When Life Gives You Lemons... Make Lemonade

by Jennifer Jane

When I look back at my life the world premiere of Charged will stand out as one of the very special moments.

We arrived at the historic and beautiful Arlington Theatre for the opening night of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2017. They had literally rolled out the red carpet and we were welcomed by a wall of photographers and reporters waiting to interview the team. It was rather surreal. Fortunately the festival allowed all of our family and friends to join us on the red carpet which made it even more of a memorable moment, and everyone got to take photos and feel the buzz as we watched the long line of 2200 cinema goers gradually move into the theatre.

A photo was taken of Eduardo and I on the red carpet that I will cherish forever. As we stood there posing all I could think about was a photo taken of us in 2011 when I arrived at his bedside in the hospital. He was surrounded by medical equipment as he flirted with the boundary of life and death and through the tears I forced a smile for the camera, and now here we were all dolled up on the red carpet at the opening night of our film. No forced smiles, very real, very full smiles. Those two photos mark quite the journey.

Jennfer Jane & Eduardo Garcia, Charged

Jennfer Jane & Eduardo Garcia, Charged

Once in the theatre, I said to Eduardo ‘enjoy the movie’ and the show began. Firstly, Roger Durling the Festival Director spoke about why he chose Charged to be the opening film and shared a vulnerable story about how the film spoke to him. Next, our outstanding Director Phillip Baribeau and our awesome Producer Dennis Aig took to the stage to share their appreciation for Charged being chosen as the opening night film.

The lights dimmed.  Roll film…

I'd already watched the final edit of the film once before at home, and all I can say is that watching it in a theatre is an entirely different experience. You can feel the focus that everyone has on the story, at a startling moment 2200 people jumped in their seats, the whole theater cried and laughed together. That is something that I will remember forever.

Many of the people who supported us are featured in the film but it goes without saying there were many many more people who have helped us get to this place. From the people who responded to the emergency call when he was first injured, to the people that got him on the med flight, to everyone who looked after us in ICU. Furthermore to the wonderful people who researched, designed and made all of the medical equipment and techniques that kept him alive and to every single person who offered support throughout this ordeal.  

When you think of the core team who made the film, how could you ask for more. Knowing that most of the team were in the theater watching the premiere was very very special, everyone had been such an integral part of making this film. As the film ended the theatre erupted with enormous applause and the audience joined in a standing ovation as Eduardo walked out onto the stage. Eduardo shared his perspective and what the night meant to him and he asked all of the crew to stand up, I turned around and waved to a theatre full to the brim with people, close by was the wonderful Assistant Editor/Audio technician Will Springstead, Editor Tony Hale, DP George Potter and our lovely social media lady Louise Rainone. I cannot describe the amount of appreciation I had for the team as we stood among this sea of cheering people.  As far as life moments go, this was exceptional. What a moment.

As we left the theatre we got a sneak peek at what it is like to be celebrities, Eduardo and I were hot commodities and we were mobbed, in the best way ever. It was so wonderful to meet everyone, hear their thoughts of the film, and, most notably, share their stories. None of the interactions were surface level, they were all such beautiful moments of people sharing deep and personal stories with someone they had just met. It was intense in a wonderful way and to my absolute delight it was clear that the film had connected with the audience.  

We then headed to the after party, which was indeed a very cool party! I spoke to people endlessly and at about 1.30am it was time to dance and we all rocked out with the dj who just happened to be dressed as a bear with electrical energy bolts all over him, if you’ve seen the trailer or the film you will know why this is absurd - apparently it was not planned - although I am not sure I believe that. We raved with the electric bear, it was a perfect way to end the Charged World Premiere.

At 3am we got back to the hotel but none of us were tired, and as odd as it may sound the evening ended with my mum, brother, boyfriend and I sat laughing, sharing stories of the night, drinking a ton of water and stuffing our faces with organic bananas.

Overall the World Premiere of Charged was a showcase of perseverance, love and what’s possible when you have an outstanding team to implement a vision.  The injury was the lemon, Charged is the lemonade.