ST. CHARLES – Forget Hollywood, Aspen and Austin: on July 1, you’re invited to screen a director’s cut, locally sourced, indie dramedy right in St. Charles.
The movie is “Rink,” the 2018 brainchild of Noah Way, actor and filmmaker. The show starts at 7 p.m. at the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St.
The event is free and open to the public. A photographer will be on hand. Red-carpet attire and attitude are encouraged, but not required.
Rink is the story of Finn Conwell, a social outcast bent on becoming an expert roller skater by winning a local competition. The dream derails when the roller rink he trains at closes. Outside skating is out of the question. “What am I, a street hooligan?” Finn snarks when presented the idea.
Interesting strategies emerge to save the day. The film is a thrill ride of bizarre bake sales, knee-length athletic socks, social awkwardness, drag queens, sleazy parents, redemption, and roller skates. Its tag line – “This loser wants to win” – is universal.
The film has a “Napoleon Dynamite” vibe and offers up some great lines such as, “You won’t like your life when you have to buy the cheap toilet paper.”
Way (formerly Noah Bailey) wrote, directed and stars in the film. For the past few years, he’s been directing well-received children’s theater productions for Steel Beam Theatre and Marquee Youth Stage, both in St. Charles.
“There are aspects of myself in Finn,” Way said. “I think we can all relate to having a dream. We can all relate to having people believing – and not believing – in us, and then that fight that you put up in order to achieve your dream despite adversity.”
Besides “Rink,” Way’s other filmmaking credits include “Rooty” and “And Then There Was One,” both out in 2016. He has appeared on NBC’s “Chicago Fire” and was in the 2019 feature film “Captive State,” with John Goodman.
Way triple majored in acting, communication and media studies. He says Finn’s journey is not unlike his own.
“Growing up, being an aspiring filmmaker, I ran into people and things that were roadblocks and obstacles, but also I ran into people who were supportive and, you know, helped me get on my way to achieving what I want to accomplish,” Way said.
But unlike Finn, Way clarified, “I don’t want to be an expert roller skater.”
“Rink” was released on Amazon Prime in May. Way said the response has been fantastic.
Area viewers will enjoy the Easter egg-like treasure trove. The Aurora Skate Center, radio personality Scott Mackay, well-known area actor Ann Keen, the Steel Beam Theatre and its executive artistic director, Marge Uhlarik-Boller, the Colonial Café in Aurora, and Aurora University are all there.
Running time is about 1:40. There are some adult situations and language, but the film is mostly family friendly (13+). Event sponsors besides the Arcada are rise-out.com and Geneva-based 360flavorandspice.com.
A Q&A with the movie’s production team follows the screening. Besides Way, producer John K. Burke, cinematographer Austin Ploch, and cast members Keen, Alex Cirpinski, Rylie Orphan, Carissa Robbins and Mackay are expected.
Way plans to reveal his next project during the Q&A.
For more information on the Arcada Theatre, visit arcadalive.com.