7 lives of Chance

So on Sunday I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon at the Enzian, an independent movie theater here in Orlando. We screened 7 lives of Chance for the first time in front of an audience. I worked as Assistant Director to the ridiculously creative Writer/Director Banks Helfrich. And I also edited the film.
I handed off my last edit to Banks back in late February or early March and spent the last few months clearing my mind (and my house) of balloons. Balloons play a significant role in the one hour and forty three minute indie flick which stars Jodi Chase as Chance, a woman so focused on death, that she struggles to live. As a young girl, Chance is given a red balloon, which for her comes to symbolize life and then ultimately death.

Taking so much time off from the film, I was able to see it with fresh eyes yesterday. I have to say that I was enormously impressed with the way the film came together. Shooting for only seven days, our cast and crew were able to pull off a film that I am very proud to have been a part of.

First off, thanks to the talents of Ryan Lightbourn, who not only was the Director of Photography, but also did the CGI and final color correction, the film looked beautiful. Producers Aviva Christie and Dina Peterson kept the production moving along smoothly, or I guess as smoothly as a seven day feature film schedule can be. On set, the entire crew worked extremely hard, and did what ever was needed or asked of them. The movie came together like a symphony, or maybe a circus, thanks to a wonderful score by Cirque de Soleil, La Nouba’s Benoit Glazer.

And then there is the cast. Jodi Chase turns in a moving performance that will bring you to tears, yet she’ll pull you right back again with her outstanding comedic timing. She is supported nicely by the always solid Michele Feren as the feisty “lady in the dress”, and Richard Regan Paul as Chance’s lovable foodaholic co-worker Josh. The cast also includes Central Florida regulars John Archer Lundgren, Annie Kidwell, Daniel Wachs, Maria Ragen, AJ Nickell, Victoria Swilley and many others. And some hilarious moments by the film’s narrator played by John Pelkey. Early in the film Samantha Faith O’Hare appears as Chance in high school. She plays the role with such depth and emotion that we can’t help but be pulled into Chance’s world through the rest of the film.

I can’t say enough about our Writer and Director Banks Helfrich, who also appears in the film as Augie, Chance’s quiet therapist. Working with Banks is like being on a roller coaster of madness. He is endlessly creative and pushes himself far beyond any limits he has with the schedule or budget.

During production you can see Banks’ mind moving a mile a minute, and it is a challenge to keep up with him. He’s a director who knows exactly what he wants, but is never too stubborn to change direction if something is not working.
And then once we hit the post production stage, that’s when the real fun started. For over two months, Banks and I would have several meetings in which we would go toe to toe on whether or not to cut two seconds here, or leave two seconds there. And then after a long night of edit changes, just when you want to strangle him, he’d look at me with that silly Banks smile and say “we’re almost there buddy”, and somehow that would be just enough to push me to work even harder for him.
Then after each meeting, Banks would make sure to leave a handful of balloons behind for my kids to play with. So I would end up spending hours editing a film with tons of balloons, only to walk into the living room to encounter even more balloons, blown up and laying everywhere. Thanks Banks.
However the end result was well worth it. 7 lives of Chance is a wonderful film with inspiring performances, strange twists and turns, and a quirky comedic edge that only Banks Helfrich could dream up.

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