A film crew is out and about in Montgomery County, using local hotspots to spread mental health awareness.
Reflective Media Productions is a faith-based film studio, according to Executive Producer Carla McDougal. The studio is currently working on an eight-episode TV series called “Breaking Strongholds.”
McDougal said the production is using several Montgomery and Conroe businesses as filming locations, including BeanPunk in Montgomery, the Hodge Podge Lodge, Trinity Range Ranch, God’s Garage, Mosaic of Mercy, Spirit of Texas Bank and more.
“We were like, ‘We want to help you guys too to bring exposure,’” McDougal said. “And what better way to do that than being able to visually bring it to the big screen?”
The show follows the story of detective Ethan James, played by Terry Weaver, who is investigating the disappearance of a local high school teacher. McDougal said the show will discuss several topics such as eating disorders and social media but will focus on teen suicide and mental health.
Spirit of Texas Bank CEO Dean Bass said he first met Ulises Larramendi, who stared in Reflective Media’s film “We Are Stronger,” before being connected to McDougal and finding out about the production. He said the studio is “blessing lives” in Montgomery County with its work.
“They’re trying to positively impact a negative situation, and they’re a blessing to us all. If they’re successful, we’re all successful,” Bass said.
McDougal said the approximately 50-member cast and crew is made up of mostly locals and features many real-life figures in the production, such as Justice of the Peace Wayne L. Mack. Mack said the show is bringing real issues to light.
“We’ve got to raise awareness—behavioral health and suicide in our communities is a silent epidemic. … We need to break that stronghold; we need to break that silence,” Mack said. “And hopefully a series like this is going to inspire people to seek out help, to seek out what to do.”
Mack said the show is also putting the Montgomery and Conroe areas on the map. He said Montgomery County is a leader in so many things, and this production puts the area in front in a new way.
McDougal said the studio wanted to film in Montgomery not just because of the “quaintness” of the downtown area but because of the willingness and dedication of the citizens.
“The people … have … come alongside to help us,” McDougal said. “And just the willingness of everyone to say, ‘Let’s do this thing together. We believe in the mission, and we believe in the passion of helping the next generation.’”
The first episode will be finished by the end of July and will enter the film festival circuit next year, according to McDougal. The studio is planning on shooting three episodes next spring, three next fall and one in spring 2021.
McDougal said because each episode’s cost ranges from $50,000 to $75,000 and Reflective Media is a nonprofit, anyone who feels strongly about the show’s message can donate at the company’s website.