Both ACU students and recent alumni are teaming up to do one of the most ambitious things to do as a young filmmaker: Creating a full-length feature film, with all production happening over the summer.
At the helm of this project are Brody Jasso, a sophomore acting and musical theatre major from Snyder, and Braden Garner, a junior liberal studies major from Georgetown. Both of them are coming off a successful ACU FilmFest, with Jasso winning Best Director and Best Picture for the short film “Oliver Fredrickson” and Garner winning Best Cinematography for his work on “Oliver Fredrickson”.
The idea and spark to create a feature film came to the students while meeting for dinner towards the beginning of the semester.
“Me and Braden ended up grabbing dinner one night and we were talking about different ideas,” Jasso said. “After talking about one idea, he told me, ‘You know, why don’t you write that into a feature film, it seems you’ve had a lot going on in your life, and I think that story can be something.’ He told me to do it, and I did it.”
After Garner’s encouragement, it took Jasso a couple of weeks to write the first draft of the 90-page script for the film.
Then, Jasso showed the script to Garner who was impressed by the speed Jasso was able to complete it, read it and was ready to jump on the project.
“We had that conversation, and it was the quickest turnaround I’ve ever seen,” Garner said. “It had only been a couple of weeks when Brody sent me the first draft, and it was a full-fledged draft. It’s an amazing script, so me and the rest of our crew signed on to it.”
The film, now holding the running title of Breathing In, is planned to be a romantic drama that follows its main character, Miles, in a journey about love, loss and mental health. The film also aims not only to bring mental health awareness but also to the importance of mental health in men.
Jasso feels that it is important to highlight mental health in men since it is a topic that isn’t really talked about, but also stuff he can relate to from personal experience.
“We really want to hit on the topic that mental health matters to men,” Jasso said. “A lot of times when it comes to it, men are looked down upon when they bring up therapy, and there is just this stigma to get over it. But this film really hits on giving in to your emotions instead of suppressing them, as well as dealing with them in a healthy way.”
So far, Garner and Jasso and started to flesh out their large cast and crew, as well as start fundraising to pay for the film. This has included them using a Kickstarter and making pitches to investors to invest in their project. Which, all within itself, have provided learning opportunities for the two students.
“It’s a big learning experience because we have never done something to this scale,” Garner said. “So the idea of fundraising and bringing in investors is a huge learning experience in terms of legal issues. But we have brought some really talented people and mentors on board to help us with this process.”
Though there is still a lot of work to be done, both Garner and Jasso are looking forward to the process, and eventually, start filming their project.
“I’m ready to get on set and to feel the energy of everybody feeling pumped that we are making a feature film,” Jasso said. “That energy I think will make the film that much better. We won’t be stressing over if a feature film is going to happen, but ‘we’re making a feature film, let’s make that happen.’ That is something I am really looking forward to.”
“We’re so excited to make this happen,” Garner said, “we’re completely freaking out we’re that excited. The two of us have been working about eight hours every day over the past week grinding to get this ready. But we are so excited to see everything pay off in about two-and-a-half months.”
To follow along the filmmakers’ journey, one can follow their film’s Instagram to receive updates on the film.