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Vassallo: A Mother and Daughter Dream Team

Candice Michele Barley and Christi Saxon Koelker at the 2016 - 13th annual - Oxford Film Festival.
Candice Michele Barley and Christi Saxon Koelker at the 2016 – 13th annual – Oxford Film Festival.

Christi Saxon Koelker and her beautiful daughter, Candice Michele Barley, were in Oxford over the weekend attending the Film Festival. These two incredible ladies have a fairy tale story to share that only happens in the movies.

HottyToddy.com: Christi, please tell us a little about who you are and what brought you to Oxford.

Christi Saxon Koelker: My husband Jamie and I own a production company in Aiken, South Carolina, called Storyline Media. We primarily produce documentaries in and around the South Carolina area focusing on the Civil War, the antebellum era, Reconstruction and archaeology. You can visit our website at www.KoelkerAssociates.com. I’m in Oxford to attend the film festival with my daughter, Candice, who is in a film being featured here.

HottyToddy.com: What is your most recent work?

Christi Saxon Koelker: We’ve just wrapped up a 30-minute, broadcast documentary called, “The Inevitable Evolution of Fort Prince Frederick.” It’s a film about a fort on Port Royal Island that was built in colonial times. But it evolved into being the only physical structure to survive as a monument to the first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation in the Southern states. I also have another documentary in progress called “Treasures in Earthen Vessels.”

HottyToddy.com: Candice, Your acting credentials are most impressive. Tell us a little about your history.

Candice Michele Barley: Well, thank you. I recently moved to Atlanta from Austin. I primarily work in the South so it’s great to be living where I work most. I filmed four movies here in Mississippi in 2015. I’m in town representing Skipstone Picture’s, ”Saved By Grace”, which was filmed in Canton. It’s the Spotlight film of the festival this year. “Saved by Grace” is a wonderful faith-based film. It’s the story of a former police officer’s (Joey Lawrence) personal journey after a traumatic loss occurs in his family. I play Joey’s wife and it will be released on DVD and online in mid March.

HottyToddy.com: Can you mention some others?

Candice Michele Barley: Sure, “The Hollow,” directed by Miles Doleac, was filmed in Hattiesburg. It’s a gritty crime drama, starring William Sadler and James Callis, set in the deep South. It will be released in theaters later this year. Another one is “Race to Redemption” which is a film about a family’s struggle to save their farm starring Luke Perry and Danielle Campbell. We filmed that one in Diamond Head, Mississippi. It will be releasing in 2016 as well. For the latest information on my projects, you can follow me on Twitter @candicembarley

HottyToddy.com: Candice, how did you get into this business?

Joey Lawrence and Candice Michele Barley at the Hollywood premiere of the film Saved By Grace.
Joey Lawrence and Candice Michele Barley at the Hollywood premiere of the film Saved By Grace.

Candice Michele Barley: My dad is a commercial photographer so I started modeling as a child, but decided early on that modeling was not for me. I was more interested in the performing arts and loved the creative freedom of acting. At age 17, when we were living in San Diego, it was my intention to move to Hollywood after high school to pursue my acting career. However, falling in love and getting married altered my path and although I never made it to LA I was still able to pursue acting eventually.

HottyToddy.com: Christi, what brings you back to Oxford this year?

Christi Saxon Koelker: This is our second time to attend the film festival. We were here five years ago when Candice’s movie, ”Where I Begin,” premiered. It was filmed right here in Oxford and produced by the festival’s executive director, Melanie Addington.

HottyToddy.com: How have you influenced Candice?

Christi Saxon Koelker: I’ve always encouraged her creativity whether it be through her art, ballet or acting. Probably the biggest impact on her wanting to be an actor occurred when she was four years old and was invited on the set of Maverick at Burbank Studios. James Garner grew up with my father and uncle in Norman, Oklahoma. He arranged to for us on set to watch an episode of the remake of the Maverick TV series. Candice was immediately infatuated with the world of the movies and I knew she would one day pursue her passion for film.

HottyToddy.com: Wow! Maverick is the legend of the west! ( At this point I wanted to dispense with the interview and just probe into these two ladies’ personal history. This was truly getting much more exciting than I had anticipated.) Christi and Candice, what about your mission going forward?

Christi Saxon Koelker: Our mission is to produce stories that give a voice to people who have not had the opportunity to be heard.

Candice Michele Barley
Candice Michele Barley

Candice Michele Barley: As an actor, it’s all about the stories. My mom and I share a desire to produce movies together that are focused on historical truths….the ones that, unfortunately, never make it into school books. We believe that is our purpose and we love being able to do it together.

HottyToddy.com: Christi, what are the benefits for the Oxford Pilgrimage?

Christi Saxon Koelker: I am very impressed with the growth of the Film Festival and the caliber of films being showcased. (Thousands were in attendance this weekend.) I’m blown away by being able to experience the festival’s Virtual Reality productions and technology. They’re an incredible, perspective-altering thing. Once you’ve seen it, you know that Virtual Reality is the wave of the future.

HottyToddy.com: Ladies, this interview is going to trigger considerable interest about the two of you. How can we all learn more about your successes?

Christi and Candice: Google IMDB.com, type in our names and go from there or click the link: http://www.imdb.me/candicebarley

I cannot recall whenever I have met a more talented mother and daughter team. At first I thought they were sisters until I asked Christi how long she had known Candice. She responded, “Nine months before she was born.” And I only had to cruise around Oxford to meet such amazing individuals!

Steve Vassallo

Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

Follow HottyToddy.com on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat @hottytoddynews. Like its Facebook page: If You Love Oxford and Ole Miss…

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