Filmmaker returns to his Petaluma roots

Paul Winston


It’s been said that any actor who wants to be known outside of his hometown will go to Los Angeles. Among other things, it’s home to the Academy Awards, Warner Bros, and HBO — a far cry from any small-town prospects they may encounter otherwise. The potential is practically palpable, yet so few artists actually make it in the city. But native Paul Winston has defied this paradox, rallying from a tough time in L.A. and returning to his Petaluma roots as the source of his up-and-coming film, “Six Feet From the Edge.”

‘When I first got a hold of the script for ‘Six Feet From the Edge,’ I knew that one day it was going to make a great film,” said Winston. “When I was ready, when me and my production company were ready to make that film, it was going to be huge. ‘Shattered Allegiance’ taught us how to make a film, and what goes into it, learning how to do things on set, learning how to take things on the fly, taking things as they come and turning it into a win.”

Winston founded the Unbounded Ambition Film Studio in 2008. Much like an acrostic poem, each letter in the company name is part of a different motivational word. Words like “aspiration,” “capable,” “dream,” and “passion,” elucidate the drive and strength of a company led by an actor as driven and determined as Paul Winston. In 2009, the company produced “Shattered Allegiance,” wherein Winston was not only cast as the young American skinhead who is the focus of the film, but also wore the hats of writer, producer and director. His hard work paid off when “Shattered Allegiance” was nominated for the Best American Short Film in an international film festival.

Winston also enjoys exhibiting the talent of his close friends and family, and he’s quick to praise them for their continuous support and dedication to his films.

“My Auntie Shawna is my rock,” said Winston. “She is a producer, still photographer, makeup artist, hair stylist, actress and my biggest fan in ‘Six Feet from the Edge.’ She’s a beautiful person inside and out and I love her more than words can describe.”

When the opportunity arose to finally produce “Six Feet From the Edge,” Sonoma County seemed the obvious choice for the setting. Though Winston grew up in Rohnert Park and even attended Rancho Cotati High school, he spent much of his time on his grandparent’s property by Larson’s Christmas Tree Farm, and there fell in love with the Petaluma countryside. Little did he know that many years later that same gentle farmland would reinforce the central theme of his biggest film yet.

Said Winston, “We had a lot of country shots in [“Six Feet From the Edge”], and we shot out by Liberty School. In the film, there are a few characters who don’t know the others exist, and they intersect on this road. It’s an interesting kind of metaphor. That’s what the film is about, that everyone’s connected whether they know it or not. It’s a beautiful story.”

Beyond capturing the beauty of the town in his up and coming feature film, Winston plans on further exposing Petaluma to a film festival of it’s own. He remains undeterred by the powerhouse of film festivals currently operating in the Bay Area.

“I plan on creating a film festival in the heart of Petaluma that will compare in size and magnitude to the Sundance Film Festival, which will bring many people and lots of money into our town,” said Winston. “I want to provide the independent artist an outlet and opportunity to showcase their work for the world to see and appreciate.”

For more information on upcoming Unbounded Ambition Film Studio and Paul Winston productions, visit the Unbounded Ambitions website, or check out their Facebook page.

“Six Feet From the Edge” is scheduled for release in early 2016. Winston stated that he is planning a premiere to be held at a Petaluma theater to honor the dedication of his cast and celebrate this cozy small town.

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