Alba Baptista, Raffey Cassidy, and Quintessa Swindell: three budding actresses and their careers, with several first-rate films to their credit already and significant formative experiences as well, working with male and female colleagues who have influenced them and helped them grow professionally and personally. The three women brightened up the stage at the Miu Miu Women’s Tales Conversations, with Penny Martin in her usual role of moderator, ever ready to launch new topics of discussion. One of the most interesting of which was what working alongside big-name film personalities was really like. Answer? The latter were generous with their advice and eager to help everyone get along on set.
A glance at their filmographies will suffice to show where the three actresses are on their upward curve. Cassidy is in the main cast of White Noise, the opening film at Venice, directed by Noah Baumbach and starring Greta Gerwig and Adam Driver. She had graced the Lido before, with Natalie Portman, Jude Law, and Stacy Martin, for Vox Lux, while Cannes admired her back at the premiere of The Killing of a Sacred Deer by Yorgos Lanthimos. An impressive cv, by any measure, and quite a lot of experience by now, to show how far Cassidy has come since she first went to an audition, after her brother had one.
Swindell comes to Venice in a starring role, alongside actors of the caliber of Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver, in the film screening out of competition Master Gardener by Paul Schrader. That was a unique experience, she says, made all the more exciting by working cheek by jowl with world-famous actresses who shower you with attention; you can only admire them and learn as much as you can. Swindell’s name is also connected to a series like In Treatment and a part in one of the most original hit series in recent years, Euphoria. For Swindell, it was important to play Anna; it was a way to experiment, considering she herself identifies as non-binary. And meeting a whole community of transgender and non-binary individuals on that set, and working with Hunter Shafer, was a turning point in her career, helping her mature as a person and as an artist.
Compared to her two colleagues, Baptista comes from a different background. One, since she is Portuguese, speaks five languages, and started working on soap operas and short films when she was sixteen. One of the latter, Miami, really made the difference, as far as her career was concerned. Initially, she was thinking of the art world in general, which fascinated her. Then Simão Cayatte, director of that short, asked her to act for him, and she jumped at the chance. Eight years later, she found herself working with Isabelle Huppert (a “living masterclass”, she opines) in the comedy Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris by Anthony Fabian.
Cinema has always been a collective endeavor, further proof of which is the conversation with these three young actresses.