Filmmaker Cedric Gegel knows: It never hurts to ask.
With a few emails and the right amount of cash, Gegel landed "Psych" and "L.A. Law" star Corbin Bernsen and "Harry Potter" actor James Phelps for his locally made fantasy movie "Cadia: The World Within."
The 24-year-old Gegel, a first-time feature-film director, had nothing to lose.
"The worst thing they can do is email and say no," said Gegel, a native of Wapakoneta now living in the University District.
The movie will be screened at 7 p.m. Friday, July 12, at Mees Hall at Capital University, 1 College and Main.
Gegel and co-executive producer Zach Throne will attend and conduct a question-and-answer session afterward. A June 30 premiere screening at the Gateway Film Center sold out.
The idea for the film began in 2015, when Gegel was in a central Ohio production of "The Addams Family" musical, which included young actors and triplets Carly, Keegan and Tanner Sells of Grove City.
To keep the children occupied backstage, Gegel would dream up movie storylines with them. The only rule was they had to appear in the movie.
From the backstage talks came the tale of three children being transported to a strange land. Gegel went to work.
"Two years later," he said, "I finished writing it."
Realizing he needed help with the logistics of filmmaking, Gegel met for coffee with Throne, a Grove City resident, whom he had met during a stage production of "Hamlet." Throne read the script and liked it. They discussed the filmmaking scene in central Ohio and its gradual growth.
"We realized we could potentially catch the wave," said Throne, 25. "We wanted to be at the forefront of this."
The story centers on three teenage siblings who find a magic rock that transports them to a land called Cadia, where two groups are battling for control. The siblings must choose sides to find their way back home.
Gegel kept his promise by making the Sells triplets the stars in the movie and then sent out a casting call online. He received thousands of responses from seven countries, and in January 2018 he auditioned more than 100 people. Many of the parts were filled by Ohio-based actors, but crucial roles needed to be filled.
Gegel had written the role of the siblings' grandfather with Bernsen in mind, and for the role of Tanion, a leader of one of the warring groups, Gegel wanted Phelps, who portrayed Fred Weasley in the "Harry Potter" movies.
Gegel and Throne, who raised money through a crowd-funding account and with private investors, sent offers to the actors' agents. Both actors accepted.
"I closed my laptop and went on a walk," Gegel said. "I thought, 'This is a big deal now. You can't back out of this anymore.' "
Their partnership will continue but is about to become complicated: Gegel is moving to Philadelphia, where his wife, Sarah Fryman, is about to enter a seminary. But their filmmaking will continue here.
"All the things I want to direct, I want to do here," Gegel said. "I want to keep giving back to this community. This is where I came into my own and where I got married."
"We love this area," he said. "We love the people. We love working with these people. We can't say no to them."