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2023
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World Premiere at UK’s Legendary Frightfest for Clare Cooney’s Filmed-In-Chicago ‘Departing Seniors’

The legendary FrightFest, the UK’s biggest horror and fantasy film festival, returns to London’s Cineworld Leicester Square this August 24 – 28 for its 24th edition, and a filmed-in-Chicago feature is among the jaw-dropping lineup. Clare Cooney’s feature film directorial debut, Departing Seniors, will be making its World Premiere at the prestigious genre festival.

“I’m thrilled to bring the world premiere of Departing Seniors to London!,” Cooney shared with SCREEN. “FrightFest is the UK’s premier fantasy and horror film festival and is truly an institution in the world of genre film, so it’s an honor.”

“This is a Chicago film, through and through,” Cooney declared to SCREEN. “I hope bringing it to international fests will shine a light on Chicago’s talent, in front of and behind the camera.” 

Described in a recent Variety article as “Scream for the next generation,” the movie filmed in and around the Chicagoland area last August. Click here for Cooney’s full exclusive interview with SCREEN and behind-the-scenes photos from set.

World Premiere at UK’s Legendary Frightfest for Clare Cooney’s Filmed-In-Chicago ‘Departing Seniors’

Walking Dead, Chicago Med Stars Lead Superb Cast and Crew of Departing Seniors

Cooney’s horror-comedy Departing Seniors stars Ignacio Diaz-Silverio, the lead in the Amazon series Primo, alongside a superb supporting cast.

Also starring in the Queensbury Pictures production are Yani Gellman (Pretty Little Liars), Lorena Diaz (Chicago Med), Ireon Roach (Candyman), and Cameron Scott Roberts (The Walking Dead).

Departing Seniors stars Ignacio Diaz-Silverio, Ireon Roach, Cameron Scott Roberts, Yani Gellman

Written by Jose Nateras, the film follows witty high school senior Javier (played by Diaz-Silverio), who after witnessing an act of bullying, begins having psychic visions that reveal the horrifying truth behind a rash of supposed suicides at his school. It’s up to him and his sarcastic best friend to unmask the truth behind the grisly occurrences.

“When I first read it, I was struck by how a script that’s so undeniably fun can also contain such complexity,” Cooney enthused in a recent interview. “Part thriller, part dark comedy, part slasher, part whodunnit – it’s a fresh, unique mix of a lot of things, and that’s what made me so excited to work on it.”

“With a cast and crew as diverse as the characters on the page, our team is bursting with young talent eager to join the chorus of innovative voices that have been energizing genre cinema in recent years.”

More from Frightfest and Its Daring Lineup of Premieres

Upon announcing the lineup, fest co-director Alan Jones declared, “FrightFesters will experience an amazing variety of films, in an eclectic line-up which serves as a powerful tool of democracy, activism, diversity, inclusivity, and social awareness. As always, FrightFest is keen to show, through an openminded philosophy, that the most unexpected and delightful discoveries happen when wide-ranging topics, different people, and varied cultures come together in horror harmony.”

Click here for more on the full Frightfest lineup and the World Premiere of Departing Seniors.

Check back here at SCREEN for updates as this film forges ahead, plus the latest in independent film news in Chicago and the Midwest. And you can also click right here to subscribe to our weekly email newsletter.

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