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Hemelt: Reserve mother excited for daughter’s film

As a self-described movie buff, I’ve been intrigued by Project Almanac, which opens nationally Jan. 30.

The movie’s snapshot subplot is a group of teens discover plans of a time machine and construct one, but that is when things start to get out of control.

The “found footage” angle is employed in the film, hopefully creating something audiences will take with them after exiting theaters.

I first saw the previews for this movie last summer, which made me excited about it. Yet, my excitement is nothing compared to that of Angie Bourgeois DeFraites.

The born and bred Reserve native is especially pumped about the movie, because it stars her daughter, Michelle DeFraites.

Michelle plays Sarah Nathan in the film, a character Angie said is nothing like her daughter.

“Her character, Sarah Nathan, is the bully, which will be interesting to watch since that is completely opposite her real personality,” Angie said. “Michelle loved working on this movie, meeting the actors, directors and producers, working with the best in the industry.”

The best part of the process for Angie and Michelle is the fact Michelle’s work ethic and talent were the driving forces in her successful auditioning process.

“We are completely excited to see Michelle’s dream of acting fulfilled on the big screen,” Angie said. “After auditioning by Skype, she flew to Atlanta for filming and then waited over a year while the movie was in post production, so we are so glad we finally get to see the finished product.”

Angie and Michelle still have plenty of family in the River Parishes, and Angie said she was just in town during Christmas to enjoy the bonfires and more.

Angie grew up in Reserve, attended St. Peter School, Riverside Academy and graduated from St. Charles Catholic.

She attended LSU, where she met husband Syd, who is from Terrytown. They were members of the LSU Tiger Band and became active in St. John Community Theater.

After college, the couple got jobs on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and moved there to raise their family. 

Michelle is the oldest of their two children.

“Our family continued as a part of the community theater scene in the Gulfport/Biloxi area, which is where Michelle got the acting bug,” Angie said. “She started dancing at the Coast Youth Ballet Academy at 3 and then took contemporary dance. She acted and danced in several Gulf Coast theater productions. From a very young age, she would watch kid actors on TV and say, ‘I can do that, I want to do that.’”

After attending an acting convention in Orlando, Fla., Michelle was invited to attend an acting boot camp at age 14 in Los Angeles. Her teacher encouraged the family to move to L.A. for Michelle to better pursue an acting career.

The family eventually moved to Burbank, which is near Los Angeles.

For those interested in the movie, I encourage you to check out its preview on IMDB.com, where Michelle’s acting credits are also listed. She has already appeared in a host of television shows, including Rizzoli & Isles, Bones, Glee and House M.D., among many others.

Now, Project Almanac will be her biggest action yet.

“I am so excited to see (Michelle) on the big screen — such a proud mama moment,” Angie said. “I will probably cry when I see it, just because it is so great to have her dreams come true. We know this is just the beginning for her.”

Stephen Hemelt is general manager and editor of L’OBSERVATEUR. He can be reached at 985-652-9545 or stephen.hemelt@lobservateur.com.