This post is from the Blog for my current production REDD. I'll most likely be posting a more in-depth blog about my trip to Texas soon. But for now, enjoy.
It's been a rough road indeed. I've been doing preliminary work on this production. Working on props, re-writes, still doing a bit of casting, and securing locations.
My family in Texas informed me that my big brother, Robert, was having health issues and he was admitted to the hospital in late February. I was worried about him of course. Later in March they told me he had a heart infection. Things were getting serious. My family was worried, and I was distressed being so far away from home. I'm in North Carolina. Me and my wife were planning a trip back to Dallas in May. I hadn't been home or seen my family in 6 years. I was hoping that our first trip back wouldn't be because of bad news. So I waited day by day for updates on Robert's condition.
Late March I had reconnected with my old friend and usual set photographer, Julie Keels. We discussed REDD and the details of her involvement, and how I needed her talents as a photographer. Literally the next day, she would wreck her car in a horrible accident. The following week she would pass away.
I was already distressed about my brother, and now a close friend has suddenly been taken.
The day of her funeral my brother Phillip called. He said I needed to come home as soon as possible. Things were not looking good for my Big Brother. I wouldn't get to go to Julie's memorial service. We packed up and headed for Dallas asap. My worst fear had come true. I was headed home to say goodbye to my brother.
I was in Dallas from March 26th to April 3rd. It was a roller coaster of emotion. The surreal familiarity of coming home after so long. The heart break of seeing my brother in that hospital bed. The ups and downs, going from very profound dramatic moments all the way to the goofy comedy that still exude from my family, even in times of pain.
In my first visit to see him in the hospital, it was rather rough seeing him in such bad shape. He couldn't speak, and because of the meds his reactions were slow. The best you could hope for as a response would be eye blinking, and movement from his right hand.
I let him know he was a big part of what inspired me to make movies. We would watch movies and he would explain things that I as a kid wouldn't understand. He would be a strong part of my long history as a movie fanatic. I told him he had to start getting better. If he did, then I'd finish this movie and he could make a full recovery and come to the premiere.
He looked at me. I could see in his eyes he could hear me.
It was looking bleak. One day we had a meeting. We discussed Hospice and then Funeral Arrangements.
The next day, he started to show signs of improvement.
All of a sudden things were looking up. Thank God.
The rest of my time there was very profound and moving. Lots of nostalgia. Being with family, seeing my old hometown, walking the very streets I ran around in shooting my first feature film. Seeing locations from my second feature film. Driving past the old movie theater where I spent years as a projectionist.
I realized I needed to be here, at that exact time, to experience exactly what I had experienced. To remember where I came from and how I started making movies.
It was the shot in the arm that I needed. To feel that, to reminisce and be with my family, and to tell my brother what I needed to tell him. With everything starting to look more positive, I was ready to get back to work on REDD. To get back to work on making a movie.
As it stands now my brother is not out of the woods. There are still some hurdles for him, and it may be a long fight, but he's still in this. He's not done yet. And the best I can do is root for him, stay positive, and keep my promise. He'll get better, and I'll make a movie.
As for the great Julie Keels, I'm sad she is gone. But I'll celebrate her by doing what she and I always connected on. The movies. I respected her talents as a photographer and in her honor I'll do my best to make every shot of this movie cinematic and picturesque.
I want to thank everyone who has shown this production support. And to those who knew what was going on with me, thank you for your kind and caring words and your prayers, it is greatly greatly appreciated.
The first round of funding on Kickstarter is done, but we will be starting up another round very soon.
Production wise, re-writes are about done, we still have a bit of casting left, and props to finish. We start shooting this month and we're on schedule to finish up this summer with a fall premiere in North Carolina and in Texas.
Please like us on Facebook for more details:
Feel free to check out my blog post about my friend Julie Keels.
Seriously, thank you, all of you.
- Patrick A. Prejusa