By: Sonny Pinkney

Before producer, actress, writer and director, Dawn Noel traveled back to Los Angeles, she took a moment to discuss her short film titled ’22 Years’ with feedbackthemagazine.com. Noel, a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania plays the role of ‘Avi’ who must determine whether to renew the relationship with her father; or simply– go forward with her life.

The film, which recently garnered an award for Best Short Film at the Philadelphia Independent Awards, has received many accolades from film festivals across the country ranging from:  Best Actress, Best Sound, Nominated Best Short, Nominated Best Director and Audience Choice Awards since its release in 2015. But, the film as Dawn describes it– is a ‘personal story’ about a family member mixed with some of her personal emotions.

Los Angeles Movie Awards
-Winner for Best Actress
Charlotte Black Film Festival
-Winner for Best Actress
Las Vegas Black Film festival
-Winner for Best Sound
Velvet Rope Film Festival
-Won Best Actress

Heading into the script creating process, for ‘22 Years’, Dawn didn’t have any expectations for this short film, she confessed that she just wanted to challenge herself professionally.

“I created this character for myself and I produced it, I mean it’s been almost three years from writing it, to pre-production, and raising the money and shooting and editing and film festivals, it’s been going on for a while now, I’m ready for something new.” Noel said.

The film which was primarily filmed in the Los Angeles region took two days to complete, Dawn sought out director and fellow Philly native, Fred Thomas, Jr. because she respects and admired his work.

Director Fred Thomas, Jr. on set of ’22 Years’

“I saw some of his stuff on film and then, I saw his play “12X9”, and I loved what he did with that. Noel revealed.  She added: “I loved his personality. I loved working with him and I wanted to give him a chance. We have two feature films that we’ll be working on in the future.”


Although, ‘22 Years’ is a short film, there are no plans now, for it to be made into a feature film, however, it can be seen on various digital platforms.

“Sometimes we get into online festivals, so I would say to everyone to like our social media pages like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, under ’22 Years’–all of our information is constantly updated on social media. We’ve been to so many cities already. So, you can catch us at our next festival or when it gets distribution…[But] for now, we have the trailer on YouTube to watch.” Noel stated.

The 5’6” actress/dancer who earned a BFA from the University of the Arts felt that the turnout that she and Fred received from loved ones on her big night was a little disappointing.

Dawn playing the role of Avi in the short film ’22 Years’

“I guess to be honest, really, I thought, there—would be a lot more support from family and friends. But, I do appreciate the family and friends that did come out, I really do. It’s one of those things that you’ll always remember. The people that supported you, when you were small—on-the-way-up, you do remember those people…. I wish there was more support…[But] it is what it is.” Noel feels.

While, on the other hand, Mr. Thomas, who revealed to feedbackthemagazine.com that he wishes that he could shoot some projects in his hometown says working with Ms. Noel was wonderful.

Dawn Noel (left) Fred Thomas, Jr. (right)

“It was amazing. She’s a go-getter, she assembled the whole team—as producer she called up friends and put out submissions and ads to putting the crew together, so, a lot of the people in the film she knew or we knew, who are in the business…she’s a boss and she knew her vision; and she could come on the set, and be a producer. And when it was time to be an actress, she knew how to cut the producer part off and then go straight into character.” Thomas disclosed.