Bottled Up is a new short film that is currently making the film festival circuit. This weekend we got to meet Sam Juergens at the Kingdomwood Christian Film Festival, and even though we arrived after the film had already screened, we heard positive reviews from those who were able to watch it.
First, introduce yourself and your role with Bottled Up.
I am Sam Juergens and I’m the co-writer and director of the award winning film Bottled Up. I also acted in the movie along with being the co-executive producer for this film. It is a faith-based film that screened at 5 film festivals in 2015 and took home Best Short Film at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival (April 2015).
Bottled Up is a film about a grief-stricken man and his journey across Lake Michigan in search of life’s true meaning.
What was the inspiration for the movie?
The genesis of the idea of this film happened when I was going through my own personal struggle of depression and questioning faith, and where I, myself was going to row across Lake Michigan. Preparing for my trip, I started plotting out my schedule and meal plans, but soon chickened out on the trip. A few months later, I decided I was going to shoot, act, and edit the movie myself with me as the lead actor, but felt this was not the best idea either.
After a year or so of the script on the back burner, my older brother and writing partner, Dave, was interested in the story and we started sending the script back and forth for revisions. After the final screenplay was done, there was no doubt in my mind that he should be the lead actor and I should direct. Dave and I wanted this film to be an inspiration to anyone going through a time of struggle, depression, or addiction.
Tell a little about your cast and crew.
This is my third project with Wherl Productions and second with both of my brothers as actors in the film. In the film, my cousin Steve Schorner has a featured role and my mom and grandmother did some background work. As I get older, and with my family in different locations across the globe, I try to make it a point to do a project together where we have something that lasts forever, and something we can show our kids and grandkids someday. That, and given that I’m the youngest out of the aforementioned group, there have been plenty of times that I’ve been yelled at and disciplined by my older family members. Directing Bottled Up allowed me to direct them. How the tables have turned… I’m kidding.
We shot a scene at a local church near my hometown in Pennsylvania, and we were blessed to have the lead pastor of the church perform one of the scenes and some members of the congregation came out to be extras. The pastor, Jeff, gave a great performance and I had not met him before the day of shooting, but he was so easy to work with. We were also blessed to have Amelia Favata, a New York actress, free during our shooting on Lake Ontario. I worked with the Rochester Film Office searching for a local actress and after watching audition tapes and some phone calls, I knew we were going with Amelia. Music always plays a big part in my films and we were lucky enough to have Brian Clouthier scoring the film.
Working with a small and experienced crew like we had for Bottled Up has great benefits because there is a level of comfortability there and with the third go around with me and Wherl Productions, we shared common goals throughout filming and post. There were two scenes in particular we shot that I thought should definitely be in the film, but everyone else involved in post-production said they should be cut from the final version. They were cut, and I’m humbled to say they were right. If I didn’t have that close relationship with my cast and crew, the quality of the finished product would not be what it is today.
I don’t know if that’s “a little about my cast and crew”, but hey, I’m a writer and I’m really proud of the work they did.
What was the greatest challenge you faced while filming?
Filming on open water. Don’t film on open water. Ever.
Filming on the Great Lakes was an incredible experience and we saw some of the prettiest blue sky one day and encountered the thickest fog I’ve ever seen, but it was also the most frustrating film set I’ve ever been on. One second the water was like glass, with no waves, and then a minute later, we would have 10 mph winds with white caps. Due to the varying weather conditions, we had to adjust our shooting schedule accordingly. We also had long shooting days and a very tight shooting schedule, thanks to me, shooting all of our rowing scenes in four days. Filming outside, especially on water, challenged the editor with ensuring we maintained good continuity between scenes.
What has been the response so far?
Like I mentioned before, we wanted this film to be an inspiration to others that no matter what you’re going through, God is real and he is always watching over you, even though at times it might not feel that way. Even though this is a faith-based film, this movie resonates with non-believers as well on many different levels and many people have said they liked the film. I love hearing the different reasons why people like the film.
