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Daily Court Reporter - News Ohio filmmakers land pair of Hollywood actors for movie to be filmed in Columbus


Ohio filmmakers land pair of Hollywood actors for movie to be filmed in Columbus

BRANDON KLEIN, Daily Reporter Staff Writer

(Columbus) A Harry Potter actor will be in central Ohio this month to play a role in a low-budget movie that will be filmed in the Columbus area.

James Phelps, who played Fred Weasley in the multibillion dollar franchise, will play a role in local filmmakers Cedric Gegel's and Zach Throne's feature-length fantasy movie "Cadia: The World Within."

Phelps joins a 22-member cast that includes Corbin Bernsen, who's known for roles in the TV series "L.A. Law," the "Major League" film series and the detective comedy television show "Psych."

But aside from the film's biggest names, Gegel and Throne are proud of the fact that 75 percent of the cast and crew are from Ohio.

That includes Carly, Keegan and Tanner Sells, a set of teenage triplets, who will star in the film. The Sells siblings have done some local stage and musical productions over the past few years.

"We knew that we were going to have to bring recognizable names in the talent area but at the same time we knew we didn't want to ignore what Columbus has to offer," Throne said. "And we knew we could accomplish both."

Low-budget films, which are made for less than $200,000, are gradually becoming more common in central Ohio, a threshold that Gegel finds amusing.

His film, for example, is considered to be an ultra low-budget production as its being made for less than $50,000.

"We'll see more of it," said John Daugherty, executive director of The Greater Columbus Film Commission.

But he expects the "sweet spot" for Columbus will be films with budgets in the $1 million to $8 million range.

"Micro budget films are great for the city because it gives people experience," he said. He highlighted how local film producer Two Dollar Radio has found some success on the film festival circuit.

Throne said Columbus is considered a place a place for actors to build up their resumes before going to bigger cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta. But he said it could change in the future.

"Columbus' infrastructure for the arts is getting in place but for now we still see that void," he said.

On the flip side, bigger productions that have come to Columbus do not use local actors because they have access to the talent pools in those larger markets, Gegel said.

"(But) there's so much talent in this city," he said.

The setting of Gegel's film will take place in Columbus and follow the journey of three 14-year-olds in a mystical realm that teaches them themes such as grace, love, doubt and the nature of good versus evil.

While Gegel, a Lutheran Christian, said themes from his faith will be vital to the film's core, it's goal is not to convert anyone but raise questions and start conversation.

"It's not a sermon, it's a thesis," he said.

Gegel, a Capital University theater alumnus, came up with the concept for Cadia in the backstage of Little Theater Off Broadway's "The Addams Family" musical in 2015.

While waiting for curtain, Gegel and another actor were proposing story concepts to the Sells triplets who were also part of the production.

The triplets and the actor loved Gegel's version of what would become Cadia that prompted him to write the story's screenplay as a six-minute short film. Months later, Gegel was advised that story would work better as a feature film.

He continued the project writing, sometimes for 12 hours, in a coffee shop near the day camp he worked at in Michigan on his days off.

Gegel produced a 100-page script that needed further revisions and trimming, he said. After receiving additional feedback and several rewrites, Gegel was able to have what he considered his first draft in September.

Since then Gegel has devoted hours to the film while balancing four to five different jobs.

He brought Throne on the project in October.

Throne is a Michigan native, studied dramatic arts and politics at Centre College in Kentucky. He also studied at a theater college in England.

He came to Columbus to audition for a project that didn't materialize. He met Gegel on a production of Hamlet in January 2017 and the two kept in touch.

"I saw that the script had potential. It was an overall good story," Throne said.

Gegel reached out to several well-known actors that lead to securing Bernsen and Phelps for their parts after they saw the script.

Filming will take place over the course of 12 days at mostly central Ohio parks with one scene to be shot in downtown with one of those days devoted to shooting the film in Wapakoneta, Ohio, Gegel's hometown.

Gegel himself has worked with another low-budget film in central Ohio called Mock and Roll. That film was the brainchild of Mark Stewart, the co-writer and executive producer of the film.

He retired from 30 years working an human resources executive including his last 14 years employed at Alliance Data.

Stewart wanted to devote more time to writing his stories, which lead him to the film world.

"I didn't know anything about the local film community when I got into it," he said. "It's very small but very vibrant."

Mock and Roll is a mockumentary about a clueless parody band that goes through outlandish schemes to raise funds to get on stage at the South By Southwest Music Festival.

Central Ohio residents will recognize some settings from the film including shots taken at venues such as Ace of Cups, the Big Room Bar and Express Live, the latter of which the local film commission helped secured. The film appeared at festivals including in Oklahoma, Texas and Florida.

Stewart declined to provide the film's budget but said it a "five figure amount and well below six figures."

He said the film's production received help from sponsors and vendors including City Barbecue, Blocks Bagels and Dan's Tacos in Granville, which provided food to the cast and crew.

"The more we can save in one area gave us more to invest in another area," Stewart said.

He is now working to produce a TV western series called Dogwood Pass, which is being filmed at a replica western town with the same name in Pike County.

Lana Read from Cincinnati is directing the series that will star actor Michael Pare. The pilot was filmed in February and is now in post-production. Stewart is working to find an outlet to pick up the female-directed western.

"There's a lot more outlets than there were 10 to 15 years ago," he said. "(But) there area lot more content providers. It's a very competitive market."

Stewart is also helping Gegel and Throne with their film. The two hope the film will become successful enough to become a leading film company that promotes talent in Ohio and the Midwest.

They hope the film will open other opportunities to the Columbus market with them at the forefront after having laid down the groundwork.

"We hope to be the leading edge on that infrastructure," Throne said. "So that when ... any sort of major film distributor company that comes to town, we can say look 'we got the infrastructure, we got the talent, we got the crew. Please work with us.'"

Date Published: July 25, 2018


Copyright © 2018 The Daily Reporter - All Rights Reserved


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