After seven months production, the dream of one Macomb Township filmmaker will soon be realized when his short, “Amendment,” premieres at the Royal Oak Main Art Theatre.
The 40-minute film, “Amendment,” was co-written and co-produced by nine-year Macomb Township resident Tom Nahas and Phil Lupo of Garden City. Although the majority of the movie was filmed in downtown Rochester at sites such as , Main Street and Red Knapp’s Dairy Bar, other scenes featured locales in Macomb Township, Mount Clemens, Clinton Township, Richmond and Holly.
“We made a really good-looking film on a very low budget,” Nahas, 38, said.
“Amendment” is about a man who loses everything meaningful in his life and plans to commit suicide—but fate intervenes and sends him on a new path, Nahas said.
“I think one of the messages that the movie portrays is that no matter what’s going on in your life, no matter how hard things are, I think everything always leads to something else, something better,” he said. “It’s not necessarily the case in the movie, but fate will take you on a different path and lead you in a different direction whether it is in this life or the next.”
“Amendment” is Nahas’ first attempt at a feature film.
The film will premiere Thursday at the Royal Oak Main Art Theatre. Showings are at 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at the theater on Main Street north of 11 Mile Road. The 7:30 p.m. showing is already sold out. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. After that, the film will be entered in contests such as the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT.
The Start of the Story
Nahas, a contractor for Oakland County's Information Technology Department, started writing the film in 2003 but then got away from the project. The script changed a lot since his original draft, which was about a young girl making it on her own.
Teaching in the digital arts and animation program at Macomb Community College, Nahas has some experience making films. He has been involved in 48-hour projects, which are movies that are shot in two days and entered into contests.
He decided to pursue a bigger project when he reconnected with Lupo, 38, a childhood friend who also has an interest in movies. Together, they formed Shining Woods Entertainment.
Nahas described the film as a drama with some religious undertones. It deals a lot with the question of fate vs. free will.
All the cast members, extras and production crew, which totaled about 20 people, are from the area and donated their time.
Mike Coakley of Roseville and Nahas’ neighbor, Hannah Gurecki of Macomb Township, played the lead roles. Nahas also gave a part to his wife, Kelley, who is also a producer on the film, his younger daughter, Lily, 5, and recorded a song and music video with his older daughter, Marisa, 13, that ties into the film.
The total budget for the project was $2,000 and, of that, $1,500 was donated through a website called kickstarter.com. A portion of these funds will also be used to cover entry fees for local and national film festivals.
“I definitely learned about the whole experience, taking it from an idea to story to script and actually producing and filming it,” Nahas said. “It’s been a really good experience.”
Nahas said he is willing to work on another film but not until “this one settles in.”
“I’m never going to probably do a 90-100 minute film, but I am thinking about another short film,” he added. “It’s definitely been fun and I’ve enjoyed it. I’ll feel kind of empty when it’s over.”
For more information on “Amendment,” go to facebook.com/amendmentmovie.