Local set featured in ‘Mimesis’ film
For two weeks in January, the Lakeland High School Center for Performing Arts (CPA) was transformed into the fictional Harker Art Academy, where a cult of students and an evil professor were obsessed with the classic vampire film “Nosferatu.” The evil group was determined to transform themselves into creatures of the night, and mass murder was on the agenda.
The film, “Mimesis: A Symphony of Horror”, is based on the 2011 horror film “Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead.” Both films were directed by Michigan native Douglas Schulze, who is the co-founder of the Motion Picture Institute in Troy.
“We are grateful to Lakeland High School and Principal Paul Gmelin for allowing us to use the school as a backdrop for the film,” said Schulze. “The majority of the cast and crew for the film are from Michigan.”
Actor Joseph Scott Anthony, who plays the sinister Harker Art Academy professor Fredrick Kinski, makes his home in Los Angeles, but was born and raised in Flint. On his first day filming he heard someone call his name in the parking lot. It was White Lake Middle School Assistant Principal Diane Chema, a childhood friend.
“Diane and I grew up with our families camping in Grand Blanc,” said Anthony. “We haven’t seen each other in over 20 years. She saw on Facebook that I was filming a movie and realized I was right next door, so she came and found me.”
Lakeland Principal Paul Gmelin says the request to film at Lakeland came through Karl Mayry, the school’s graphic arts and digital photography teacher. Mayry is the brother of Kurt Mayry, “Mimesis” producer and co-owner of the Motion Picture Institute.
“Watching the filming of this movie is perfect for my students, and could lead to a career path in the industry,” said Karl Mayry.
“I thought this would be a good opportunity for students to see how a movie is made, and about 30 students were involved,” said Gmelin. “When we can open the doors to the community, we all benefit.”
Associate Producer Harper Shecter of West Bloomfield says when students and former Lakeland High School students and staff watch the movie, they will recognize locations in and around the school.
“Much of the action takes place in the Lakeland Center For Performing Arts, where we projected a set electronically, rather than building one,” said Shecter. “We also shot outside in the parking lot and in the hallway.”
The transformation of actors Robert Robertson and Bill Dyer into gray vampires with pointed ears and lucid eyes took less than an hour. Once in make-up and costume, the Harker students were ready to perform terrifying rituals under the leadership of Professor Kinski.
“My character starts out angry and just wants to kill people by the end,” said Anthony. “He was a Broadway star until something went wrong, and figures his way back onto the national stage is mass murder.”
The film stars actor Allen Maldonado of the hit show “Blackish” and award winning film “Straight Outta Compton”, reprising his role as Duane. Things are getting out of hand at Harker Art Academy, so Duane, better find some Kryptonite for vampires because he has a huge challenge ahead.
Look for Mimesis later this year, or early next.