“At The Top of the Pyramid” is a movie with its roots in Centreville.
Mark Peterson, the writer and co-executive producer used the school his children had attended, , as the school in his film. Exterior scenes were filmed at CVHS (interior filming was done at Paul VI in Fairfax and Bishop O’ Connell in Arlington). They also used video from a Centreville High football game. Peterson's own home, in Little Rocky Run, was used as the home of his main character. His son, Michael A. Peterson, a 2003 CVHS graduate, is one of the young actors in the film.
“This story is Centreville High School, the community this movie reflects is our community,” said Peterson, which is why his production company, Slamgate Productions, chose to have their official premiere in Centreville, at the on Wednesday, Sept. 28. A second showing, invitation only, is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 29 for the students and local actors who participated in the making of the movie. A Question and Answer session with the actors, including Michael A. Peterson, will be held after the screening.
The official premiere was complete with red carpet, spotlights and limos arriving with the actors. (Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts, Dean Cain and Steve Guttenberg were unable to attend the premiere.) But the young cast, some local, some flown in from New York or California, walked the red carpet, posing for dozens of pictures.
“One thing we hit big was talent—young people without name recognition. Yet!” said Peterson.
“We believe our young talent will jump of the screen,” said Peterson, adding that about two-thirds of the young cast was from the DC-metro area.
Mark Peterson took a moment to thank everyone for supporting “At The Top of the Pyramid” and introduced the mayor of Cincinnati (OH). Mayor Mark Mallory has a connection, through mentoring, with one of the stars, Issac J. Sullivan. Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity also attended the premiere.
The storyline is about a young cheerleader who is injured (perhaps on purpose) and chooses to leave her community. After their movie, her family suffers a tragedy and she then returns to her school, working to find the strength and courage to return to “the top of the pyramid”.
The movie, in the final stages of negotiation to be released, will appear either as a television movie or theatre release in late 2011 or early 2012. In addition, Peterson plans to distribute the soundtrack with 20 original songs. Peterson’s co-producer and co-writer, is Richard Willis Jr., who has a strong background in music and concert films.
“We spent a lot of time on the music to appeal to our young demographic. This is their music,’ said Peterson.
Peterson acknowledged that "At The Top of the Pyramid" could be dismissed as a cheerleading movie, but said that would be a mistake.
“We see it as ‘Bring It On meets Black Swan’. There is a real psychological element to the movie. The traumatic event she suffers is an obstacle she has to overcome. Plus, our ending will differentiate this movie from every other cheerleading movie,” said Peterson.
Peterson has several other projects in the works and is energized by the idea of being able to tell his stories, share his message through film. Could more Hollywood premieres be in Centreville's future?