Not only does Bay City serve as a hometown for pop stars such as Madonna, but it also serves as a hometown for a local emerging filmmaker.
J.C. Peterson is a writer, producer and nonprofit professional who will make an appearance at the Bay City screening of his newest film, “POP-U-larity!”
The film will be shown at 7 p.m. Friday, March 2, at the State Theatre in Bay City.
Tickets are available online for $5. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Copies will be available for purchase at the screening.
The 77-minute film is a mockumentary comedy about a small-town singing competition, where contestants try to become Penskeegee’s next POP-U-lar person.
The film examines if and how there is no wrong way to be popular.
“It looks at diversity in a broad way,” Peterson said.
The competition includes a four-time diva champion and her loyal gay assistant, a cowboy and musical therapist, and a housewife with her artist son.
“The characters represent a diverse mix of people,” Peterson said.
Actors include Betty Ouyang, Thessaly Lerner, Krys Fox and Ashley Cuellar.
Betty Ouyang, who plays Celeste, has played roles in “As The World Turns” and as a voice in a video game.
Thessaly Lerner, who plays Ness in the film, has primarily done voice acting for video games such as “The Sims” and “Silent Hill 3.”
The film is being distributed to video stores such as Blockbuster, Amazon, Netflix and Red Box.
The inspiration behind the film came from an experience from co-writer and producer Michelle Ehlen and Peterson.
They both decided to go out one night in Los Angeles to a karaoke bar.
They discovered the diversity of the people who were there.
They were inspired to create the film and soon began researching by going to several other karaoke bars.
Ehlen had thought to create the film as a documentary, but it soon became a mockumentary.
After nine months of shooting in Los Angeles, and editing as it progressed, “POP-U-larity!” was finally created.
Peterson became interested in film after taking a photography class at Delta College.
After that class, he started taking any class that served as a creative outlet.
While at Delta College, Peterson created an hour-long documentary, “Short Fuse: Story of an AIDS Activist.”
Originally written for a class assignment as a way to avoid a 20-page paper, the documentary moved on to appear at film festivals and aired on PBS in 1993.
Since then, Petersen attended Columbia College for film and moved to Los Angeles.
Peterson’s next project is called, “The Blue Room.”
Now in its shooting stages, the film is a documentary about a Los Angeles family and its experiences with paranormal activity.
Although living in a four-bedroom house, the parents have four sons who share a bedroom because of the experiences.
“I’m not sure what we’ll uncover,” Peterson said.
The film is looking to be in circulation at film festivals by the end of the year.