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Local News

Make-A-Wish grants Joliet boy's wish to star in film

Friends, family attend premiere at Rialto Theatre

Bonaparte Moutima, 13 of Joliet waves to fans before entering the Rialto Square Theatre for his premier short film.
Bonaparte Moutima, 13 of Joliet waves to fans before entering the Rialto Square Theatre for his premier short film.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation recently helped a local boy write, star in and premiere his own movie at the Rialto Square Theatre.

On Wednesday, the Rialto opened its doors to the community for a free preview of “The Serum.” But it was no ordinary film premiere. Thirteen-year-old Bonaparte Moutima of Joliet had helped create this short film.

Moutima has been fighting a life-threatening blood disorder since the age of 3. As a result, the Dirksen Junior High School student has always wanted to be a hematologist, helping children. The Make-A-Wish Foundation was able to accomplish that goal in a unique way.

Moutima is being treated at Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago, where he was referred to Make-A-Wish to help take his mind off his treatment.

“This means a lot to us. After the filming, something inside of Bonaparte changed to where he was more motivated,” said Stella Matingou, Moutima’s mother.

There was a crowd outside the theater Wednesday, as attendees patiently waited for Moutima’s limousine.

Once the limousine pulled up, Moutima walked the red carpet with his mother and brother, Clauzel. Students held signs of congratulations with teachers from Dirksen Junior High, who were waiting for him to arrive.

Moutima was in good spirits walking into the auditorium before his movie premiered. Dressed in tuxedos, Clauzel joined his brother on the red carpet.

“Bonaparte’s brother has always been his strength and stood by him,” Matingou said.

Matingou also supported her son as he was greeted by fans. While Moutima walked in, many were asking questions, shaking his hand and taking pictures. Once inside, he signed autographs and posed for photos.

Moutima’s short film premiered to friends, family and the community with a brief question-and-answer session afterward. Moutima played a superhero in “The Serum.” His character is a doctor who got superpowers after ingesting a secret formula.

And with every hero, there has to be a villain. Moutima’s villain was a jealous colleague who stole his serum to use for evil.

Several Chicago filmmakers helped make Moutima’s dream come true. Many Make-A-Wish recipients choose to visit Disney World. However, Moutima wanted to know what it felt like to be a doctor.

“He was curious about being in film,” Matingou said. “But he was always interested in being a doctor.”

The production began filming in the fall at McCormick Place in Chicago, taking 14 hours to complete.

“I want to be a doctor when I grow up, so I can help people with sickle cell like me, and I like superhero movies, so that’s where the idea came from,” Moutima said.

Make-A-Wish reaches out to possible recipients’ friends and the community to grant wishes, and both companies and individuals provide donations to help fund the organization.

The foundation granted
700 wishes in Illinois this year, said Jessica Miller, communications manager for Make-A-Wish Illinois.

“In the 15 years that I’ve been with Make-A-Wish, this is the third movie wish that we were able to grant,” Miller said.

For information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visit illinois.wish.org.

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