Lights … Camera … Action

Published 10:07 pm Saturday, December 5, 2009

Normally, the bleachers at the Conley Center are filled with excited Tiger fans cheering the action during a basketball game. Saturday, the folks in the stands were part of the action for a movie shoot.

A crew with the Washington, D.C.,-based Two Meter Productions brought a bit of Hollywood to Ironton when it shot the opening and closing scenes of the movie “The Shoebox” at the high school gymnasium.

The movie is based on the true story of three strangers who, via a songwriting Web site, pen a song in honor of Meghan Marie Mack, a child who died of leukemia in 2003.

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Although none of them know the child, the three people (one who was Ironton area resident Billy Bruce) are struck by the story of her struggle with the disease. Another young person’s story is also posted on that Web site, Ironton teenager Shane Jones, who died of leukemia in 2002.

Jones, a student at Ironton Junior High School, and his parents, Shawn and Patty Jones, posted updates about his struggles with cancer on the Web site while he was a patient at Children’s Hospital in Columbus. The community had several fundraisers for Jones before his death.

The scenes shot at the Conley Center for the film was a reenactment of a fundraiser for Jones and is the opening scene in the movie. Actor Andrew Mitakedes, who plays the character KJack in the movie, said coming to Shane Jones’ hometown will give a kind of reality and poignancy to the movie.

“It makes the story that much cooler, so much more real,” Mitakedes said.

The final scene, a Light the Night ceremony honoring Meghan Mack, was shot outside the gymnasium.

Actress Jessica Wanamaker, who plays the part of Laura, said the filming is slated to wrap in January.