Ramon L. Malpica is actually doing something about his dream to become a filmmaker. He made a film.
Not just him. The Little Elm resident and two of his friends, Matthew Thomas of Garland and Lindsey Cummings of Chicago, who also have dreams of being filmmakers, formed Free Lane Films. Together they made a 30-minute movie titled “Beyond the Bridge.”
The film was shot in Little Elm, Pilot Point and Denton locations. It is a dark tale of three characters all battling various mental illnesses and how those characters cope with their struggles. At least one of these characters contemplates ending his struggles by suicide.
This being Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, the movie is timely.
“The film is dark. It’s not a happy film. Our hope is that this film opens people’s eyes about mental health issues,” Malpica said.
Malpica and Thomas have a comedy channel on YouTube and have worked together on other projects. Both of them wanted to create art that goes in a different direction than their YouTube channel. Both want to be in the movie business full time, so it made sense to form Free Lane Films to create their first movie.
Malpica said he, Thomas and Cummings began the process of creating a script for their movie by picking songs that especially spoke to all of them. They each created a character, and the whole thing became bigger than any song they might identify with. They interwove the stories of their characters to come up with a shooting script.
Then they began the process of casting the characters of “Beyond the Bridge.”
Michael Nguyen plays Kano Hibiki, a washed up rock star who has lost everything – his girlfriend, his band, his daughter. His self-destructive behavior is leading him on a downward trajectory.
“This is a very gritty character, and it is fun to play him,” Nguyen said.
He said he often is cast in Prince Charming, happy roles and he enjoys this change in direction for him.
“This movie depicts people at their lowest point in life and shows how people get through these struggles,” he said.
Sammy Jimenez is played by Nathan Guerra. Jimenez is a gay character who is pondering telling his father the truth about himself. Jacob Carter is a troubled teenage boy with intense struggles played by Kameron Badgers.
Dr. Dahneesh Sanders, played by Elijah Britton, is Carter’s doctor. Sanders is driven by his regret at not being able to help his own teenage brother who committed suicide.
The film is being edited now and will be entered in various Texas film festivals. Malpica said their hope is to have the film ready to enter in a Denton film festival in mid-October.
“This film we hope will leave the audience with a glimmer of hope and make people aware of mental health issues and how it affects us all. The film doesn’t answer questions. It more speaks to how we treat each other regardless of our individual realities,” he said.
There are more projects in the works he said. The next one could possibly be about friendship.