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Phoenix teen director to premiere 'Narnia'

Movie premieres normally feature glamorous stars being hounded by paparazzi as they step out of limos and onto the red carpet.

But a North County movie premiere of "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" on Sept. 23 will feature young actors led by their 14-year-old director as they walk up the steps at Summit Manor for an evening that benefits a local charity.

The 7 p.m. premiere is free and open to the public, but donations will be accepted for My Neighbors Foundation, which buys supplies for North County students. Food will also be sold before the movie.

Tommy Flynn, an eighth-grader at Loyola Blakefield High School who lives in Phoenix, convinced his friends, relatives and neighbors to star in the movie. He began filming last October at his home, in nearby woods, at Oregon Ridge and along Carroll Road.

The movie tells the story of four siblings who climb through a wardrobe and enter the magical land of Narnia.

"I've never made anything longer than 15 minutes before," said Tommy, who started making videos when he was 9. "This movie is going to be 80 or 90 minutes, and it took us something like 22 filmings."

Before directing Narnia, Tommy attended summer sessions of Young Filmmakers workshops at Park School. He has also filmed everything from three-minute movies to a documentary about his family's Disney cruise.

He said he began rewriting the C.S. Lewis book when he was in fifth grade at St. Joseph School in Cockeysville. He changed the action to present day instead of World War II and the location from England to the United States.

Maddie Thornton, 13, of Timonium, agreed to play two roles — the White Witch and Susan, one of the children who find Narnia.

"I was at pretty much every filming. There were times we had to memorize our lines and times when Tommy would tell us them just before he filmed," said Maddie, who went to school with Tommy. "I've seen some of the scenes, and it looks awesome."

His big Christmas present from his grandparents was a green screen that allowed him to film scenes that require special effects. The actors said their lines in front of the screen, and he later inserted Aslan, the talking lion, into the scene. He also added a musical score to the film.

Tommy talked both his mother and sister to be in the movie, too. Lynne Flynn plays the mother of the four Pevensie children.

"I didn't know his vision was so big and that he'd take this movie to the level he has," Lynne Flynn said.

Tommy's sister, Sarah, 10, plays Lucy, the youngest of the four children.

"I've always loved Narnia, and Lucy is my favorite character because she's the first to go to Narnia."

The other children are played by Chris Standard, of Hunt Valley, and Timmy Krach, of Timonium.

Tommy also asked neighbor Olivia Dias, an eighth-grader at Hereford Middle School, to help with makeup, costumes and set designs, as well as play the stern housekeeper, Mrs. Macready.

Trying to schedule shootings for 20 actors was difficult, so half-way through the filming, Tommy's mother, Lynne, hired her daughter's voice teacher, Kelly Meeder, of Freeland, as production manager. Meeder, 19, has plenty of theatrical experience with Seventh District Recreation Council's summer drama program.

"I think Tommy's very focused for his age," Meeder said. "I was impressed with how much work he's done on this. He's made a huge commitment."

The movie also features Connor Moore, Liam Hogan, Hunter Hodges, Ryan McCarty, Heather Meeder, Richard Standard, Christopher Fanto, Alex Darby, Casey Ford, Devon Strozyk, David Galasso and Alyssa Brown.

To view the movie trailer, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vsdx-TlSBIg.

The Sept. 23 premiere begins at 7 p.m. at Summit Manor, behind the Hereford Volunteer Fire Company, 510 Monkton Road.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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