Michelle Productions – Concept to Form

June 14, 2010

The key people at Michelle Productions left to right - Ray Gailard, Monique Mack, Kurt Cowan, and Shawn McDaniels.

By William Thrift
Photography By Lisa Willson

Instead of letting a mid-life crisis bog him down or get him off track, Ray Gaillard spent time soul-searching at home in his self-described man cave.  He had reached a point in his life where he felt like he needed a creative outlet.  He recalled wanting to make movies as a young man, but life intervened as it often does on pipe dreams.  That is until one of his brainstorming sessions led him to write a script.  He teased out messages echoing his fundamental Baptist upbringing, talked to local filmmakers about the details of their craft, and finally, he purchased a Panasonic digital camera with a speed setting that would mimic celluloid film, giving scenes a rich, cinematic luster.

Not letting a lack of directing or producing experience hinder his new dream, he assigned family and friends (notably Shawn McDaniels, who became an early partner in the project) to portray characters in his script.  He solicited others to help with camera and production work.  Scenes were shot in and around Columbia, with the Congaree River figuring prominently in the climax.  The finished product, I Remember, is a gripping story of a young boy in an abusive foster home who runs away out of desperation.  The boy hearkens back to his younger days to employ survival techniques as he navigates the streets, haunts of the homeless and criminals.  Along the way, the boy learns valuable life lessons which the viewer can only hope will forge him into a respectable young man.

Ray’s accomplishment captivated key people, resulting in the formation of Michelle Productions (Ray, Shawn, Monique Mack, and Kurt Cowan).  They are currently collaborating on their next feature, What You Ignore Will Hurt You, which plumbs the family structure for themes of reconciliation and spirituality; and although spirituality figures prominently in Ray’s work, he cautions that these are not religious films.  Rather, they are graphic portrayals of the human inclination to embrace and express spirituality especially in times of crisis.  The Columbia Museum of Art has recently hosted a private screening of I Remember.  For more information on this film and Michelle Productions, visit irememberfilm.com.

Leave a Reply