Phillip Andre Botello
Produced by Victoria Chapa
Cinematography by Remigio Vitales
“Bentley’s Will” is set in Charlottesville, Virginia. Charlottesville is our director’s hometown and what inspired him to write the script.
Weeks before principal photography, the “Unite the Right” rally happened. The majority of our locations were in the downtown mall near where the protest took place. The first day of production, we walked by Heather Heyer’s memorial. Dead flowers filled the area since it had been weeks since her death. Despite this, people were still paying their respect and taking a moment to honor her memory.
Although our film’s theme is about a relationship between a son and mother, it was hard to not focus on Charlottesville. The city was in healing. Taking in everything around us, we decided to also focus on Charlottesville and make it somewhat a third character. During a montage in the film, we filmed our lead actors taking a moment near the memorial. We were able to combine reality with fiction and convey this tense time in our nation.
The next day after filming these scenes, we came back to the downtown mall and Heyer’s memorial was cleaned up. We were astonished we were even able to catch that on camera. It seemed it was our fate to capture that moment and honor Heather’s life.
We hope our film brings Charlottesville together and acts as historical context of America during this time.