Orlando-based charity returns for film
Published: Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 14:03
At its core, Renee is love story. Based off a real life boy-meets-girl story, the love that develops isn't rooted in romance.
Renee, currently filming in Orlando, documents how one boy — Jamie Tworkowski — created, and one girl — Renee Yohe — inspired the idea of love as a movement through the founding of the nonprofit organization To Write Love On Her Arms, which helps support people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.
"In this whole thing, from the beginning, from To Write Love on Her Arms taking off, to even tonight, it's just been this exaggerated response to one persons dream," Tworkowski said.
The film chronicles 19-year-old Yohe, played by Kat Dennings' (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) battle with drug and alcohol addiction, as well as self-injury, and how Tworkowski, played by Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill), and his friends helped her recover and get the help she needed — all of which took place in Orlando and led to the founding of TWLOHA (www.twloha.com).
By filming throughout Orlando, Tworkowski hopes it will make the recreation of the events that much more personal and realistic. The local production is also giving UCF cinema studies students the ability to test their skills working on a large-scale production while still in school.
UCF senior Michael Dris and junior Sarah Glaze, both cinema studies majors, landed jobs on the set of Renee as extra coordinators.
"It's really cool being on an actual film set," Dris said. "You actually learn a lot by just being here and seeing what's going on compared to just learning about what we're supposed to do in these situations in classes."
Dris and Glaze are in charge of recruiting and organizing necessary extras for the film, for scenes such as the "music festival shoot," filmed March 3 on Wall Street in Downtown Orlando, which called for 1,000 extras to help recreate the 2006 Florida Music Festival.
The students said they helped blast local media outlets with casting information, and used their UCF connections to try to recruit film students by sending out emails and posting fliers about the filming in the department's building.
Their tactics worked and the street was filled with people, young and old, dancing and clapping on command under the bright set lights, as the bands Paper Route and Between the Trees jammed — sometimes without even making a sound — on stage.
"It's really surreal to be able to be here everyday and get to see these people that get to do this everyday for a living and learn about all the stuff they do," Glaze said.
In between takes, Tworkowski took the stage to address the crowd after filming from 8 p.m. to well into the early morning hours the next day.
"Hopefully a year from now, people will be sitting in a theater and the people watching will feel less alone because of what they're seeing because of this story," Tworkowski said.
The film, directed by Nathan Frankowski (No Saints For Sinners), has no set release date, but filming is set to wrap March 29.
"If our website can be a resource, if it can be a source of encouragement and hope to anyone and everyone, we would love that," Tworkowski said. "Thank you guys for being part of our story."