Skip to main content

Calgary actress Tedra Rogers travels backwards through time in Stinger Award-nominated romance Here & After

Calgary actress Tedra Rogers is nominated for a Stinger Award for her role as Arora in Here & After, a black and white romance shot in Calgary by writer/director Shaun Crawford. (Photo: Quinn Eastwood) Calgary actress Tedra Rogers is nominated for a Stinger Award for her role as Arora in Here & After, a black and white romance shot in Calgary by writer/director Shaun Crawford. (Photo: Quinn Eastwood)
Share

When Here & After, her first feature as the lead character, was selected for the 2021 Calgary International Film Festival, Tedra Rogers had a pretty memorable night.

“The audiences were blown away,” she says. “We won the Audience Choice Award!”

Not only that, but it was a hometown affair for Rogers, who was born and raised in Calgary before relocating to Vancouver to pursue an acting career.

“I was really fortunate,” she says. “My grandparents got to come, and got to see me do the full red carpet and that was my first time being the lead in a feature film and seeing myself for a whole hour up on the screen.

“Seeing the fruits of that was really incredible.”

Rogers is on her way back to Calgary this weekend, to attend the Stinger Awards - given to the best Alberta independent films - at the Chinese Cultural Centre, where she’s been nominated for an acting award.

TIME TRAVEL

Here & After is a time-travel romance written and directed by Calgary director Shaun Crawford. It tells the story of the day Arora (Rogers) meets Ray (Thomas Romero) who is destined to become her husband.

The twist is that every day Arora wakes up she's a day younger and she knows that the day she meets Ray is also the last day she'll ever spend with him.

It was shot in various southern Alberta locations, such as the Big Rock near Okotoks Erratic and the Leighton Art Centre, just south of the city, where Rogers visited as a girl growing up with an art dealer mom.

That made the experience of playing a character in a time-travel drama in some of her childhood haunts a bit of a time-travel for Rogers herself.

“I remembered going to this place (Leighton Art Centre) as a little kid,” she says. 

“It was sort of like a fever dream, it was so heightened,” she adds, “and I think it was so interesting going back to shoot at all of these locations that were so special to me (as a child) because it felt magical and really meant to be.”

“So in the film, Calgary itself really is a character,” she adds. 

Tedra Rogers was born in Calgary on Stampede Parade day

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

Growing up in Calgary, Rogers trained to be a classical ballerina. That led to a stint, at the age of 16, training with the Joffrey Ballet School in New York, where Rogers lived in a six-floor walk-up with six roommates.

"Very special (experience),” she says, “but being a 16-year-old, having to haul bags of groceries on the subway, and up six flights of stairs to get to your apartment and having six roommates – I could have done without six roommates!"

Part of the Joffrey experience included a chance to study acting at HB Studios, a legendary New York acting school that trained Oscar-winners like Jack Lemmon, Whoopi Goldberg and Robert De Niro.

It was Rogers' first taste of acting.

 “That was when the (acting) ball kind of started rolling,” she says. “And I did really enjoy it.

“But I had never considered an acting career. From the outside, it seemed so inaccessible,” she adds. “I would have never made this move (from ballet to acting) had I not had something really change the path I was on.”

That something happened two years later, when, back in Calgary, her vehicle was rear-ended by a truck as she drove through Calgary with such force that Rogers was told she couldn’t dance anymore.

She was 18.

Once she recovered, acting became the focus of Rogers’ creativity.

That led, in time, to parts on a number of TV series and films, including Super Girl, Firefly Lane and Cruel Summer, among many others.

Saturday, she's returning to Calgary for the awards ceremony. (Her co-star Romero is also nominated for the role of Ray, along with director Crawford and editor and co-producer Brett Conners).

Tedra Rogers grew up training in ballet but after a car accident at the age of 18 that left her unable to dance, she switched to acting. She's nominated for a Stinger Award for her role in the time-travel drama Here & After. (Photo: Elijah Silva)

'TOO DRAMATIC'

But what about that name? Where did 'Tedra' come from?

It turns out her mom anticipated having a boy and loved the nickname Teddie – but when Rogers was born – on the day of the Stampede parade - she resisted the idea of calling the baby Theodora, because she thought it was too dramatic.

"Which was really funny," Rogers said, "now that I've become an actor and I work in performing!” 

It's been a challenging few years to be an actress, what with the pandemic and then the writer's strike, followed by the actor's strike that shut down production for the entire second half of 2023.

Now, she's taken up writing and has two short films she's hoping to produce and shoot.

"Actually I really want to come back and shoot in Calgary," she says, "because shooting Here and After was such an incredible experience.”

The Stinger Awards, presented by the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers, are at the Chinese Cultural Centre Saturday, hosted by Andrew Phung.

For more information, go here.

CTVNews.ca Top Stories

What to know about Super Tuesday and why it matters

It's almost Super Tuesday when voters in 16 states and one territory will cast their ballots in the 2024 presidential primaries. Here's why the day matters — and why it looks a little different this year.

Stay Connected