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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Film duel draws from Aaron Burr

    Few would expect a modern middle school kid and the killer of Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, to handle their disputes in the same way. That is exactly the premise of Alexander Maxwell’s film “”Burr.””

    The film concerns a middle school kid, Desi, who is tired of being bullied and decides to take matters into his own hands by bringing a gun to school. Rather than killing a whole group of bullies, Desi’s friend, Byron, convinces him that he should instead single out the main bully and challenge him to a duel at an airplane graveyard.

    “”In light of these rampages that have happened (over the years), we wanted to kind of touch on that but not in any direct way,”” Maxwell said. “”We wanted to talk about the influences of violence and embed those influences in the scenery and atmosphere, as opposed to showing them play video games.””

    Despite this heavy theme, producer Nick Laperriere wants the audience to realize that he and Maxwell didn’t want to make the film about the Columbine school shooting of 1999.

    “”It’s not a moralistic movie; this movie is a coming-of-age where this fantasy world of violence comes crashing up against real violence and what the real repercussions are of that,”” Laperriere said. “”I hope that people will be able to appreciate it as a compelling story about certain themes of adolescence and not get too wrapped up in ‘school shooting.’ “”

    Upon their arrival to Tucson, Maxwell and Laperriere, both California-based filmmakers, got much more than they bargained for.

    “”We contacted TUSD and met with (director of fine and performing arts) Joan Ashcraft and (performing arts specialist) Carol Marlowe, and right away they were really enthusiastic about the project,”” Laperriere said. “”We’ve kinda fallen in love with Tucson really over the last nine months, and what we’ve found is that people here have a real appreciation for the arts.””

    As a result of the overwhelming support, Maxwell said wanted to return the favor.

    “”We wanted to give back, so we have local kids working on the film from Tucson middle and high schools,”” he said.

    Nick Petropoulos, a 13-year-old student at Vail Middle School, said he is very grateful for the opportunity to play Desi.

    “”The experience has been great, I think it could help really me if I want to pursue (acting),”” he said.

    Marlowe said she was also pleased with the experience.

    “”Its been great. Every place these film guys go, I tease them, it’s like they sprinkle fairy dust. Everybody is so excited to work with them,”” she said. “”As far as I know we’ve never had this, a collaboration between the school district and (a) film company. That’s been really a unique thing.””

    As for the movie’s controversial nature, Marlowe said she thinks “”Burr”” promotes discussion.

    “”It’s not a ‘how to fight bullies’ school counseling film. It’s a thought-provoking film,”” she said.

    Maxwell said he has high hopes for the film. He plans on submitting it to various film festivals, then premiering it at The Loft Cinema in February.

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