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"Every so often a movie comes my way that is outside of the mainstream, but only because the mainstream is moving in the wrong direction. Recently, I watched Jim Fleigner's 1980s opus Rounding First. It follows a trio of 12 year old best friends who embark on an adventure during their last summer before junior high school. Filled with moving performances and universal themes, Rounding First is the kind of movie that has sadly been "walked" in today's overcrowded film marketplace. It's a shame too because it really is one of the best coming of age films I have seen in years." - MovieWeb

"From time to time, apparently small-scaled films come along that manage to leave a lasting impression that simply was not expected. It is a refreshing fact that some of the best and most rewarding films out there are not coming from Hollywood but from independent sources. Often, the huge efforts that were put into the writing and making of these films find their way to the final viewing experience, and with Rounding First this is most definitely not an exception.

Jim Fleigner is the man who both wrote and directed this wonderful film that everyone who somehow loves cinema will probably enjoy. Some might just find the film sweet and entertaining, while some will find some deeper layers and aspects that carry this coming-of-age film towards the same level that Rob Reiner’s comparable Stand By Me brought to its audience. And regarding the emotional and dramatic aspect, Rounding First has little trouble reaching Reiner’s film, probably causing many tears to roll down the face as a result. While everyone will obviously develop their own thoughts on Rounding First, it is impossible to dismiss the amount of love and work that went into bringing this picture to the screen – be it in theatres, or at home.

Rounding First is basically sharing the coming-of-age story of three 12-year old friends who are having a dramatic – but also fun – adventure, trying to find out the truth behind a situation that has left one of the boys in great emotional pain. Taking place in 1980, the boys head out to find out what is really happening – traveling many miles and becoming involved in some powerful and engaging situations. While the film’s story undeniably is an emotionally powerful (and ultimately even devastating) one, there are also many other aspects that will make the experience highly suitable and recommended for just about everyone. There are laughs, but there will also be tears. Carefully crafted and balanced, Rounding First draws its viewers into a childhood journey that feels exciting, personal, and also very dramatic.

Coming-of-age films would appear flat if their young actors would not be able to display honest and moving performances. Rounding First amazed me with its talented and stunningly performing child actors. Soren Fulton is bringing his emotionally scarred character to life with incredible prowess – making it impossible to remain unaffected by his role in the story. Matthew Borish is also very powerful as Soren’s character’s best friend – showing both anger and incredibly affecting moments. Sam Semenza brings great joy and genuinely funny moments to the film, which are required things with some very dramatic events finding their way to the viewer.

Backing up the film experience is a highly enjoyable and moving score by Czechoslovakian composer Ludek Drizhal, offering wonderful support for the many powerful moments in the film. Sweet and calm piano, harp, strings – brought to life by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, which was clearly in the right mood to do the job well.

Ultimately, Rounding First is a wonderful and required experience for everyone to enjoy. It is a moving, well-written and ditto crafted coming-of-age film, performed by truly gifted child actors and supporting cast, granted by a sweet and memorable score. It is impossible for me to not recommend this heartfelt film.

Rounding First simply deserves to be experienced by everyone." -

"Made on a very low budget, featuring few recognizable faces, 'Rounding First' bases its human dialogue around flirting back to the days of what it was like to be a 12-year-old boy in the '80s. A time where children had a true sense of friendship, loyalty, and commitment to a challenge - seemingly unlike today when our world is upside down and our children's minds somewhat the same. Within the souls of the three main characters we find us all. A true coming-of-age film, it allows us to live and breathe once more the pitfalls and snafu's, the exuberant joys and embarrassments of our youth - through our youth!

Sam plays the go-to role of the chubby kid who just can't get any respect from this friends amiably, and while Soren's buddy role is indeed tight and believable, it's Matt's emotional role as Tiger - the risk taker - that is quite easily the character of the film.

Ensuring that anybody of a certain age upwards that sits and watches this film will quickly recall how the hard lessons of life shaped our own characters the most, 'Rounding First' is a highly refreshing movie - truly built for the entire family to sit and watch at night. And as much as I hate to bring it up, it happens to be a very true statement nonetheless: If you liked 'Stand By Me' then you will really love director Jim Fleigner's inspirational 'Rounding First.'" - Exclusive Magazine

"Having been aware of the movie for almost two years and following it's progress - as well as having some inside scoop on the plot - I had been eagerly awaiting this film's release. I can say that the movie lived up to my expectations, and more.

You can read the plot above, so I won't rehash it here, but I will say that this wonderful family film is a combination coming-of-age and buddy / road trip story of three 12-year-old boys who run away from baseball camp to find some elusive truths. When they finally learn what they've been seeking, it's almost too much for two of the friends to bear.

The three boys are wonderfully portrayed by Soren Fulton (Joe), Sam Semenza (Chris) and Matt Borish (Tiger), and the boys are very convincing in their roles. I never "caught them acting." Having seen Soren act before (A Ring of Endless Light and Thunderbirds) I had an idea of the performance he can deliver, and was impressed with his portrayal of Joe. Sam did a great job in the role of the token chubby kid who gets no respect from his mates, and provides the comic relief. But it was Matt's performance as Tiger that was particularly astounding. As Tiger, he was the risk-taker, the go-getter, and the kid in the group who showed the least fear. And he had the toughest role, emotionally, to pull off. Together he and Soren provided the performances that were needed for the chemistry between the two best friends to develop, until it was strained to the point of snapping in the gripping and emotional conclusion. Hats off to Matt, Soren and Sam for making it real.

