INTERVIEW: Actress Holly Bednar of Farragut Forward!

Commander “Mike” Smithfield is back in Farragut Forward, one of the biggest Star Trek fan productions ever made!

We spent a few minutes with actress Holly Bednar to get her take on all things Farragut, but before we dive in, here is your reminder that Farragut Forward is still funding on Indiegogo, so it’s not too late to be a part of this epic fan film!

Holly Bednar as CDR. Smithfield in Farragut Forward.

Welcome Holly! Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in a military family, moving often, and having exposure to many people, places, cultures, and customs. I always loved theater and the performing arts. After college, I was a working mom. I was a manager in the retail industry and later the health-care industry (much of that time as a Human Resource Executive). In 2003 I reunited with my childhood sweetheart, Michael, who plays Commander/Captain Tacket in Farragut. We married in 2004.

Holly and Mike Bednar during filming of the Starship Farragut web series.

I was working with a local community theater near our home in Maryland, when we joined with Mike’s longtime friend, John Broughton, and several other enthusiastic volunteers to create the Starship Farragut Web Series, which was an amazing journey and a labor of love for all involved. 

Mike Bednar, John Broughton, and Holly Bednar in the Starship Farragut web series.

You play Commander Smithfield, who was first introduced in the Starship Farragut series. How has Smithfield evolved over the years, and what made Farragut Forward different for you?

I was cast as Michele Smithfield, AKA “Mike”, who was a Lt. Commander at that time, and the ship’s chief engineer. From the beginning, Smithfield was a dynamic character with a lot of passion for the ship and her fellow crewmembers, who were family to her.

She had been widowed at a young age and had no children. She attended Starfleet Academy with Captain Jack Carter, where she was a couple of years his senior and developed a big sister/little brother-type bond with him, thus her continued overprotective attitude toward him throughout the series.

Holly Bednar and John Broughton in the Starship Farragut web series.

She had a somewhat feisty exterior in the early years which softened over time as her romantic relationship with Robert Tacket (“RT”) gradually developed. Their first meeting is revealed in a retrospective vignette episode called “Just Passing Through” (2008), which was a collaboration (story treatment and script writing) between myself, Dennis Bailey, and John Broughton.

Mike and Holly Bednar during filming of the Starship Farragut web series.

There has been a common thread throughout the Starship Farragut series, and it’s still very much present in Farragut Forward, with Smithfield anticipating a problematic situation that Carter and Tacket would get pulled into, which would lead Smithfield to work with other key players to strategize and come to the aid of the two of them, often times with catastrophic impacts to the Farragut herself (and much to Captain Carter’s chagrin).

She definitely hones these skills as time passes, and we see her aged, but no worse for wear, as we enter the Farragut Forward era where she continues in the pattern of faithful partner to the now two Captains, Carter and Tacket, working diligently with the support of the very capable and reliable Chief Dupree, to keep them out of harm’s way.

Victoria Avalon and Holly Bednar on the set of Farragut Forward. Photo: Britt Dvorak.

How did you prepare for this role?

I prepared as part of the team. We all wrote our own character bios, after many production meetings and talks about how we wanted the audience to connect with these new characters who were different from the iconic members of the Enterprise, but had just as exciting stories to tell. We wanted well-rounded characters with in-depth backstories. We wanted the Starship Farragut episodes to flow smoothly from one to the next, providing a continuous and nuanced flow of new information and insights into these beings.

Holly Bednar on the set of Farragut Forward. Photo: Britt Dvorak.

We wanted people to be able to see themselves in our characters and to relate to us even though our adventures were taking place on new worlds, and with new and unknown civilizations. Smithfield is a part of me, and yet she is wholly a unique individual with a depth and personality of her own. I just try to let her live her experience through me whenever I step onto those sets and the director says action.

Holly Bednar on the set of Farragut Forward.

Describe your experience during the long production process of Farragut Forward.

The 18-month production of Farragut Forward has been absolutely incredible. It takes time to create something wonderful and worthwhile. The production team that put this all together are some of the hardest working, committed, and talented people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. They put in long hours making sure every detail of sets, costumes, makeup, props, lighting, sound, transport, lodging, food, special effects, schedules, fundraising, and every kind of logistics are planned and executed with precision. The focus and stamina it takes to pull this off is astounding.

Holly Bednar on location filming Farragut Forward. Photo: Certain Gravity Photography.

The best part is that with all this happening, these folks manage to be calm and kind throughout. We have a great time together. We help one another, we cheer each other on, we enjoy each other’s company. Everyone is well aware that a production of this caliber is only possible when it is a truly collaborative effort. My experience, to describe it in a nutshell would be, I’m a lucky person to be part of this project and I’m very grateful for the experience because it’s nothing short of miraculous.

Frank Hernandez, Victoria Avalon, and Holly Bednar on the set of Farragut Forward. Photo: Britt Dvorak.

What was the greatest challenge you faced during this production?

I suppose it was simply my own lack of endurance. You can’t accomplish what we’re doing without putting in long days and/or nights and a lot of perseverance. I get worn out more easily these days, and I don’t function well when I haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep. I know it’s par for the course to have to keep going on fumes sometimes, but that would be what I consider the most challenging, other than just fitting a film schedule into an already busy work schedule, which is really the same for everyone involved. Believe me, I’m not complaining – the juice is definitely worth the squeeze!

Holly Bednar on location filming Farragut Forward.

What can fans expect from Farragut Forward?

Fans can expect gripping storytelling, fantastic sets, gorgeous costumes, skilled directing, attention to detail, and heroes and villains that take you on a thrilling ride and leave you wanting more.

Holly Bednar on location filming Farragut Forward. Photo: Certain Gravity Photography.

What’s next for you?

I can only hope that I have more opportunities to play in Gene Roddenberry’s sandbox with all my fellow Farraguteers. I hope that Kaotica Studios and Farragut Forward will continue turning out amazing episodes, and as long as I’m needed, I’ll be there.

I want to thank Kaotica Studios for their stellar work, and their fantastic team. We are so happy to be combining resources and efforts to produce these extraordinary fan films for our cherished community and supporters. Thanks so much to Johnny K. and the brilliant crew. We love working with you!

Holly Bednar and director Johnny K. on the set of Farragut Forward. Photo: Britt Dvorak.

Farragut Forward stars John Broughton, Paul Sieber, Michael Bednar, Holly Bednar, Wes Johnson, and William Jay, and warps onto YouTube in Summer 2024.

The project is still funding on Indiegogo.

For updates and more information, follow Kaotica Studios, and Farragut Films on all social media!


Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made film intended for recreational use. No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.