A film crew almost entirely staffed by BYU alumni collaborated on the independent film “Missed Connections,” bringing a real-life love story to the screen.
“Missed Connections” is a quintessential romantic comedy recently released on Jan. 31 that is loosely based on real-life experiences of the film’s writer, Joseph Reidhead.
“I wrote it because I love the romance and connection between people,” Reidhead said. “I was 28 when I started writing this film, and I was, and still am, a very hopeless romantic.”
Reidhead said the inspiration for the film came to him after his friend proposed to his girlfriend and received a response of “Sure, why not?” instead of “Yes.” This fueled his imagination to bring that experience to the big screen.
The cast and crew consisted almost entirely of BYU grads who connected from previous work together on projects during their time at BYU and local film festivals — most notably director Brandon Ho, writer Joseph Reidhead and producer J.R. Andrus. Each studied at BYU majoring in everything from applied physics to theater arts.
“Film is a close-knit community around here. … We started with a good core group, so it really made working with everyone great,” Ho said.
This diverse team assembled an all-local cast and crew that eventually brought this film to several film festivals, picking up several award nominations along the way.
The film was nominated for nine separate awards at the 2014 Filmed in Utah Film Festival as well as Best Independent Feature at the Bakersfield “Outside the Box” Film Festival, according to a news release.
“Missed Connections” was filmed under a rigorous and tight schedule over a two-week period. Filming took place in and around the Utah and Salt Lake valleys. The film features some recognizable Provo landmarks, such as Center Street and Gloria’s Little Italy restaurant.
“Total production time from concept to today, it’s been four years,” Andrus said. “Total principal photography was only 12 days.”
This movie is part of a growing trend in the Utah film industry. Productions are moving and originating locally because of the competitive tax breaks and benefits offered to filmmakers in Utah, according to the Motion Picture Association of Utah.
“A great advantage (for filming in Utah) is the variety of locations around Utah County,” Ho said. “Since it’s a free labor state, you can usually get a lot of people with great skill-sets onto a shoot in between larger productions.”
The Utah Film Commission stated that many successful Hollywood films have been filmed in Utah, including the popular “Forest Gump”, “127 Hours”, “The Giver”, “Dumb and Dumber”, and “John Carter.”
“Missed Connections” brought people together who have a love for independent film and young love. Boston McConnaughey, the first assistant director and editor, and actress Renny Grames ended up meeting and eventually getting married after becoming acquainted on set.
“We did meet on this film, so there’s a missed connection for you,” Grames said.
The film can be ordered from www.missedconnectionsfilm.com.