Citrus County filmmaker, Brad Castillo’s second full-feature film, “No Place in This World,” tackles the topic of bullying. The movie’s release appropriately takes place during October, National Bullying Prevention Month.
In the United States, bullying has become an epidemic. Over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year. Approximately 160,000 children skip school each day to avoid bullies.
Writer and director Castillo, himself, was a victim of bullying during high school when he moved to Florida and it was his firsthand experiences with bullies that provided motivation for the film. When asked about how he hoped the movie would be received he replied, “I hope that it gets received well. I hope that it brings awareness to the devastating effects that bullying has on people. Most of all, I hope that this film can really help someone who is suffering right now due to bullying. I say to you, there are people who care and will stand up for you. Never be bullied into silence! Tell someone.”
Castillo shared with the Standard that “No Place in This World” stands out not only because of the subject matter but the lessons learned from his first film, the “Legend of Kate Kensington.” Castillo openly admits that the production of his first film faced a choppy screenplay due to an adaptation from an original 800-page novel. He also relied on a post-production team who brought outside influence into the project and was also hampered by an underperforming score.
For this movie, Castillo chose to write the screenplay directly for the film. He learned how to delegate more yet retained artistic control throughout. He had an extensive casting process that took months, acquiring both local and national talent and insisted on lengthy table reads of the script, focused on the importance of score, invested in a new crane, used wireless microphones, utilized a cinematic blending technique, and shot in 23 fps.
Castillo fashioned a larger team on this project, hiring a casting director, first assistant director, on-set photographer, script supervisor, production manager, and employed all professional actors from around the country, including his daughter, Hayley.
And judging from the trailer found on YouTube, the improved screenplay writing process and the additional capital investment in equipment and personnel has significantly improved this film’s quality in comparison to his first film.
“No Place in This World” focuses on the life of Lauren Wright, a young girl who struggles at home and at her new school because she became a target of bullying by popular girls in her class. Wright’s character is played by Hayley Castillo, who has previously starred in “The Legend of Kate Kensington,” “Demonia Undertaker,” “Safe Haven: Sweet Child of Mine,” and the short film, “Who’s Babysitting Who?” She has also been seen in the running commercial for “The Go Plate” and a training video for Publix supermarkets.
As Lauren finds it increasingly hard to deal with the bullies, she reaches out to the only constant in her life, her sister, Addison Wright, played by Ashley Sperazza, a 16-year-old actress from Central Florida who celebrates her 17th birthday this Saturday on the day of the film’s Red Carpet Premiere. Sperazza has worked on several independent films and has also been on the set on larger productions such as “The Hunger Games” and the “Fantastic Four.”
Lauren and Addison Wright’s mother, Julie Wright, struggles with raising her two daughters under the roof of her new boyfriend’s home.
Julie Wright, played by Liz Day, an actress who also resides in Central Florida. She has played the role of Sara in “Painted Black” and the Police Chief in “Laughing Mask.” Day has also been in numerous commercials and is a print model.
The only student who tries to stand up for Lauren is Timothy Densen, played by Jackson Tessmer of North Central Florida. Tessmer has been acting since the age of 4, is Screen Actor Guild-eligible, and has been the principal actor of over a dozen commercials. He recently returned from Los Angeles as a featured extra on an episode of “Modern Family.” He is in a commercial currently running for Florida’s Natural orange juice and is featured in a national print campaign for Amtrak.
Even Production Manager, local Inverness resident, Dawn Horton, has had previous on-screen roles in both “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” and “The Legend of Kate Kensington.”
“No Place in This World” was filmed entirely in Citrus County, shot at locations that include Citrus High School, Wallace Brooks Park, Downtown Inverness, Nicole’s House of Cakes, and the Key Adult Training Center.
One question that the Standard wanted to ask Castillo was how he felt about casting his daughter in prominent roles of his first two films and if he was concerned how people may judge such a decision. He replied, “I expect Hayley to be able to bring the level of expectations for her role in the film…if Hayley was not going to match the level of expectations for her role, I would have removed her from it…it has been a joy and an honor to watch Hayley grow in this field.” Castillo concluded, “come and watch the film and see for yourself.”
The film will be shown at the Barnstorm Theater, located at 2720 Brownwood Blvd, The Villages, FL 32163 from October 20-26. Showtimes are 11 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM, 5 PM, 7 PM, and 9 PM each day. On Saturday, October 21, the “Red Carpet” event will be for only the 5 PM and 7 PM showings. Cast and crew from the movie will be present during those two Red Carpet showtimes. Tickets are $10.25 per seat and available online at thevillagestheatres.com or in-person at the venue. The movie is not yet rated.