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Feature film ‘Fall Nights in China Grove’ to host red carpet screening Saturday

CHINA GROVE – “Fall Nights in China Grove” — a feature-length film taped in multiple towns in Rowan County, including its namesake municipality — centers around a young boy named Cullen who experiences a series of problems before stumbling upon the town of China Grove.

And it will get the red carpet treatment Saturday during a 7:15 p.m. show at the Meroney Theater, 213 S. Main St. in Salisbury.

The screening will be hosted as a formal event, with the preferred dress code being black-tie. Tuxedoes are optional. The venue opens at 6:15 p.m., general admission seating entry begins at 7 p.m., the film starts at 7:15 p.m. and a post-film social will be at 8:45 p.m.

According to the film’s Facebook page, it stars Aleks Kapetanovic, Brook Sill, Gerald Proctor and Ken Jackson. The screenplay was written by Kapetanovic and Horace Presiter and solely directed by Preister.

Kapetanovic and Preister started on the film over a year ago and say they’re now ready to show the screenplay exclusively for feedback. They expect a number of local officials, including Mayor Lee Withers of China Grove. to attend.

“It’s a 90-minute movie, and a coming of age action-packed movie, about a teenager trying to escape a criminal lifestyle. So, he runs away from his criminal life, comes to China Grove and really has a blast,” Preister said. “The movie includes everything from really big football scenes, Friday night lights, cafeteria scenes and anything your normal teenage group would normally do.”

The two decided on China Grove after location scouting for “quite some time” and coined it as “the perfect small town.” Kapetanovic, who dreams of making a career as an actor or writer, said the idea for “Fall Nights in China Grove” came when they were sitting on his porch in Athens, Georgia.

Preister expressed his excitement about the upcoming release in an interview. To see all the money, time, and effort to come into fruition at this screenplay is going to be special, Preister said.

He explained how both him and Kapetanovic learned film. Preister went to Clemson University. Kapetanovic went to the University of Georgia.

“We are both friends from our old hometown. We would do plays, and we found we learned the most from sitting down,” Preister said. “Each time we’ve gotten better and better and we think that this is just our best work.”

Preister said the most challenging part of working on the film was “keeping the stamina going and keeping people coming back for a project that has been going on for one year.”

“We were pushing the idea of making the town of China Grove sort of a high-end film that meets industry standards. We went out for an entire year and shot for about 50 days over the course of about 8 months,” Preister said. “We wanted to make something that we’re proud of.”

The two have filmed at locations in the area, including South Rowan High School, West Rowan High School, and businesses such as Gary’s BBQ. A few scenes were shot in Spencer, but the vast majority of filming took place in China Grove, Preister said.

“We also filmed in Kannapolis, filmed at train stations, a gym, theater and used over 25 different locations in the area,” Preister said.

The two are pushing for the film to make it to multiple online streaming platforms after receiving feedback at Saturday’s event as the next step in the process.

They both reflected on the joy they’ve received from filming the project.

“I’ve definitely enjoyed the new relationships I’ve been able to make and getting to know people that love the same thing I love,” Kapetanovic said.

Preister said that he’s enjoyed seeing “the film from start to finish and not giving up on it.”

For more information and to request free tickets to the screening, email fallnightscg@gmail.com.

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