In 2015, the film took home “Best Short Film” at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival and the lead actor in the film, Dave Juergens, was nominated as “Best Actor” at the Peachtree Village International Film Festival. The film also screened at the Great Lakes Christian Film Festival, Harrisburg-Hershey Festival, and the Kingdomwood Christian Film Festival.
The trailer for Bottled Up was a “Top 10 Finalist” at the 2015 FilmMakers Global Trailer Festival.
What is your goal for the film?
Before we shot the film, my brother Dave and I wanted this movie to have some postcard-esque shots on the open water. We also wanted to create a solid spiritual and inspirational story that would be well-received by everyone, whether religious or non-religious. We did this film to help inspire others, no matter what they’re going through. I think at some point in time in life, everyone goes through a time of self-doubt, depression, or questioning God;‘Bottled Up touches on all of these subjects. No matter what you’re going through, as long as you have faith and focus on God’s will, He will guide you through the valley.
We will publically announce where and when you can watch Bottled Up in its entirety soon, and we will share the details on the film’s Facebook page.
Any new projects in the works?
Right now, I’m focused on writing. My brother Dave and I have written a couple scripts and I’m working on a feature screenplay right now on my own with the intent to shoot it in late 2016. Dave and I also plan to shoot our first webisode series based on our sitcom pilot Kings of Podunk in the near future.
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, I graduated from Liberty University with a B.S. in Business and I now live in Georgia with my wife, Nichole. Before moving to Georgia, I worked on power plants all over the country as a Budget Analyst.
Film and Director’s links:
Filmmakers often ask me about various film festivals, whether or not they should enter and whether or not they should attend. After this weekend I can now tell people wholeheartedly that Kindgomwood is not only a good festival to enter, but a great one to attend.
The festivities began on Thursday but we didn’t arrive until Saturday afternoon. From the moment we arrived at the beautiful Embassy Suites in Buckhead, Georgia, we could tell that the festival was well run and that people were enjoying themselves. Audrey Thomas and her team of volunteers did a fabulous job of keeping things running smoothly and allowing everyone plenty of time to mingle and get to know each other.
We kicked off our festival experience with a panel discussion on music in film.
Next on the agenda was my workshop on Making Microbudget Movies Look Like a Million Bucks. We had a slight technical issue due to my computer and the projector not being compatible, but we made the most of it and I think had a great discussion on how Casting, Color, Costume, Composition, and Creativity can affect the finished look of your films.
Sunday kicked off with one of the most amazing sermons I’ve ever heard in my life. (And I’m not exaggerating!) Andy Turner spoke on the significance of the white stone to the early Christians. It was nothing i had ever heard before, but oh, so powerful. And to top it all off, after the closing prayer,
The awards ceremony followed the worship service. The winners were: People’s Choice – Broken Matters, Mini Film bronze – Confidence, Mini Film silver – House Mother, Mini Film gold – Elegy, Short Film bronze – The Deceived, Short Film silver – Forward Until Found, Short film gold – Sarah’s Friend, Feature Film bronze – Adrenaline, Feature Film silver – Switching Lanes, Feature Film gold – Conflict of Interest, Documentaries bronze – Sunshine Noodles & Me, Documentaries silver – Making a Connection, Documentaries gold – Kolor Struck, Red Carpet Gold – Caged No More.
The celebrity panel included a star studded panel sharing their unique stories of the industry and their role as Christians in film.
Fred and I unexpectedly found ourselves part of panel. One of the panelists for the Atlanta Faith in Film Breakfast panel was unable to come so Audrey asked us to join Francine Locke and Michael Young. So they shared about the newly formed Atlanta group and Fred and I shared about the Nashville group.
Our final event of the day was the distribution panel and expo where we got learn more about submitting to gmovies, Parables, and Aspire.
A highlight for me was sweet Tiffany Roberts who introduced the various speakers and panelists and who worked so hard trying to get everyone everything they needed.
It’s an exciting time for Christian theater patrons. First, we had War Room. Then 90 Minutes in Heaven. Then tomorrow is Captive, the true story of Ashley Smith,the Atlanta hostage hero.
