Greensburg native films spelling bee movie in hometown
When Greensburg native Sujata Day set out to film “Definition Please,” a movie she wrote and will star in and direct, a first order of business was casting her hometown.
Day, 34, has acted in HBO’s “Insecure” and Netflix’s “I Think You Should Leave.”
She grew up in the Fort Allen neighborhood and attended Harrold Middle and Hempfield Area High schools, says Cameron Fife, the film’s producer.
Her film tells the story of a former Scribbs (not Scripps, as the rights could not be secured, Fife says) Spelling Bee champion. Having peaked with her childhood win, she now must reconcile with her estranged brother when he returns home to help care for their sick mother, according to the film’s description.
Filming will begin soon and continue through mid-June, Fife says.
And there are opportunities for those seeking their 15 minutes of fame.
🚨🚨🚨ATTN PITTSBURGH DESIS🚨🚨🚨 Wanna be in a movie? I'm holding an open casting call for small speaking roles and extras in my feature film, shooting this June in Western PA. Excited to meet you! pic.twitter.com/DbBvLtPsK0
— 𝚜𝚞𝚓𝚊𝚝𝚊 𝚍𝚊𝚢 (@sujataday) May 8, 2019
Pittsburgh area residents, males and females of all ages, are invited to audition for both feature (paid) and background (non-paid) roles.
For feature roles, Indian and Indian-American individuals and families should submit a few sentences about themselves, along with a photo (no selfies).
Those interested in background roles can submit their names, age, phone number and recent photo.
Both should email [email protected]
Filming in her own backyard
In the movie, the lead character won the spelling bee and never moved on with her life, Fife says.
“It’s a ‘dramady,’ set in Greensburg,” he says.
Film sets include Day’s parents’ home, a local bar, and the Palace Theatre.
“We are mostly looking for spelling bee audience members for two scenes — the national bee in the Palace Theatre (filmed June 10) and a smaller, middle school bee,” Fife says.
Definition Please LLC and June Street Productions are producing the film, he says.
The hope is for the movie to be released in theaters.
“It’s a small, low-budget film,” Fife adds.
Festivals, theaters, streaming are all possibilities in finding the film an audience, he says.
Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .