Lodi will get a taste of Hollywood tonight as actors hang out and sign autographs at a screening of the independent film "In the Eyes of a Killer" at the Lodi International Film Festival at Hutchins Street Square.
Filmed on the river in Isleton, the movie stars Louis Mandylor ("My Big Fat Greek Wedding," "The Quest"), Costas Mandylor ("Saw IV-VI" "Beowulf") James Marshall ("A Few Good Men," "Gladiator"), Gwendolyn Edwards ("Last Confederate") and Shauna Harrington ("Fugitive Hunter").
Mamie Jean Calvert, who lives in Elk Grove, wrote, produced and co-directed the psychological thriller. She says she re-wrote her original screenplay so it could be filmed on the Delta in the area of Lighthouse Resort.
Calvert — who enjoys the Delta area and eats often at Lodi's Hollywood Cafe — is excited to be able to support Lodi and its efforts to have a film festival.
"I've been to everything they have," Calvert said. "I support the film festival ... maybe it will put Lodi on the map."
Leading actor and co-director Louis Mandylor, who is an Australian native but has lived in Los Angeles for 20 years, appreciates the beauty of the Delta and Lodi's acceptance of film.
"It was a fantastic area, very beneficial to shooting," Mandylor said. "There are also a lot of people behind the arts (there)."
Sacramento-area actress Shauna Harrington is hoping for a packed theater as they celebrate the film.
"We're celebrating an independent film made with local and Hollywood talent," Harrington said.
To show Lodi their support, Calvert, Mandylor, Harrington and other actors will attend the screening and sign autographs. They are calling it an evening of food, wine and intrigue. Attendees of the show are also welcome to attend an after-screening-party at a restaurant that will be announced at the event.
"We're going a step up and beyond here," Mandylor said of their choice to make the screening a community gathering. "It's going to be a little 'Hollywood-y' in Lodi."
Calvert says she and the visiting actors also have plans to explore some local wineries, and they are staying in six rooms at Holiday Inn because, she said, the hotel supports the local arts.
Calvert has been writing for nearly 25 years, but "In the Eyes of a Killer" is her first feature film. Her second movie, a children's film called "The Magic of Christmas, Too" will be released later in the year.
"In the Eyes of a Killer" is a moody thriller about Jack Newman (played by Mandylor), who becomes the first patient of an experimental eye surgery. After regaining his sight, Jack begins to slowly take on the characteristics of the eye's late donor, a state-executed psychopath.
The main character begins to lose his mind, and his fiancé uncovers startling information.
"It's a love story that goes tragic," Mandylor said.
The film has won nine film festival awards from California to New York, including Best Film at the Northern California Film Festival and Best Actor at Hoboken and Sacramento Film Festivals.
Though guests will be able to relax and enjoy wine with the laid-back cast and crew, Harrington says people should also expect to see a great movie.
"There are still parts in the movie where I scream every time," Harrington said.
Contact Lodi Living editor Lauren Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.