Juniper Lane

GENRE: Comedy.

STATUS: In distribution. Juniper Lane is available for viewing 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 the online movie platforms, Xumo, Amazon Prime Video, Popsy on Plex, Stash Movies on YouTube, Cineverse, Future Today, OTT Studio, 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.

Juniper Lane was also accepted into the online Lift-Off Global Network 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 the films as well as attend pre and post festival activities. Due to the pandemic of 2020 these festivals were screened solely online.

Juniper Lane was also subsequently accepted to and screened in the 2022 London Lift-Off Global Network’s Online Film Festival, the 2023 Berlin Lift-Off Global Network Online Film Festival, the 2023 Manchester Lift-Off Global Network Online Film Festival, the 2023 Austin Lift-Off Global Network Online Film Festival, the 2023 Tokyo Lift-Off Global Network Online Film Festival, the 2023 Toronto Lift-Off Global Network Online Film Festival, the 2023 New York Lift-Off Global Network Online Film Festival, the 2023 Los Angeles Lift-Off Global Network Online Film Festival, the 2023 Paris Lift-Off Global Network Online Film Festival, and the 2023 Amsterdam Lift-Off Global Network Online Film Festival.

LOGLINE: A typical neighborhood board meeting is thrown into chaos when four young members of the community show up and speak out against the latest street light that is being proposed by the elderly members of the board.

IMDb: Juniper Lane

The Play & The Inspiration

Juniper Lane was first produced as a dark night play for The Actors’ Group in 2013 (promotional flyer to right). It was written by Eric Nemoto, largely to provide an opportunity for members of an acting class he taught to perform in a stage play. Writing basically to fit the actors precast in the production, Eric created a comedy revolving around one night at a community center where the usually non-attended neighborhood board meeting becomes a hotbed of chaos when four people attend the meeting to protest the board’s intention of putting up another street light in the wake of an elderly person being hit by a car; a streetlight that promises to make the morning and afternoon rush hour commutes even longer. The meeting turns into a battle between the young visitors and the older, predominantly retired, board members. The play ran for six nights and was a surprise hit. Juniper Lane, the movie, from the initial moment of inspiration (to film the movie) to the wrapping of the final day of the shoot, was done in an unbelievable two months. The inspiration to do the movie began at the actual wrap party for another YBS movie, Tiramisu On The Beach. Basking in the glow of having wrapped that movie, members of the production crew started to talk about “doing another movie.” Eric took the idle banter seriously and told everyone that it was possible to film another movie quickly on a micro budget which could cover the costs of shooting the movie if the story involved a simple one location setting. To this he offered the prospect of filming Juniper Lane, which takes place in one meeting room.

The Production

Following through on an inspiration, Eric Nemoto recruits his supporters, his cast, his crew, finds a location, develops a shoot schedule, and gets Juniper Lane shot and in the can in two months.

Immediately, Eric began contacting those who had contributed to the unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign for Tiramisu, essentially asking if those same contributors wouldn’t mind committing their pledges to “another” movie. These people (particularly actor David Matthew Jenkins, who became the first to invest in the movie, which served to kick up the initial momentum of the project) said they would be more than happy to transfer their support to another project. Next, he cast all the roles but also in so doing asked if actors would be interested (but were under no obligation to do so) in investing in the movie and becoming pro-rated (their contribution over the total eventual production budget) owners of the movie. Every actor recruited said “yes” and contributed in various amounts. A few other supporters, who had heard of the prospect of investing in the movie, elected to invest as well. In short, the contributions of the prior Tiramisu Kickstarter campaign, the actors themselves, and a few others, raised a sufficient budget that was sufficient to hire a small film crew, pay for the film equipment, cameras, hard drives, and memory cards, as well as a decent craft budget, and amazingly, the shoot was on.

The cast and crew take a break from filming Juniper Lane. Photo courtesy of Mahealani Diego.

Hence, financed by a number of supporters, Juniper Lane was written, directed, and produced by Eric, and was shot by DP Earl-Louis Williams, with filming taking place over an amazing eight (8) days – from April 28, 2015 to May 6, 2015 (one night actors were not called) – at the St. John’s The Baptist Catholic School (see photo at right) in Honolulu, Hawaii, which provided the fictitious meeting room of the Canyon Neighborhood Board, the fictitious community organization situated “somewhere” in the continental USA. The production greatly benefited from the participation of Mahealani Diego who as makeup head brought along her team (five total) who were essential in handling hair and makeup for the large ensemble cast. The cast in this heartwarming comedy include David Matthew Jenkins (Brian), Lara Palafox (Terry), Rob Earle (Gary), Kathy Bowers (Winona), Starla Marie (Sari), Dann Seki (Roy), Tate Rolfs (Robert), Jana Park Moore (Charlene), Jeri Lynn Endo (Ginny), Margaret Jones (Nancy), Mary Ann Vasaturo (Michele), Dennis Ihara (Pete), and Gerald Altwies (Tom). The voices of Bill Baist, Ron Riles, Steven Dillard, Patrick Jeppeson, and Margo Baist portray other characters. Earl-Louis served as editor of the movie and Ross Okamura (Audio Bytes Corporation) provided audio post production.

The recruitment of Baist, in particular, was a coup. Known throughout the State of Hawaii as the “Golden Voice,” Bill, for decades, had been known for his terrific on-air voiceovers that had been featured on countless radio ads and television commercials. Sadly, Bill passed away in 2016 before Juniper Lane was privately premiered on June 15, 2017. Still, the movie captures his magnificent voice as his legacy and can be heard in the following video. The movie was ultimately dedicated to Bill, who also served as an Executive Producer.

The opening and closing credits for Juniper Lane featuring Hawaii’s “Golden Voice,” the late Bill Baist, as edited by Earl-Louis.

The Story

Juniper Lane revolves around one night at a neighborhood board meeting. On the agenda for this meeting, influenced by the fact that an elderly woman was hit by a car at a busy intersection, is a proposed resolution to recommend to the city council that a traffic light be constructed at the intersection. We learn that this is the fifth accident in the last three years, and in the previous times, the board’s actions have resulted in a traffic light being constructed. The members of the board are all retirees. They are dedicated to the community and their record of not missing a meeting for over ten years backs this up. They meet every month and usually no one attends. But on this night, four young people decide to attend to express their opposition to the resolution, citing the fact that with every new light that is built, the traffic gets worse. The meeting proceeds through introductions, meeting motions, divergent personalities, misstatements, misunderstandings, shouting matches, and eventually reconciling speeches. As the question is called and the final board vote is compiled we are surprised to find that the resolution in support of the traffic light is voted down, and that a majority of the board members were against it all along. Reaching a level of understanding with the elder board members, the four young visitors, after first leaving, return and elect to stay for the remainder of the meeting; a gesture that gives hope for the community.

The cast and crew on the final night of a terrific eight day shoot. Photo courtesy of DP (and break dancer) Earl-Louis Williams.

Post Production & The Premiere

Juniper Lane was edited by Earl-Louis Williams on a periodic basis around other work projects he had to contend with over the span of two years. Juniper Lane was officially premiered to an invited audience of cast, crew members, and invited guests that numbered over a hundred on the grounds where the production shoot took place. Upon the gracious allowance of the administrators of St. John’s the Baptist Catholic School, the final, finished movie was shown on a large projector screen in the school’s church on June 15, 2017. While it took some time to complete, the end result was still amazing. A feature length movie which had spontaneously evolved over a party conversation, was now recorded for posterity’s sake and available for distribution.


The Juniper Lane Trailer as edited by Larry Cortez.

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

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