Movie director looks for extras in Michiana

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SOUTH BEND An Oscar-nominated director is shooting a movie in South Bend, and he’s looking for extras to round out the cast.

Director John Hancock, of "Prancer" fame, is from the area himself and is returning to Michiana to shoot his next film.

"Swan Song" is a film about a former stage star, Karen, who is living with Alzheimer’s disease. When her 13-year-old granddaughter Julie comes to live with her, the two clash. But then Karen discovers Julie’s powerful singing voice, one that helps her earn the lead in a stage production of “Alice in Wonderland.” That triumph bonds grandmother and granddaughter together in ways they never imagined.

The film is produced by Hancock's LaPorte County company, FilmAcres.

Several hometown stars have lead roles in the film. 1996 John Adams High School alum Anthony Panzica plays Julie’s father.

"I've learned a lot along the way and, I learned right here in South Bend and just from working with local actors local directors and producers, and it's a great place to get you start," said Panzica.

Julie is played by Grace Tarnow, who currently attends LaPorte’s Kesling Middle School.

"Mill Creek is such a small town but this is a big opportunity that I couldn't pass up," said Tarnow.

On Monday, Hancock shot scenes of Julie arriving at the airport, along with scenes of Arthur and his new wife, Sybil, arriving to check on Julie.

FilmAcres also is rounding up extras to portray the theater audience for the movie's production of "Alice in Wonderland." Inspired by last year's Oscar-winning film adaptation of "Les Miserables," Hancock will film the actors singing live, instead of to recorded tracks.

That scene will be shot at IU South Bend on Sunday, July 28. About 400 extras are needed. Anyone interested in appearing in the scene is asked to submit contact information and a recent picture to .

"Swan Song" is expected to be a major motion picture.