CAPTIVE is a thrilling drama about the spiritual collision of two broken lives. When Brian Nichols – on the run as the subject of a city wide manhunt and desperate to make contact with his newborn son – takes recovering meth addict Ashley Smith hostage in her own apartment, she turns for guidance to Rick Warren’s best-selling inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life. While reading aloud, Ashley and her would-be killer each face crossroads where despair and death intersect hope.
You’ve followed along our journey as we prepared for the production of Providence. You joined us as we shared behind the scenes photos and talked about our filmmaking adventures. Now we’d like to present to you our official trailer and invite you to join us for a special evening of fun at our Red Carpet Premiere.
When: Sunday, November 8
Two Screenings – 4:00pm and 7:00pm
Where: Historic Franklin Theater, Downtown Franklin, Tennessee
Purchase Your Tickets Here: Theater Website
Look forward to seeing you there!
About the movie:
Releases in theaters everywhere September 11, 2015
Rating: PG-13 (for intense accident and injury images)
Starring Hayden Christensen (Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith), Kate Bosworth (Remember The Titans, Blue Crush) Michael W. Smith, Fred Thompson, Dwight Yoakam, and Jason Kennedy, 90 Minutes In Heaven is based on the inspiring New York Times best-selling book that has sold 7 million copies.
S O C I A L • C O R N E R
If you’d like to receive your own copy of the movie edition of the best selling book, comment below. Random drawing will be held Saturday ,September 19.
“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”
Gifted Hands was a made for television movie that aired in 2009. For years, I’ve heard about it and how good it was, but last night was the first time we actually took the time to watch it. I hate that we waited so long. It’s an amazing movie.
First, I’d like to talk about the movie itself. It was nominated for four Primetime Emmys and a long list of awards. It won two Movieguide, three Image, and one NAMIC Vision award. In my opinion, it should have won more. I was immediately drawn into the movie by.the beautiful juxtopositioning of classical music and surgery footage. From beginning to end, every shot is beautiful and the editing together is a work of art. The writing, the acting, the music, everything is top notch. I would have never dreamed it possible to take a story about a brain surgeon and make it a cinematic work of art, and yet, that is exactly what director Thomas Carter did.
Second, while the movie stands alone as a great story well told, we can’t ignore the fact that the subject of the movie is now a Presidential candidate. For that reason, anyone who is trying to make a decision between candidates should watch Gifted Hands to get a better appreciation of who Ben Carson is and what he’s already accomplished. I had no idea that he grew up poor, raised by a single mom who couldn’t read but who was determined that her boys would make something of themselves. I was inspired by her commitment to push them to excel despite the many obstacles in their way. I love that learning didn’t come naturally for Ben, but that he just worked all the harder because of it. I love the fact that he was willing to take a risk and perform a dangerous surgery when he was just an intern because there was no one else to do it. Most of all, i love that he prayed with each of his patients and looked to God for help rather than seeing himself as God.
Gentle Hands is available on instant Netflix and on dvd in Christian bookstores.
Have you gone to see War Room this weekend? Get a behind the scenes glimpse into the making of the movie in this exclusive Faith Flix interview with Alex and Stephen Kendrick.
Originally posted on faithflixfilms:
Alex and Stephen Kendrick were gracious enough to allow us to interview them at NRB Convention. We were also invited to a private screening of their new movie War Room. These are godly men striving to do their best to serve God through their filmmaking. Such a blessing to hear stories of how God worked behind the scenes of War Room.
I’m excited to introduce two young brothers, Hudson and Tucker Meek. I got to know them when they played the bully brothers in Providence. They were incredibly talented, as well as extremely professional on set and just as sweet as can be. They’ve been in Santa Con and The List, and next month they each have a big theatrical release. You can see Tucker in A Walk in the Woods playing the grandson of Robert Redford and Emma Thompson and Hudson in 90 Minutes in Heaven playing the son of Hayden Christensen and Kate Bosworth.
When did you first discover a love of acting?
