World Premiere, Lifelong Learning

World Premiere

It has all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster, from a love triangle and a jilted girlfriend to a murderous framing and courtroom drama. But "Broken Bonds," set for its world premiere at 6:30 p.m. Monday, August 1 in Harper College's Building J Theatre, was made entirely by children. The film, which runs about 15 minutes and includes a blooper reel, is the product of the College's Film Academy, a month-long course offered through Harper's InZone summer enrichment camp. The students, ranging in age from 10 to 14, learned the ins and outs of acting and moviemaking from pros Paul Barile, a Chicago actor and filmmaker, and Sarah Hall, who has appeared on shows like Gilmore Girls and ER. The kids made "Broken Bonds" primarily on their own, handling everything from scripting and acting to directing, shooting on HD equipment and scouting filming locations. An editor was brought in later to tie together loose ends. "There was a sense of community, because we all worked together and got to know each other," says Noah Snyder, a 13-year-old from Palatine who worked as an assistant cameraman and director of photography and had a minor role onscreen as a cop. "It was collaborative, and at the end we all felt really accomplished." The film, which carries the tagline "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade," tells the story of how jealousy over Davey the Burrito Guy simmers between a young girl and her friend - aka "the man-stealing jerk" - and eventually pushes one of them over the edge. Eleven-year-old Victoria DiMelis of Inverness helped write the script and played the lead character. She says she was surprised to discover how long it takes to shoot a movie - the kids took about an hour for each scene - and is excited for the premiere, when she'll dress up and walk the red carpet. As for those who attend, "I hope they'll want to see it again, and I hope they say they enjoy it," DiMelis says. The premiere is free and open to all. For information on Harper's InZone camp, call 847.925.6300 or visit

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,

Lifelong Learning

Jim Ostler is a 91-year-old great-grandfather and retiree. He's also a Harper College student. For years, the Arlington Heights resident has eagerly signed on for a fitness-focused morning exercise class, one of a long list of courses targeted to seniors ages 55 and older through Harper's popular Lifelong Learning Institute. Launched in 2003, the Institute now boasts more than 500 non-credit courses in a host of subjects - from history and art to science, philosophy and music - and also offers one-session lectures on a variety of topics. Harper will offer a free Program Preview of the offerings from 9:15 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, August 3 in the Performing Arts Center on the College's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. Attendees can visit classes and meet instructors, enjoy free refreshments and sign up for courses. Ostler, who has diligently exercised his way through more than a dozen years of the fitness program, says coming to class has helped him keep going strong. "My family believes this is good for me, and so do I," he says. "I enjoy it." Institute courses are held in a variety of locations around the suburbs; most run during the day Monday through Thursday. Among the fall options: a piano course focused on basic keyboard skills; a series of history classes covering everything from the Civil War to Ronald Reagan; seminars delving into the nitty-gritty of movies, from courtroom dramas to silly comedies; a course on making the most of retirement; and a collection of "Pizza with the Professor" lectures allowing participants to lunch and learn with Harper instructors. "It may sound like a cliché, but we truly do offer something for everyone," says Kathy Swan of Harper's Continuing Education Department. "Our program encourages people to get out there and learn something new, and they'll probably make a few new friends in the process." Call 847.925.6300 or visit to reserve a spot at the Program Preview.

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,

Illinois History Lesson

There's a lot about Illinois history that you might not know - but Jim Edstrom does. The Harper College Professor can quickly rattle off a plethora of trivia tidbits about the Prairie State, from the geographic reason for the cold winters and hot summers to an overview of the nearly-abandoned first capital city and a rundown of why that city is the only part of the state that sits west of the Mississippi River. This fall, he'll offer his unique expertise to students via an Illinois History class geared as much to those pursuing a degree in the subject as those who simply want to know more about the state they call home. "There are basically three things I tell students to remember when studying our state's heritage," Edstrom says. "First, the geography of Illinois is its history. Second, the history of Chicago is the history of Illinois. And beyond that, the history of Illinois is also the history of the United States." The class meets from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursdays beginning August 25. Among the subjects that may land on the syllabus: a look back at Illinois' slave-state history, an overview of the presidents who hailed from Illinois (it's not just Lincoln and Obama), and an analysis of why those in the mid-1800s - an era when Galena was more substantial than Chicago - thought the big city would never make it. To enroll, or for more on the course or other Harper history classes, call 847.925.6600 or visit

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,