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Constantine featured in film

Constantine Theater President Garrett Hartness is pictured with Christian Bellgardt, winner of the FLY Film Festival award for Best Child Actor. Bellgardt played Igor in “Army of Frankensteins.”
Constantine Theater President Garrett Hartness is pictured with Christian Bellgardt, winner of the FLY Film Festival award for Best Child Actor. Bellgardt played Igor in “Army of Frankensteins.”

Pawhuska’s historic Constantine Theater is featured in the award-winning film “Army of Frankensteins.” Before being released in the U.S. in 2015, the film is being shown at assorted film festivals and racking up awards.

According to Constantine Arts Council President Garrett Hartness, “The film was recently awarded Best Fantasy Film at Florida’s Supercon/Super Geek Film Festival and Best Directing and Best Special Effects at South Carolina’s 2014 Crimson Screen Horror Film Festival. The film received also Best Special Effects at the Fort Worth Indie Film Showcase. Actor John Ferguson, who plays Dr. Tanner Finski, received the Best Actor Award at Oklahoma City’s Underground Monster Carnival. Christian Bellgardt, who plays Igor, won the Best Child Actor Award at Enid’s FLY Film Festival.”

Hartness said, “My curiosity had me. We spent an entire day filming the balcony scene at the Constantine in February of 2013. I wanted to see how much footage, if any, made the final cut. So, on Friday, August 2nd, I traveled to Enid, Oklahoma, to the FLY Film Festival where the movie was being shown.

“To my surprise, there was a good length of footage used in the movie.” The Constantine was selected because of its similarities to the Ford Theater. The scene filmed was April 14, 1865. President Abraham Lincoln and First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln were sitting in the Constantine’s west Opera Box watching Constantine Players Lori Loftis and Jake Collier perform in the play ‘Our American Cousin.’

Hartness noted the period dress Loftis was wearing was hand-crafted a week before the shoot by her mother, Alma Hull. A number of familiar faces of local Constantine actors and extras appeared in the audience scene. “The film has a great shot of Leah Strahm screaming and jumping from her seat when Frankenstein falls from the balcony. Overall, it is a pretty good film that was done on a very low budget.”

“After the showing at the FLY film festival, I visited with Director Ryan Bellgardt and learned the movie had just been released in Japan that very day. Its next stop will be a film festival in Austin, Texas, and then onto London, England.”

“Army of Frankensteins” was written by Chris W. Mitchell and Richard Raaphorst. It is a horror story about a young suitor, Alan Jones (Jordan Farris). After a failed marriage proposal, Jones is severely beaten by a street gang. Nearly dead, Jones is taken to a mysterious lab where Dr. Tanner Finski (John Ferguson) and his kid genius assistant (Christian Bellgardt) perform horrible experiments on him, hoping to re-animate a Frankenstein. Through a fluke, a hole is ripped in space and time, manifesting an Army of Frankensteins from hundreds of parallel universes and sending them all back to the 19th century, directly into the heart of a bloody battle between the North and South. An official trailer is available on YouTube.

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