Survivor: Summer Camp

A documentary by a local filmmaker details summer camp's battle royale

Summer camp is always a pretty volatile situation -- put a bunch of kids together out in the woods, add humidity, bugs and boredom, and see what fireworks are set off. Throw in a sports competition of such cutthroat competitiveness that it makes grown men cry, and you've got a real powder keg on your hands.

In local filmmaker Louis Lapat's documentary, "Win or Lose: A Summer Camp Story," the stakes are high and the players return year after year. Based on Camp Ojibwa in Eagle River, Wisconsin, where boys from several northern Chicago suburbs spend every summer, "Win or Lose" follows an ultra intense time called "Collegiate Week" (basically the color wars to end all color wars). During Collegiate Week, campers can think of nothing else than winning the first-place trophy; second place is simply not an option. The character-driven film follows several competitors as they either experience the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat. And, yes, Lapat is a Camp Ojibwa survivor.

"Win or Lose: A Summer Camp Story" will have its Illinois premiere this Sunday, May 31 at the Highland Park Theater (445 Central Ave., Highland Park) with showings at 11AM and 12:15PM. Tickets are $10 in advance; $12 at the door. Lapat and members of the camp cast will be on hand after each screening for a Q & A session.

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