Production has begun in Carmel on Sarge, a short film that aims to raise awareness about people with dementia. The film centers around a World War II veteran with dementia, who tries to escape from a nursing home in order to visit his granddaughter on her graduation day.
Writer and director Benjamin Dewhurst says the film was inspired by his own experiences with his grandfather, who was also a World War II veteran living in an assisted living facility. He says he had been writing and rewriting the film for about six years and pitched the script to his employer, Carmel-based DWA Healthcare Communications Group, who gave the initial seed money to get the project started.
He says they received additional support through a crowd funding campaign and elsewhere. "A lot of people the production community in central Indiana donated their services or their equipment or their time to make our film happen. A lot of this film is getting made because of contributions as well from the central Indiana community."
Dewhurst, who also serves as executive producer, says he always intended for the film to be shot in Indiana. He says he believes that Indiana is an excellent place for filmmaking.
"We have a great infrastructure for filmmaking," says Dewhurst. "There’s no reason that we can’t be a competitive state for filmmaking. Right next door we have Chicago who gets a ton of work and all of our Indiana actors, who are very talented, are all going up to Chicago to work now. I don’t think there’s any reason why we can’t have feature films and, for that matter, short film production, commercial production (and) corporate production right here in Indiana."
The filming of Sarge comes just months after the announcement of a public-private initiative called Film Indy, which aims to attract film and television projects. Filming is also underway in Bloomington on a feature film being produced by two Indiana University alumni.
Dewhurst says once the film is completed, he wants to take it through the festival circuit to reach as many people as possible. He says his ultimate goal is an Academy Award nomination. "I want to bring an Academy Award to Indiana."
You can find more information about Sarge by clicking here.
Dewhurst says he always intended for the film to be shot in Indiana.