• When: Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.)

• Where: Summerville High School Theater, 17555 Tuolumne Rd., Tuolumne.

• Tickets: $15 at the door.

• Info: theotherkidsmovie.com

“The Other Kids” is not like other films.

For starters, it was shot without a script over the course of 18 months.

Add to that it’s a blend of fiction and non-fiction in which real teenagers “play versions of themselves in a fictional cinematic universe.”

Not to mention the movie was filmed entirely in Tuolumne County with a cast of local teens.

“The Other Kids,” which follows six teens as they struggle through their final days of high school in Sonora, will have its Tuolumne County premiere at 6 p.m. Saturday at Summerville High School.

Presented by ITSA Film Festival and the Tuolumne County Film Commission, the screening costs $15 at the door. All proceeds will benefit the Tuolumne County Arts Alliance and the YES Partnership.

Following the film, a Q&A session will be held with director Chris Brown and cast members who are in attendance.

“To bring the project home is extremely meaningful,” Brown said. “In a way, this is our most important audience.”

Making a movie

Brown, a San Francisco-based filmmaker, has visited his grandparents cabin in the Long Barn area his entire life.

“I’ve always wanted to make a movie here,” he said. “I’ve always been looking for an excuse to make a movie here.”

The film was shot at both Summerville and Sonora high schools, which were made to look like one in the film.

Locations throughout Tuolumne County are recognizable in the film, including downtown Sonora and Twain Harte Lake (which was filmed at during 2013’s massive Rim Fire). Even hometown events such as the Mother Lode Roundup are featured.

Brown would travel to Tuolumne County on weekends to shoot “The Other Kids.”

He held auditions back in 2012 at the former Tuolumne General Hospital building.

“Over the course of two weeks, I probably saw every interested 16-to-18 year old in the county,” he said. “Each auditioner brought in a monologue, we talked for a long bit, then I threw them immediately into an improv situation with another randomly picked auditioner. If they could run with the improv situation, they moved to the next stage. If not, they were out.”

Brown said he was looking for teens with “fire in their bellies” to collaborate with.

“Auditioning is such a mysterious process; it’s like meeting new friends,” he said. “You know right away if you like someone, if you ‘vibe’ with them, if you can imagine working 18 hour days with them.”

Since premiering the film last year, “The Other Kids” has been shown in film festivals around the world. The film has won several awards, including the Grand Jury Award at the Florida Film Festival and Best Narrative Feature at the New Jersey Film Festival.

‘It’s not a documentary’

The film’s unscripted hybrid of fiction and non-fiction is a style that Brown has dubbed a “fictumentary.”

“I always remind audiences that it’s not a documentary,” Brown said. “The kids were encouraged to use as much or as little material from their own lives as they felt comfortable using (to build their characters). My hope was that they could use the film as a vehicle for exploring aspects of their own lives.

“There’s so much that we all deal with in our personal lives, so much we keep hidden out of the fear or shame instilled in us from birth and nurtured by family and culture,” he added. “The moment we begin to openly acknowledge these thoughts, feelings and behaviors is the moment we realize that so many other people think, feel and behave the same way.

“But exploring and exposing these truths can be painful. There were many difficult days on the shoot — scenes and moments that dredged up real pain for the actors. Some days, I would put the camera away and we’d just sit back and talk, go for a walk, get a sandwich, laugh, cry.

“I’m protective of the actors I work with in all of my films. In making ‘The Other Kids’ I was even more protective because I was working with a cast of real teenagers. Above all, I didn’t want to do anything that would harm them in any way, either while we were working or later after the film was done. I think that this is why I gave the kids final cut over all of their material. If there was anything they didn’t feel comfortable with, I didn’t use it.”

The film stars Savannah Bailey, Hunter Gilmore, Kai Kellerman, Sienna Lampi, Nata sha Lombardi, Joe McGee, Isaac Sanchez, Baylee Self and Abby Stewart. Local actor Michael Crich portrays an Army recruiter, and parents played themselves to capture the authentic dynamic between parent and child.

While there were many challenges with filming “The Other Kids,” Brown said those obstacles turned out to be assets in making the film honest, fresh and not just another high school movie.

“I think one of the biggest challenges was to try and make a film about teens that wasn’t hopelessly distorted by my middle-aged perspective,” he said. “Here once again, the teen cast kept me honest. They were in charge of quality control. Whenever I started to set up a scene in a way they felt was unrealistic or stupid, they would instantly intervene, come to my rescue and suggest an alternate, more accurate approach.”

For those who can’t attend this weekend’s premiere, “The Other Kids” will be available online at flixpremiere.com/film/ the-other-kids.

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