Local Independent film in second week of production

An independent film is in its second week of filming in the Champaign-Urbana community.

Leading Ladies is a coming-of-age story of a ballroom stage mother and her daughters figuring out their roles both within the family and on the dancefloor, said Jenna Weglarz-Ward, casting director for the film.

The motion picture stars Benji Schwimmer and Melanie LaPatin, both of whom were most recently seen on the television show So You Think You Can Dance in which Schwimmer took first place. The film also stars Shannon Lea Smith, an alumna of the University.

“The actors in the film,” Weglarz-Ward said, “are from all over the country. They are not all from Champaign. Though, many of the extras we’ve casted were from the area.”

Dancers from the Illini Dance Team and the Dancing Illini applied and were hired as extras in ballroom dancing scenes, Weglarz-Ward continued.

“We’re trying to finish filming,” Weglarz-Ward said, “by June 23. Then we want to edit it and submit it to the Sundance Festival and other independent film festivals.”

Leading Ladies is directed by Erika Randall Beahm and Daniel Beahm. Randall Beahm is also an Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Colorado Boulder, and also co-wrote the script with close friend Jennifer Bechtel.

Though she is not sure if plans have been made to screen the film in the area, Weglarz Ward said that they will do their best to show the community the work they are doing.