by Seth Leonard, salisburypost.com
Salisbury will be the backdrop for a new independent film featuring local students and landmarks.
Catawba College will play host to half of the feature, while the rest will be shot in Nashville, Tenn. The movie, "Sway," will be a full-length feature, scripted as a musical with dance and drama.
The plot is centered around dance major Emma Mitchell, played by Sarah LeJeune, her struggles with life and the curveballs it can throw. The picture is described by its developers as an "upbeat musical that has the perfect mixture of jazz, dance, love and is all around a good time."
Brainchild of LeJeune, "Sway" is her first foray in to the world of film making. Inspired by the music of Michael Buble, (pronounced Boo-blay), it follows the 2008 film "Mamma Mia!" in liberally focusing on songs from a certain artist. That movie, based on a musical, used the music of Swedish group ABBA. It may be a pattern for success: "Mamma Mia" was Britain's highest grossing film of all time.
LeJeune, a rising sophomore and theater major at Catawba whose family lives in Nashville, began to consider the idea for "Sway" while listening to Buble's music on the way back from the airport.
"A really weird story just came to us," she said. "I sat down over Christmas break and wrote the whole plot out, and picked the music out. I wrote the whole script in about a week. Now, you know, we've done eight or nine drafts of it, but the original took about a week."
Funding for the movie came from sponsors and investors, all of which have been private. LeJeune said that accepting money from companies could impinge on the creative freedom of the project. The approximate budget is $30,000, a very low figure for any movie, even an independent one.
According to sources close to LeJeune, the plan is to release "Sway" in theaters Feb. 12, 2010. This is a tentative date as no distribution deal has been signed yet.
Open casting for speaking parts is over, but there is still a need for local extras and walk-ons. The parts are not paid, but they aren't very involved. Those interested in getting their face on the silver screen have a choice of dates.
A Christmas banquet scene will be filmed at 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 26, although no actual food will be served. Participants are encouraged to wear seasonal attire and should park at the CCC building where the filming will take place.
The second call is for 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 27. The scene will be a costume party. Older adults are asked to dress sharply, as though they are college professors. College student age actors should arrive at around 2 p.m. to allow adequate time for costuming.
The final call will be Thursday, May 28, at 9 a.m. The scene will be a graduation-themed outdoor shot. Participants near to college graduation age will be outfitted in cap and gown costumes, and all should dress as though they were attending a formal graduation. Look for the large white tent.
Check out www.swaythemovie.com for more details on the cast, story and a video of LeJeune speaking to potential investors.