Phoenix film makers Marcus A. Stricklin and Sandy Kim, of Future Legends Production, have been invited to the Cannes Short Film Corner for the production of their film, “The Last Dance,” working with children actors from Ahwatukee.
The film will be among the many that have been selected to be a part of the Cannes International Film Festival, May 15-26 in Cannes, France.
Stricklin, a 33-year-old graduate from the University of Southern California, said the film is about two individuals who are in love and take a journey through memories on how they first met, and how their relationship was created over the years.
“I started thinking of the concept five to six years ago, but I was still trying to work out a title for it,” Stricklin said. “One night I had a dream of the movie, and when I woke up I started writing the story out. In one hour I had the whole screen play written.”
Stricklin said when he got the email saying the film was accepted to be in the Cannes Short Film Corner, he was in a state of disbelief.
“I was driving to work when I got the email. I had to pull over off the road because I started crying, being so overwhelmed with happiness,” Stricklin said. “Getting the email was one of the greatest moments of my life, next to the birth of my son.”
Stricklin decided to use local actors/actresses for the film, with some of them being residents of Ahwatukee.
Jessie Finch, 10, is an Ahwatukee resident who plays 8-year-old Rita in the film.
Finch has an extensive amount of acting under her belt, being part of theater performances since she was 5 years old, and began filming movies a year ago.
She has also done projects for the Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre, which has become her second home.
Being that Finch is still in elementary school, filming for The “Last Dance” took place on the weekends, so she was able to find time for her studies.
Collin Bridge, another Ahwatukee resident, also participated in the film and was excited to be involved in the production.
“It felt really good being part of the film because it was one of my only chances to be in a movie, and I know if I did well I could be in other ones,” Bridge said. “I’ve been in lots of musicals and plays, but this is the first time I have been in a movie.”
Jack Walton, who attends Kyrene Altadeña Middle School, was also involved with the filming of “The Last Dance,” playing the 10-year-old version of Ryan, the son of Don and Rita.
Walton said the movie is about a couple who are at their sixth anniversary, and while they are dancing they reflect on their best moments together.
Like his co-stars, Walton has background in theater; along with “The Last Dance” being the first film.
“The experience on the set has been great, with everyone being very nice and professional,” Walton said.
The trio of actors will also be involved with Stricklin’s new project, “The War,” where the actors will be filming a war movie using NERF guns as weapons.
“The cast and parents who were involved with ‘The Last Dance’ have been the best part of the film,” Stricklin said. “Throughout the time and interacting with the families involved with the film, it feels like I’ve met a new family and they will always be special to me.”
• Daniel Ochoa is a senior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He is interning this semester for the AFN.