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Denton duo shooting first feature film here

Profile image for By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer
By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer

With one more day of filming to go, the guys at All Grown Up Pictures LLC are another step closer to a long-held goal — their first feature film.

The Denton-born-and-raised duo of Ian Sharar and Matt Lillard have been cutting their cinematic teeth on commercials and music videos for years, but this latest project is the one they have been anticipating.

“This is our first feature, and that’s what we have been wanting to do for a long time,” Lillard said.

The film, Punch Roller, is the brainchild of Akin Durosimi.

Sharar, the director of photography on the film, said he knew Durosimi had talked about making the movie for a long time, and when he approached All Grown Up Pictures with a nearly $20,000 budget for the independent feature, off they went.

“It’s basically a drama about a guy who loses his job, his girlfriend ... he meets this woman who hooks him up with a job and there is drama at his new job,” Sharar said of the script, keeping some of the details close to the vest so viewers can find out for themselves.

The film’s producer is trying to have a finished cut of the film ready for a December or January release here in the U.S., and pushed hard in Nigeria, where Durosimi is fairly well known.

“It ends pretty happily, but it gets pretty dark in the middle,” Sharar said.

Scenes from the project have been filmed at Hannah’s Off the Square, Denton houses and offices and North Lakes Park.

“We’re also shooting all over in the streets,” Sharar said.

Co-starring in the film is Ashley D. Merritt, an Oklahoma-born actress who resides in Dallas.

Sharar said that some of the hardest parts of the production were dealing with timing and Mother Nature.

“We got rained out one day and that was a big deal,” he said. “We already had the gear booked, the actors booked ... it was our one day we were thinking of shooting outside stuff.”

The easiest day was one where they filmed all the interior shots.

Lillard, the film’s director, said their past experience on music videos and commercial shoots helped prepare them for the hectic days they were to encounter on the film.

“In film, there are no normal days. What can go wrong will go wrong,” he said.

But they learned to deal with unexpected issues, and the simple creative differences they have had with artists in the past helped them work to an amicable solution that benefits the project. One thing the duo likes to stress is keeping things local, from shooting locations to the majority of the cast and crew members.

“We want to give back,” Lillard said. “Denton’s been really good to us; whenever we do stuff we try to make sure we can use Denton places … businesses, basically putting on for our city.”

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.