Tucker – When I was little I liked to repeat commercials that I heard on TV. I went to the SHINE event (for Actors Models and Talent for Christ) in Orlando when I was 7 years old. My favorite showcase was called Product Endorsement. I was missing my front teeth, so I thought it would be funny to do a commercial called the Tooth Loosener. I said “Are you tired of your little brother grinning at you with a mouth full of cash? Then you need the tooth loosener…” and I pulled out a big wrench. Everyone started laughing. I like to make people laugh!
I was awarded the Overall Male Child Actor Award. AMTC is where I learned what it meant to “Make Good Bolder”. That’s where I decided that I wanted to be a shining light when I was on set. By the way, I have not tried “The Tooth Loosener” on my brother… yet!
How old were you when you got your first acting role?
Hudson – When I was 4, I filmed a commercial with a green screen and pretended I was falling out of the sky. I still have the teddy bear that they gave me to carry. His name is Teddy. I filmed my first movie when I was 6. It’s called 90 Minutes in Heaven.
Tucker – Right after SHINE, I booked my first faith-based film called Worth Fighting For (with Alan Powell of Anthem Lights, The Song). So, I think I had just turned 7 years old.
Tucker, tell us about your role in Santa Con.
I played a little boy named Billy who asked Santa for his help with a very special wish. In the end, Santa wasn’t the one who helped Billy with his wish. It was an angel.
Hudson, tell us about your role in 90 Minutes in Heaven.
I play Chris Piper. In the movie, my dad had a bad car accident and got really hurt. I had to pretend to be so so sad when I saw him hurt. The special effects makeup looked very real so it wasn’t hard to pretend. I also thought about how the real Chris Piper felt when he saw his dad for the first time in the hospital. Mr. Hayden (Christiansen) and Mrs. Kate (Bosworth) were very nice. 90 Minutes was my first movie, so I didn’t know what it would be like to have a pretend family. But, Mrs. Kate gives a lot of hugs & golden stars. Mr. Hayden taught me all about light sabers because I told him I am a huge fan of Star Wars. The day we wrapped, he gave me one of his action figures with a special note to me on it. It’s very special to me. Mr. Don and Mrs. Eva Piper were also with us on set. I liked sitting with them and talking about stuff when we weren’t filming. I taught them all about mine craft. I also loved face-timeing with the real Chris and asking him questions before my scenes.
What do you like best about film acting?
Tucker – I really like to learn about how things work. It’s cool to see how they film each scene from different angles and then what the movie looks like when it’s edited together. I learned about special effects when I was filming The Santa Con. The movie takes place during December, but we filmed it during the Summer. So it was really hot. But, when you use special effects, you can make it snow in July. How amazing is that?
Hudson – I like making new friends everywhere I go. I always say, “Hi my name is Hudson. What’s yours? Do you want to play with me?” And just like that, we’re friends. I like to keep in touch with friends that I made on set. I also really like to pretend. So, when I am acting, I get to do a lot of pretending.
What would be your dream role?
Tucker – I would love to be in a futuristic movie about time travel or play a spy-kid who uses telekinesis and Legos to complete his missions. I also love Disney-Pixar movies. So, it would be a lot of fun to be a voice-actor in an animated film. I read that there is going to be a Lego Movie 2… Being in a movie about my favorite toy would be a dream come true!
Hudson – Sometimes I pretend that I have super powers. I wish I could be in a movie and have super-speed. My side-kick puppy could have laser eyes. My dad and I think it’s fun to make up bed-time stories about my puppy and our adventures as kid super-spies. I also love to explore outside. I think it would be awesome to be in a movie that films in the jungle and I could play a character who grew up outside like Tarzan!
What projects do you have coming up?
Tucker – On September 2nd, I have a film called A Walk in the Woods opening in theaters. I play the grandson of Mr. Robert Redford and Mrs. Emma Thompson. It was an honor to be able to work with them. I learned a lot from working with both of them. I am a huge Harry Potter fan. So it was fun to talk to Mrs. Thompson about her role in the Potter movies. Worth Fighting For, directed by Joshua Sheik, will be completed this Fall. And Providence will be released early 2016.
