Local dancers, martial artists, actors and movie producers met on the third floor of Mulberry Lofts Monday at 22 N. Mulberry St. to shoot a teaser for a film they hope to make that will be set in a post-apocalyptic world.
“It’s Bruce Lee meets Luke Skywalker meets a break dancer,” said Peter Arizmendi, co-writer, co-producer and actor in the film. “It’s never been done before.”
The film, called “The Ruwach: Quest for Truth,” was written by Arizmendi, Thomas Sanchez and Walter Puryear and is being produced by Peter Thomas Entertainment, which is co-owned by Arizmendi and Sanchez and based in Hagerstown.
In the story, a group of five young people stands up against an immortal villain called New Earth Design who has taken over the planet, set up a hierarchy system and sent people who are of no use to him to live in “no-man’s land,” which is the Bronx. The fight scenes that ensue are meant to look like break dancing.
Arizmendi, who said he would like to establish his company in Mulberry Lofts, said the teaser is being made in an effort to attract a production company for a distribution deal.
“One company did offer, but they wanted to buy it,” he said. “We’re not trying to sell the movie.”
Dancers such as Daniel O’Kelley, Bessy award-winning choreographer Violeta Galargaza and Roger G., who has danced with Michael Jackson, are in the movie, but they were not in Hagerstown on Monday, Arizmendi said.
Sanchez said the concept for the story is more than a year old. The inspiration for it came from dance movies such as “Step Up” and the writers’ beliefs that those movies were missing something.
“We wanted to incorporate something more epic,” he said. “Fight sequences are the dance.”
The teaser involved one of the main characters, played by Arizmendi, being captured by a group of street thugs and about to be sacrificed, Sanchez said. Arizmendi said the character demonstrates that he has the Ruwach, which represents the power of a spirit called upon by the main characters in the movie.
“It’s a very dark film also,” Sanchez said. “There’s spiritual elements in it as well.”
Local dancers and martial artists portrayed the street gangs, or “futuristic thugs.”
Neeko Young-Austin, 20, of Hagerstown, said he accepted a role as one of the “futuristic thugs” after being approached by the writers while skateboarding down Washington Street last week.
“I also do music, and any exposure is good exposure,” he said. “It’s been too real.”
Andre Ford of Hagerstown said Young-Austin told him about the movie. He was later approached by the writers and said he was offered a role after showing them a dance move.
“It’s exciting and has that adrenaline,” said Ford, 21. “It’s almost overwhelming, but not too much.”
Arizmendi said he hopes to begin shooting the movie in August and release it in 2014.