Fresh Films releases “Alternate Universe”

"Alternate Universe: A Rescue Mission"

“Alternate Universe: A Rescue Mission”

More than a year after premiering at a White House educational event in Washington D.C., Augustana College-based Fresh Films has released its second feature, Alternate Universe: A Rescue Mission.

Starring former Chicago actresses (and now, LA residents) Stephanie Barron and Anna Benuzzi, along with veteran actor Steve Guttenberg (3 Men and a Baby, Cocoon, Police Academy, Diner), the fun sci-fi romp follows orphaned sisters, Mickey and Lex, who discover their science project is the key to finding their parents, whom are living on a parallel earth.

What they find in the alternate universe is a dystopian state run by Verstag Industries, led by the villainous, Nazi-sounding Verstag (Guttenberg). You can watch the trailer for the Estlin Feigley-helmed film below:



An excited Benuzzi, who is now studying at Chapman University for her BFA in acting, told The Reel, “It was the first feature film I’d done, so it was a really great learning experience. I had such a fun time on set every day because I was able to work with professionals as well as the teens that were working behind the scenes so the environment on set was always a super positive one.”

As they did with their first feature The Stream (2012), Fresh Films replaced filmmaking pros with 200 teens from across the country, who worked on set or in post, mainly in the Chicago area, learning film production. The company bills itself as “the largest national platform for teen filmmaking.”

“It was fulfilling creative journey working with a myriad of teen filmmakers. They gave their talents and enthusiasm and taught me lessons that are invaluable,” said Guttenberg in a statement.

Added Harry Lennix, who appears in a cameo, “It was a film with a cause I wanted to support.” All proceeds from film sales and rentals go to support Fresh Films programs, including educator film programs, teacher tech grants and student scholarships.

Producer Kelli Feigley said, “There are an enormous number of jobs on so many different sides,” adding, “They [kids] can go into the animation department in a job that pays really well,” adding, “Our hope is that we expose young people, and realize there’s so much more here than I ever thought.”

Distributed by Gravitas Ventures, the film is available on streaming services including Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Youtube RED, Microsoft, and PlayStation, and on demand through cable providers including Comcast, Mediacom, and Dish Network.

Fresh Films has also announced they are launching a contest beginning January 5, 2018 to have an Alternate Universe: A Rescue Mission viewing party with Chicago-born Harry Lennix.

Contact Colin Costello at or follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.