Local sci-fi thriller debuts at the Cedar Lee on Sunday

About a year ago, writer-director Jon Mancinetti, a graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design, moved back home to Cleveland. He had finished a student film while at school but he wanted to do make another film and figured Cleveland was the right place to do it. “I wanted to go all out on something new,” he says. “I wanted to make something big and huge and insane.” He approached his brother Jeff, a Cleveland Institute of Art grad, and started making Never Escape, a film about a young man who’s trying to find redemption in a post-apocalyptic world that he describes as Twilight Zone-meets-Fight Club. Mancinetti says the movie, which premieres at 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27 at the Cedar Lee Theatre, is “science fiction in the tradition of 28 Days Later or Children of Men.” “I thought if I’m going to put so much time and effort into it, the story has to be good,” says the 25-year-old Mancinetti. “I really focused on that.”

He cast local actors Hubbell Rosene, Ryan Cress and Tina Grimm and used locations such as downtown Cleveland, the Cleveland Metroparks, Coventry, Whipps Ledges in Hinkley, warehouses in Ohio City and the ruins of a Girl Scout Camp in North Royalton which was destroyed in a fire. “There are so many great locations here that people just don’t know about,” Mancinetti says. “People nationally just don’t know about these locations. And there’s good local talent, too. And you can do it for cheap. In the end, people make fun of Cleveland, but it is an ideal location for doing this.” He recruited local indie rock acts such as Akron's If These Trees Could Talk and Cleveland’s Hoya Toya for the soundtrack. “I saw Hoya Toya play the Beachland,” he says. “It was their first show, and they were great. I knew the front man, who went to CCAD for a couple of years. He not only let me use his music but also wrote a score.” Hoya Toya performs at the film’s after party, slated to kick off at 10 p.m. the same night of the premiere at the Mercury Lounge. Following the Cedar Lee showing, Mancinetti plans to submit the film to the Toronto and Sundance Film Festivals. “It’s low-budget, but I don’t want people to know that when they watch it,” he says. “The goal is to see it and think it’s a mediocre independent film budget, which is at least $100,000. If they think I spent that on the film, I’ve met my goal.” For more information, go to neverescapethemovie.com.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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