February 04, 2014 | 12:44 PMBLOOMFIELD — The film “God Forgive Us” didn’t come to writer Michael Bachochin during a high point in his life.
Bachochin said he wrote the film, originally a short and now feature length movie, as a “means of coping with emotional issues.”
“I was going through a very, very difficult time in my life where I was doing little creatively, and my daily routine consisted of working at a job that I was miserable in,” Bachochin said in an email Jan. 27. “As weeks became months, my emotional status descended rapidly ... life was becoming increasingly dark.”
Bachochin and the rest of the production crew and actors filmed in the village of Bloomfield on Jan. 25 and 26. Most of the remainder of the movie was filmed in Kenosha.
“On a random Saturday evening, I was home alone, (and) I was fortunate to watch an independent film, “I Melt with You,” that I connected with on such an intimately emotional level,” Bachochin said. “When I awoke the next morning, I had developed a multi-linear story of characters for an artistic short film that would chronicle average people dealing with the same feelings I’d been having for months.”
Producer Kyle Downs called the film an “existentialist drama.”
“It’s about four main characters who don’t realize how connected their lives are,” Downs said. “It’s a sad story ... it deals with depression, anxiety and death, all different aspects of society.”
Bachochin said he’s seen tears from viewers in early screenings of the unfinished film.
“It is to provide inspiration that nothing anyone can do to us or with us will give us the happiness and fulfillment and ‘end of the journey’ like the decisions we can make,” he said. “All that Kyle (Downs) and I are hoping for is to have audience members inspired to make change in their own lives and to become active participants in (their own lives), much like Kyle and I have with our active pursuit of becoming filmmakers in one of the toughest career paths in America.”
Bachochin said the characters are “unfortunately” based on people in his life.
“While not every representation is a one-to-one scale, various traits of two characters may be a split of a real life person I know,” he said. “The most pertinent of the characters in this film and the most relatable is Dane ... a survivor of existential suicide and is at a point in his life where he is considering attempting it again.”
The character Dane is a “personification of emotional struggles” Bachochin struggled with himself.
“Dane is what resulted after I was able to remove myself from my own situation,” he said.
The movie and the character was a way to explain how he was feeling to others.
Viewers will probably relate to all of the characters, though.
“Each character within ‘God Forgive Us,’ whether it’s one of the four primary (characters) or any number of the supporting characters ... all deal with emotional struggles that are triggered due to flaws and failings of western society,” Bachochin said. “Society teaches us to see material possessions, money (and) power as a means of achieving success, fulfillment and happiness in our lives. Commonly people chalk this up to ‘doing good’ at work ... but what we don’t realize is this mentality seeps into every component of our social interaction.”
Filming and production
Downs said he’s been living in Kenosha since August, prepping for filming there.
“Originally, this started as a short film,” he said. “Now it’s a feature length film, and we need to add depth to the story. We started filming Friday (Jan. 24), and we’ll be shooting until February.” Downs said converting the film from a short to feature length movie was an adventure.
“The added portions in this half (of the film) are far more demanding than the first half,” he said. “However, finding crew (members) was not difficult, as most of our crew from the first leg of production has returned to shoot the second leg, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve never worked with such an amazing, hardworking team of people. It made pre-production over the last couple of months such a relief knowing I was able to get them back with us again. Because of them, ‘God Forgive Us’ is going to be a beautiful work of art, and I can’t thank anyone more than my crew for making my job so much easier.”
After the filming is done, post-production and editing will take time.
“We hope to screen the movie in July in Kenosha,” Downs said. “The mayor (of Kenosha, Keith Bosman) has been a big supporter for us and for film.”
Prior to this feature length film, Downs has been part of a production company, Kingdom Entertainment, based in Chicago.
He said he’s been making about three or four shorts a year, since he dropped out of college.
After “God Forgive Us” is finished, Downs and the rest of the team are hoping for a distribution company to pick up the movie.
“Right now, it’s just a matter of getting the filming down while we’re working,” Downs said. “We’re self-funding this project right now.”