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Article: Sleepaway Camp Turned Hollywood: Movie Set In Starlight

Honesdale-Wayne Independent, September 2003
By Peter Becker

Starlight - We're in the movies again. This time around, an independent film company out of New York City has set up at Starlight Camp to film Return To Sleepway Camp. A host of local extras are being solicited to be a part of the cast.

According to their press statement, the shooting of the highly anticipated Return To Sleepway Camp by acclaimed director Robert Hilzik will commence on September 11, 2003. They will be at Starlight for seven weeks. "Our cast of popular actors and music personalities has created a buzz in the film industry, which has in turn generated a bidding war amongst distributors," the statement says.

Good triumphs over evil

The children's summer camp in Buckingham Township has been transformed into a natural movie set for the fictitious "Camp Manabe." The production is billed as a modern and cautionary tale of a group of young teens whose elitist and cruel behavior unleashes a series of events that, quickly spiraling out of control, culminate in a riveting "moral of the story" ending.

Producer Anthony Vorhies described the story as a teen thriller and will be rated PG. Good triumphs over evil in the plot. He said that the original film, written and directed by Robert Hilzik, was released in 1983. Warner Brothers bought the rights and made two sequels, but Hilzik was unhappy with them. He was able to re-acquire the rights, and is now directing what Vorhies said is the way the sequel of Sleepway Camp should be done. Some of the original actors are back, who played campers in the first film and are returning now as counselors.

There are a lot of special affects and stunt men employed. The music group "Boys to Men" is providing the sound track. The film is on a $500,000 budget. American Eagle Entertainment set up the production company just for this film.

They expected to start production two years ago, but investors backed out during the immediate aftermath of the chaos in New York resulting from the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Well known actors

The film features a large cast and among the well-known actors are Steve Buscemi, Vincent Pastore of Sopranos fame, cult film icon Felissa Rose, soul music legend Isaac Hayes, and a surprise cameo by pop super-diva Pink.

The Director of Photography is Ken Kelsch, who has 25 films to his credit.

The team producing Return to Sleepway Camp has also made The Trade starring Elizabeth Banks (Seabiscuit, Spiderman I & II, Catch Me If You Can), Macbeth In Manhattan starring Gloria Rubin (ER) and Harold Perrineau and Woman In Elevator with Kathleen Chalfant and George Plimpton.

Mr. Hilzik has developed several projects for Warner Brothers, including an interactive game show, feature films and a TV sitcom. He has directed music videos for the past five years. He has a film degree from NYU and a Law Degree from Hofstra. Besides film making, he currently practices law on Long Island.

Vorhies said that the wide assortment of people that are needed, including technicians, actors and other behind-the-scenes staff, pool their talents together and live in their "village" set apart for the several weeks it takes to fashion their common goal.

Movie extras needed

The 35MM feature film is scheduled for worldwide theatrical release in the year 2004.

Vorhies stated that they are searching for males and females ages 13 through 18 and adult "counselors" both SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and non-SAG to participate in the film as extras. Sag actors will be provided with speaking roles.

The scenes will be shot every weekend in September and October 2003.

The roles will be "Campers" and "Counselors." The acting will consist of playing sports, talking with friends, eating in the dining hall and doing the things summer campers and counselors do.

This is an opportunity to take part in a major motion picture, Vorhies said. Actors will see how films are made and gain acting experience. (And maybe even see themselves on the Big Screen at the movie theaters). All extras and parents will be fed and allowed to observe the movie making process.

"Also, major celebrities will be present so if you decide to participate we ask for professional behavior at all times," he said. Parents will need to sign release forms for their minor to participate in the film.

Anyone interested should call and leave a message with name and number, at: 570-798-2142 or 917-805-5689.

They scoured the region seeking a summer camp, Vorhies said, and someone who knew Starlight Camp owner David Miller, was instrumental in arranging the film to come here, to northern Wayne County.

Northern Wayne was the setting for another teen summer camp movie made a few years ago by a different company. The film, Wet Hot American Summer, was filmed at Camp Towanda near Rileyville.

Vorhies raved that Wayne County was the perfect setting for the film and they are very glad to be here.



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