Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION
Local gymnast is her own shooting star
Winnipeg-made movie showcases local talent, input
Last summer, Sydney Alexander vaulted into a starring role as a movie stunt double and trainer.
The accomplished 12-year-old gymnast was part of the production of An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars, which was filmed on location in Winnipeg last summer.
The direct-to-video movie stars Winnipeg’s own Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and Ian Ziering (Beverly Hills 90210), who play the parents of McKenna, a determined young artistic gymnast played by Jade Pettyjohn.
Alexander — a south St. Vital resident and member of St. Boniface-based Panthers Gymnastics — trained with Pettyjohn in the weeks prior to filming and then acted as her gymnastics double to perform the more difficult gymnastics scenes in the movie, which was shot in various locations including Tec Voc High School.
"Jade is really nice, so it was great. I’ve never been in a movie before," said Alexander, reflecting on her onset experience days before the movie, which is currently available on Shaw Video on Demand, was shown on NBC on July 14.
"I have a really good relationship with Jade and we still talk. The movie was a great experience. It was once-in-a-lifetime and kind of a dream come true."
To those in the know, it’s not surprising that Alexander — who attends Ecole Julie-Riel and whose younger sister Mackenzie is also featured in the movie — landed the mentoring role, as she has won countless accolades at different levels, including competing as a national level gymnast.
Robert Persechino, who shares the Panthers’ head coaching duties with his wife Helene Desmarais, said the movie showcases the strength of the local gymnastics community.
Persechino noted all of the gymnasts featured in the film’s opening scene are from city clubs including Fantastic Gymnastics in the Fort Garry area and Charleswood-based Springers Gymnastics.
The pair worked tirelessly with cast and crew in an expert coaching capacity onset and the highly-respected coach gained a new appreciation for the magic of moviemaking.
"It was very long days, but very exciting. An impressive thing is that we’d set up the gym in a certain way with not a lot of room, but they made it look big," Persechino said.
"Also, I was impressed how some scenes were shot in near darkness, but when you went to watch on the monitor everything seemed bright."
For more information, visit www.panthersgymnastics.ca. To learn more about the movie, visit www.americangirl.com or got to Facebook and search for American Girl.
More The Lance
More The Lance
(1 of 11 articles for this week)05/22/2013 1:00 AM 0
Must Have Menus
Ads by Google