Culver-filmed movie adds Hollywood stars, draws hundreds to casting call

Representatives of Bearfruit Films, in Culver through the month of August to shoot the movie, "Little Savages" here, have announced at least three major stars of film and television have signed on for lead roles in the production.

Actor and comedian Jamie Kennedy, best known for his roles in the original "Scream" movies and "The Jamie Kennedy Experiment" on television, has signed on to play the role of "Fritz" in the movie, and Noah Lomax, who will be playing "Albie," was most recently in the film, "Playing for Keeps," with Gerard Butler and Jessica Beil. The role of "Tiffany" will be played by Katherine McNamara from the Disney television show, "Kickin' It" and Disney Channel movie, "Girl vs Monster."

A host of Culverites and others got involved in the movie process much more directly Saturday afternoon and morning when Bearfruit held an open casting call for small speaking roles and background parts in the film, at the Culver Community Middle School. More than 100 signed up to read for parts in the production, which is expected to be released in theaters next spring. The main hallway into the school was a mass of those waiting to audition, while "Savages" writer-director Paul Tomberello and recently-added Gerry Lively, a cinematographer and director of 1999's "Darkness Falls" (among other films), prompted them, one and two at a time, in a classroom around the corner.

Maria Benner, who possesses an acting background herself and works as a Culver Clubs coordinator for Culver Academies, Culver Girls Academy graduate Tegan Wright, along with Bearfruit's Katie Fox-Webb, producer James Simmons, and production designer Jeff Arnold, kept what might have appeared to be chaos running smoothly throughout the morning and well into the afternoon, soliciting behind-the-scenes volunteers to help coordinate the project along with on-screen talent.

The architects of the film and faith-based company Bearfruit itself discussed with community leaders and volunteers in the weeks leading up to shooting, their methodology in making what is by Hollywood definitions a "low budget" production look like anything but. By working in conjunction with local leaders and businesspeople, along with a wide array of local volunteers, Bearfruit intends to produce a compelling and successful film which will also showcase the beauty and qualities of Culver itself.

The movie itself is summed up online at

"After being abandoned and left to his grandparents in Culver, Indiana, 12-year-old Albie tries desperately to keep his head in his chemistry books while his older sister Tiffany glues herself to every possible social media app she can fit on her phone. Eager to get Albie out of his shell, Grandma makes him audition for the Summer Talent Show, where he befriends a motley group of boys knows as 'The Savages' who stick up for him against Billy Bronson and the other talented, rich kids in town – a group to which the rebellious Tiffany seems to be attracted. And when an old Culver legend of hidden treasure resurface, Albie and the Savages use their collective interests (from bicycling and literature to Chemistry and a little cheap magic) to try and beat the rich kids in the hunt for the prize."

A video about Bearfruit -- centering especially on its first feature film, "Rumors of Wars," currently slated for release to theaters this fall, is available online at