Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Seacrest Country Day School Alumni Return to Shoot Slasher Movie



 

Local Writer, Director and Producers Jay Jenkins (26) and Collin Kliewe (25) chose their old stomping grounds of Naples, Florida, for the setting of their new horror movie, “Last of the Grads,” which will premiere on May 14. 

“Last of the Grads” focuses on a class of graduating high school seniors, standing at the crossroads of their lives, who celebrate their last night together at the annual school lock-in. They never could have guessed this innocent tradition would lead to an encounter with the harbinger of death: the legendary Coast to Coast Killer.

Production Background/Setting: 

Jay Jenkins and Collin Kliewe are two young filmmakers who grew up in Naples, Florida, as high school classmates at “Seacrest Country Day School.” After college, they reconnected over their mutual love of movies and with the dream of creating their own feature-length film. They moved in together and worked on the script around their day jobs for over a year. When the script was finalized, they shot a self-financed proof of concept short and approached Seacrest with the idea. Seacrest welcomed their alumni’s production with open arms and graciously provided their campus as the set for the movie. Over the summer, Jay and Collin secured local investors, assembled the cast and crew and shot at Seacrest for an intense 24-day shoot.

“We always pictured the high school in ‘Last of the Grads’ as Seacrest,” expressed Collin Kliewe. “It’s such a uniquely pretty campus, and we both went there, so that’s the experience we had growing up.” 

Jay Jenkins, stated, “These were the hallways we imagined while we were writing the script. We’d be setting up for a big action scene with the crew and sometimes I’d just think to myself, ‘Hey, that’s where the boys and I used to eat lunch!’ having the opportunity to film there was so surreal.”

The Seacrest connection does not stop there; David and Kyle Prue (both executive producers and actors in the film) attended high school with Jay and Collin, and the lead actress, Jessica Lang, also graduated from Seacrest several years later. Four attending Seacrest Seniors interned on the film as production assistants and received weeks of valuable on-set experience and various alumni/students were also brought on as extras in crowd scenes.

Jay and Collin consider Seacrest to be an integral part of developing their entrepreneurial spirit and want to thank them for helping them follow their dreams.

Coronavirus Impact/Cast and Crew:

“It’s been such a crazy year for everybody, and on top of that, we were managing a complex production with tons of challenges every day. Making a movie is tough work! It’s all so rewarding though, to see things coming together into a film that we’re truly proud of,” stated Collin Kliewe. “Luckily, we were working with a lot of great people.” 

Jay continued, “We had experienced industry veterans and skilled newcomers working together all pushing to get this thing to the finish line. In this sort of situation, your team makes all the difference.”

As a film taking place in a high school setting, the cast is primarily composed of young and talented college aged actors. “We found good people… really good. I think a lot of our actors have seriously bright futures ahead of them,” Jay said. The industry veterans that Jay and Collin enlisted include production manager Andrew Sands, who has a history with horror legends like George Romero (“Night of the Living Dead,” “Dawn of the Dead”) and Michael Gornick (“Creepshow,” “Creepshow 2”). They also hired Tolin FX (“I Am Not Okay With This”) for the movie’s shockingly realistic practical special effects. Oscar-nominee Kami Asgar (“Pitch Perfect,” “Zombieland”) headed up their sound department.

“Working with people who are experienced in the industry and knowing that they believe in your project is so encouraging,” remarked Collin Kliewe. 

Top Billed Cast:

Jessica Lang as Emma Bradley

Jadon Cal as Steve Clayton

Sara Eklund as Donna McCormick

Kyle Prue as Ben

Caroline Newsome as Maddie

For more information about the film, or to Pre-order: www.gumroad.com/l/lastofthegrads.

 


 

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