Little film with big hopes shares personal journey of grief
Cinematographer Sheila Smith readies the camera for a scene in “You Follow Me Like the Moon.”
On Sunday evening at Shiplight Condos outside Westland Beach, a fight broke out in Apartment 19 between Alicia Bonham and Jonathan Regier.
“Maybe I just don’t want to talk about it,” said Regier, his voice filling the room.
“Talking about our son is the only way that I feel better,” Bonham replied in tears.
Regier stormed out, leaving Bonham in the room crying as she began taking pictures off the wall.
And then Director Ashley Zahorian called “scene.”
Bonham and Regier had reenacted an argument between Mikela, the daughter of Producer Dr. Ron Herrsche, and her fiancée, Christopher Gouldin, in the movie “You Follow Me Like the Moon.”
The pictures taken off the wall were a real-life shrine to Caleb, the son of Gouldin and Mikela. Caleb died before he was born. The story of the film concerns his death and how it affected his parents.
Dr. Herrsche, inspired by his daughter and son-in-law’s willingness to share their story, said he hopes the movie can bring healing to all mothers who have suffered the loss of their unborn children.
The cast and crew of “You Follow Me Like the Moon,” who began filming the week of Oct. 29 last year, returned to Lancaster County on Sunday, Feb. 3.
Although they had planned to concentrate on scenes between the two main characters at Shiplight Condos, a surprise opportunity arose for Zahorian and her team at Nate’s Trick Dog Café in Irvington the day before.
“The director was eating dinner at the café [on Feb. 2] and having a conversation with the owner,” said Herrsche, who added that the owner, Nate Myers, told Zahorian that her crew could shoot additional scenes in his restaurant.
The next day, sound and lighting equipment were set up inside a wing of Nate’s Trick Dog Café as Cinematographer Sheila Smith prepared the camera for a scene that involved Chris taking Mikela out to dinner some time after the argument.
Regier and Bonham slowly walked in with Bonham taking off her coat. Regier then took Bonham in his arms as she looked at their matching tattoos of Caleb’s name.
“We didn’t have to get these,” said Bonham with a trembling voice.
“Of course we did,” Regier whispered to Bonham before they kissed. “Caleb will always be our first son.”
The cast and crew of “You Follow Me Like the Moon” prepare for a series of apartment scenes involving the main characters, Dr. Herrsche’s daughter Mikela and Chris Gouldin.
Cast and crew concluded filming on Monday, Feb. 5 at the Currie Funeral Home in Kilmarnock, where Mikela said her last goodbyes to Caleb before he was cremated.
Dr. Herrsche said his goal was to begin post-production as early as the following day and have the movie finished by May 9, Mikela’s birthday.
“I think [the film] is a really great medium,” said Dr. Herrsche. “I think it has the potential to touch people.”
Herrsche said he plans on raising $10,000 for post-production, which will include costs for music composition and entry into film festivals.
Prior to the conclusion of filming, “You Follow Me Like the Moon” received funding primarily through a grant from the Virginia Film Office and donations from Executive Producer Joyce Hodges.
Public reaction to the film had been “mostly positive” according to Dr. Herrsche.
“It’s a story that needs to be told…that’s the main response I’ve gotten,” said Dr. Herrsche, who also commented on the encouragement his filming team received from its medical advisor, Dr. James F. Hamilton of Kilmarnock.
“He also believes this is something that women go through all the time and they don’t get the support that they really need,” said Dr. Herrsche, who added that Dr. Hamilton said the film would hopefully bring greater awareness and support to women enduring pre-natal loss.
Dr. Herrsche, a first-time moviemaker, admitted that the process of filmmaking was “tedious, very time-consuming and overwhelming at times,” but added he would do it again.
“I’m surprised at how many people and how much money it takes to produce a movie,” said Dr. Herrsche. “But I’m still fascinated by the process.
“The combination of the visual, the dialogue and the music has always beens something special for me and it’s moved me in many ways,” he added. “I just think it’s a really good way to make some public statements.”
He said that he was “thrilled” with the support from Zahorian, Smith, Assistant Director and Production Manager Audrey Hurd, the actors and the rest of the cast and crew.
“Seeing the quality of the acting and the crew’s abilities to create what they’re creating was beyond my expectations,” said the Producer. “I’m just really impressed.”