Rochester is once again in the movies.
The town will be one of the stars of a movie premiering Thursday at the Royal Oak Main Art Theatre.
The 40-minute film, “Amendment” was co-written and co-produced by Tom Nahas of Macomb Township and Phil Lupo of Garden City. The majority of the movie was filmed in downtown Rochester at sites including , Main Street and
“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. This is his first attempt at a feature film.
The 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.
“We made a really good-looking film on a very low budget,” said Nahas, 38. Besides Rochester, the movie was filmed in Mount Clemens, Macomb Township, Clinton Township, Richmond and Holly.
A local effort
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.
With an associate degree in digital art from 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 Hannah Gurecki of Macomb Township played the lead roles. Nahas also gave a part to his wife, Kelley, his younger daughter, Lily, 5, and recorded a song and music video with his older daughter, Marisa, 13, that ties into the film.
Nahas worked with police and city officials to get permission to film on the streets of downtown Rochester.
“He was great to work with,” said Nik Banda, the city's economic and community development director. “He’d ask questions, and we’d tell him how to get it done, and he would follow through with what we asked him to do.”
Good for city's image
Having a film produced locally is good for the city’s image, Banda said. Last year, the city was spotlighted when “The Reasonable Bunch” with star Demi Moore came to town. The film brought revenue to local hotels, restaurants, florists and other businesses, Banda said.
“It’s just good to see Rochester portrayed in a great way,” he said. “Any time you can portray your town in a good light, it’s a good thing. We’ve had a bunch of commercials shot here as well.”
The total budget for the project was $2,000 and, of that, $1,500 was donated through a website called kickstarter.com.
“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 is willing to work on another film but not any time soon, and he’s not sure if he wants to tackle a feature-length film. He is interested, however, in producing commercials locally.
For more information on “Amendment,” go to facebook.com/amendmentmovie.