Before The After

GENRE: Drama.

STATUS: In distribution. Before The After is available on the Roku TV channel All Hawaii TV, and on YBS’ own online movie platform, Serenergy. In addition, it has also been uploaded to the online movie distribution company, Filmhub, where it has been picked up by Amazon Prime Video, Popsy on Plex, and Tubi. With respect to Amazon Prime Video, Filmhub has an agreement with Amazon which allows all movies accepted to be available to numerous countries. These countries appear below in a screen shot of Filmhub’s channels page.

Before The After was also accepted into the online Lift-Off Global Network 2020 Paris Film Festival, 2020 Sydney Film Festival, and 2020 Melbourne Film Festival (see official selection laurels below).*

*Note: Lift-Off’s Film Festivals, like all other film festivals, are usually screened in the host city with attendees who watch all the films as well as attend pre and post festival activities. Due to the pandemic of 2020 these festivals were screened solely online.

Before The After was subsequently also accepted to and screened in the 2022 London Lift-Off Global Network’s Online Film Festival.

LOGLINE: Three roommates, two men and a woman, return home from planting bombs on a college campus in the early morning hours to destroy property to satisfy their own personal vendettas; but are horrified when one bomb explodes later in the day, killing people, which then leads to their own tragedy.

IMDb: Before The After

The Trailer For Before The After As Edited By Rebecca Lea McCarthy

This movie was initiated by Eric Nemoto asking a basic question of himself, “What would terrorists think after an act of terror?” Was it possible that they could have feelings of regret and remorse? The intent was to create a powerful story within the confines of a single location, wherein the terrorists would begin to second guess themselves and then ultimately regret their actions. This initial premise then evolved into the idea of ordinary people somehow being caught in a mode of thinking that doing some kind of symbolic destruction somewhere would satisfy their own personal agendas of hatred. A thought, however, does not necessarily mean it then evolves into a real project. But the spark happened during routine conversations between Eric and cinematographer Larry Cortez as they would head to the shooting of World Buffet. As Larry was “all in” for doing another movie immediately on the heels of WB, Eric started to give serious thought to producing Before The After. Of course, with a script yet to be written, Eric thought to ask three actors he knew if they would possibly be interested in playing the leads, and if so, the script could then be written with their acting abilities in mind.

On this matter an absolute coup was achieved. For the three actors Eric was able to recruit were Dennis Edward Proulx, Tim Jeffryes, and Rebecca Lea McCarthy. All of them experienced actors who had, over the years, provided numerous outstanding performances on the stages of Hawaii’s community theatres. So on the heels of wrapping World Buffet on November 30, 2016, and getting a commitment from the actors by the following week, Eric proceeded to focus on writing the script. Knowing the looks and personal traits of each of the actors, he envisioned Dennis as Rand, Tim as Cooper, and Rebecca as Sammie. This helped the writing considerably and Before The After was completed on December 19, 2016. In writing the script, Eric remained faithful to an original concept he had towards having this movie be at least partially told in <em>reverse chronology as in the play Betrayal by Harold Pinter. In addition, Eric contacted Jerry Wayne in Encino, CA, the producer of the prospective movie, Lisa Patterson, who agreed to serve as the project’s Executive Producer.

The Production

With the script completed and delivered to the actors, Eric communicated with Larry in San Bruno, California, where he resides, and upon confirming his return to Hawaii at the end of January, the shoot was scheduled for January 31st through February 4th, 2017 (with an initial rehearsal day scheduled for January 30th). The location would be the house that Dennis resided in, located in Kaimuki, a small business and residential district of Honolulu (see photo under The Story). Note: This shot appears in the backdrop of the movie poster.

The film shoot commenced with Eric and Larry working with the actors on January 30th in terms of blocking each scene. Voiceovers were recorded that evening with the following talent portraying their respective characters: Alexandra Roth (Female Reporter); Anne Craig Lum (Miriam); Eric Nemoto (Male Anchor); Belle Armstrong (Female Voice); Michael Carter (Male Voice #1); and Larry Cortez (Male Voice #2). Shooting actually did commence on January 31st with the crew the most minute ever for a YBS LegacyVision production, with Eric directing, Larry serving as DP, and Art Balligui assisting on sound. Wes Cortez supported the production by providing most of the filming equipment and also helped out for a day. But minimalist crew notwithstanding, the shoot was efficiently shot, and the movie was in the can and wrapped on February 4th as scheduled, resulting in a feature length movie being shot literally in five days.

