Call Sign Romeo makes all the right moves

By on May 15, 2022

Filmed on location on the Outer Banks, the feature film Call Sign Romeo will be screening at RC Theatres Kill Devil Hills 10 through Labor Day weekend, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays at 7:00 PM

Call Sign Romeo, locally filmed and produced on the Outer Banks, had its world premiere here on May 14, playing to a packed house at the RC Theater Kill Devil Hills. The quick summary is that the movie that centers around high school wrestling is very good, with some well written character development and a plot that, because it’s based on real events, is compelling.

When executive producer Sam Cortez, who co-wrote the script with Stuart Parks, was interviewed about the movie he commented that he wanted “an entertaining family friendly movie.” And that is what was on the screen.

Director Ray Wallace took full advantage of the beauty of the Outer Banks in filming the movie. Indeed, the film could almost stand alone as a travel documentary. There are aerial views of the beach, especially in Nags Head. The Wright Brothers Memorial plays a prominent role, Jennette’s Pier is used as a backdrop a number of times. For anyone familiar with the Outer Banks, it makes the movie a little more fun to watch.

What makes Call Sign Romeo so enjoyable, though, is the plot, the arc of development of the characters and the performances that a group of mostly untrained actors bring to the screen.

Chris Ana signing autographs at the premier of Call Sign Romeo. (Photo credit: Sam Cortez)

First Flight High School students Chris Ana as Chris Torres — the central character — and Milosz Gargol as Marcus Zelinski, his wrestling teammate and personal nemesis, are very good in their roles. The two of them had been butting heads since they were high school freshmen. And, in one scene, they literally butt heads, leading to a concussion that sidelines Torres for two weeks.

Also particularly effective was John Wilson as Coach Kelvin. Anyone who has ever been involved in athletics or theater and worked with a demanding high school coach or director will recognize the personality — demanding and uncompromising because he or she knows that is how to prepare the kids for life.

Perhaps because the storyline is based on events that did happen, what might otherwise seem contrived becomes real. A mix-up on a senator’s letter of commendation to the service academies did happen. A wrestler with high hopes of winning the state championship in his weight class did place third. Those incidents help force Torres to mature and to look at himself and what he truly wants through a more adult lens.

The journey there is not a smooth one. At the beginning of the movie, Chris Torres is self-absorbed; he is selfish. The audience goes along for the ride, witnessing the events that help him understand there are responsibilities to others that will make him a better person.

One of the most effective scenes in the movie is the interaction between Torres and his mother, Sarah (Kelsey Thompson) after he loses in a preliminary round of the state wrestling tournament. The discussion she has with her son, sitting next to him in a hallway, is remarkably similar to discussions almost every parent has had with a child when things don’t turn out the way they had hoped.

This is a movie that highlights positive things that are happening without sugarcoating some of the struggles.

A girl has joined the wrestling team. Cami Miller plays Carla Tillett, the wrestler, with a determination that makes the character real. There is a scene where an opposing wrestler makes blatantly sexist remarks about her to Torres. Chris tells her what was said, and she goes out determined to win — and gets pinned.

There is also the heavyweight wrestler, Zach Philips (Joshua Reed) and his need to simply belong and to be a part of a group is compelling. As a team they get there. But again, it is not a smooth road.

On a personal note, as a former high school wrestler, it was so refreshing to see real wrestlers making real wrestling moves. Interestingly, Cortez mentioned that when they tried to choreograph the wrestling, it was not nearly as effective as when the kids simply wrestled.

There are a lot of kudos to hand out all around on Call Sign Romeo. The soundtrack by Neil Lee Griffin takes full advantage of local musicians. There’s music from Cullen Smith of Croatan that is particularly effective. Jonny Waters, Manday Huge and too many others to list everyone are also on the soundtrack.

Cortez has consistently maintained that what he wanted to create was a movie the whole family could enjoy. That is what he has created in Call Sign Romeo. Is this a slick Hollywood production filled with CGI special effects? No it is not. But more importantly, it is a thoroughly enjoyable movie. And we have no problem recommending it.

A writer’s note: The woman standing with her daughter in front of me in the ticket line stopped me from purchasing my ticket by saying, “I have an extra ticket. Here.” Thank you.


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


See what people are saying:

  • Mark Adams

    My family and I saw “Call Sign Romeo” this afternoon. We really enjoyed the film, great family entertainment.

    Sunday, May 15 @ 6:39 pm