'Sun King' invades Stateline Area

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Ryan Silvola/Beloit Daily News Professional actor Norman Garcy Yap and crews film a scene from the "Sun King" on Duggan Road in Beloit on Thursday. Crews will continue to film in Beloit until Tuesday.

BELOIT- Louis XIV has invaded Beloit...at least until Tuesday.

Students from DePaul University have come to the Stateline Area in order to shoot scenes in their comedic film "Sun King."

The film is about an eccentric Chinese man who thinks he's the reincarnation of Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King, who reigned as the King of France in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Director Marcus Aubin, an incoming senior at DePaul, said King Louis embarks on a journey to marry his cousin so he could keep the royal bloodline strong in his family. Actor Norman Garcy Yap plays the eccentric king, who is joined by his loyal sidekick Fran (played by Sam Bowling) on his hunt for the Sun King's cousin, Leigh Liu (played by Jin Park).

"It's obviously the absurdest comedy," Aubin said. "We've made ties to any Will Ferrel or Steve Carell movie. But it's been made with a very indy type of feel that seems to be very popular."

Student producer Claire Wiles said the film has a similar comedic style to "Napoleon Dynamite."

The micro-budget film is funded through the university, with an overall budget of $15,000. The project is part of a class at DePaul, and students are earning credit while serving on the crew. The students selected a script during the winter, went through pre-production in the spring and they are shooting in the summer, under the supervision of professor James Choi.

Francisco Casanova, production coordinator and assistant director, said the class offers a great way to network. He's enjoyed being a part of the project, especially since this is the first time DePaul has given students the opportunity to make a feature-length film.

The students selected Beloit as a film location, because Choi is an alumnus of the Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF), and the students were able to work with BIFF board member Jeff Livingston to selection film on location.

On Thursday, the filmmakers shut down Duggan Road between Townline and Walters Road for filming. On Friday and Saturday, they were shooting scenes at the Imperial Palace in South Beloit. On Sunday, they were at Grand Avenue Pub in Beloit. On Tuesday, they will be shooting scenes at City Hall.

"Beloit's got the rural, Midwestern look we're going for, and it's very open to film making," Aubin said. "We were able to close this whole street down and they were very receptive to us being here."

Casanova said he enjoys the picturesque, quiet sites Beloit has to offer.

"Midwestern hospitality is real here," Casanova said.

Though the project has a smaller crew of nine students, the film features about 45 total cast members who are not students. Aubin said he's thankful for his two student producers, Wiles and Connor Kovack, for all the work they've done.

The crew will finish shooting on July 14. He's hoping the film will be finished in this winter but said 2019 might be more realistic.

Aubin is hoping to submit the movie to film festivals, including BIFF.

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