Dr. Jim Buchholz, professor of mathematics and physics at California Baptist University, is pursuing his long-held dream of producing a feature film. After years of directing and producing short films, Buchholz is hoping to adapt Peter Kreeft’s book, “Between Heaven and Hell,” for the big screen.
Kreeft’s “Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis & Aldous Huxley,” is a fictional account of what might have transpired among John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley in the afterlife on the day of their deaths, Nov. 22, 1963.
The novel focuses on these three influential men as they have philosophical conversations about life and meaning. Buchholz met Kreeft in 1998, but did not approach him with the idea of turning the novel into a feature film until much later.
“I knew all the way back then I wanted to make this movie, but I never said anything to him,” Buchholz said. “I didn’t think I was ready.”
Buchholz has sought out the aid and advice of producer Ralph Winter, known for “The Giver” and “Planet of the Apes.” Winter noted to Buchholz “Between Heaven and Hell” read more like a play, since the novel primarily focuses on conversation rather than action.
Buchholz, however, is determined to turn the novel into film with the addition of flashbacks and new characters.
Buchholz’s crew, who are working on the project, are made up of primarily CBU students and alumni. One of the producers for the film is Chelsie Marin, 2015 alumna. Marin became involved with the film while in one of Buchholz’s classes.
“He told me all about ‘Between Heaven and Hell: Somewhere Beyond Death,’ and I was hooked,” Marin said. “From that moment, I was on the project.”
The making of the film has given students affirmation in their skills.
Brittany Gutwein, junior graphic design major, has been in charge of the storyboards for the film and said she has learned to be confident in her abilities.
“When you’re a designer and a perfectionist it’s hard not to always see something you want to fix or change,” Gutwein said. “The bottom line is if you’re doing it with all your strength and you are doing it to serve the kingdom, then the little stuff shouldn’t matter.”
The biggest challenge Buchholz currently faces regarding the project is funding.
“Money is always the toughest thing in making a movie,” Buchholz said.
During July and August, Buchholz and his crew launched an all-or-nothing Kickstarter campaign to raise $45,000, but were unable to reach their goal. They have plans to launch another fundraising campaign soon, but regardless of the lack of funding, they have said it is not going to stop them.
“No matter what, we’re moving forward,” Buchholz said. “We have to be filming within the next year.”
Marin shares this confidence and enthusiasm.
“Jim and I are so passionate about seeing this film come to completion,” Marin said. “I won’t stop until we see this film finished.”