Blog #16: Revisiting 'When We Were'

Every once in awhile, we (JN Films) produces a film that isn't strictly dated to a particularly year. What I mean by that is that we've made films that still feel the same in terms of quality as they did when they first came out. To be honest, the majority of our catalog doesn't hold up the same as they age. I do wish that our films could be like wine or cheese where they improve with age, but such is life.

This leads me to 'When We Were' (2015). Outside of some technical nitpicks (e.g. audio clarity issues at times), overall the films holds up after revisiting it every year or so. A lot of factors drive this such as the writing/cinematography/performances, but there is one thing that stands out.

I think the biggest reason why it still holds up is that the entire cast and crew were of the age of the narrative at the time of making it. The story is about two students (Colver Allen and Lauren Mae) who gradually fall for each other over their final year of high school as future decisions loom. When making this, my assistant director Nathan Beaton and I were both a few months away from graduating while the two leads Luke Disney and Emily Johnson were both upperclassmen. This wasn't just Colver Allen and Lauren Mae's stories, it was all of ours. Having that direct truth influence the production allowed us to be able to capture that time in our lives while experiencing it.

Most films in the JN Films catalog are influenced by personal truths and raw emotions, but it's rare as a filmmaker to capture an empathetic experience while living it.

NOTE: I know this is a shorter entry, but I wanted it to be as earnest as possible as I start to transition back into weekly blog writing.


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