Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hope Bridge - Day 13

Finally after days of shooting interior shots, we’ve moved our operations to the great outdoors. We haven’t ventured too far though. We’re shooting in the driveway of the Spencer House. If you don’t already know, the Spencer House has been our location for the entire week.

It’s been a hot week here in Lawrenceburg, KY. Humidity levels have been off the chart. As a result, it’s created a lot of discomfort for the cast and crew. The good news is tomorrow we’re shooting over night, and there is talk of a cold front coming in to cool things off on Sunday. Good news indeed.

We have only five days to go. Next week, we’re going to be at multiple locations. I think everybody will be looking forward to a change of scenery.

The crew is already dreading the end. The clock is running down. There’s been a sense of community and comradary on the set of Hope Bridge. After you work together for four weeks, you start to bond together as a team. I suspect friendships have been developed that might very well last a lifetime. Twenty years from now, most people couldn’t tell you what they did on any given day; however, working on a project like Hope Bridge is something you will never forget. Working on their first movie for some is something people seem to remember with fondness. As I said, it will be about the relationships that are formed that will last and be cherished.

I know most of the cast and crew have met David and Christy Eaton. And if you’re remotely familiar with the themes of Hope Bridge, you realize they revolve around suicide and mental illness. But here’s what you probably don’t know. There’s a deeper story to why Hope Bridge became a reality in the first place.

I met Dave and Christy in December 2011. They had been working on a screenplay for over six months. In fact, it was the first time they had ever attempted to write anything. No they hadn’t suddenly gone Hollywood or become starstruck. Dave and Christy are ordinary people living an ordinary life, raising six children in Milford, OH. So why would anybody make a movie about suicide? It’s not exactly a popular topic. Neither is it the type of subject material that would guarantee a box office hit.

For Dave and Christy, the topic of suicide is real and personal. They have experienced it at an intimate level. The Eatons have lived it. And they know and understand how suicide impacts individuals, families, and the community. They wanted to make a difference and help people to never have to experience the tragedy they faced. Several years ago, Dave lost his first wife to suicide, the mother to three of his children. It was devastating, to say the least.

But that’s not where the story ended. Later on, Dave and Christy had to deal with close friends who had a son that took his own life. Dave and Christy searched their hearts and asked what they could do to keep it from happening again. Suicide has become the third leading cause of death for young adults. As they looked for answers, they felt God tugging on their hearts to, of all things, make a feature film.

They felt compelled to start writing. After finishing the screenplay, they asked me to come on as a producer. We spent the last year and a half going through multiple rewrites. In January of this year, Cincinnati-based Rebel Pilgrim Productions entered the picture. They took Christy and Dave’s vision and help to made it a reality. The script was reworked, and finally we all felt we had a great story to share.

I asked Dave and Christy how they felt about the new screenplay. They said, “Although the circumstance and situations have changed from the original script, we feel that the spirit and vision has remained the same. We got into this because we wanted to save lives. And with this movie, we feel it’s possible. Our desire was to shed light on the issue of suicide. It’s something that people don’t want to talk about. There’s a sense of shame that’s often associated with the topic with those who have gone through it.”

Dave and Christy are great people. I admire their commitment. Hope Bridge has seen its ups and down over the past two years. It’s been a bumpy road to say the least. However, the Eatons have been determined to get this movie made. They’re passionate people who believe Hope Bridge isn’t just another movie. It’s more than that. In the next few days, I hope you get an opportunity to thank them for the sacrifices they’ve made.

More to come. 

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