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Clifton Resident Shoots Film in Lorton

Director Donald Leow, of Clifton, tackles bullying and redemption in his independent film.

Clifton resident Donald Leow brought his film crew to Lorton on Monday, to shoot a segment of his new independent movie about bullying. "The Senior Prank," is about high school bullies who, as the ultimate prank, set up a girl with Down Syndrome to be the homecoming queen.

The scenes were shot at . in Lorton.  The film crew worked from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., and at the end of the day, the work will amount to less than five minutes worth of footage. 

'The Senior Prank' Plot 

New student Cara Jarvis (Stacey Bradhaw) wants to be popular, but feels that her new friendship with Grace (Amber House), a student with Down Syndrome, is holding her back. In the struggle to get the guy and win popular friends, Cara sets Grace up to be the homecoming queen as a senior prank. But the plan backfires and Cara is humiliated. 

"This is more a movie about bullying than it is about Down Syndrome," said director Leow. "The finished product will be 90-100 minutes long, and if a major distributor picks up this film, I feel like a few acting careers will go far."

The message of the film is universal, said executive producer Steve Woolwine. "I think that everyone has been bullied in some form or another throughout their lives," he said. "The trouble with our society is that you can be a bully even if you don't stand up and say that it's wrong. You might not be committing the act, but you're with the crowd who does."

Monday's scenes involved a conversation between Cara and her mom Sharon (Kera O'Bryon) outside the shop, and then inside at the counter with Great Harvest Baristas Quinn (Sara Cicilian) and Ben (Frank Stephens). Ben has Down Syndrome, and Quinn openly mocks him in front of customers. 

"Yeah, my character basically has no shame," said Cicilian, "but she turns over a new leaf by the end of the film. I'm definitely not this mean in real life." 

Great Harvest employees had the opportunity to be background actors. "We were walking up to check things out and the guy with the blue shirt asked, 'Are you my extras?' and we said, 'We are if you want us to be!'" said Lynn Schmauder who was filmed along with her 16-year-old daughter Jill. 

"I didn't think there would be so much equipment!" said Great Harvest co-owner Jeff Connelly. "We're usually closed on Monday, but we're actually doing pretty good business." 

Six months from now, "The Senior Prank" will be edited and ready for distribution.

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