The red carpet will be rolled out for Homewood’s movie stars when “The 56th Hunger Games” premieres at an invitation-only party at the Irwin Center on Friday, April 15.
It will be the first time the actors, their friends and families will see the finished 29.4-minute product created and produced by Hart School seventh grader Adam Freeman.
The “Hunger Games” book trilogy by Suzanne Collins has become the No.1 series for young readers. Adam said he and his friends are addicted to the books and movies.
They started play-acting whole scenes from the movies in March 2014. Over time, a few would write dialogue and make short videos using their iPhones “and somebody said we should make a movie,” Adam said. He started writing a script in November 2014.
He decided to follow the plot of the Hunger Games series that is set in the dystopia of Panem, a country with a wealthy capital that has starved the residents of the 12 districts it rules as punishment for an earlier uprising.
Each year the powerful put on Hunger Games that require each district to send two children to participate. The 24 children are forced into a cruel game to the death with just one victor. The televised games showing each bloody act against the participants are compulsory viewing for the residents of the 12 districts.
The first “Hunger Games” book focuses on the 74th games. Adam set his almost 20 years earlier, but he uses the story line forcing his 24 characters to follow and kill their opponents. His actor-friends made the weapons and fake blood, and they devised costumes.
Adam did most of his shooting with his iPhone at Homewood’s Izaak Walton Preserve and the Cook County Forest Preserve in Tinley Park. Seventh grader Jack Calomino also did filming with a digital camera.
Nearly 30 kids volunteered for the movie. Some had small parts because about a dozen where killed off in opening scenes. Others had schedule conflicts and couldn’t devote much time.
Cast members are Ethan Buck, Trevor Brooks, Jack Calomino, Chloe Castady, Miranda Esparza, Alan Ferrari, Adam Freeman, Alyssa Freeman, Tacy Graham, Ben Hilgen, Jake Hodges, Patrick Hutton, Jazz Jabulani.
Jordyn Johnson, Anna Keigher, Louis Lampley, Grace Mahorney, Emma Murphy, Leah Noble, Melanie Orozco, Amari Parks, John Pohrte, Olivia Sowacke and Kate VanEtten.
Others who helped are Lily Bosch, Brooke Deckelman, Charlie Franc, Sheriden Johnson, Nick Sline and Gianna Smith.
The 11- and 12-year-old stars were often busy with music and band, sports and other projects, so it took Adam months to set filming schedules in spring, summer and fall.
Parents had their own Hunger Games Facebook page to keep track of the crew and needs for carpooling.
“We, as parents, liked to see that they weren’t on video games. They weren’t on their phones the whole time and they were out and had this whole vision to create something,” said Michelle Fedewa Freeman.
The actors are all excited to see Adam’s finished project that has taken him nearly 18 months to create on his iMac computer.
“At times it was annoying and stressful, but it was fun,” he said.
Adam will be posting the video to YouTube on Saturday, April 16, under RunFree Productions. A 2-minute trailer is available at https://youtu.be/5lz3SN62bzw.