A little behind the scenes footage courtesy of Wes Cortez.

Of particular note, the acting was simply phenomenal. Dennis brought unrelenting power, passion, and the proper intimidation to the role of Rand, Timothy simply absorbed the character of Cooper and portrayed the tragic pathos that was at the essence of the character, and Rebecca poured her soul into capturing Sammie’s constant depression and her subsequent inconsolable grief.


The boys (Eric, Dennis, Larry, and Wes) on break.

The Story

It is dark as our movie begins with a door opening and three shadowy figures entering a room. They banter about whether they should open the light but eventually do, which reveals our three heroes: Rand Merrigan, a big ex-military man who is currently a security guard and who can be an intimidating presence; Cooper Salk, a doctoral student who has taken forever in his studies and because of this feels he is wasting his life; and Sammie Stalls, a woman beset by mixed feelings and emotions because her daily work involves witnessing the suffering of animals in a research lab. Through dialogue we understand that they did something covertly in the night and they celebrate with toasts, the last of which is to “Horatio.”

Inside This House The Lives Of Three People Will Tragically Intertwine.

We flashback to earlier when the trio are planning the event. They look over a map and some blue prints. Rand explains that they will be planting bombs into a building on a university campus, specifically inside the Department of Sociology, the ROTC offices, and a research lab where “Horatio” resides. To the consternation of the others, Sammie asks for a few moments with “Horatio.” Rand refuses. But upon Cooper’s rationalizing that Sammie only needs a few moments, he relents. After going over every detail of their plan, Rand asks, “Any questions?” There are none. They’re ready, or as ready as they’ll ever be.

Back in the present, Rand and Cooper sit drinking beers, waiting for the bombs we now know they planted in that campus building to go off. Rand complains of the beer being flat and Cooper admits that the function he took the beer to was a party put on by Mormons and nobody drank the beer he kept on ice. Rand leaves to get in a nap before the time when the bombs would go off, which prompts Cooper to ask, “You can sleep?” Cooper then visits Sammie, who is lying in thought in her bedroom. Sammie is sad. She confesses to Cooper that she believes Horatio knew what was going to happen. Sammie laments, “What if he thinks “I’m” the one who’s killing him?” Cooper reassures her that if animals have a “sixth sense,” then Horatio knows that she was doing this to relieve him of his suffering. In their conversation, Sammie tells Cooper something that she asks him to keep confidential. She explains that she learned form someone on campus that Rand had been dishonorably discharged from the military.

A Sample of Scenes Featuring Rebecca Lea McCarthy as Sammie Stalls (Edited by Larry Cortez).

We flashback to Rand explaining to Cooper and Sammie as to why they need to take out their personal frustrations out in a tangible manner. He offers his own story as evidence. He explains that after the Gulf War he was a shell shocked mess. So much so that he could have been the next front page news, someone who annihilates people in a public area with his firearm, which he confesses that he still keeps in the house. His visits to the VA office where he received little attention and service only heightened his anger. Hence one night he returned in the middle of the night to the VA office and unloaded his gun clip into everything around him. To a shocked Sammie and Cooper, he admonishes that if they don’t take out their rage on some kind of inanimate objects, that they may one day do something that they would truly regret. “You know what I’m talking about right, Cooper? You’ve actually thought of killing him haven’t you?” The expression on Cooper’s face confirms that he had. In the end, both Cooper and Sammie buy into the ironic oddity of doing some kind of property damage in order to regain inner peace. So Rand tells them how they’ll go about planning some destructive event. Of particular note, he advises Cooper that his responsibility is to somehow get a key imprint of the office of his department’s chairman.

Later, Sammie finds a report on the web of a still unsolved break in and destruction of a regional VA office caused by an unknown assailant. Still later, Cooper returns from his work with a key imprinted into a puddy mold, much to the delight of Rand, who says, “You got it!” Cooper confesses his desire to “get it done,” but Rand cautions him to maintain patience. He advises Cooper to go to his cousin’s place to watch football, essentially keeping his usual schedule so as not to tip off anyone to any unusual changes in any of their schedules. He tells Cooper, as a reward for getting the key mold, to take a case of beer that Rand bought to the party.

