Joseph Rechtman (Dec) ’11 and Daniel Gamache ’11 were eating lunch in Emerson’s Little Building dining hall their freshman year when they began to hatch the idea for Gem of the West, a western that became their BFA film project.
As a Sound Design and Audio Post-Production major, Gamache was interested in the lighting and audio of western films and Rechtman, a Film Production major, wanted to write and direct. They later brought in Jared Kowalczyk, also a Film Production major, to help produce the film, and they were on their way.
Rechtman wrote the script over the course of his sophomore year. As the storyline took shape, it became apparent that Gem of the West was not a typical western. The film centers on Maya Anderson, a strong female character who confronts child abuse and sexism.
Now, in their senior year at Emerson, the team, along with a cast and crew of more than 25, has flown three times to Whitehorse Ranch in Landers, California, to shoot the film. Kowalczyk says they have had more than 100 people pitch in to help make the film. “We have gotten so much support from Emerson and beyond,” said Rechtman, “and it’s all been word-of-mouth. It’s unbelievable.”
All three say the experience of making the film was a highlight of their college experience. They hope to submit it to several film festivals and have screenings in their hometowns, as well as one for their Emerson peers.