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reflecting

A FILM BY BRANDYN JOHNSON

The theme “growing up” fascinates me. What has it looked like for me? For others? In what ways have I been inspired by coming-of-age stories? How has it manifested itself in the lives of the young people I work with? These types of stories, in my observation, are always incredibly personal. This one is no different. REFLECTING, follows a young dad and his recently heartbroken teenage daughter through a series of conversations about love and partnership. Bryan (played by Martin Luther McCoy)--full-time musician and half-time dad--is having a hard time keeping up with the women in his life. His girlfriend, Angie, needs commitment from him, and his bright but stubborn daughter, Corre, has boy problems that get projected onto him. He’s got some reflecting to do before important bridges burn for good. I created REFLECTING to essentially unpack all of the ways that adulthood was happening to me--partnership, professional growth, parenthood... It's how I chose to make sense of this journey. Similar to films by Richard Linklater (“Before” trilogy), Lasse Halstrom (My Life as a Dog), and Barry Jenkins (Medicine for Melancholy) REFLECTING employs a naturalistic style of storytelling. The story lives in the interactions and conversations between the characters (and, sometimes, themselves). I'm excited to share it with you! 

 

Preproduction

Reflecting actually began as a feature. Realistically, though, i knew I could only shoot and finance a shorter version of it. 5 months later, with consideration of the original story and the resources available to me, this story was manifested. 

 
 

Here's an Early video of Martin (Bryan) and Kristian (Corre) rehearsing. Fun Fact - Corre was actually recasted a month and a half before production (this was Kristian's first rehearsal).  I initially planned to have months of rehearsal time with the actors; however, things in movie making don't always go the way we plan. I got lucky this time--The actors were incredibly talented and well prepared.

Storyboards by Steven Beard, 12th Grade (Oakland School of the Arts)

 

For two and a half years I created with the Young people at the Berkeley Youth Institute. They were actually the inspiration behind the character of "Corre". The way she interacts with her dad (Bryan) is indicative of the type of relationship that The young people and I developed. They're pretty much my kids. It was a no-brainer that they would work with me on this entire project. They helped with character development and Storyboarding, served as talent and production assistants, and helped create content for the Kickstarter.

 Original artwork by Miles Lewis

Original artwork by Miles Lewis

 

production - Behind the scenes