Filmmakers return to roots with Sussex County pic

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:47

    VERNON-Vernon resident Rachel Brune met the lead for her short independent film in Iraq, where he was serving as chaplain's assistant to her unit. After returning from duty in the Army Reserve for Operation Iraqi Freedom, Brune, a military journalist, decided to bring together contacts from her experience in the Middle East as well as colleagues from her high school and college days to produce her first short film under the auspices of Babylon Brick Productions. The short film, whose working title is "Summertime," is the story of an Army Reservist who returns from a tour of duty in the Middle East to try to help rebuild his estranged family. "A lot of the military references in this film were definitely based on real life," said Brune. The soldiers in the film are all actually Reservists from her unit who were with her during her year of duty in Kuwait and Baghdad, she added. Her cast also includes members of the Sussex County Community, including one of the female leads, Kristy Lavin, who graduated with Brune in 1996 from Pope John XXIII High School. The shoot is scheduled for Aug. 9 to Aug. 14 at various locations ranging from Fort Dix and throughout Sussex County. The production is working with the U.S. Army and the N.J. film commission to secure locations and hire crew. Brune, who is a freelance correspondent for Straus Newspapers, said the production is still seeking a location for the final and most climactic scene of the film, which takes place in a diner. In addition, Babylon Brick will try to arrange for services such as catering and transportation through the community. "The whole point of shooting this in Sussex is to show people the kind of place that this soldier comes from n a rural type of community that people may not realize exists in New Jersey," said Brune. "But this is the sort of place that raises its kids to be the sort of people who enlist to serve in the Army and Reserves." With recent deployments of the National Guard and Reserves, the issue is foremost in many peoples' minds, said Brune. This film brings out many of those issues with families and deployment. Local businesses or residents wishing to volunteer for crew positions are encouraged to contact Babylon Brick through its Web site: High school students involved with stage production are especially encouraged to apply for production assistant positions.