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JACKSONVILLE (March 2008) ¨C When 9,000 student performers from all over Florida descend on downtown Tampa next month, it marks the largest high school theater festival in the world. This year for the first time, the students will also find themselves in front of the camera for the filming of the documentary Thespians.

TigerLily Media¡¯s Warren Skeels is helming the doc, which marks the production company’s first partnership with Tampa-based Maven Entertainment.

Lou Maggio and Jody Simon will serve as Executive Producers on Thespians, which began initial filming in October and will be the debut film for Maven Entertainment. ¡°We are thrilled to join forces with Tiger Lily Media at such an exciting time, and on such a juicy project said Maggio. Audiences of all ages are really going to relate to the kids we follow in this film. The real-life themes of perseverance, dreams, goals and growing up are universal.

Maggio recently produced the features The Year of Getting To Know Us starring Sharon Stone, Jimmy Fallon, Lucy Liu & Tom Arnold and The Six Wives of Henry Lefay which featured an all-star cast that includes Tim Allen, Elisha Cuthbert, Andie McDowell, Jenna Elfmam, Paz Vega, S. Epatha Merkerson and Chris Klein. Director Skeels has traveled across the state filming high school thesps as they prepare for the Superbowl of high school thespian competitions.

I was both a participant in Thespians and served as the state student rep my senior year in high school. It¡¯s where I discovered my passion for theatre and the arts, said Skeels. Ever since I became a filmmaker, this project has been in the back of my mind. Coming from that world, I have always wanted to go back and chronicle the world of Thespians and celebrate the value and impact that it has on these kids.

Skeels graduated from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts before attending University of Southern California. His partner in TigerLily Media, Brenda Egedy Kolb, is producing the film.

The Tampa film shoot starts Wednesday, April 29 and ends Saturday, May 3. Attendees spend the four days competing in individual events such as solo musical, duet musical, monologues and pantomime. The fest also offers workshops with guest artists on topics like stage fighting, improvisation, and set-building. They watch and perform in shows ranging from one-acts to elaborate musicals.

Saturday night culminates in a performance from a yet-to-be-named celebrity guest artist, and TigerLily Media’s cameras will capture the emotional moment for the kids.

Kolb and Skeels who co-own TigerLily Media, served as producers on the jazz documentary Chops, that premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival and the award-winning indie film Throwing Stars (Jason London, Scott Grimes), scheduled for theatrical release later this month under the new title of Whose Your Monkey.

For more information, please visit www.tigerlillymedia.com.

  • About Maven

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