VALPARAISO - Seven friends loved their city so much, they wanted to give something unique back to it. So they decided to make a movie about Valparaiso, which they say is a love story to the town.
The film, "Making Paradise." shows the dynamic between the creators, director, Jim Jano Janesheski, film business manager Steve Antonetti, producer Tim Daly, Valparaiso legend and idea guy Bill Wellman, Jason Monroe, local business owner and film promoter Carlos Rivero and executive producer and Director of Photography Brad Cavanaugh.
The documentary is about Valparaiso and much more.
Film co-creator Antonetti says he has lived in several states in the Midwest, but chose to stay in Valparaiso because it has given him and his family so much. He has now been living in the city for almost 20 years. He says the film combines several things he cares deeply about.
"It's not too often that you get the opportunity to have the intersection of a lot of the things that you love. I love my town. I love art. I love history. I love the guys that I had the chance to make this with and having an opportunity to record something like that for history was something that really motivated me to get involved in the project."
Film Writer/Director “Jano,” says “Making Paradise” sets out to help enable the people of Valparaiso to know and understand themselves through learning about the city's past and present.
"The purpose of the film was to give back to our community and the ultimate gift is the gift of self esteem and self actualization, Jano says. So we created a film with the premise that if you understand who you are and you go back into time and you start forward and you understand your community through its culture and through its history. It can be entertaining but also create that sense of self esteem and ultimately give you that sense of where you're going as a community and we like to think that it's something that goes beyond the gift of entertainment, but entertainment as a means of how we get there."
All of the film’s creators have deep ties to Valparaiso. Daly has lived in Valparaiso his entire life, minus four years of college at the now-closed St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer. The creators of “Making Paradise” also have a strong bond to each other, so says Jano.
"The one thing that I think is captured in the film is the dynamics of our group. It truly is an all for one and one for all kind of mindset and we like brothers, we fought along the line all the way, but like brothers, we were always there for each other. And to do something as we've done, you cannot do unless there is a fierce sense of loyalty for each other and that we had. That's one of the things I'll remember for the rest of my life.
One of the gentleman on our crew, Carlor Rivero from Don Quijote, he had a simple premise, 'let's don't forget that 75 to 100 years from now after we're all gone, this is our gift to Valpo. Let's not lose sight of that.' I mean that was definitely one of our incentives but trying to never let your friends down is a very powerful incentive."
That powerful incentive, along with trying to create a film that was going to stay interesting and relevant Jano says was achieved by giving the piece a certain look.
"Most of the firm is hi-def black and white but it contrasts with...everything that's old is generally in color, but it's old-school color, and so as a contrast to the black and white, it leads to a thought provoking ending that we can't reveal to you at this time."
"You have to watch the film to see what happens," Antonetti chimes in.
Jano says "One of the things when we first got started, we had so many meetings to decide what was this about. We had so many good reasons to make this. But in the end we decided that there were so many different ways that we could go, that the only thing we knew for certain is that if we created something that was artistic, it could help everybody and survive the test of time. Where if it was something that was commercial or geared toward something that was current, it wouldn't be evergreen and it wouldn't last."
"They say that an idea that is not good seven years from now is not a good idea today. We wanted to have something that was good seven years from now."
Co-creator Daly says "Part of the footage from it and part of the interviews that are in it, are very well-known people from Valparaiso people in our community. People like Bruce Leetz, people like Ric Frataccia, Mark Heckler, Stu McMillan, Jim McGill that owned McGills.
Of course if you want to find out who these people are, you have to see the film, which was nominated for Best Documentary Film at the 2017 Prince of Prestige Academy Awards.