Film shot in Berrien champions seniors

Published 11:37 am Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club" will be screened at Sister Lakes Community Church at 8 p.m. Aug. 29.

“The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club” will be screened at Sister Lakes Community Church at 8 p.m. Aug. 29.

A new film shot in St. Joseph last summer which champions respect for elders will be screened at 8 p.m. Aug. 29 at Sister Lakes Community Church.

Tickets cost $6 at the door.

“The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club,” with a soundtrack recorded in Kalamazoo, can be previewed by searching the title at

The 50-minute feature is also available on DVD.

Two additional screenings are scheduled next month:

• Berrien Center Bible Church, 8830 M-140, Berrien Center, at 7 p.m. Sept. 5.

• Box Factory for the Arts, 1101 Broad St., St. Joseph, at 7 p.m. Sept. 6.

Producer Justin Barber, 25, of St. Joseph, who is also a nurse for Lakeland, said, “The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club champions respect and honor for an older generation in a time when youthful ideologies and progress seem to reign. It challenges the younger generation to consider the wisdom of age, to value it above mindless progress and to cherish the elderly while they still have the chance.”

Justin’s brother, Jeremy, a handyman who lives near the Sister Lakes church and sells eggs to Ron Walsworth, “went to his premiere (July 26 at The Chapel on Washington Avenue in St. Joseph) quite skeptical,” but the movie won him over.

Jeremy said Monday it was “about four years ago Justin started talking about wanting to make films.”

He credits their father, Richard, a former Berrien County music teacher at Coloma High School and at Watervliet’s Grace Christian School, with pitching an idea to their novelist sister, Amanda, 28, who wrote the screenplay in the summer of 2011.

Justin said his sister is a “gifted” writer whose stories he envisions “cinematically.” Her mentor, former Dowagiac resident Michael Collins, would agree.

Dick Barber, who now lives in Colorado Springs, wrote the score.

Jeremy said Duke Street Productions’ (a family address in Kalamazoo) debut was filmed mostly in Thornton’s Hometown Café.

Justin met cinematographer, Seth Haley, 23, from Lawrence, when he was a “brilliant” wedding photographer who could “make it look like a million bucks.”

Jeremy said Christian movies can be “cheesy and ridiculous,” but his brother “pleasantly surprised” him with a solid story and subtle message that skirts preaching.

“Nobody goes to a movie wanting to be preached at,” said Justin, who has “wanted to be a filmmaker since I was 5 years old,” but distanced himself because he felt he was pursuing it for the wrong reasons — fame and glory. Ultimately, the “power of film and media to influence” the way he shares his faith changed his mind.

The only professional actor is Stacey Bradshaw of Virginia, whom Justin met at an independent film festival in San Antonio and became Facebook friends.

Bradshaw stars as Megan, a new waitress charged with serving three senior men who seem to harbor a gripe for every occasion.

She vows to endure their sour dispositions to provide the best service possible — only to forge deep friendships with the ornery regulars.

Like other performers, she donated her time to the project, which raised an $8,000 shoestring budget through Kickstarter.

Amanda, a music teacher herself, portrays Megan’s snide colleague, Martha.

Justin stumbled across Thornton’s while scouting locations. He provided Kathy Thornton with a script to see if she would allow filming.

Since the story resonated with her own experiences with faithful customers, she reluctantly accommodated the crew four hours a day after-hours for 10 days while the restaurant remained open.

Hans Willar, Werner Riedel and David Maysick play the cantankerous customers, with David Cade of Watervliet as the store owner.

Amanda rounded up a volunteer orchestra from the Kalamazoo College Symphonia Orchestra, of which she is a member, as well as the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra, for a six-hour session with little notice in a rented studio.

Musicians ranged in age from a violinist, 13, to a cellist, 86.