Around the Fire, an independent film by Tommy Rosen and John Comerford, was filmed around the San Francisco Bay Area in late 1997. Eighteen months later, on 10 Apr 1999, I had the chance to finally see the movie at its premiere in a sneak-preview at the Lake Tahoe International Film Festival in Incline Village, NV. I saw the movie a second time on 16 May 1999 at the Cannes International Film Festival in Cannes, France.
Devon Sawa plays Simon Harris, a student dealing with family issues stemming from the death of his mother when he was child. He becomes friends with some 1990s hippies and falls into increasing drug use. The movie also stars Bill Smitrovich, Colman Domingo, Stephen Tobolowsky, Eric Mabius, and the beautiful Tara Reid.
This is by far the best movie that I have so far worked as an extra in, a definite four-star movie! The crew had many financial struggles during production, yet very little of that is apparent in what is an extremely well-made movie. Everything was great the script, performances, cinematography, editing. I hope that a motion-picture distributor picks up this movie soon so that all audiences can enjoy it.
I worked as an extra in two different scenes in October 1997, but just one made it through the final cut. The one that didn't appear was from when I spent a day at Samuel P. Taylor Park as a marijuana-smoking hippie at a concert. This shot with the main characters meeting up again was from the end of the movie and it really was not necessary, so it's good it was left out.
The other scene I was in was vital to the story, the funeral of Ellen Harris, Simon's mother. We filmed this at Cypress Cemetery in Petaluma, CA. Standing by Bill Smitrovich (Matthew Harris) throughout the scene, I appear several times along with other extras Gary Dawson, Alex Kane, et al. My picture to the right was taken between some of the shots. Interestingly, my great-great-grandfather is buried nearby at that cemetery.