Deborah Lee Fong’s performance as Agnes in Secret Santa, a live screenplay reading featured during 2019’s Urbanworld Film Festival, is the latest feather in the cap of a performer who has worked for three decades in national theatrical productions, television, and film alike. She is of Panamanian American descent and still crackles with a passion to communicate and perform despite a lengthy career; Fong is definitely in the mold of creative artists forever searching for the next challenge for their talents and always looking to broaden their skill set with demanding or revealing roles allowing them to explore their imaginations in full.
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She can claim an impressive résumé even before this appearance. Fong has appeared in the film You and Your Decisions as well as Public Service Television offerings Footsteps and its sequel Footsteps 2. She brings a plethora of talents to bear; in addition to her acting skills, Fong is a noted dancer with an emphasis on salsa and pole dancing. Her dancing gifts manifest themselves, as well, in her acting performances; the physicality of her gifts are not restricted to her body alone but extend, as well, to the engaging manner of her delivery and full-on commitment to inhabiting any role she takes on.
Appearing along with many others at the 23rd annual edition of the Urbanworld Film Festival provides Fong with an unique opportunity to reassert her talents in front of a global audience. The New York City based festival focuses on film, digital media, and music over the course of five days and, thanks in part to partnerships with network giants Black Entertainment Television and Home Box Office, attracts a bevy of skilled performers and industry figures from every conceivable culture and milieu.
The creative works featured during the festival are reflective of this as well; the films and music showcased during the festival’s five day run are widely inclusive since Stacy Spikes first founded the event in 1997 and the digital portion of the event’s schedule helps facilitate artists find their feet by examining trends and changes in content creation, financing, and distribution. The live screenplay readings included in the schedule provides an unique opportunity for performers and writers alike to shine.
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It is no surprise Fong has embraced this chance and made the most of it. Seasoned veteran talents such as herself recognize the special niche Urbanworld occupies in a yearly slate of film festivals occurring throughout the United States and world at large. It is more than a chance to make your voice heard; it is an opportunity for others to hear your voice and, particularly in the case of live screenplay readings, take part the singular collaborative experience of performers and an audience of attentive listeners/viewers exchanging energy. There is no question that Fong’s presence strengthens an already first class artistic event and her lead role in Secret Santa generated a great deal of buzz about this time-tested performer. It fulfills one of the festival’s central goals for both Fong and the audience; opening new vistas for us to appreciate life in all its richness and our common humanity.