Film centers on wife of combat vet

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A Gluckstadt woman has tapped two of her best friends for a short film project to be shot in Canton about her experiences as a military wife during her husband’s deployment.

Sarah Beth Solop is an actress, producer and story creator on the short film titled “Deployed” which is being shot in Canton next weekend. 

The project is personal for Solop. It tells the story of a military spouse and her struggles during her husband’s deployment based on Solop’s own experience. 

“The whole point of this project is to show what it is like during deployment from the perspective of a military spouse and their children,” Solop said.

Solop grew up in Ridgeland. She is the daughter of Bill and Mindy Tew. Four years ago she and her husband and high school sweetheart, Harper, moved back to the area and now live in Gluckstadt with their three children. 

They graduated a year apart from each other at Jackson Preparatory School. She graduated in 2006 and he graduated in 2007. 

They were married in 2012 while she was in Los Angeles trying her hand at acting. She said she was not in LA long before Harper proposed.

“It is incredible to have this full-circle moment where I am developing and shooting a project around my hometown,” Solop said.

“Leaving LA kind of felt like a detour at the time but it gave me these experiences and stories that I feel like nobody else tells. During my time as a military spouse and spending time with other military spouses during deployments, I have met so many amazing women and thought their story needed to be told.”

1st Lt. Harper Solop is now in the Army National Guard and is a Marine Corps combat veteran.

She has tapped two good friends of hers, director Jaclyn Bethany and writer Amy Berryman, to help her realize this personal project. Her passion for the project is evident, even in a brief telephone call. She excitedly said that working on this project with her friends is like trying to make “our Good Will Hunting,” a reference to the smash hit that propelled the screenwriters, actors and best friends Matt Damon and Ben Affleck into stardom.

Much of the film's budget is coming from money raised at crowdfunding site seedandspark.com. They expect to film the project next weekend.

As of Wednesday afternoon they had passed their $17,700 goal with $18,045 raised and seven days left. Solop said they have received a lot of local support for the film and said any additional funds would go toward expensive equipment rentals.

“From the beginning, I believed in bringing her (Solop) the most professional group of people possible,” Bethany said. “I am bringing in a DP (director of photography) and actors from LA. Bringing people here to show them Mississippi is always fun.”

Bethany, who grew up in Jackson, said she met Solop in a dance class when they were maybe 3 years old. They would remain friends through their time at  Prep, college and today. Solop said that Bethany had been spending some time at home due to the pandemic and they got to talking about potential projects they could collaborate on.

“Jaclyn had the opportunity to come home and we got to see each other and we realized that we both had a passion to work on something in our home state,” Solop said. “This project came out of that and I think we already have some potential projects for the future.”

Screenwriter Berryman has been a close friend of Solop’s from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where Solop studied acting and Berryman studied playwriting. 

“Nobody else could have written this film,” Solop said.

Berryman said that the two have remained close and that she has had an intimate look into Solop’s “journey as a military spouse.” She said the pandemic has turned her attention from playwriting to screenwriting.

She said working on this script has brought the two women closer together.

“I have seen her experience ups and downs but writing this I really got to ask her some questions that I had never asked her and we became closer while writing this script,” Berryman said.

The Seattle native currently lives in New York City. She said she has been working on finishing touches to the script with her collaborators but will not be in Canton for the filming as she flies out to London, Sunday, for her play “Walden” which is running on the West End. She said she is happy to see the filming start.

“I am excited to see this film is happening and that it is happening very soon,” Berryman said.

Bethany studied her craft at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles where she received her MFA in directing. She already has two feature films and an Emmy award-winning web series “The Rehearsal” under her belt. She said she looks forward to returning to the short film format and working with her long-time friend. 

She also said she has enjoyed the opportunity to get to know Berryman better.

“It is always great to collaborate with people who know you and trust you,” Bethany said. “I have also been excited to work with the writer. She is someone I have met through Sarah Beth but didn’t get to know very well until this project. We have a beautiful story and I think it is perspective that hasn’t really been seen on screen.”

Apart from being based on her experience, Solop’s family is an integral part of the project. Her children Ava, 6, Wilder, 3, and Sterling, 1, will play her children in the movie. The short film is being shot near Canton at the family cabin of her in-laws, Chris and Juanaree Solop.

For more information go to seedandspark.com/fund/deployed-the-film#story.


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