The 5th Quarter was shot entirely in Winston-Salem and premiered at the Grande 18 theatre on University Parkway last night. It was an invite only event which included many staples of the local film industry and many of the cast/crew who worked on the film from out of state. I was lucky enough to get an invite for my minor part in working on the film in late 2008.
My involvement with the film began rather unexpectedly. I had heard that this film was coming to the area, but at the time, I was busy playing in a band and working as a Features Editor for a small newspaper. My good friend and associate Dan A. R. Kelly ended up being hired as a casting associate through extras casting agency Altair Casting. Two days out from the first day of filming, the production had yet to find a suitable stand-in for lead actor Ryan Merriman. Being at the pre-filming party with Dan, someone suggested I might fit the bill. I laughed a little thinking to myself how drastic a change that would be from the roles I usually play on a set, but they insisted I come down and check with the AD department to see if I would work. I did and, sure enough, they wanted me for the entire shoot (25 days) to be on set as Ryan’s stand-in. The pay wasn’t bad and the opportunity to be close to the camera/lighting crew headed by A-list camera operator Craig Haagensen was very nice; so, I jumped on the offer.
This was my first time seeing any part of the film cut together. The story itself is based on actual events and was scripted and directed by Rick Bieber (no relation to Justin). It focuses on Wake Forest University line backer Jon Abbate (Ryan Merriman) and his family (Aidan Quinn as the father, Andie MacDowell as mother, Matthew McGrath and Mandy Manis as other siblings) who lost their youngest brother/son in a tragic car accident during the 2006 season. The young son, Luke’s, organs were donated following the accident and his spirit was the inspiration for his brother Jon switching from Jersey “40” to Luke’s number “5”. The switch and remembrance of Luke brought on a phenomenon at Wake Forest calling the 4th quarter the 5th quarter and the 2006 season went on to become one of the best in the university’s history.
I enjoyed the film. It definitely pulls at the heart strings and knowing it is a true story makes that all the more difficult. It’s great seeing a film like this made in the area because it really shows some of the wonderful locations for filming that are available here in the Piedmont Triad area, puts money into the local economy and shows some of the pride of Wake Forest. The film will open to the masses on March 25 at 120 screens. More information on the film is available at http://the5thquartermovie.com/.