My Next Film

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Me & Daddy on the farm Oct 2012

Me & Daddy on the farm Oct 2012

Loss is a mind blowing, humbling and ground quaking experience.

Deep loss.

Loss of a loved one.

A parent.

My Dad.  It’s as if the paternal umbilical cord was cruelly cut in that last breath.  How can I exist if the man who helped create me doesn’t?  I am untethered.  That is until I get pulled back in from the comfort that my maternal connection is still steadfastly attached, that my fiancé is my rock, that my siblings are there for me, that my incredible friends and supporters always have generous, open arms.  I am firmly grounded on this earth once again.

Exactly one week to the day and time after my Dad passed, I had an intense burst of creative inspiration on the rewrite of the “first words on paper” draft of my screenplay, Death Over 3 Bottles of Wine.   12 days away from that creative inspiration moment, I had a follow up consult scheduled with the awesome Pilar Alessandra who had read my nascent draft back in November and given me much needed feedback. I hadn’t written a word since our first consult and I only had a week to get it to her.  I assumed I would have to cancel.  But with that burst of creativity, I was a woman possessed.  I left my body and I banged out a rewrite in five days.  Pure joy.  It felt like a gift.  Thanks, Daddy.  When I reread the pass two days later before sending it to Pilar, I knew I had found my film.  It was exactly how I felt when I read Screenwriter Monica’s last major rewrite of Collusions back in October of 2012.  A flutter of heart racing excitement, a sense of knowing, and a simple statement said out loud to myself alone in a San Diego hotel room,  “I am making this movie.”

My next movie.

I am making this movie.  And this one is personal.  It began with what many good stories begin with—a devastatingly difficult, real life experience to draw from.  (The idea for Collusions’ story began when I found myself suddenly missing a front tooth.)  This new script is inspired by one of the most challenging nine months of my existence back in 2010.  (Little did I know it would help prepare me for the last six months.)  It is a fictional tale grounded in an emotional state I personally experienced.  A personal experience that I have been unable to properly express or let go of.

I love this quote from Shane Carruth (a brilliant indie filmmaker whose latest film, Upstream Color, blew my mind): “If something can be explored or illuminated that would have been difficult to verbalize, that to me is what a film should be.”

That is what my next film will aim to be—an expression of an emotional experience I can’t quite verbalize but that I am compelled to fearlessly explore, illuminate, and, hopefully, release by creating it.

When I started developing the story back in the summer of 2011, my way into the emotion of my experience was via, “what if?”  What if I didn’t move on?  What if my partner was this person?  What if someone completely unexpected showed up on my doorstep?  All during the period of time I was in that particular emotional state?  What would have happened?  How different would my life have been?  I am constantly amazed by how much life can be influenced by the tiniest of gestures, the slightest shift in footing, the people we connect with.  This film is about connections in life, death and friendship.

The making of this film will be about connections too.  Connecting with just the right creative matches to manifest the movie.  I was fortunate enough to connect with my amazing writer, co-producer and director for Collusions, who were the talented trio that helped me build my amazing cast and crew. It was not without ugly bumps once deep into pre-production, but the initial connection I had with each member of my core team was instant and crystal clear as a match for my project.  And ultimately, it was the deep connection between us that got the film made.DO3BW

No matter how challenging the journey, no matter how exposing the creative work, and no matter how deep I have to dig—Death Over 3 Bottles of Wine is a story I have to tell.  A story I shared with my Dad over a beer 10 days before he died.  A story I promised him I was going to make into my next film.  A promise I have to keep.  So, from his death, I will give birth to this new creative baby.  Who will be on my “delivery” team this time?  I don’t know yet, but I can’t wait to feel the connection when I do.  And I can’t wait for you, my dear family, friends and supporters, to join me on this project in its embryonic state and be a part of creating this very personal film with me.  My connection with you is my heart.

Until tomorrow, create from what you have…stories you have to tell.

Kelli Joan Bennett is a filmmaker, actress, writer, entrepreneur, advocate for creative thinking and Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Think Outside The Box Inside The Box Media.


  1. Simply brilliant!! I can’t wait to read it.

  2. The cherished love and gentle guidance of a parent is felt in life
    and beyond; as intended. Your movie will be
    brilliant and beautiful, a reflection of you.

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