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Saturday, Oct 25, 2014
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Terra Ceia yields Hollywood talent

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For Dori Sperko, becoming an independent film producer in Hollywood wasn’t that big of a jump from running her family’s Bradenton-based employee management company.

“But instead of 14,000 employees for over 1,000 companies, we were managing the payroll and benefits and workers’ comp for 70 or 80 on a movie crew,” Sperko said. “The accounting is done the same way. You just have different categories.”

Sperko, who lives in Terra Ceia and worked in Bradenton, moved to California in 2011 on the suggestion of her daughter Castille Landon, an actor and writer. Her first film as the lead producer, “Among Ravens,” premieres today in Tampa and other major U.S. cities.

The film, which was shot in Idaho, stars Amy Smart (“Justified”) and Johnny Sequoyah, a child actress who starred in the J.J. Abrams NBC TV series “Believe.” Joshua Leonard, Christian Campbell and Will McCormack also are in the cast.

The dramatic comedy tells the story of an annual Fourth of July reunion of friends that goes awry after a nature photographer interacts with them one by one and changes their lives. Sperko made the film in Idaho.

“Running a film is like running an intense minibusiness for a year,” Sperko said. “But when you’re the producer and you’ve got 80 people standing in the woods in Idaho because your camera won’t focus, you’ve got to be able to find out logistically how to get that problem solved.”

Sperko’s next film, “Sex Ed,” was filmed in Tampa with “Among Ravens” director and writer Russell Friedenberg. The film stars Haley Joel Osment (“The Sixth Sense”) and was shot in and around Ybor City. The film will be released this year.

“I’m really excited about that film,” Sperko said. “Haley Joel is such an amazing actor and a lovely person to work with.”

“Among Ravens” will be shown at 7 p.m. today at AMC Veterans 24, 9302 Anderson Road, Tampa. Tickets are $10.50. For details, see www.facebook.com/AmongRavens.

jhouck@tampatrib.com

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