By Dylan Deprey
A fashionable group of patrons waited in the lobby of Mayfair Mall’s AMC Theater for the premiere of Civilian Life The Movie.
When the clock struck 5 p.m. they were finally allowed to make their way toward theater 9.
Civilian Life The Movie premiered on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2015.
As the group passed through the alluring smell of buttered popcorn and sound of fountain soda they met a set of velvet ropes lining a red carpet.
A photographer met the patrons on the carpet to take their picture in front of a white banner.
After the Hollywood treatment, they made their way to their seats for the first public showing of the film.
Civilian Life The Movie was written, directed and produced by local Milwaukee filmmakers.
This comedy follows the hardcore Marine, Sergeant Major Loraine Hamm (Ruth Trope) as she tries to return back to civilian life.
She struggles with PTSD and drastic changes in her family. Returning back to civilian life is her toughest mission yet.
Director Rubin Whitmore II described the process of the film to the eager audience before it began.
“The film took a year to make,” Rubin Whitmore II said.
“Thirty-two out of the 35 days were shot in Milwaukee.”
Bonnie Janelle, co-producer of Civilian Life The Movie, addressed how much time and effort went into the making of the film.
“We do this while working nine-to-five jobs, and some of us go to school,” Janelle said.
After their first local film, Role Play, Rubin Whitmore II and the producers realized that they needed more recognizable actors and actresses to exceed the success of the first film.
“The film sparked the realization of the quality film that can be made in our city,” Whitmore II said.
Celebrity actors Rodney Perry (The MoNique Show), Mel Jackson (Deliver Us from Eva), Dannon Green (Everybody Hates Chris), comedian B. Cole, and Lahmard Tate (Barbershop) were involved with the project.
Along with the celebrity actors some local actors and actresses were handpicked from Milwaukee.
“It’s not all the time you can get Milwaukee artists like this,” Bonnie Janelle said.
Actress Trena Penson hails from Milwaukee. She has been acting since 2009.
She played the part of Aunt Marie, the sister-inlaw sidekick to Sgt. Major Hamm.
“My friend told me about the part,” Penson said. “I went in and they gave it to me right on the spot.”
Penson got to watch the film for the first time with her friends and family at the premiere.
“I think we did an amazing job,” Penson said.
As the credits started rolling down the screen, the crowd applauded and trickled out of the theater. The stars of the film stuck around to take selfies and talk to the fans.
Kent Jamison, writer, had a hard time explaining the feelings of seeing the final product for the first time.
“You see it and you are going bananas, but I am humble about it,” Jamison said.
Jamison was blown away by the turnout for the 5 p.m. showing.
“It was crazy and overwhelming,” Jamison said. “Everybody gave good feedback and enjoyed it.”
The next step for Civilian Life The Movie is to get a distribution deal.
This would allow the film to be available through formats like RedBox and Netflix.
“We did this one for Milwaukee and we want to let people see what we’re doing,” Jamison said.
Kent Jamison added that there are two to three projects coming up in the future.
They plan to start filming a three-month project this March.
“We don’t want to just do comedies. We are testing the waters of all genres,” Jamison said.