Doudna to debut “First String” film featuring local actors

Angelica Cataldo, Entertainment Reporter

Twenty-five Charleston actors will be featured in the debut screening of the film “First String” 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday in the Theater of the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

“First String” is a film that was partially shot in Charleston, and one of the 25 Charleston actors involved is English professor Robin Murray.

Director Dean Christakis, from northwest Indiana, wrote the screenplay and worked with Diane Grove of Charleston to find the numerous Charleston actors who make up over half of the entire cast.

Christakis said he and Grove found the local actors through shows they have seen in the past and other theater companies.

Christakis decided to shoot about eight different scenes in the city. The scenes were filmed around various parts of Charleston, including the Doudna Fine Arts Center. Christakis said the scenes filmed in town are part of flashback sequences.

“It will be interesting to see that part of the film (and) how the story juxtaposes the Doudna Fine Arts Center’s contemporary architecture against the vintage scene they were filming,” Dwight Vaught, director of the Doudna Fine Arts Center, said.

The film was shot in Chicago as well as the Chicago suburbs and took about a year and a half to complete.

The film is about a 14-year-old cellist named Aleksandrya who is preparing for an audition to fill a guest seat on an adult symphony orchestra. While preparing for her audition she is faced with a number of trials that push her skills and character to the limit.

Other subplots include a group of young musical artists who have challenges of their own. The actors featured in the film are also musicians.

“Before the whole thing came up, I originally just had a cello player and imagined her going to a practice and having to fight all the elements (of nature),” Christakis said. “Then it grew to her having to fight things like her family and (her) instructor.”

Although this is not the first film screening to be held at Doudna, Vaught said it was a unique circumstance because of the local angle. There will also be a red-carpet event before the screening that Christakis is doing that will include photo-ops.

“(The red-carpet event is) new for us but important since many local people appear in the film,” Vaught said.

Admissions costs $8 for both the Friday and Saturday showings.

“We have a film suitable for all ages,” Christakis said. “All ages are represented and everyone in the audience will be able to relate to the story in some way, shape or form.”

Angelica Cataldo can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].