A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bringing a taste of Hollywood to Zembrodt Education Center as Wise Guy movie is filming in Covington

By Andy Furman
NKyTribune reporter

It was almost Hollywood.

Laura Gentry, the Social Communication/Instructor for The Point/Arc Zembrodt Education Center, brought a little bit of Hollywood to her students.

“I said when I was hired here I would involve the students in both social and leisure-time activities,” said Gentry, a University of Cincinnati graduate who earned her MA in Education at Northern Kentucky University.

She did one better. 
She brought a taste of Hollywood to the Zembrodt Education Center.

James with Josh Kellinghaus

While the movie Wise Guys – starring Robert DeNiro – was being filmed across the street from The Point/Arc, Gentry invited a guest to see her – and her students – at work.

“Josh Kellinghaus, an Assistant Location Manager for the entire production, was kind enough to visit with us and chat with our students,” Gentry said.

Kellinghaus has some film credits of his own – Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017), Bones and All (2022) and Point Blank (2019).

His visit proved to be a great positive experience, Gentry said, and it was honestly a thrill for staff as well as students.

“The students were quite curious over the past several days, with all the sets being built on Pike Street, as well as all the classic cars that were used in the movie,” she said, “so it was wonderful that Josh stopped by and told the story. I’m sure in the process he gained several movie goers.”

Laura Gentry is no stranger to Special Education – she was a Special Education Middle School teacher in Northern Kentucky for some 30 years.

The Western Hills resident works – and teaches – individuals and small groups from school age to adulthood, she said.

“I teach social skills, hygiene, how to properly meet and greet people as well as helping them function in the community,” she said.

“My biggest challenge,” said the Seton High School alum, “is to identify, monitor and, of course report on student goals as well as their achievements.

The ZEC school session opened last fall after being closed a year because of the pandemic

Collin with his favorite car.

The Point/Arc was founded in 1972 – and celebrated its 50-year anniversary last year – by a group of parents fighting for the educational rights of their children who were diagnosed with an intellectual and developmental (I/DD) disability. The mission – to help people with disabilities achieve their highest potential educationally, socially, residentially and vocationally. More than this, The Point/Arc has been an organization that identifies gaps in services and provides care and support to fill these gaps – even when government funding sources are not available.

The Dr. Anthony and Geraldine Zembrodt Education Center – founded in 2019 – allows The Point/Arc to consolidate all five educational programs under one roof and to double the amount of individuals served.

“We strive to help all our individuals become contributing members of our community,” said Judi Gerding, Founder and President of The Point/Arc. “With guidance and support, our individual’s talents are reinforced while shaping their future and preparing them for a life filled with independence, pride and confidence as they live their life and explore their dreams,” she said. “The Dr. Anthony and Geraldine Zembrodt Education Center allows us to continue on this mission and more than double the amount of individuals we currently serve.”

And it also allows many of them to enjoy a small slice of Hollywood.

Wise Guys is an American gangster film directed by Barry Levinson, written by Nicholas Pileggi, starring Robert De Niro in a dual role as 1950s mob bosses Vito Genovese and Frank Costello.

The film is produced by Warner Bros. and Winkler Films.

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