Movie

Director Robert Alaniz coaches local volunteer movie extras on the set of a music video being filmed Saturday at the Civic Auditorium in Kankakee for the end of Alaniz's film "Mind Over Mindy."

The Kankakee Valley Park District's Civic Auditorium was transformed into a high school gym, that would host a 1980s-era dance on Saturday. Movie extras from Olivet Nazarene University to Iroquois-West High School in Gilman played the roles of partygoers.

And independent film producer/director Robert Alaniz put the finishing touches on his latest comedy, "Mind Over Mindy," with some help from the Chicago-based Aaron Williams Band.

"The film is complete and we're looking for a distributor," Alaniz explained. "But we always had this plan for a promotional video. It will pay homage to the 'Back To The Future" films with this 'Enchantment Under the Sea' dance, and the stars of the show will make an appearance."

Those lead characters, Steve Parks and Catherine McCafferty, presented an odd couple — a man in his 40s reunited with a still-18 first date. But the extras were just as unpredictable.

Aly Olscewski, 17, of Kankakee, said she went to a local discount store to come up with a "Flashdance"-inspired outfit. It was her first experience as an extra. Nearby, Dominic Gasperini, an ONU film student, was ready with an ensemble that included one of his dad's Cubs shirts from the 1980s.

Upstairs, makeup and hair stylist Linda Camacho was in a comfort zone, re-creating some of the "big hair" looks of that era. "I'm really more of a makeup person but it happens that I used to do my friends' hair in these styles back in those days."

Roy Collins, the KVPD executive director who has been place on administrative leave, was on scene, overseeing the action.

"How did this happen; why did they come here?" he said. "It was just one of those things, We're always promoting the district, and I sent a letter telling them that we had a lot of different facilities that might work in films.

"You need a water park? You need an ice rink? You need a quarry? And in this case, they needed something that could pass as a high school gym. So, here they are, It's just something we're always doing."

The scene was set by 8 a.m., and extras arrived throughout the morning and early afternoon, as Alaniz looked for all of the best shots.

"The song came to me one morning when I was visiting out in California," Williams said.

This is the second time Alaniz has used a location here for one of his films. In 2011, he used the interior of the former Lydia & Groucho's cafe in Kankakee for his film "D.I.N.K.S."

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