Larry Cortez sets the shot.

Back in the present, Rand awakes and joins Cooper and Sammie at the living room window to await the bombs going off at 3:30 a.m. They wait and in the dead of night they hear the sound of faint explosions in the distance. “That’s it?” Sammie asks. “Yeah, that was it,” Rand retorts. Cooper, relieved, moves to shake Rand’s hand. But something still bothers Sammie.

Later, as they watch the television reports in the early morning, the news confirms that only the bombs set in the ROTC offices on the second floor and the Department of Sociology on the third floor went off. “What about the fourth floor?” asks Sammie. The mood becomes frantic as everyone knows that the bomb set on the fourth floor, the research lab, has not detonated. “What the hell happened?” Sammie barks, “We’ve got a bomb that hasn’t exploded yet and in a couple of hours the sun will be up!”

In mid-morning, Sammie talks to Miriam, a receptionist in the research lab on speaker phone. Miriam tells Sammie that she doesn’t have to come to work, that she and Julie, their boss, just want to go up to check on the animals and come back down. Sammie, concerned for their welfare tries to communicate that they shouldn’t. Rand takes the phone away and the three get into a heated argument about what to do. Sammie explodes in anger, blaming the predicament on Rand and leaves. Rand looks at Cooper and warns, “We have to watch her Coop.”

We flashback to see Cooper enter the back door with mail. He sorts through it, separating what to keep and what to throw out. One piece attracts his attention. It is a letter from his department and it tells him he is dismissed from the program. He rips it up and leaves. Later at night Sammie worries that Cooper isn’t back. She and Rand talk. He tells her he’s probably out getting drunk. “Oh that’s a good thing?” Sammie responds incredulously, “He might take his motorcycle and just jump into the canyon.” Sammie explains that getting his doctorate was everything to Cooper. She offers up an example of a student she knew when she went to veterinary school. After years of “not getting it,” in other words of not realizing that his committee would never let him get his doctorate, he finally did get it and subsequently hung himself on campus. Cooper then returns home and expresses his extreme hatred for his department chairperson. Rand responds, “Well, why don’t you do something about it?”

A Sample of Scenes Featuring Dennis Edward Proulx as Rand Merrigan (Edited by Larry Cortez).

Back in the present, Sammie and Cooper are continuously worried about the third bomb. Rand assures them that the bomb containment personnel will search the building and upon finding it they’ll put it in a containment chamber and it will be detonated. “You know that right?” Cooper asks doubtfully. Rand says, “Hey, it’s what I used to do in the military.” Sammie is less inclined to trust him anymore. “If you’re such an expert, what the hell happened?!” she demands. Rand responds angrily, “What the hell you want from me? Look it happens. Maybe the dynamite was old. I don’t know. But it is what it is!” At that moment they hear the final bomb go off. They look to the clock and see that it is 3:30 in the afternoon and realize the fatal error. Rand had set two bombs for 3:30 in the morning, but mistakenly did the third for p.m. and not a.m. Sammie calls Miriam and hears only her voice recording over and over again.

Art Balligui on camera B.

Later at night, as Cooper watches the news, it is confirmed that not only were Miriam and Julie killed in the blast, but also two FBI officers. Rand, now seemingly detached from reality, prepares to cook a meal. Sammie lies in her bed in a catatonic state. Cooper watches the television reports and slumps into despair. He later visits Rand in the kitchen and they get into an argument. Rand screams, “Shit happens! I tell you, shit happens!” He tells his own story of when he was in the Gulf War and was responsible for laying out mines along a perimeter line 1,500 feet out from base. But when two infantry men step on bombs along the line he is told that the line was supposed to be set out 1,700 feet. He refers to the map where a penciled line was drawn and it no longer appears. “They erased line! They threw me under the bus, Coop,” Rand says, “That’s what they did. That’s what they do.” Cooper later visits Sammie in her room and finds that both of them are inconsolable. The guilt of their actions which took the lives of people is too much for them to bear.

