Meriden’s Beat the Street center will be featured in film due out this year

MERIDEN — Beat the Street Community Center and a handful of its members will be featured in a film due out this winter. 

Larry Pelletier, Beat the Street executive director, said former member Tom Fury contacted him about using the gym in a movie he’s filming. Fury portrays Tony Lombardo in “Letters for Annie: Memories of World War II.”

“He got involved in acting…,” Pelletier said of Fury. “So now he's come back to some of his roots to do some filming.”

Five high-school age boys from the center will be used as extras. The movie crew, including Fury, was at the center Friday.

“We asked some of the kids, that kind of fit the casting that they were looking for, to volunteer their time,” Pelletier said. 

Beat the Street, located at 121 S. Colony St., offers fitness and fundamental boxing training, hip hop dance classes, experience in a community garden, and programs that expose young members to different career options. 

Pelletier has had different film crews in the center over the years, including one from ESPN. He said it is an opportunity to expose members to another career they may be interested in pursuing.

“Letters for Annie: Memories of World War II” will be a selection of scenes brought to life from McGee’s book of the same title, scheduled to be published this year. The book is based on hundreds of real letters sent to Annie Connerton from her four brothers while they served in World War II. 

The author and director of the film, Joseph McGee of Bristol, said the crew would be using the center for a boxing scene set on  Mindanao Island in the Philippines during the war. 

“What we're just kind of conveying here... kind of the drama, the friendship, it's a lot of different emotions,” McGee said. “They're at war but they have their own internal battles with each other if you will.”

Other scenes from the movie have been filmed in Windsor, Watertown and Newington. The hour-long film will premiere at The Strand in Seymour in November or December and be available later on DVD.
Twitter: @baileyfaywright


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