Leo Oliva Joins Danny Glover in Upcoming Drama THE SHIFT
Actor Leo Oliva is turning his experience as a nurse into a medical drama that asks whether the terminally ill should be kept alive by machines or whether they should be allowed to die.
"It's a question that frequently comes up in hospitals for medical professionals and for families and it's not an easy answer for anyone," said Oliva, who stars in THE SHIFT, a drama he wrote and produced while working in the medical field.
"With the beginnings of THE SHIFT, I was looking into what was my worst fear as an ER nurse working in my home town: Finding myself caring for a close friend or loved one and ultimately not being able to save their lives."
THE SHIFT tells the story of Kayle, a young male nurse, portrayed by Oliva, who is conflicted on whether doctors, nurses and families should let long suffering patients or family members live in pain and anguish or allow them die in peace. It stars Oliva, veteran actor Danny Glover ("Dreamgirls," "Grand Canyon," "Lethal Weapon" series), and young actress Casey Fitzgerald ("After the Wizard"). THE SHIFT is set for release in January.
THE SHIFT is also about a question facing many today: "Where do you draw the line between being alive and actually living your life?" The answer isn't easy and many continue to debate the issue, whether as medical professionals or as family members or patients themselves. Himself a medical professional-turned-actor, Leo Oliva understands first-hand how doctors, nurses and family members question whether life should be sustained at all costs.
"Some things in life are never as black and white as we sometimes think and this film explores an important part of that as it happens in hospital rooms across the country and around the world," said Oliva, whose work includes the films "Los Traficantes" and the upcoming "Strike One."
"That's what makes this film very timely and so thought provoking and so important to us all."
The fact the film was shot at an actual hospital, Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center, was part of Oliva's goal to be as realistic as possible when it came to the production. Its interiors, architecture and overall atmosphere of a facility that dates back to the 1930s gave THE SHIFT gritty, realistic feel from the get go.
Part of the realism also included the benefits of actors training with medical equipment and learning how they work. Oliva's desire to train his actors in the proper way to hold and use the equipment was especially important.
"You can't hold a medical device upside down and do your dialogue and be believable. You have a sophisticated audience out there and you can't afford to lose them by not being factually correct with these instruments," Oliva said.
ABOUT LEO OLIVA
Lead Actor/Writer/Executive Producer Leo Oliva graduated from the University of Miami School of Nursing in 2006. In addition to being a registered nurse, Leo is a trained actor. In 2009, he officially became a graduate of the Sanford Meisner Studio in Burbank, Calif. Before writing THE SHIFT, Leo wrote, produced and starred in a short film, SPOILS OF WAR. With THE SHIFT, Leo used his many years in the ER and ICU to write a story about nursing from a unique prospective: the nurses'.