Hudson – 90 Minutes in Heaven opens in theaters on September 11th. And we can’t wait to see Providence. It’s our first silent movie and the first movie where we get to play brothers.
Tucker – I feel lucky to get to work on movies & projects, especially those that teach about God’s love. Even if the movie isn’t a faith-based film, you can still be a shining light for God on set by the way you treat others while you are filming.
One of my favorite things about having a movie in the film festival circuit is that you get introduced to other movies. One of those movies is Gallow’s Road. It screened at the International Christian Film Festival in Orlando, and while we didn’t attend, Jenn Gotzon was there representing our movie The Good Book, and she gave the film raving reviews. She also connected me with producer Mary Jean Bentley.
Brothers Bob (Ernie Hudson) and Seth (Marcus Mauldin) are just one day away from making their dream of opening an antique store come true. This is not just any antique store, but one previously owned by the sheriff’s brother, who has two wayward sons, Snake and Matty. Trouble begins.
Jake Knight (Bill McAdams Jr) is a man searching for a purpose, unsure of his role both as a husband and a father. He has a beautiful wife and two children yet he chooses to spend most of his time with the “brotherhood”, Snake and Matty. This choice causes Jake to get off course and head down the wrong road. One of his only hopes and saving grace is his boss Frank (Kevin Sorbo) who is a good friend offering both steady work at the stables and spiritual advice. But more often than not, Jakes search seems to end at the bottom of a bottle.
In GALLOWS ROAD, an unthinkable crime, will draw these men together, changing their lives forever – turning one from the light while speeding the other towards darkness.
Gallow’s Road is a touching story about forgiveness.It’s full of small town drama, action, with touches of humor interspersed.
The acting is good all around. My favorite performances were Megan Dalby as Puck Knight and Rett Terrell as Snake Cain.
I especially enjoyed the scene where Kevin Sorbo’s character explains to Bill McAdams how he’s headed down Gallow’s Road and only he has the power change the course. I also enjoyed the scenes between young Puck and Bay.
Get your copy of Gallow’s Road at Christian bookstores, Walmart, or watch on iTunes.
I love when rabbit trails lead to connections. I stumbled upon Ms. in the Biz quite by accident. I enjoyed exploring the site, then when I contacted Editor-in-Chief Helenna Santos, she connected me with their Outreach Coordinator Alexandra Boylan, who just happens to be writer, producer, and actress in the just released new film Catching Faith.
When did you first discover a love of acting?
I grew up performing in my father’s church, high school, and summer camp. It was always a part of my life and I fell in love with it. The first day my foot hit the stage, I knew I was hooked. I started auditioning for films in Boston when I was only fourteen; I had a very supportive family that encouraged me to follow my dreams. I owe a lot of my life to my upbringing. I was so blessed to have parents who nurtured my dreams, and told me I could do anything I put my mind to.
What led to your decision to start working behind the scenes writing and producing?
After many years of solely pursuing acting, I began feeling frustrated that I had no say in my own career or future. I was sick of waiting for people to choose me, and give me the opportunities that I was desperate for. And in turn, it made me feel like a desperate person all the time. So one day I decided to stop waiting for someone else to choose me, and I decided to choose myself! I got together with some friends back in 2008 and we all produced a play. I fell in love with the process of creating something from the beginning to the end. Once I put acting to the side, and allowed all the other facets of my creativity to flow, I rediscovered my love for writing. And now I write, produce, and act in my own films! And Let me tell you, I have never looked back. I strongly encourage people to choose themselves and create work for themselves, or they might just be waiting around forever!
What are some of the films you’ve been involved in?
I have done my share of independent movies, that’s for sure. I have done a lot of horror movies, and I’m happy to say I have moved on from that genre. I love a good horror movie, but there are just so many important stories to tell, like my new film Catching Faith. I want to be a part of creating stories that go out into the world and encourage and change people’s lives for the better. My next film is a faith-based family Christmas movie, and writing it has been a pure joy, it’s just so much fun to make family films. I’m very thankful that God opened a new door for me, and I am happy to be a part of his amazing work!
