Award-winning local young filmmakers making mark

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‘Something’s Awry’ in Chester County, premiering two films this weekend

By Kim Chiomento, Staff Writer, The Times

ALienFlyerPoster

The poster for the movie Alien Communications, one of two movies being premiered this weekend in Wilmington, by a New Garden-based film production company, largely staffed by a local family.

NEW GARDEN — For the Theorins, film production has developed into a family affair.  Brothers: Kurtis (21), Kris (17) & Nik (17), along with their mother, Amy, have joined forces to form Something’s Awry Productions (SAP), and are certainly leaving their creative mark on Chester County and beyond.   SAP produces live-action and animated short films, commercials, and music videos and is continues to gain notoriety and accolades within the film industry.

SAP’s short films have played at film festivals around the world; and most recently,  have won awards at the Silent River Film Festival (Best Teen Film 2014) in California, Best Special Effects (All American High School Film Festival in NYC) and awards at the WHYY Youth Media Awards for the fourth consecutive time.

The Theorin brothers will be premiering two new short films in Wilmington this weekend:  Alien Communications and GUMBALL.  Kurtis, Kris and Nik hope to meet and exceed the success of their last short film titled Retreat, which held screenings around the world; and impressively, even had a showing at Hollywood’s famous Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

Alien Communications is described as a slightly sci-fi, coming-of-age, romantic comedy about two teenagers with unrequited feelings for each other who investigate an alien machine that has crashed to Earth; and was filmed locally in White Clay Creek Preserve.  GUMBALL follows one night in the life of a young woman, who breaks into a diner (West Chester’s DK Diner) after hours with a can of spray paint; and, despite her ill intentions, ends-up discovering what’s left of a love story.

Movie

Kurtis and Kris Theorin on set during a recent shoot.

The community is invited to help celebrate the premiere of Alien Communications and GUMBALL before they both hit the film festival circuit.  The screening is this Sunday, Nov. 2, at Theater N in Wilmington, from 2-4 PM; and is being billed as a fun afternoon of film, music, books and more.

Tickets are $5 and can be purchased visiting: www.eventbrite.com/e/somethings-awry-productions-premiere-party-tickets-13410638581. Ticket price includes:  Access to the premiere party, “red carpet” photo ops, a Q&A with the cast and crew after the screening, guest appearances by singer/songwriter Emma Cullen, and Felicia Maziarz -author of the new children’s book series Stanley & Katrina.  Refreshments will also be available for purchase.

Mom, Amy, says the groundwork for SAP all started back when her oldest son, Kurtis, was about 10 years old.  Kurtis and his good friend, Nick Angeloni (who impressively now majors in Film Score at the renowned Berklee School of Music), began making movies using their dog and some toys.

Kurtis remembers, “I think the first thing we filmed was Dogzilla, with Boomer (our dog), destroying the city…I remember being immensely satisfied at seeing how things turned out when reviewing the footage we shot. Something about seeing the shots working, or at least working well enough for younger me to like them, was very cool. It was like looking at a drawing you had done and realizing that you can draw cool things; and share these captured ideas, with other people.”

Amy says that her twin sons, Kris & Nik, followed suit around the same age; and have always been “artsy.”  She used to send the boys to creative camps during the summer, but soon discovered, “We learned a lot more by simply working on our movie projects together.  During their earliest production years, the boys were totally self-taught and just learned through trial and error.”

Kris began to make stop-motion animated movies using LEGOs and started a YouTube channel when he was just 11 years old; which now boasts over 9,000 subscribers and he has also made commercials for LEGO.  And, in the past two years, Kris started branching-out into making live action films.

Nik, on the other hand, has always been a natural actor and writer; and has recently started to think about writing for TV as a career.  Amy believes that Nik has the natural gift of being able to write and tell a story well.

Once her boys started following the production path, Amy explains, “That’s where I came in!  I have always loved movies; and as my kids will tell you, I also love to organize events, projects, etc.  I am a photographer who had my own children’s portrait business for about 12 years…When my kids became interested in creating live-action films I said that I could help them by being the producer.   So, I organize props, locations, set-up auditions, and generally get everything ready for them so they can handle the creative/technical parts, on set and in post-production. My husband, Craig, assists with sound recording and the boys’ aforementioned childhood friend, Nick, writes the musical scores.  I’d say we are pretty lucky that all of our skill sets mesh so nicely!”

Talent clearly runs deep among the three Theorin boys.  Kris films, edits, animates and also manages the sound design and special effects for SAP’s films.  This year, he was chosen as one of only seven students in the country to attend the prestigious Young Arts Master Classes in Cinema, and traveled to Miami, Florida, where he studied for a week with Oscar winning editors, writers and cinematographers.

Nik has won National Honors, two years in a row, at the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.  His short story, Two Hour Clock, was also chosen as one of only 65 stories out of 10,000 to be included in the Best Teen Writing of 2013.

Kurtis also writes, is a voice actor, and co-directs most of SAP’s films.  He is on track to graduate from Emerson College, with a degree in Film Production, this spring.  The screenplay he wrote for SAP’s Alien Communications was just selected for screening at the International Family Film Festival, held in California, later this month.

Not surprisingly, the Theorins view Oscar night “Pretty much as a national holiday,” laughs Amy, “Every year we have our own little party where we serve food that is themed for each movie nominated.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, gourmet food, but it has to have some meaning that relates to one of the movies.”

The Theorins encourage the greater Chester County community to attend Sunday’s premieres and related celebration.  To stay connected with Something’s Awry Productions please visit: www.facebook.com/Somethingsawry

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