 2020 (Photo provided)

Naomi Duvall is one of the hardest-working artists in the region.

She works in several disciplines including, but not limited to, theater (stage, television and film), puppetry and object art, drama writing and slapstick comedy. Duvall is known to have a lot of projects going on at any given time.

Perhaps this is the reason why so many in the Peterborough-Nogojwanong arts community are celebrating Duvall’s recent speaker role in the Hallmark feature film. Two for victory.

It’s wonderful to see all of his hard work pay off.

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A graduate of the professional theater program at John Abbott College in the West Island of Montreal, Duvall has worked on almost every stage in Peterborough.

Although she has worked extensively for television, advertising and film, Two for victory represents an escape role for the career of the actor.

The film, starring Trevor Donovan and Charlotte Sullivan, is about a ski champion (Donovan) who returns to his hometown, where he reconnects and ultimately falls in love with a local ski instructor (Sullivan).

VIDEO: Preview and Preview of “Two for the Win”

Duvall stars as Margaret Ainsley, a ski-mum who rather comically pokes fun at the character of Donovan and even makes an offer at a charity auction to try and win a day with him.

“This is my very first speaking role,” said Duvall, “I’m so excited.”

“In a way, my time making a Hallmark movie feels like a real Hallmark experience – I feel like Tiny Tim,” she laughs. “For a small town girl like me, that feels really good.”

“Before I read the entire script, I actually thought it was a Christmas movie,” Duvall recalls with a laugh. “I was so excited – I had this notebook and decorated it with Christmas stickers, like a 12 year old. I was so excited, then I showed up on set with my Christmas notebook and realized it was a ski movie.

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“For the first time in my life, I got my own trailer, which was amazing,” she adds. “I was absolutely losing my mind – I even took a video of myself.”

The actor landed the role through a self-recorded audition – a pre-recorded video audition where an actor plays selected portions of script, called sides, which are then submitted to casting directors.

“Because of COVID, I had a lot more self-recording auditions,” says Duvall.

“In a non-pandemic time, I would go to Toronto maybe twice a month for auditions – and it would be a really good month in terms of auditions. Now it looks like I get one a week. It wasn’t that long ago that I actually did four self-recorded auditions in a weekend, which was my monthly quota of in-person auditions before the pandemic. ”

Peterborough-Nogojiwanong actress Naomi Duvall.  (Photo provided)
Peterborough-Nogojiwanong actress Naomi Duvall. (Photo provided)

The online nature of work during the pandemic leveled the playing field, in a sense, for regional artists who would normally have to travel to urban centers for work opportunities.

As is the case with workers in all industries, the pandemic has certainly made it harder for the actor to work, but Duvall feels lucky to have been able to do his job safely.

“I was really, really lucky in that regard. We were filming in Ottawa and I had some great friends who were able to drive me back and forth, which relieved me a lot of transit anxiety. I was also able to find, via a local forum, a wonderful contactless Airbnb. ”

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On the set, multiple precautions were taken to ensure the safety of the actors and the team.

“We had to get tested first and send them the results,” says Duvall. “And then, while you’re on set, they also test you regularly. They had a mobile test unit on site. I think it took a lot of planning, but I feel like the film industry is used to it.

“Obviously, I would have liked more if my first experience hadn’t been during COVID,” Duvall said of filming during the pandemic. “We were quite isolated from each other on set.”

“It just wasn’t the same. Because of COVID, it felt a lot more like groundwork. You shoot and then hold on, but you just stay there and try to stand six feet away from everyone else and wear your mask whenever you can. “

Peterborough actor Naomi Duvall as ski mum Margaret Ainsley mocking ski champion Justin O'Neill (Trevor Donovan) in a deleted scene from the Hallmark feature "Two for victory".  (Photo provided)
Peterborough actor Naomi Duvall as ski mom Margaret Ainsley pokes fun at ski champion Justin O’Neill (Trevor Donovan) in a deleted scene from Hallmark’s feature film “Two for the Win”. (Photo provided)

“I still had a very good experience,” she says. “It was great working with the director, and the only thing that really stood out to me was how much the team supported me.”

“After I shot a scene, the whole crew applauded me and applauded me,” Duvall recalls. “Of course, that was the scene that ended up being cut – it was also the scene with last minute script changes. The scene may have been cut, but the memory in my head lives on.”

“There are so many things I’m grateful for – I’m grateful for everything,” said an exuberant Duvall. “Now I am so excited to share this movie with others.”

Two for victory will air Friday February 19 at 8 p.m. on CityTV.

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