Film Festivals

Auditions

Volunteer Alert

Participate Please

Corrections or additions?

This article by Nicole Plett was prepared for the February 7,

2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

At the Movies

What do you want to be when you grow up? An

information

systems manager or a movie star?

That’s the question that Keith Fencl of Belle Mead is asking himself.

A 2000 La Salle University graduate, recruited to the management track

by one of our area’s larger pharmaceuticals, Fencl is one of two

national

winners of a Web contest to land a role as a featured extra in

"American

Pie 2." The movie is a sequel to the hit comedy about four high

school boys who want to lose their virginity. Known for its gross-out

humor, "American Pie" also grossed $100 million domestically

and launched the careers of its ensemble of young, previously unknown

actors.

Notable among them was Jersey boy, Jason Biggs, as well as Mena Suvari

(later featured in "American Beauty") and Seann W. Scott.

Scott’s career "really has taken a fabulous turn," says Fencl,

who recently saw the actor in his starring role in "Dude Where’s

My Car?"

Fencl (a name of Czech origin, pronounced Fen-sill) grew up in Mount

Laurel. His father works in commercial real estate and his mother

is a drug and alcohol crisis counselor for a South Jersey high school.

He has an older brother in the army, currently stationed in Germany.

The contest was billed as an online casting search by Universal

Pictures

and its partner, the new media film studio Hypnotic (on the Web at

hypnotic.com). Fencl was selected by Hypnotic users and the Universal

casting department from thousands of nationwide submissions that

became

a short list of 28 semi-finalists. From November 21 to December 20,

Web visitors reviewed photos and statements by the 28 and voted for

their favorites. He receives an all-expenses paid trip to Hollywood

for shooting that begins in February.

"I voted for myself once and had a couple of friends vote for

me," he says, "but frankly I didn’t expect to be a

winner."

In addition to getting on screen, he says meetings will be set up

for him and his co-winner with Universal Studios casting directors.

"I’m amazed that I got this chance to get my face in front of

these producers and directors and hopefully through this contest I’ll

be able to realize the dream I’ve had that’s been keeping me awake

at night," says Fencl, full of anticipation. "There’s no

guarantee

that I’ll be the next Brad Pitt or Jason Briggs, but these metings

will get us boths ahead of the new talent."

Fencl’s online plea to earn votes was made for dramatic effect —

and it worked. "I know acting is for me," he said. "But

I am stuck in a career I can’t stand. I want to stir emotions. I love

to go to the movies to laugh and cry. I know it’s only a fictional

story, but the actors make it seem so real and I would love to have

the opportunity to do the same. I know I can do it! You will not be

disappointed."

Fencl is no stranger to drama. A natural athlete who lists no less

than 18 sports among his interests, he was a Division I diver for

La Salle for four years. "Diving takes athletic ability, and it

also takes a willingness to elude death," he says with emphasis.

"I fractured my back diving my freshman year, but I came

back."

Singing, dancing, and modeling are also among his interests.

Having worked as a model during college and made movie and television

appearances in bit parts, Fencl says it’s hard to settle into his

ordinary — but promising — career. "I’m 23 and I look

18, but I don’t dress like an 18-year-old," says the slender,

6-footer. "I have a cutting-edge style."

Fencl, who earned his degree in business administration at La Salle

University last May, was recruited to the information management

leadership

program immediately upon graduation last May.

"It was a whirlwind, walking down the aisle at graduation,"

he says, "I couldn’t believe it. I was going from an immature

and self-destructive college student to a straight-laced, 9 to 5

employee.

I’m getting a really big taste of reality right now. Here they throw

you to the sharks and have you show them what you can do."

Is it any wonder he’s dreaming of stardom?

"I’m in a very tough situation right now," he muses. "I

get a great paycheck and do the same thing every day. Do I tighten

the belt a little bit and take a risk?

Fencl says his parents tend to worry "about my well-being and

my college loans. They’re a little uneasy, but they’re also hot and

cold. Sometimes they get caught up in the excitement like me."

He says the decision to take a risk in Hollywood is his own.

"We make choices every day in our lives that will effect the next

second of our lives," he says. "I don’t want to be 40 years

old, on my second heart attack, and kicking myself in the butt, and

saying, Why didn’t I do this?"

— Nicole Plett

Top Of Page
Film Festivals

New Jersey Film Festival is presented by the Rutgers Film

Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, New Brunswick. Screenings are

Fridays through Sunday in Scott Hall, Room 123, College Avenue Campus

(near the corner of College Avenue and Hamilton Street). Thursday

screenings are in Loree Hall, Room 024, Douglass College Campus (near

the corner of Nichol Avenue and George Street). All programs begin

at 7 p.m.; $5 non-members. Information 732-932-8482; Website:

www.rci.rutgers.edu/~nigrin.

Ninotchka, the classic 1939 comedy by Ernst Lubitsch,

starring Greta Garbo as a Soviet agent romanced by Melvyn Douglas,

Thursday, February 8. Requiem for a Dream, Darren Aronofsky’s

new feature, adapted from a novel, about four drug addicts and their

descent into a pit of self-induced misery, Friday to Sunday, February

9 to 11.

Super 8 + Digital Video Festival, the home-grown juried

festival with $2,500 in prizes; different programs each night, with

prizewinners announced final night, $8, Friday to Sunday, February

16 to 18.

