On Students: Pizza Boy Caught At Wrong Place In Undergrads' Homegrown Film Leslie Rice --------------------------------- Homewood News and Information Gil Jawetz clung for life to a door handle as the maroon 1972 El Dorado convertible lurched over a bump on a Stuartsville, Pa., back road. The Hopkins senior was sitting on top of the left back door, his body leaning as much out of the car as possible without falling out. While he nearly toppled out of the car, the camera man, perched on the opposite door, managed to keep his balance and lens on the driver. It had been a long, beastly hot day, and the crew filming Mardi Gras, Baltimore had been at it since 6 a.m. "Between the heat, and Gil nearly losing his life three different times between bumps and sharp curves in the road, tempers had begun to fray," said senior Matt Gross, who co-directs the student film with Jawetz. "Then they stopped the car, and the actors got out to film what's supposed to be a tense scene where words are exchanged. With all the tension in the air, the scene went exactly right in one take. It may turn out to be one of the best scenes in the movie." Last Monday, Gross and Jawetz wrapped up shooting a 30-minute feature film they co-wrote and directed in neighborhoods like Charles Village, Roland Park and Guilford. Most of the film's shoestring budget was made possible by a Provost Office undergraduate research grant. The students plan to finish the film in time for the annual Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium in October, said Gross who co-chairs the symposium, entitled "Framing Society: A Century of Cinema." Mardi Gras, Baltimore chronicles the escapades of Charlie, a pizza delivery boy who delivers a sub to a bank security guard the same time the bank is robbed. Charlie is kidnapped by the robber, and through a series of screwups, so are his girlfriend Sophie and Natalie, the 12-year-old girl for whom Sophie babysits. The movie was filmed in one frenetic week with a professional production crew and actors, as well as a handful of Hopkins friends who volunteered to play extras and help on the set. Charlie is played by local actor Johnny Alonso, who has appeared on "Homicide: Life on the Streets" and is currently working in a pilot series for Maryland Public Television. "Gil and I are really pleased at how smoothly the production went," said Gross, who, like Jawetz, is a Writing Seminars major. "There was intense pressure the entire time, but it was exciting. I would never have thought, for example, that I would be able to rewrite an entire scene that would be shot that day and have it turn out to be pretty good."
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