ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Growing up, Sidney Fullmer often played with American Girl dolls. So it was a surprise when the actress was cast as the lead in “An American Girl: Saige Paints the Sky” and her dream came true of becoming a real life American Girl.
“I was lucky to work with such a great cast and crew for my first film,” Fuller says. “It was amazing to finally be making a movie.”
The Saige doll in the American Girl series is a New Mexico girl.
Yet becoming an actress was something Fullmer didn’t even think about.
She says on her ninth birthday, she went with her family to an American Girl store to get a doll at a store in California.
“One of the workers said I should try to get my foot in the door with acting,” she says. “That was the first time it have ever crossed my mind. It’s funny that two years later, I would be cast in my first film as an American Girl.”
“Saige Paints the Sky” is about a 9-year-old creative, sensitive and apprehensive girl, Saige, who is devastated when her best friend, Tessa, comes back from summer camp with another best friend.
Saige then learns that the school has suspended all extracurricular activities. A big fundraiser is organized to bring back the activities to the school. Her misunderstandings with her peers, plus an accident that sidelines her beloved grandmother, Mimi, played by Jane Seymour, stand in the way of her goals.
Over the course of the story, Saige gains confidence in herself, embraces change, and learns how to express her true feelings – all attributes that lead her to resounding success and renewed friendships.
“Saige, she has so much courage and faith,” Fullmer explains. “She fights for what she loves and I think we share a lot of similarities. I know that things will turn out alright and I know that things happen for a reason.”
Fullmer says although she was cast as Saige, when she first auditioned it was for the role of Tessa.
“I had blonde hair like Tessa did in the book,” she says. “After I read for it, the director asked me to read for Saige. Then they asked if I would dye my hair red if I got the role and I did.”
Fullmer also got a chance to work with Seymour, which she said was a great experience.
“There were a lot of scenes that I had with her and because she was my grandmother in the film, I thought of my relationship with my own grandmother and we bonded over that,” she says. “We still write each other and send each other small gifts. Jane is such a nice person.”
For more than a month last October, cast and crew filmed around the Duke City.
Fullmer says she had the opportunity to paint outside and ride horses for the film.
Yet, there was an event that Fullmer never expected to attend.
“My dad and three brothers flew out here and we all went to the Balloon Fiesta,” she says. “It was amazing to have all my family together and we were able to enjoy the beautiful colors in the sky. It was great having fun with my whole family.”
Fullmer says she is looking forward to a career in acting and hopes that she will be able to keep her career going.
“Filming in New Mexico was so beautiful that it was a perfect way to start my career,” she says. “I can’t wait to read more scripts and see what other roles I can get.”
The film will be available for purchase on DVD on Tuesday, July 2 at retail outlets across the country.
The city of Albuquerque will host a screening of the film at the KiMo Theatre, 423 W. Central, at 2 today. Tickets are $5 at www.kimotickets.com or 768-3544.
For those who can’t make it out to the screening, the film will premiere on NBC at 6 p.m. July 18.
Also, American Girl is asking fans to visit www.americangirl.com/girloftheyear for a behind-the-scenes look at the film, including the movie trailer and video clips.
The company also is debuting new doll products for Saige, including Saige’s Tunic Outfit and Picnic Set, a Saige mini doll, and Saige’s Punch Design Frame from the American Girl Crafts line of high-quality craft supplies and kits at www.americangirl.com.
SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ABQjournal.com. Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.