PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria’s film scene is continuing to grow.
A movie is set to be shot in Peoria this summer. If you’ve wanted to act in a movie, here’s your shot.
A local filmmaker is taking parts of her father’s childhood, and turning it into a movie. She wants local actors to show the world not only can it play in Peoria, but it can be made in Peoria.
“Say it in German” shows the life of a German-American family living in East Peoria during World War Two.
Creator of the film, Ann Hagemann, says it’s a feel-good story that will be very relatable to many viewers.
“They have some struggles going on, but really the focus of the film is how the family, and the children specifically, overcame these obstacles and found happiness, solace, and joy in very simple things in life,” Hagemann said.
Hagemann says central Illinois is the perfect place to shoot this film.
“We still have these wonderful, historic landmark buildings like the GAR Hall, which we’re going to be able to film at. We have farming community for the home scenes,” Hagemann said.
The film’s main star, Mariam Couri, goes to Peoria Notre Dame. She says you’ll have a smile on your face when you walk out of the theater.
“It’s really a feel-good film. A lot of movies right now are horror films right now or are trying to be really shocking. This one is just sweet to watch, it makes you feel good. People like my friends who live in Peoria might recognize some of the locations,” Couri said.
If you want to act in the film, the deadline for submissions to be considered for auditions is March 6th. You need to send your submission on compasscasting.com/castings
Hagemann says local auditions will be in the end of March.
They’re looking for boys between the ages of 9-15, a girl who appears to be between 7-9 years old, and adults over 40.
Hagemann believes this is the perfect opportunity to be a part of something special.
“We won’t know if you’re that undiscovered gem, or that veteran theater performer who wants to do this, unless we see your video submissions,” Hagemann said.
You can find the movie’s Facebook page here.
More information can be found on the movie’s website found here.
“In a close-knit German farming community in central Illinois during WWII, 3 siblings must cope with their beloved father’s tuberculosis diagnosis, anti-German sentiment, and the poverty of war-time farming life. Instead of merely surviving the children find solace and joy in music, baseball, and especially the Cubs at a time when “We’ll get’em next year” became a hopeful mantra for the future,” the film’s website reads.
Hagemann says everything changed for this film in 2015.
“In the fall of 2015 when all Cubs’ fans thought “this would be the year,” I wrote a Facebook post about my dear Father and how his love of baseball, the Cubs, music, and his strong German roots got him and his sisters through some very tough times during WWII after their father took ill,” Hagemann wrote on her film’s website.
“To my surprise, I received messages and posts from all over the world wanting to know more about his story. This little boy from so many years ago had stolen the hearts of many. This story found an audience that crossed heritage, race, creed, and age, so I began to write a series of short stories based on family events from 1943-45,” Hagemann added.
“Soon, Angela Morris, a fellow actress and writer, joined me in this journey; we met numerous times at the Intelligentsia Coffee shop on Broadway in Chicago. As we shared ideas about turning the stories into a screenplay, we were overheard by other customers who came over and wanted to know more. What happened to Ruth? To Billy? To Margie? Urban or rural, young or old, the audience wanted to know the children,” Hagemann continued
“This past May, Ryan Mieczyslaw Juszkiewicz came on board as director. Having worked with him twice before, I knew he was the right person to stand by my side and help me make this beautiful story come to life. I am forever thankful that he is taking this crazy ride with me!” Hagemann said.
Hagemann hopes to have the film out by summer or fall of 2021. The film is being distributed by NBC Universal. While the film is still an independent film project, it will help with press and advertising.
Hagemann said she began this journey at AFM, American Film Market and pitched her idea. She said people loved her idea and that validated her drive to get this film completed.