It's time to bring out the formal attire and see some stars walk the red carpet because Hollywood has come to Fresno. The world premier of local filmmaker Matthew Sconce's film "Firefall" is right around the corner and the public is invited to attend the formal event at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 2 at the Crest Theatre in Fresno.
Almost 1,000 people already attending the event and remaining tickets are going fast. Besides the cast, there will be a number of other notable attendees at the premier including: Stephen Tibbo, production sound mixer for Modern Family; Al Eisenmann, prop master of Criminal Minds; Del Weston, founder of the Action on Film International Film Festival; and Nina Houlihan, director of the Action on Film International Film Festival. There will even be cardboard cutouts of characters to pose with.
The movie is set in Yosemite and is a family adventure filled with PG rated comedy. It's the story of a group of travelers on their way to Yosemite National Park to witness one last Firefall -- when burning embers were shoved over the edge of Glacier Point. The travelers come from different backgrounds and walks of life, but their paths crash in humorous ways.
The characters are comprised of: Scottish "Free" Climbers, a disgraced outdoor survival television host and his nephew, a former welter-weight bodybuilding champion who's let himself go, a dysfunctional family in denial, park rangers, a hippie who has been living in the park for years, and a Mutant Bear.
Oakhurst resident Ryan Hoagland makes his debut on film as one of the Scottish free climbers in the film. Sconce spotted him at church and thought he looked the part and approached Hoagland about being in the film. Hoagland said his character was "a bit wild," but he had fun getting into character.
"It was fantastic," Hoagland said. "It was great working with Matt. He's a very cool dude. Him and his dad (Gary Sconce), I don't know how they have the energy."
Hoagland said acting was fun and, even though it was his first film, it wasn't difficult for him to do and he would "definitely" do it again.
"It's a good, clean, family fun movie," Hoagland said. "It's kind of hard to find films like that these days. It's something every age can appreciate."
It took three months to film the comedy with a cast 108 strong -- twice as many people as in Sconce's last movie, "Stricken." Actors and actresses came from across California and even all the way from Canada.
Carollyn DeVore was the casting director for the movie, as well as Sconce's last film, "Stricken," and said the project was a lot of fun.
"Matt and his dad, Gary Sconce, and myself looked through over 400 photos of actors of all ages and narrowed down to around 110 actors of all ages," she said.
A casting session was held at DeVore's studio in Fresno and potential actors and actresses were interviewed for the parts.
"(It was) so much fun ... (and) I am so excited about 'Firefall,'" she said. "Everyone had so much fun working on this comedy. I want to applaud Matt and Gary for filming at so many of our business locations in Oakhurst and Bass Lake. This film will help bring many tourists to our area."
Local businesses that were used in the film include Miller's Mountain Sports, Yosemite Gateway Inn, and the Little Church on the Hill located in the Oakhurst Cemetery.
"With the talent I have and the support of the mountain community, I feel the sky is the limit with us," Matt said. "I feel we are the dark horse of competition because we aren't from L.A. but we are getting worldwide recognition and it's because of the talent in the area. The people, the actors, and the support -- it fees like family and I think that's why we're successful."
Seeing everything come together -- from acting and comedic flow to film shots and music -- is the highlight for Sconce.
"It makes me feel like a proud parent seeing all these things come together and be born into world and see people be a part of it," he said.
Matt already has a five-film distribution deal for his next movies. Scripts are being written to go into production with R Squared Entertainment.
Four of those scripts include:
White Room -- an action thriller
FAT -- a film on school bullying
Monster Hunters -- a family adventure
Imaginary - another family adventure
"It feels like it's been a whirlwind and gone by extremely quickly," Sconce said. "It's been an enjoyable ride and I can't wait for what comes next."
"Firefall" is is currently on sale at the Cannes Film Market in France.
Tickets to the premier can be purchased at: www.firefalltickets.com. Attendees are not required to dress formal but are encouraged to do so. View the trailer at : www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBigwXBnti0. Details: firefallthemovie.com