Tell us about Catching Faith and your involvement in it.
Catching Faith is a faith based family football movie that follows the woman’s journey. It follows Alexa Taylor, who is extremely concerned with her appearances and wanting everyone to think that she and her family are perfect. But when her son, the star of the high school football team, is caught drinking at a party, her world begins to unravel. Through her female Bible study she comes to learn that it is ok to speak the truth, and to let others help you through the messy parts of life. The film is about integrity and doing the right thing even when no one is watching you. Every member of the family is learning integrity and how to live it out in their own lives. Catching Faith speaks to everyone, and I think the reason it is doing so well is because everyone can take something away from the story and actually apply it to his or her everyday life.
What inspired the story?
My sister, my husband, and I co-wrote the script, and we originally started talking about the struggles women face in society and especially in the Christian community. The impossible expectations we put upon ourselves to be perfect and have it all put together. My sister and I grew up in a minister’s home, and we felt insane pressure to always appear perfect, to never let anyone know we might be struggling with something. Andrea and I really wanted to speak to women and young girls, and tell them what we wish had been told to us. That being a child of God is enough. And that God loves us no matter what, and He is always ready with open arms to embrace us.
What do you think distinguishes Catching Faith from other faith-based sports movies?
Well, we are filmmakers who are Christians; not the other way around, we understand how to tell stories. Some of the issue’s with Christian films is people think they have to tell a sermon, we wanted to tell a story and weave in the faith in a natural way, so the audience didn’t feel like they were being preached to. The quality of this film is amazing, and everyone involved are very talented filmmakers. I also think Catching Faith is different because we speak to everyday issues. The stakes are not life threatening, they are what we face as human beings everyday, and we tried to address issue’s that people can relate to. We hope this film will raise questions and prompt the audience to go home and talk about it with their spouses and families!
What’s been the response so far?
AMAZING! So far all of our reviews have been raving. It’s been overwhelming, actually, to see how this film is impacting people’s lives. We showed the film in a small theater in Wisconsin, and ended up selling out for fourteen straight days. It’s a very uplifting film, and I think people walk away with hope, and are excited to share this film with their friends and family. The movie released in South Africa, and a women from a village there went out of her way to find my sister’s email and tell her how this film was heart changing for her. We have had an outpour of messages to us on our Facebook page, people telling us how this film has helped them talk to their teenagers, and really spoke to their own issue’s they have been struggling with. I feel extremely humbled to be a part of God’s HUGE plan for this film.
What do you see yourself doing ten years down the road?
I hope I am still making female driven faith based films. I feel very passionate about portraying women in a positive way on screen, and I will continue bringing these stories to life. I want to be the change that I want to see in the entertainment industry. We can complain about it or we can do something about it, I am doing something about it. I hope in ten years from now we have more films with a strong well-rounded woman in the lead role. I want young girls to have heroes to look up to, to be told they can be anything they want. I am a very active member of Ms In The Biz, an online magazine and community that encourages and inspires women to take charge of their careers. I am very proud of that community, and I hope we continue to grow and change lives for the better. We are all better together, and it’s important for women to lift up and encourage each other. I think women can be very hard on one another, and I see too much tearing down, instead of lifting up. So I hope to continue to pave the way for other women in the entertainment industry. There are not many positive female driven faith based films, and it’s exciting to have people come to me after they see Catching Faith, and tell me that they are inspired to make their own. Just because we don’t see something in the market place, doesn’t mean we can’t be the first to do it! I also hope in ten years from now I have a home on the beach, I love the ocean, and it is a life dream of mine to have a house on the beach. Something about the constant movement of water is very calming and brings out my creativity.
I want to encourage everyone to see Catching Faith, to share it with their communities. This film is for everyone. Whatever you faith may be; you will enjoy the message of love that it spreads. Please feel free to “like” Catching Faith on Facebook and shoot us a message. We love to hear from everyone and communicate with people about the movie.