If you’re looking for a great film to watch on a Saturday afternoon, look no further than Don’t Pass Me By, a debut film from Rachel Noll and Katy K. Burton, directed by Eric Priestly. In association with Uptone Pictures, Infinity United Artists, and Creative Freedom, this movie won Best Feature Writer at the LA Femme Film Festival 2013. Congratulations to Noll and Burton!
Noll is an actress who has played parts in televisions series such as ‘Monk’ and ‘Commanche Moon’. She is a four-time credited screenwriter, and three-time credited producer and director. Burton is actress with two producing and two writing credits (The Takedown, Don’t Pass Me By). Together with a few of the cast, these two outstanding ladies wrote a script exploring those life-changing moments brought on by crises. It’s a movie about choices faced, choices made, and the consequences they bring.
Says Noll of the writing process for DPMB, “Katy and I both come from families and communities that are very consciousness-oriented, so we were both intrigued by the notion of exploring characters who are stuck in their lives, and through a series of events that are out of their control, find their way to a moment of awakening”
Noll’s character, Hannah Walters, finds out she has a terminal illness with mere weeks left to live. She’s crushed by the news and unsure what to do with what is left of her life. Then she has a chance meeting with a man named Jack (played by C. Thomas Howell) who tells her that living with regret is no way to live at all – rather, she should appreciate the moment, grab at life, or else it will do something very unfortunate – “pass you by”. As Hannah makes plans, life does what it does best, interferes; and although it might seem bad timing, turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to her; love. Enter, Josh (played by Sean Stone). Who wouldn’t fall in love with Josh? Handsome, thoughtful, sweet, and sexy all describe Stone in the character of Josh Malek. Josh will make all women believe in the “good guy” again.
Danielle Davis played by Burton is a rising starlet whose life is being crafted and controlled by her agent. As a result, she misses out on an important moment supporting her mother through surgery, and might even miss out on the possibility of true love if she continues to let others decide the direction of her life. Will an old friend from the past be her salvation?
Jill finds that being the wife of Ryan Richardson isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. As she gives all of herself, including putting aside her own career and happiness, in order to be there for Ryan, she loses herself. Best friend Kyle, played by Tyler Luek, is always there for her, and it’s obvious he loves her. Ryan, on the other hand, is selfishly focused on his career and seems to forget, often, that he has a wife. Will Jill continue to be an asset instead of a wife or will she finally wake up and realize love has been by her side all along?
Brooke Morton comes off as a typical rebellious teen, but deep down, she is broken. Lost, herself, after losing her parents, she hangs with the wrong crowd, gets into ‘trouble’, and big sister Samantha is left with the task of trying to pick up the pieces while embodying the role of both sister and pseudo-mother. The sister relationship is contentious, but still, there is so much love. Can they find their way back to each other, and will Brooke finally begin to heal her broken heart over losing her mother as she, herself, becomes a mom?
Each character in this vignette has come to a crossroads and all have a choice to make. Which path will they take? Happiness or self-destruction?
It’s definitely a chick-flick, but the themes are ones even the guys can get into. Each story is relatable and the characters of Kyle, Ben, and Josh are to be commended for their genuine performances, and for making me love all three! And although on the young side, Brian Crenshaw, played by Tony Christopher, earned my respect as well. (Hey, I’m no cougar!).
It’s rare to find a really good film with a meaningful message these days, and if found, it’s usually an independent film. Don’t Pass Me By is character-driven and doesn’t rely on computer graphics, wild car chases, or gratuitous sex scenes. It’s quite simply just a very good story.
The movie was released worldwide on Video on Demand and DVD in February. You can find it on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube and Vudu among other platforms.