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Lights, camera, action in Springfield Township

Director Raphael Buechel checks the film image. (click for larger version)
September 01, 2010 - Local moviemakers Raphael Buechel and Brandon Culp want their film to be as realistic as possible.

When shooting a scene set in a psychologist's office, they filmed in the office of a real mental health therapist, Stan Garwood of Independence Township.

"They're nice people to work with they're fun," Garwood said. "All I want is a copy of the movie and a credit. This is interesting."

"Buck Kopietz said to give Stan a call," said Buechel, whose Leahpar Productions studio is located in Kopietz' 64 S. Main Street building.

Leahpar is nearing the end of a five-week shoot, filming the movie, "Road Kill, A Love Story." They spent hours, Aug. 27, filming establishing scenes for a supporting character, Imogen, played by My-Ishia Cason-Brown.

Using one camera, they filmed Cason-Brown, who plays the girlfriend of the town sheriff, walking down a hallway of the Springfield Township office, answering a phone, and checking files, several times each from different angles.

"I think she's a cool character she loves her job and loves helping people," said Cason-Brown, who has acted in theater since she was 16 years old, and in films since 2008.

"My-Ishia is doing an awesome job," said Brandon Culp, who plays Mitch, the male lead character and brother of the sheriff.

Culp, friends with Raphael and his wife and business partner Kelly Buechels, wrote a full-length script based on a short film by Raphael.

Buechel made the short film, "Roadkill, A Love Story," about seven years ago in Germany. Culp finished his screenplay in 2007.

In the movie, a psychological thriller, Mitch is a mute car wash employee who falls in love with Taryn, a female serial killer who drives a big white pickup truck and uses it to run over people.

"It gets crazy," Culp said. "My character is very sad. It's very difficult playing the role because he keeps everything bottled inside. It's emotionally exhausting, but at the same time, incredibly fun and rewarding. I consider shooting this movie one of the most positive experiences of my life."

Culp, a 2005 Brandon High School graduate, said he always wanted to be an actor. He attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City for two years after graduating from BHS.

He performed for three years in a children's theater tour, playing parts in "Pinocchio," "Aladdin," and "Hansel and Gretel."

He also did an off-Broadway show "Saddam: The Musical," at the Arthur Seelen Theater at 40th and Broadway in New York. But he has also spent time working at Starbucks. His girlfriend, an aspiring actress, works for a temp agency.

Buechel plans to distribute the movie in Europe next March, but Culp hopes good things will happen to Ortonville, Clarkston, and Michigan as a result of the movie being shot here.

"It's the main reason I'm doing it," said Culp. "I hope people like it because we're trying to make the best possible movie."

Leahpar Productions, which opened in 2008 in downtown Clarkston, also makes commercials and DVD videos for small and medium businesses and manufacturers at its Main Street studio.

Plans include high profile, international projects and full-length features.

For more information, call 877-LPFILM1, or check www.Leahparproductions.com.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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