San Diego Co-stars in Film Quietly Screening Next Door to ‘Black Panther’

February 28, 2018

SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE – Disney actor Ryan Ochoa, who attended elementary school in Tierrasanta, plays a high school student in his newest movie, which brings him back to San Diego.

Ochoa, who now lives north of Temecula, was in the audience here Monday at a screening of “The Samuel Project,” in which he co-stars with Hal Linden.

Through March 8, The Lot theater in La Jolla is showing sneak previews of the indie movie filmed on the streets of San Diego. It’s a mini-sightseeing tour, offering glimpses of the Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park, Hillcrest, North Park, Point Loma, La Jolla and Ramona as the story plays out. The San Diego Jewish Academy doubles as the school attended by Ochoa’s movie character, Eli.

“We started out as a little indie movie. Now we’re playing next to ‘Black Panther,’” Ochoa posted on Facebook Tuesday. “Last night was by far one I will never forget!”

Ryan Ochoa returns to San Diego, where “The Samuel Project” was filmed, for an unpublicized showing of the movie at The Lot in La Jolla. The film, expected to be officially released this fall, can be seen there through March 8. (Courtesy photo)
San Diego producer Steve Weinberger says publicity is being withheld until a planned theater release this fall, and a digital distribution deal involving Netflix, Hulu and Amazon is in the works.

Joining Ochoa and Weinberger at the informal screening Monday were director Marc Fusco and actors Ken Davitian (of “Borat”), Mateo Arias (“Kickin’ It”) and his brother, actor Moisés Arias, who isn’t in the film.

Linden — who portrays Samuel, Eli’s grandfather — joined the cast while here last March performing at the Old Globe in Steve Martin’s play, “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.” Fellow Old Globe performers Philippe Bowgen, who played Picasso, and Liza Lapira, Picasso’s lover, also joined “The Samuel Project” cast.

Linden attended a sneak film preview for the Cinema Society of San Diego in December. “The cast, the crew … even the investors flew in,” said society director Andy Friedenberg, “so we were wowed from the start, and when the show ended … the audience broke into applause.”

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