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Arts & Culture

Are You Ready for Your Close-up? Try Out for ‘Happy New Year, Mr. Kates!’

A local writer/director is looking for actors and actresses to star in his latest short film.

A casting call for “Happy New Year, Mr. Kates” is slated for 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, at The Center for the Arts, 110 W. College St. in Murfreesboro.

Dr. Bob Pondillo, a professor of electronic media communication at MTSU, wrote the comedy/drama screenplay, which won “Best Movie Script (Short)” honors at Chicago’s prestigious American International Film Festival last month.

Pondillo, who teaches an MTSU class in writing for the screen, uses MTSU students, faculty and alumni as members of the technical crew in each of his motion pictures. Through their work, students receive valuable experience in cinematography, lighting, audio mixing and other crafts of the cinematic art. Two of his films that were produced with student crews have been screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

“Happy New Year, Mr. Kates!” is the bittersweet story of an elderly nursing home resident who feels he has lived an inconsequential life. When he runs away from the nursing home, he encounters a strange character who gives him a unique chance at redemption.

Pondillo intends to have a cast of 50 — 14 males, 16 females, 20 parts for either males or females, a ventriloquist and dummy, and one dog. Of the major roles, seven will be primary speaking parts and four will be secondary speaking parts.

The ages of the adult characters in the film range from 20 to 90. There also are parts available for two to four elementary school youngsters between the ages of 9 and 11.

Auditioners are asked to bring a headshot photo and resume and be prepared to read a short scene. For more information, contact Pondillo at 615-299-6126, pondillo@mtsu.edu or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HappyNewYearMrKates.