The Story Behind “The Bridge”

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First, introduce yourself and tell us about the role that you play with “The Bridge” movie.

My name is Danielle Minnes and I am the writer, producer and director of the faith-based feature film entitled “The Bridge”.

What is your filmmaking background?

I had no filmmaking experience prior to making The Bridge. But I felt led to make a movie. So I went to a film festival, where I found an experienced partner and then I started reading books, watching movies, listening to director commentaries, reading articles and advice online, and of course praying all the way, wondering why God would want to use a novice to do His great work.

Where did you get the idea for “The Bridge”?

I was thinking one day about how God can use a variety of ways to speak to us. What if God divinely placed someone in your path to change your life by revealing the future? The story then began as a short script of 14 pages. It then grew into a feature length film in 6 weeks.

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Leanne Lower and Dan Scarberry on the set of “The Bridge”

Do you have a personal connection with the subject?

The two main characters are each struggling with grief, but in very different ways. Personally I was battling through my own grief after my Dad died unexpectedly in November of 2009. I could not get past it, I was crushed and I wasn’t sure I could go on.  By June of 2010, I was praying and writing day and night. It seemed spiritually and emotionally therapeutic as the words and sometimes tears poured out of me.

How did you select your cast and crew?

We held traditional auditions and then prayerfully chose the best fit for each role. I personally called our selected actors and offered them their role but would not allow them to accept or decline until they had prayed about it first. I wanted God’s will for the movie.

Where did you do your filming?

We filmed at 23 different locations across South Bend, Mishawaka and Granger, Indiana.

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Tell us about a typical day of filming?

This question made me laugh. Filming days are like snowflakes; no two are the same, and there is nothing typical about it. But I would say we would start the day in prayer, unload and set up equipment, discuss shots, run through blocking, coach actors, film the scheduled scenes, tear down, pack up, and then in my car, I would praise God all the way home.

What were some of the obstacles that you ran into while filming?

Well, technically some obstacles ran into us. While filming scenes in a church, a windstorm began outside. There were sirens going off and the wind was fierce. The next thing we knew the DP (Melqui Rodriguez) looked to see his car beneath an uprooted tree. Production stopped while we figured out how to get the tree off the car. People showed up with chainsaws and it all worked out fine in the end.

What is your favorite aspect of making a movie?

The process of creating something from absolutely nothing is fascinating. I really enjoy the telling of a story through film, and everything that involves. It is an honor and a blessing to tell a story in this way and to have the opportunity to work with so many different talented people.

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Leanne Lower and Julie Burget

What do you hope that people come away with after watching “The Bridge”? 

I believe it is important to realize that God genuinely wants to be part of our lives, if we allow Him in. A line in the movie states: “God loves you, He is with you always and He has a great purpose for your life.”  Things may not always make sense to us; things like death, but we must reach a point where we truly trust that our Creator knows best.

What is your vision for the movie?

Four people gave their lives to Christ during the making of the movie. I believe the vision is already three people more than I hoped, but in regards to sharing the movie, I would like to see it available to as many people as possible through a variety of ways. I hope it blesses the hearts of those who see it.

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Director Danielle Minnes and Julie Burget on the set of “The Bridge”

Do you have plans for any new film projects in the near future?

I am storyboarding and writing the next feature. I would like to be filming as soon as possible but I know I have to trust in God’s perfect timing.

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Danielle Minnes

To learn more about “The Bridge”, visit the website at http://www.onthebridgemovie.com/index.php/teaser.html

The Golden Rule For Filmmakers

Middle Tennessee is a hub for feature filmmaking. At any given time there’s at least one faith-based film in production with films ranging from no-budget to big-budget and everything in between.

I enjoy following all the local films on facebook as well as listening to my actor friends share their experiences on the different film sets, and I’ve discovered that some filmmakers know how to treat their cast and crew, but many don’t. Which is a shame because it’s really just a matter of following the golden rule.

Tyler Roberds – Actor, Director

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Tell us about your role in “Pawn’s Move”.

I play the role of Jimmy Davis (Pawn) in Pawns Move, who was taken in by his mentor Harvey as a teenager. Harvey teaches him about God and how to run a business. He’s the father he never had until he losses him and is once again on his own.

What is your acting background?

My first role was in 2008 in a movie titled “Find Me”, I’ve been in about a dozen films since.

How are you like/different than your character?

In the film, my character has a line that says “I’m just trying to move towards the goodness of God”. In my real life I also strive to grow closer and closer to the Lord and make the moves that He wants for me.

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What is your favorite scene in Pawn’s Move?

I don’t know if I have a favorite scene in particular but I enjoyed all the scenes with “Wanda” and “Harvey” very much.

Have you had strangers recognize you from the movie? What has been the response from people who know you?

I have been approached by strangers who recognize me from “Pawns Move”. Mostly only my family hear about the films I’m a part of, I’m more of a private person so the people I see day to day don’t know I act. But my family is very supportive and enjoyed it very much.

How did you get involved in in film acting?

Since I was a young boy Halloween was my favorite Holliday (simply because we could dress up). I was always intrigued with portraying another person or character so filmmaking and acting had always been something I wanted to do.

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Have you been involved in other faith-based films? If so, which films, and what was your role?

Yes, my very first film was a faith based film titled “Find Me”. I also just directed a film of my own film that is currently in post production. it was co-written with a friend and it has a faith based message as well.

How does working on faith-based films differ from working on secular projects?

A lot of the time it can be night and day. Not only the message of the film, but you can feel the presence of the Lord with the cast and crew on a faith based film. It’s a totally different mood on set.

What has been your favorite acting role? Why?

“Pawns Move” of course! Ha, I’ve enjoyed working on most the films I’ve been a part of, but I did love the story of Jimmy Davis and portraying this character very much.

Is acting a full time pursuit or a part time hobby?

Film making in general is a full time pursuit and I would like to direct as well as continue to act.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not on set?

Spending time with my lovely wife and beautiful daughter.

What is your film goal or ambition?

I feel very strongly that the Lord has given me a passion for movie making and has called me to tell stories through media and show the Love of Christ to anyone who will listen.

Required Reading- Before You Make a Christian Movie

By Fred Wilharm

Since the making of “Flywheel” in 2003 by Sherwood Pictures, hundreds of Christians have been inspired to make their own faith based feature. It’s a noble venture and one God can ultimately bless-  but there are some ground rules that should be considered first. Please note that we have broken all these rules at one time or another and will be the first to admit it. We’ve learned through the school of hard knocks that certain things must be done before embarking on the path of independent film production.

Filming The Good Book movie

Should I Make a Movie?

The year 2006 was a turning point in Christian cinema history. With the release of “Facing the Giants” churches and individuals across the country decided that if Sherwood Baptist could make a movie, maybe they could too. Now, hundreds of faith-based films are produced each year, many by folks who’ve never before even handled a video camera. The market is flooded with these films, all fighting for an audience of Christian and secular buyers.