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The Alumni Chapter Movie To Premiere On February 19th

February 17, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

Terrence Flamm

This coming Saturday, February 19th, local filmmaker Matthew Helderman will host the premiere of The Alumni Chapter, a movie he wrote and directed, at The Portage Theater on Chicago’s northwest side. The event will kick off with a party at 6:30 PM where guests can network with the cast and crew, followed by a presentation of the film at 7:30 PM. Afterward, those in attendance can stay for a Q & A session with Helderman as well as more socializing. Admission is $10.

Filmed over last summer and independently financed for $30,000, The Alumni Chapter was produced by Helderman and Perry Costello, along with the film’s cinematographer, Artem Avakian. Brooklyn-based indie pop band Drew and The Medicinal Pen came up with the original soundtrack, with additional scoring by musician/composer Amos Gillespie. The movie revolves around the interwoven relationships of four prep school friends who reunite shortly after graduating from college, and features Sean Warner as Julian, Laura Mecsey as Perry, Hilary Staton as Nika, and Scott Javore as Mason. A key scene involves a late night round of reminiscing at a diner, where old wounds are reopened and it becomes obvious these four individuals must go their separate ways.

From the filming of The Alumni Chapter

From the filming of The Alumni Chapter

Helderman, who will graduate from Lake Forest College this Spring, explained the emotionally-charged situation involving his characters during an interview with Screen Magazine late last year: “Moving on is so much harder than moving forward, and this is the core of their struggle.” The Alumni Chapter suggests that there are times when people need to leave behind friends and loved ones in order to succeed. It started out as a short film, like Helderman’s 2008 effort M. Vanguard, but quickly morphed into a full-length feature. According to the movie’s website, Helderman gained confidence as the work progressed, particularly after viewing the first round of dailies. The site also reveals that some of the situations in The Alumni Chapter are based on the writer/director’s own experiences.

From the filming of The Alumni Chapter

From the filming of The Alumni Chapter

“I was 21 when I wrote this film and was overcome with fear of what I was going to do with my life after graduation,” Helderman explained. “All of these characters are either pieces of me in some way or pieces of people I have known over the years who have affected me deeply.”

Helderman would like to take the film to about 10 festivals to gauge audience reaction. He believes that with the right exposure, The Alumni Chapter could be a success, and has already started work on his next film, which is a crime drama set in the 1960s. The Portage Theater is located at 4050 N. Milwaukee. Call 773-501-7310 for more information.


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