PORTLAND (AP) – An independent film made by a former Deering High School student will be released nationwide this week.

Anna Kendrick, 18, started making the film “Camp” last summer before she began her senior year.

She told people it was an independent movie, starring nobody they ever heard of. Some smiled politely. They figured it was some student job, some obscure film nobody would ever see.

“Most people didn’t think it sounded like a real movie,” Kendrick said. “I thought it would play theaters, but I didn’t know if it would ever play Maine.”

But “Camp” is now one of the surprise popular hits of the summer and has gotten critical raves.

The comedy about a summer camp for musical theater junkies started at only a few theaters early this year, but because of the great response, it has been released to theaters nationwide.

It will open in Portland on Friday at the Nickelodeon Cinemas on Temple Street.

“Camp” was shot in 22 days on a tight budget and most of the teenage actors, including Kendrick, got very little money.

Kendrick, who graduated from Deering this year and now lives in Portland, plays one of the featured campers in the film.

The film was written and directed by Todd Graff, and shot at an actual camp for aspiring musical stars, Stagedoor Manor in Loch Sheldrake, N.Y.

Kendrick may be little known in film, but at age 12 she was a hit on Broadway. In 1998 she played Dinah in the revival of “High Society.” She was nominated for a Tony for “best performance by a featured actress in a musical” but lost out to Audra McDonald of “Ragtime.”

This winter Kendrick will act in “The Mayor,” a new WB Network series due to air as a replacement series this winter. She plays the sister of a young mayor in a small town.

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