Getting to Know

Dream comes true for Chicago actress from Lowell

2013-10-04T00:00:00Z Dream comes true for Chicago actress from LowellBy Kimberly Cheek-Stanley Times Correspondent
October 04, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Lowell native Vanessa Hughes is thrilled to see a childhood dream become reality with her recent film debut.

The 34-year-old was cast in a supporting role for the film "Mother’s Milk," a psychological thriller produced and directed by Edward Pionke that debuted at The International Film Awards Berlin in August.

The film garnered five nominations, including Best Picture and Best Screenplay, and received awards for Best Director and Best Actor.

“It was incredibly surreal and exciting, but we were made to feel so at home and also made amazing friendships in the process,” Hughes said.

"Mother’s Milk" was recently accepted to the Northwest Ohio Film Fest with seven nominations, the SoCal Film Fest and the Santa Monical Film Fest, as well as the NYC Independent Film Fest.

“We also still have yet to hear from 12 more fests on our acceptance, so there may be more to come,” she said.

A Television and Theatre Arts graduate of Valparaiso University, Hughes is employed by the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music as an administrative assistant to the Choral Department and Institute for New Music.

She recently finished filming another movie by Edward Pionke, "Residuum," and is in the planning stages for a third film.

“Besides filming, I have a very involved theatre life at Piccolo Theatre in Evanston, and will be doing two plays there in the next six months,” she said.

“I am playing the Snow Queen in our holiday Panto (a form of musical comedy) of “Snow Queen,” and in the early spring I am playing Titania in “Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

A Chicago resident, Hughes’ next goal is to take on the television world.

“I want to continue to train and work and grow as an actor and ultimately get cast in major films and TV series, but as long as I can work in respectable projects that fulfill me artistically, I am thrilled and humbled.”

To learn more about Mother’s Milk, visit

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