Lo­cal young peo­ple shine in first ‘Odd Squad’ movie

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - ROSIE-ANN GROVER rgrover@thes­pec.com 905-526-3404 | @RosieSpec

They were ner­vous. But only a lit­tle bit.

Sit­ting in the Coca-Cola room of the Sil­ver-City Moun­tain Cin­ema on Satur­day morn­ing, the four of them could hardly sit still.

More than 200 kids and their par­ents were stream­ing into the theatre be­low for the Hamil­ton pre­mière of “Odd Squad: The Movie.” And these four Hamil­ton-area kids star in it.

“I wanted it to be per­fect,” said Isaac Kragten, 14, off the heels of the red car­pet pre­mière in Toronto on Fri­day night.

Kragten — dubbed “Hol­ly­wood” by the kids in his home­town of Cale­do­nia — plays Agent Otis. He was ner­vous to see the com­pleted film.

“I didn’t ex­pect it to be that funny. But I was belly laugh­ing.”

“Odd Squad” started as a live ac­tion, chil­dren’s TV se­ries fea­tur­ing young agents who use in­di­rect rea­son­ing and math to solve and in­ves­ti­gate strange hap­pen­ings.

Cre­ated and pro­duced by Cana­dian Sink­ing Ship En­ter­tain­ment, it pre­mièred on TVOKids in Canada and PBS Kids in the U.S. in 2014. The show has been nom­i­nated 31 times and won 12 Cana­dian Screen Awards and Day­time Emmy Awards.

This the first fea­ture-length cin­ema re­lease for Sink­ing Ship — much of which was filmed in Hamil­ton.

It stars Michela Luci, 10, Olivia Presti, 11, and Jaiden Can­natelli, 10.

All of them agree it’s a sur­real ex­pe­ri­ence to see them­selves on the big screen.

“Some­times ac­tors are afraid to see their scenes,” says Can­natelli, who has ap­peared in sev­eral films and com­mer­cials. He de­scribes his char­ac­ter, Ohlm, in “Odd Squad” as bit of a dork.

Can­natelli shares he was bul­lied at school be­cause of that role and had to learn quickly not to di­gest the neg­a­tive com­ments.

“We all re­late to our char­ac­ters in a way,” says Luci, 10, who missed the pre­mière the night be­fore. She was up at 5:45 a.m. headed for the set of her next role — the lead in an­other pop­u­lar chil­dren’s show, “Dino Dan.”

Luci started act­ing just three years ago at age seven. She’s been work­ing full time as an ac­tress for months now, start­ing her day at 5:45 a.m. and keep­ing up with school work through a tu­tor on the set.

“She just keeps go­ing and never com­plains,” said her mom, Lucy Fri­cano.

For 11-year-old Presti, the movie is a suc­cess and she hopes for more auditions to pur­sue an act­ing ca­reer.

“It’s re­ally cool to see the fi­nal prod­uct,” she said.

Be­fore the movie — play­ing in two packed the­atres at the Paramount Drive cin­ema — the four­some stood in front of the screen and thanked the crowd for com­ing to see their movie.

“We love you,” a voice rang out from the crowd.

CATHIE COWARD, THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

Clock­wise from left, Isaac Kragten, Olivia Presti, Jaiden Can­natelli and Michela Luci are in the new “Odd Squad: The movie” that opened Satur­day morn­ing.

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