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By BRITTANY VALENCIC, Special to tb-two*
Hillsborough High is starring in Chu and Blossom, the independent movie that was filmed in Tampa Bay last month.
Movie trailers filled with costumes and make-up flooded the bus ramp, the gymnasium was transformed into a green room and approximately 100 cast and crew members filled the halls of the school the week before school began.
After scouting the Tampa Bay area for the perfect location for the high school scenes, producers found what they were looking for at Hillsborough.
“We loved this school,” said Joe Restaino, one of the co-producers. “The architecture of it, the whole design of the school fits this kind of film. We were looking for an Oxford- or Harvard-looking school and this was perfect with the brick.”
“We are very pleased they are using our school as the school setting,” said principal William Orr. The school was paid rent by the production company in addition to reimbursement for electricity, meaning it didn’t cost the school a thing.
The money will be used for landscaping, painting, decorating, whatever the school decides to enhance the facility, Orr said.
The film, which stars Charles Chu, Alan Cumming, Caitlin Stasey, Mercedes Ruehl, Richard Kind, Ryan O’Nan, Annie Potts, Chris Marquette and Melanie Lynskey, centers around Joon, a Korean exchange student entering his senior year of high school. Living in a small southern town with a crazy American family, Joon is immediately pinned as a misfit.
Filmmakers hope to showcase their film in January at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah and in March at the Gasparilla International Film Festival in Tampa. Their previous film, Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best won the Audience Award at the Gasparilla International Film Festival in March, which is the reason the film is being produced in Florida.
“After seeing how the community embraced film, (we) decided to move the film production from Pennsylvania to Florida,” Restaino said.
Brittany Valencic is editor in chief of the Hillsborough High Red & Black. This story first appeared on HHStoday.com