DeKALB – A group of DeKalb children and young adults in DeKalb’s Devonaire Farms neighborhood were cast in a short film series produced by Northwestern University film students.
Filming took place during a week at the beginning of August.
Tara Sennott, a recent Northwestern graduate who is directing the films, said she auditioned 25 local youth and cast a total of 12 actors whose ages range from about 7 to 23 years old.
Sennott said she wrote characters for the actors based on themselves. In the films, which feature historical aspects of DeKalb and the Midwest, the characters are visited by pioneer versions of themselves from the past.
Sennott said she found Devonaire Farms when searching for filming locations on Google Maps, and the neighborhood had both the history and scenery that fit her idea for the series: features such as halted construction projects, abrupt ends to sidewalks and the proximity to cornfields.
Although she didn't know anyone when she got to DeKalb, Sennott said she began knocking on doors seeking participants and quickly found the support she was looking for.
"When you really have an idea you are pursuing, your insecurities fall away," Sennott said.
She said some cast members who lived in the same area but never met had an excuse to get to know one another through the filming process.
"I wanted to create a community around filmmaking," Sennott said.
The film is being funded through a campaign on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo as well as donations from DeKalb residents and businesses.
Sennott said she hopes to organize a premiere in DeKalb next year after the project's completion. The series also will be submitted to film festivals around the world, including the Chicago International Film Festival.