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May 22, 2005

Whatever became of...
...the film shot in the Valley, 'Rounding First'?

The film is virtually complete and a studio is being sought to purchase it. If all goes well, it could premiere by Christmas, optimistically, or anytime next year.

Any baseball puns could be in play for this one. ''Rounding First'' for these purposes could be called ''Rounding Third'' because, if a studio buys the independently produced film, this could be a score for investors and the Lehigh Valley. However, like the runner heading for a home plate collision, the uncertainty remains.

Although the producers don't know the outcome, they remain optimistic for success and rave about the Lehigh Valley shooting experience.
Many readers will remember the film was shot over six weeks in July and August. While some familiar television actors had starring roles, such as Michael E. Knight and John Michael Bolger, some area residents served as extras and will be hoping to see themselves as well as some familiar area landmarks including Shankweiler's Drive-in, Limeport Stadium and Dorney Park.

But when will it happen? Co-producer Laura Ferretti estimated the film is 98 percent complete. Post-production work followed the shooting, including editing, adding music and holding test screenings to adjust elements based on audience reaction.

Ferretti, who grew up in the Allentown area, is married to Jim Fleigner, who wrote, directed, edited and co-produced the film. He loosely used childhood experiences to write the movie in approximately one month.

She described the film as a coming-of-age story, with a concept somewhat similar to ''Stand by Me.'' The 88-minute film involves three 12-year-olds whose friendship is tested through family tensions and a run-in with the law.

The plot appeals to ages 10-80, Ferretti said. Youths can relate to the characters, baby boomers will harken back to the nostalgic setting in 1980 and seniors seem to appreciate the dynamics of friends banding together to get through tough times.

The film's next milestone is expected to be a showing at a film festival in fall where producers and 40 investors hope it will be bought by a studio.

Although selling the film and awaiting public reaction still lie ahead, Ferretti said there is a tremendous sense of relief in getting to this point — nearly three years of nonstop work for her husband. She admitted this is a make-or-break project for him. After writing and producing three short films, he decided to go for it all on this full-length feature.

She also said she is proud of the Lehigh Valley, which shows well. Many people they have come in contact with are amazed the quaint locations are in the same region.

''We want the film to be successful for so many reasons, but it is another dream to have people change what they think of when they see the Lehigh Valley,'' she said.

Specifically, she said Billy Joel's ''Allentown'' was an unjust depiction. ''Wouldn't it be great if they saw the film and said, 'Boy, that place is beautiful?''' she added. ''I really think it's the best tourist video you could ever have.''

And just how did they arrive at the Valley as a backdrop? Ferretti explained her mother clipped a newspaper article stating the Lehigh Valley Film and Video Council was boosting the area for films. Neither she nor Ferretti wanted to push their hometown, but Fleigner, from Long Island, found the article, gave it some consideration and loved the locations when he surveyed them as prospective sites and compared other possibilities, she said.

For pictures and other information about the film including a trailer, see