We flashback to Cooper cooking dinner and Sammie coming home through the back door feeling despondent. Cooper tells her about dinner but Sammie doesn’t hear him. She merely walks upstairs to her room. Cooper eats alone. He reads an email from his department chairperson which essentially tells him his dissertation could use a complete overhaul. He types a vicious response and readies to send it, but then retracts it and sighs in disappointment. Sammie finally comes down and they eventually have a good talk, revealing their inner feelings about their work and lives to the other. Sammie expresses her inner turmoil of liking the people she works with but cannot stand the work they do, which is caring for animals that are essentially being tortured for the benefit of science and medicine. She gives as an example a juvenile orangutan named Horatio whose scalp has been removed and probes are stuck into his brain to do experiments. Cooper talks about the frustrations of dealing with his dissertation committee and how they’ve got him running in circles. In the middle of their discussion, Rand returns from his work as a security guard on campus. As they continue to profess their inner frustrations, Rand eats his dinner in the kitchen and listens in.

A Sample of Scenes Featuring Timothy Jeffryes as Cooper Salk (Edited by Larry Cortez).

Back in the present, both Cooper and Sammie approach Rand in the kitchen. They advise him that they can’t live with themselves. Rand tries vociferously to convince them that they can’t make an emotional decision, that they have to let time take its course. But both Cooper and Sammie are adamant. They will turn themselves into the FBI. As Cooper leaves, Rand grabs a cooking pot and hits him on the head as Sammie screams.

We flashback to Rand, Cooper, and Sammie, on the night that Cooper and Sammie first moved into rooms in Rand’s house. They talk after dinner sipping glasses of wine. Sammie explains that she is an animal laboratory veterinarian who is troubled by the fact that the animals she is charged with helping, are suffering from the experiments they are put through. Cooper explains that he is a “perpetual student;” already eight years into his doctoral program, for which his graduate assistantship has been cut to a quarter time position. To supplement his income he works parking cars at the India House Restaurant where one of the insults he has to put up with is parking his department chairman’s Lexus during his weekly dinner visits. Rand explains that he is a Gulf War veteran who did many covert missions. His specialty, planting anti-personnel mines.

Back in the present, Cooper awakes next to the pot that was used to knock him out. After he recuperates he is struck with a stomach churning fear of knowing Rand did it and thus is unstable. He goes upstairs to find Sammie dead in her room, a victim of strangulation. He grimaces in shock and grief and then rushes out of the room, down the stairs, and towards the front door. But before he can get there he is intercepted by Rand, who asks, “Going somewhere Major?” Rand wears his military fatigues and in his mannerisms Cooper knows he has gone mad. Rand backs Cooper up to the kitchen sink where he proceeds to strangle him until Cooper is near to passing out. But in a final attempt to survive, Cooper manages to grab the kitchen knife that Rand was using to prepare dinner and stabs him in the side which incapacitates him. Rand takes out the knife and struggles back to his chair in the living room where he dies.

We flashback to the day that Rand is receiving visitors who want to rent two rooms in his house. He meets Cooper who agrees to take one of the rooms. Sammie arrives unscheduled and explains she desperately needs a room for she just started working for the university and hasn’t had any success in finding a place. Rand, a man who likes to follow procedures, is reticent to give the room to Sammie when he’s got others he’s scheduled to show the room to. But he eventually relents given Sammie’s exuberant personality and Cooper’s “why not” attitude. All seems bright for the future.

The Cast & Crew Celebrate Wrap Night.

Back in the present Cooper’s hands are seen searching for things around the house. He later completes an email he has always wanted to send and then shuts off his computer. He stares away with a curious look of contentment, but then places Rand’s gun to his temple as the screen turns black. Later, as images of the heinous tragedy that has occurred in this house emerges, we hear Rand’s voice placing the initial call to the newspaper classified ads section, asking that they place an ad for two rooms he has for rent. We end with a shot of the front door, through which out story began. It is a simple shot of an ordinary thing, inside of which these extraordinary events took place.

Post-Production

Before The After was primarily edited by DP Larry Cortez who brought the movie to picture lock and who then got his son, musician Chris Cortez, to provide the music and the music design. After their respective contributions, the movie was passed on to by Mark J. Bush (see inset photo), who did the sound design, and also did the critical final edits to achieve the finished move.

For information on other movies produced by Yellow Brick Studio / LegacyVision Films click HERE.

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