News Column

Local teens' film premieres to big applause

August 6, 2013

YellowBrix

Aug. 06--GREENSBORO -- In a long pink gown with glitter befitting the Oscar's red carpet, writer Lauren Elwood nervously downed a bag of Skittles on Monday night as a theater full of would-be critics took in her work.

Nearly 200 people had shown up for the premiere of "In the Crowd," a teen-angst movie written by the high school student and produced by the city's Teen Greene Pictures.

Carousel Cinemas on Battleground opened a theater for a special viewing party.

Tickets sold for $7 to help offset production costs, such as the $200 licensing fee for the film's mood music.

"This is so exciting," said a beaming Elwood after the last credit rolled off the screen.

Near her with an even bigger smile stood student director Aaron Ashby, a recent Grimsley graduate and rising freshman who will attend the University of Southern California film school in the fall.

"We got four rounds of applause," said Ashby, a twinkle in his eye. "I counted."

Elwood, a rising sophomore at Southeast Guilford High School, won a contest sponsored by City Arts to have a short story cast and turned into the movie. City Arts is the visual and performing arts arm of the Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department.

The movie, which was filmed this spring in downtown Greensboro, stars Guilford County high school students Celina Talbert and Gabrielle Edwards.

Stephen Hyers, City Art's drama director, was up at 5 a.m. Monday, tweaking the sound for the movie.

"I'm proud of the work, but I'm so excited for them," Hyers said after the screening.

On Monday night, audience members were fixated on the screen, as they watched the lead actress stare into the camera as teens around her stir up trouble in front of an office building.

Seconds later, the movie got one of its biggest laughs, when an angry man tells the teens to leave their perch.

As sirens blare in the distance, one character is dragged away, kicking and screaming, with his shoe flying off.

Three other local teen-driven films -- "Zompires," "Quantum Flux" and "Amazing" -- were also shown.

Those who showed up for "In the Crowd" ranged from Elwood's friends to her pastor and his family.

"She has inspired so many people, especially the youth," said Brenda McCormick, who knows Elwood from church and volunteering at a nursing home. "I'm going to go back and tell everybody I gave her a thumbs up."

Contact Nancy McLaughlin at (336) 373-7049.

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