Graduated from Guilderland in 2015 in a horror film in the desert

According to Angela Mariano, it was a series of coincidences that led her to star in a horror film without any acting experience.

Mariano, originally from Albany and graduated in 2015 from Guilderland High School, is the protagonist of “Miracle Valley”, a film written, directed and produced by Greg Sestero. The film follows an obsessive photographer, played by Sestero, and his girlfriend (Mariano), who go on a desert getaway to spot and photograph a rare bird. An alarming presence disrupts their tour, forcing them to confront demons.

The film has yet to be officially released, but is currently showing at film festivals and screenings, one of which will take place on Wednesday, October 13 at WAMC’s The Linda in Albany.

Like many before her, the model-turned-actress moved to New York City to pursue her dreams. She met Sestero at a casual night out with a friend.


“I ended up going to a movie screening of ‘The Disaster Artist’ and met the producer,” Mariano said. “The Disaster Artist,” a 2017 film directed by James Franco about the making of a widely released cult film. The producer Mariano met that evening was Sestero, who also wrote the book “The Disaster Artist” was based on and was portrayed in the film by Franco’s brother Dave.

“We were just talking; I was making jokes, ”said Mariano. “And then I got a message on Instagram and (Sestero) said, ‘This is absolutely crazy, but I just have a good feeling. Have you ever played before? ‘ ”

Mariano had never acted before, not even in high school theater classes. She sent Sestero a few audition tapes and a few days later found herself in the middle of the Arizona desert, shooting for a movie.

Sestero said he was inspired by meeting the late director Joel Schumacher and decided to take the same approach when casting for his directorial debut.

Screening of “Miracle Valley”

When: Wednesday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Where: The Linda from WAMC, 339 Central Ave, Albany

Tickets: $ 15 Info: thelinda.org


“I finished the script and thought, let me do what Joel Schumacher was doing and go on a whim and approach a real person to see if they’d be interested in doing a role,” Sestero said. “I reached out to Angela and I was like, hey, I know it’s different and unorthodox, but I thought you would be really good for this role and I thought of you while I was writing it. Would you be ready to read it and talk about it?

After Wednesday’s screening, there will be a question-and-answer session with Mariano and Sestero. All are required to present proof of vaccination against Covid-19 with ID. Face masks are mandatory regardless of vaccination status.


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