August 8, 2002
It's not Cannes or Sundance, but Wednesday, Aug. 14, at 7 p.m., Chantilly High's theater will premiere an independent film written, produced and directed by Centreville's Herring family.
A year in the making, it's called "Still Life" — created by Chip Herring. Besides owning Willow Springs Towing, he's also a writer, and son Clint, an actor and Chantilly High grad, turned his words into a movie.
"We're so proud of him," said Clint's mom, Maria. "For him and his dad and the whole family, it's been a labor of love." Brother Kyle, 13, did technical work, and teens from three different high schools acted.
"The greatest thing is that this film brought together student actors from throughout the community — Centreville, Chantilly and Westfield High," said Clint. "They made friends and hung out together even after the movie was done, so it's something the whole community can be proud of."
Pre-show gala is at 6 p.m.; the film debuts at 7 p.m. For the Herrings, it's a dream come true. "I've always been interested in filmmaking, and my dad's been a writer, all his life," said Clint. "Digital cinema made it easier to make lower-budget films, so we decided he'd write [one] and I'd direct."
The result was "Still Life," about Shelby, 17, with mental problems — but struggling to overcome them through photography. At first, she only photographs nature and still life.
The play's title is a play on words, said Clint, because "there's 'still life' in Shelby, despite her obstacles. Her psychiatrist notices her photos don't contain people, so she tells Shelby to take photos including people, [so she'll] interact socially."
Then, searching for a runaway friend helps Shelby get photographs of new people and places. "The theme is optimism," said Clint. "You can't turn the world into a romantic, heroic place, but it's still beautiful and there's a lot to learn about life."
Among the 50-member cast are Chantilly grad Erin Findley, playing Shelby; Westfield High junior Jon Lawlor, Shelby's friend Perry; former teacher Carol Romesburg, the psychiatrist; and Chantilly grad John Bonner, McKay, a boxer.
"It took all last summer to film, and this summer I spent day and night editing it," said Clint. "We're putting it on a DVD to distribute to Don Roos, the director of 'Bounce.' I met him through Carol. We learned a lot — the film shows what we can do with a little money and a lot of dedication."
Tech-crew member Adam Rolfe, a Westfield grad, said, "You go home tired and know you've accomplished something. It's a well-written movie, and we did our best, media-wise, to make it all come together." Added Bonner: "People will like the movie for its originality, and it tells a good story."