Top Of Page
Auditions

New Jersey Gay Men’s Chorus is seeking singing and

non-singing

members. The group meets at Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton

every Monday evening from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. For information call

609-396-7774 or visit the website: www.njgmc.org.

The Greater Trenton Choral Society is seeking singers

to join them in performing a major work in the Trenton area on Sunday,

April 1. Accompanied by a 25-piece orchestra, and under the direction

of Joseph Pucciatti, the Choral Society will present Dr. Morton Gold’s

"Haggadah" (the Passover story). The group rehearses on Monday

evenings from 8 to 9:30 p.m. at Villa Victoria academy in West

Trenton. For

more information, call Sherry Spiezle at 609-883-3504.

Kelsey Players seeks performers ages 13 and up for roles

in "Alice in Wonderland." Auditions are Monday and Tuesday,

February 26 and 27, at 7 p.m. at Kelsey Theater, on the Mercer County

College campus, for such roles as Alice, the White Rabbit, the Queen

of Hearts, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Caterpillar, and the

Cheshire

Cat. Directed by Donna Miklojcik, performances begin April 19. Call

609-586-4800, ext. 3580.

The Urban Word Poetry Slam "is taking its first

righteous

step toward getting to and winning the National Slam in Seattle this

autumn by selecting a team," says slammaster Robert Salup. Judging

will be done by the screaming rubber chicken and audience meter.

"Figuring

that sleazy poets could try to fix the results by bribing judges,

we will return to the original judging system set up by the founders

of the Urban Word and the Great New Hope Poetry Slam, Judith and

Philip

Toy," says Salup. "This system has been proven fail-safe.

It includes the screaming rubber chicken, which is held over the

contestant’s

head and accurately measures the audience’s reaction whereby it lets

out an audible signal which is recorded by the slammaster." Four

weeks of team selection slams will take place at the Urban Word, with

the four highest-scoring poets named to the team. Two alternates will

also be chosen. To be eligible, poets must have won at least once

or come in second at least twice. To compete contact Salup at

salup@aol.com

or 609-306-1399.

Top Of Page
Volunteer Alert

Mercer County Community College needs volunteers who enjoy

working with artists, teachers, and students at the Mercer County

Teen Arts Festival scheduled for Wednesday, May 9. The one-day

festival

brings an estimated 1,000 students from public, private, and parochial

schools in Mercer County. The middle and high school kids participate

in performances, critiques, master classes, and workshops while a

staff of 40 lead seminars in visual arts, music, creative writing,

theater, and dance. Call 609-324-7383.

The Medical Center at Princeton needs hospice volunteers

to work with patients and their families. Hospice patients are people

who have chosen to die at home with peace and dignity. Information

sessions are scheduled for Tuesday, February 13, 6 p.m.; Wednesday,

February 21, 10 a.m.; and Monday, March 5, at 6 p.m. Volunteer

training

sessions will be held on eight consecutive Tuesdays beginning on March

6, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Hamilton Township Domestic Violence Victim Response Team

seeks applicants over 18 years of age, with access to transportation

and a valid driver’s license. Background investigation including

fingerprinting

and completion of a 40-hour training course beginning in January.

Contact Captain Kevin Pollard at 609-581-4035.

The Wonder Museum in East Windsor is seeking volunteers

to join a committee working to help improve the museum, work with

the community, and stay current with educational trends. Call

609-371-6150.

Top Of Page
Participate Please

The New Jersey Association of Beerwriters (NJAB) is a

newly-formed association of Garden State beer writers whose mission

is "to promote quality craft beer brewed in New Jersey, and to

encourage its responsible consumption through education." NJAB

was organized by beer writers Gary Monterosso, Mark Haynie, Jim

Carlucci,

Lew Bryson, and Kurt Epps. For information on how to join go to:

kurt_epps.tripod.com/njab_index.

New Jersey National Teenager Pageant is accepting

applications

for the 30th annual state pageant April 27 through April 29 in Ocean

City. Junior age division, 12 to 15; senior division, 16 to 18.

Deadline

to enter the scholarship event is February 15. Call 609-652-8216.

Friends of the New Jersey State Museum are hosting an

art tour of Philadelphia, Friday, February 23. Destinations include

a tour of the Philadelphia Sketch Club by the sketch club president

and a visit to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, with lunch at

the Philadelphia Inn. Preregister, $66. Call 609-394-5310.

NAMI Mercer announces their free support groups for

families

of children or adolescents with mental health issues. The support

groups are every 1st and 3rd Wednesday, from 7:30 to 9 p.m., at the

Presbyterian Church, 1039 Lawrence Road, Lawrenceville. Call

609-777-9766.

The National Arbor Day Foundation has published a booklet

about "Conservation Trees" with information on how to plant

shade trees, how to prune them, and how to attract songbirds. For

the free booklet, send name and address to Conservation Trees,

National

Arbor Day Foundation, Nebraska City, NE 68410.

Quail Ridge Press seeks cookbooks published by

organizations,

church groups, or individuals in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and

Washington D.C., to be considered for possible inclusion in "Best

of the Best from the Mid-Atlantic: Selected Recipes from Delaware,

New Jersey, Washington D.C." For information contact Barbara

Moseley,

editor, "Best of the Best State Cookbook Series," Quail Ridge

Press, 1-800-343-1583, www.quailridge.com.


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