Clare Cooney’s Departing Seniors has begun filming in Chicago

Departing Seniors
Clare Cooney and Ignacio Diaz-Silverio

Filming has begun in the Chicago area for the horror-comedy feature film, Departing Seniors with Chicago director Clare Cooney at the helm.

Writer Jose Nateras announced on his official Instagram that principal photography began a few days ago. The post included a screenshot of a Deadline article announcing Ignacio Diaz-Silverio as the lead actor. Diaz-Silverio has recently been cast in Amazon’s upcoming series Primo, and he has appeared in The Good Fight, which also took place in Chicago. 

The description of the film reads, “When an act of bullying sends a witty, gay, Mexican-American high school senior Javier (Ignacio Diaz-Silverio) to the hospital, he wakes up having psychic visions that reveal the horrifying truth behind a rash of supposed suicides at his school, leaving it up to him and his sarcastic best friend to unmask a serial killer targeting departing seniors before it’s too late.”

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According to the film’s social media pages, Departing Seniors is a dark and comedic high school horror movie with a gay Mexican-American protagonist in the vein of Wes Craven movies like Scream and Blumhouse Productions’ Happy Death Day and Freaky, with a dash of Heathers and Mean Girls

According to the Oregon Scream Week Horror Film Festival, where the script earned a position as one of the finalists for the Best Horror Comedy Feature Screenplay Award, “It’s got a fantastic and enjoyable premise with some hilarious and clever dialogue and fresh kills.”

Departing Seniors shared a photo on social media from production showing stunt rehearsals at the historic Athenaeum Theater main stage in Chicago’s Belmont Theater District.  

Jose Nateras applied his own experience as a gay, Mexican American, person of color to the script, while bringing in the humor and wit of influences such as Jordan Peele, Diablo Cody, Wes Craven, and more.

Nateras is an actor and writer from Chicago and is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago and earned his MFA in Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to an extensive career on stage, as an actor, Nateras has appeared on Showtime’s The Chi, as well as NBC’s Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D., just to name a few.

Producer / Director Clare Cooney, who makes her feature directorial debut has previously directed a TV series and short films including, Runner, which she wrote and starred in, and won the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the 2018 Chicago Critics Film Festival. As an actress, Cooney has appeared in Chicago Based productions including Chicago Med, Chicago P.D. and 4400. 

The project is being produced by Dashawna Wright’s Choppe Productions along with Clare Cooney, Jose Nateras and Kelly Parker, with support from Divisionist Films. Greg Newman and Queensbury Pictures are executive-producing.

Wright is an award-winning independent producer & filmmaker based in Chicago, IL who has produced and directed several short films. 

The recipient of the 2018 Chicago Independent Producer’s Apprenticeship for the Chicago International Film Festival, Wright has worked on Hollywood’s most prominent Chicago-based shows, and is a founder of “Film Girls”, a film collective by women, for women. She has her Master’s in Creative Producing from Columbia College Chicago & a Bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Jackson State University.

Chicagoans should recognize some of these actors in Departing Seniors. In addition to Diaz-Silverio, the film also stars Yani Gellman (Pretty Little Liars) as Mr. Arda, Lorena Diaz (Chicago Med, Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D.) as Nurse Ramirez, Ireon Roach (Candyman and Chicago P.D.) as Bianca, and Cameron Scott Roberts (Chicago Fire and The Walking Dead) as Trevor.

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