The soundtrack is brilliant and adds to the film's pace and feeling. The DVD extras are fun to watch, with Soren and Matt given plenty of behind-the-scenes time as well as some great interviews about their roles, characters and the story. Overall, this movie is highly recommended." - Young Star News

'Rounding First', USA 2005, Jim Fleigner, 97 mins. (Cineworld Shaftesbury Avenue, Nov 18 10am; Tricycle, Nov 25 4pm.) Three boys break out from summer camp to uncover their families’ sad secrets. An impressive comedy threesome in a film about friendship and the lies parents tell. Age 7+.

Dir: Jim Fleigner 2006/US/97mins Brilliant US coming-of-age film that explores the relationship between parents and children and about how and when to tell the truth.

"Rounding First is a charming, unassuming film with a deceptively simple and quaint plot that leads to a genuinely clever and tense climax. Jim Fleigner does an admirable job of steering his own script, injecting it with a nice pace and energy, whilst the triumvirate of young stars that lead the piece give nicely understated performances, refreshing to see in young actors.

Having already garnered praise following its showing at various film festivals across the US, including the film's premiere on the closing night of the Hawaii Film Festival, Rounding First is an enjoyable, charming and engaging film that has understandably been compared to Stand By Me but which possesses enough originality to stand alone rather than as a clone of the previous film. A treat." -

"I'll get this out of the way right at the start. Stand By Me. There, I said it. From the poster art to the central dynamic of the leads, the comparison to Stephen King's era-defining coming-of-age movie is as inevitable as it is unfair. Rounding First - written, directed and edited by Fleigner - is a very different beast to Stand By Me, however heavily the accompanying promotional material leans on that film, and should be viewed as such. So let’s be clear... Yes, the film features a group of young friends from Smalltown USA. Yes, the film deals with the bonds of friendship and the loss of childhood innocence in a similar way, and yes, the fat kid is the butt of many of the others jokes. But beyond that, Rounding First is a respectable feature in its own right, with a charm all of its own.

Rounding First is a fiercely independent film, with Fleigner relying heavily on the goodwill of his many sponsors to bring this labour of love to the screen. It's an impressive feat, with the writer-director's infectious enthusiasm for the project garnering support from businesses and individuals keen to see a return to solid, personal and story-driven independent film-making. The film follows the story of twelve-year olds Joe (Soren Fulton), Tiger (Matt Borish) and Chris (Sam Semenza) in the summer of 1980 as they break out of baseball camp and follow Joe's parents to discover the true nature of the mysterious trip they're taking. The events that follow lead them on a quest that takes in detective work, armed robbery, family feuds and an eventful road trip leading to an emotional climax that tests the true strength of the bonds of friendship.

The young leads (who between them already boast an impressive list of stage and screen credits taking in Frasier, Oliver Beene, The Sopranos and Beauty & The Beast to name a few) handle Fleigner's self-penned script with aplomb, which balances some of its more sentimental aspects with school-kid banter and a few cheeky 80s pop-culture references for good measure. They are ably aided by a supporting cast who create a believable parental community where family pride comes first, and incidents of the past are hidden from those they affect the most, fostering a bitterness and resentment that is only ever a drink or two away from breaking free.

The film's independent roots are clear, and there are points where the dialogue and direction feels more like a stage play, but much of this is down to our over-familiarity and reliance on the superficial polish a lot of mainstream productions coat their stories in. In Rounding First the characters and the unfolding events of their lives are the focus of the film, and this is its strength. Take the opportunity to give this film your time and you'll be rewarded with a very personal take on the coming-of-age movie, and a diverting account of the lasting strength of friendship." -

As with Jim Fleigner, the writer and director of Rounding First, the summer 1980 was a idyllic time for us too, passing away the hours playing baseball in those pre-Reaganite days.

Sure, there were problems - the hostages in Iran - but things seemed relatively peaceful. We had just defeated the Soviets in hockey, people had less than 10 channels on their TVs, and written communications were delivered by a postman and not electronically.

This is the mood that Rounding First, a youth film that should be of interest to viewers of all ages, tries - successfully - to bring to the screen.

Three buddies (Tiger, Joe and Chris) spend their days at the old ballpark until circumstances beyond their control conspire to wrest them apart and tear the world upon which their friendship revolves asunder.

The action begins. While these guys may not even have entered their teens to embark on something that the majority of us don't experience until college: a road trip.

Their quest to piece together a mystery sets them on a course of adventure in which they conceal their movements from their parents, stay off the police radar and all the while maintain the bonds that have kept them together.

Rounding First features an accomplished and incredibly credible set of young actors in the lead roles. What're more, fans of All My Children are in for a treat/surprise as the notorious Michael E. Knight, aka Tad "The Cad" Martin, who has now leaped into the role of parent.

The DVD includes commentary from director Jim Fleigner, interviews and deleted scenes. -


VIDEO: FOX News Interview during Hawaii Intl Film Festival



ARTICLE: Slovak Spectator on Orchestral Recording of RF Score




VIDEO: News report filmed during production



VIDEO: News report filmed during production