Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Local Film ‘The Lifeguards’ Premieres at The Maumee Indoor Theater

Writer/director Johnny Antonini has previously spoken with Toledo City Paper about his film, The Lifeguards, shot in Sylvania. The script is loosely based on his own experience as a lifeguard there, and he describes the film as a coming-of-age comedy in the tradition of Dazed and Confused, The Sandlot, and Clerks.

At the time of that article, Antonini had been shooting at Plummer Pool with the goal to have the film done by the end of 2023. Now the film is done and ready to have its premiere May 2 at the Maumee. 


Antonini had started shooting in late July and had finished by mid-September. Says Antonini, “I’ve been in post-production since we stopped shooting and got a first (editing) draft done pretty quickly. Then it’s been a long process of doing the nit-picky changes, sending it to the producers, and making notes. After my part is done, it goes to a sound editor and color corrector to finish the film. This morning I got the first draft of the sound edits and I will go over those tonight.”

It’s exciting for any filmmaker to see so much work finally come together. With the advent of more portable cameras and movie-making software, independent cinema has become even more accessible. That said, it’s not all point, shoot and edit. Sound, for example, is its own specialty and does require study and expertise.  

When asked about the best and the hardest part of making the film, Antonini says it’s rewarding getting positive feedback on the film so far. “It’s hard to edit something so many days in a row. You see it so many times and scenes that are great lose a bit of their magic the hundredth time you’re in the editing process. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions from ‘I love this’ to ‘I can’t look at the edits anymore.’ We found we could combat those feelings by showing the edits to a few outside people along the way. 

The soundtrack

What’s summer, let alone a summer comedy movie, without a great soundtrack? Antonini has been really looking forward to this part of the project. In fact, he considers it essential to the film itself. He was able to secure music rights from 15 artists for the film.

Says, Antonini, “I was really lucky to know some of them from when I lived in Chicago and some I knew through friends which made it a lot easier to acquire permission. Some artists I saw through Instagram and reached out to them. Coincidentally, an investor in the film had a nephew who managed an artist I’d hoped to get for this film long before I knew that connection existed.”

RELATED: Independent Project “The Lifeguards” Filming in Sylvania

Right now, Antonini says the songs are in a Spotify playlist that will be made available on May 2 when the film premieres. Of course, what he’d really love is to have a vinyl record printed of the soundtrack. Most of the music is indie rock. A featured band called Miniskirt, from Chicago, has a surf-rock sound exactly what Antonini was looking for. “We used two songs they’d already written and then they recorded a brand new instrumental track specifically for a climactic scene of the movie.” Antonini was able to get rights to use other bigger artists songs in the film including North By North, Toledo’s own Andi Jo Taylor, Francis Forever and Holden Miller.

The premiere

May 2 will be the finished film’s big night. EventBrite is set up to get tickets to the premiere. The cast and crew will be in attendance for a meet and greet and there’s even a red carpet. The most exciting aspect of this film for locals will be seeing Sylvania front and center on a big screen with actors from the area and a long labor of love come to fruition for us and our crew. 

For tickets go to eventbrite.com/e/the-lifeguards-premiere-tickets-846673080977?aff=oddtdtcreator.

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