'Death to Prom' premiere at MOA spotlighting local talent

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Prom season is just a couple months away for Minnesota high schoolers, but for teens and parents who can't wait for the big event, a locally-shot film is making its premiere Thursday night at the Mall of America.

KARE 11 says "Death to Prom," which was shot partially in Golden Valley, Stillwater, St. Paul and Minneapolis, will debut with "pink carpet premiere" at the mall to kick off its week-long engagement.

According to the production, all the talent involved in the film is local, from the writers, directors, actors and bands on the soundtrack.

Co-directed by Matt Stenerson and Jeremy Wilker, "Death to Prom" is a story of high school dreamers, and is described by Stenerson as a "John Hughes-style romantic comedy."

Also appearing at the premiere is local fashion designer Christopher Straub. A former "Project Runway" competitor, Straub designed the unique prom dresses in the film after Sternerson initially reached out to him to borrow a couple items from his studio in Shakopee.

"They came to me and we were originally only going to pull things that already existed, but I said, 'It sounds like you really have specific needs and really specific ideas,'" Straub told KARE's Diana Pierce." So I worked with the creators to design custom pieces for the film."

Wilker says the production began two and a-half years ago and was made possible through a Kickstarter campaign. When all was said and done, the production raised $45,380 – a few hundred dollars more than their campaign goal of $45,000.

"We financed it through a Kickstarter campaign, which was all or nothing, but through that we found some people who came on board to help us get it made," Wilker told Pierce.

"Death to Prom" will play exclusively at the Mall of America through March 13.

Meanwhile, merchandisers across the country are already busy preparing for proms across the country this spring. Teen Vogue takes a look at 2014 prom fashions, including 50 prom styles inspired by celebrities.

Of course, with prom comes a big financial commitment. The blog Practical Money Skills says the nationwide average spent on prom in 2013 was a staggering $1,139 per family.

The numbers were culled from nationwide survey conducted by Visa. In the Midwest, families spent an average of $722 on prom, while families in the west and south spent averages of $1,079 and $1,203, respectively.

Families in the Northeast had the biggest prom bills, spending an average of $1,528 for the big event.

The blog Prom Girl also breaks down how money is spent on prom, including money for a professional photo – which runs in the $30 to $125 range.

Remember, prom photos are important, especially if you go on to become a celebrity. The blog Co Ed has a gallery of 31 celebrity prom photos, beginning with comedy superstar Will Ferrell and his prom date.

Also featured in the gallery are such stars as Brad Pitt, Halle Berry, Lady Gaga, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock.

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