Three brothers, three filmmakers, one dream

By Ryan Bonds

May 7, 2018

Steven Spielberg, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese and Stanley Kubrick – some of the most recognizable names in an industry built only for stars or those able to command them. Few people looking to break into film are successful, but Andrew, Jack and Matthew Arehart are looking to do so. 

The three brothers, who have participated in abounding film festivals with many different film genres on their résumés, have been chasing this dream long before they enrolled at Cleveland State University. 

“We started making movies before we had a camera,” Andrew said. “I guess they were technically plays. Since third grade we would come home from school and make movies with our friends, acting out scenes and directed action scenes. Then our parents bought us a camera and we starting filming our plays.”

The plays and cameras of their youth eventually propelled the Arehart brothers to chase their dream as a career. From the time they were children, the trio has been inspired by big budget films and directors who bring magic to the screen.

Matt, who will be joining his older brothers, who are both juniors, in the film school this fall, can remember the moment they thought filmmaking was an attainable path. 

“In elementary school we watched ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and it was a totally different movie than I was used to watching,” Matt said. “So we kept re-watching it, and then watched the bonus features on it, and it showed a young Steven Spielberg making home movies, so we said ‘We can do that.’ And we did.”

At 11 and eight years old, the Areharts made their first movie and continued to hone their craft. Other blockbuster movies like ‘Spider-man,’ ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘Goodfellas’ inspired their imaginations and inquisitiveness as to how the filmmaking process works.

Using what they learned from behind the scenes footage and research, their technique and system developed over time.

“We always start with the idea,” Andrew said. “The idea is the most important part of filmmaking because you can't make a good script out of a bad idea. Once the idea is down, we write the script together. Our whole family participates and throws in their thoughts. From there, we schedule a day to start filming. If you don't schedule a day to start, you will never start.”

The trio has had copious starts and many finishes, most recently participating in the Cleveland International Film Festival with their coming-of-age tale, “Ellie the Astronaut.” With more experience and higher expectations comes the least enjoyable part of making an independent film, a larger budget.

“Ellie the Astronaut” may be their newest film, but it was not the most expensive the Areharts produced. As a short film in the Cleveland International Film Festival, “Ellie the Astronaut” was three minutes long. The largest budget belonged to a film the brothers made while all still in high school, which had a much longer run time.

“The biggest budget we ever had was for our feature-length movie, ‘Jessie,’ Matt said. “It cost $500.”

“Jessie,” unlike their new short film, was over an hour long. Budgeting, according to Matt, can be one of the many overwhelming aspects of producing and directing a film. 

“It is a lot of hard work and scheduling and patience but it is very do-able if you keep at it,” Matt said.

Budgets, production values and story quality all change with experience, but the first step of that experience, according to Jack, is just to make that first movie.

“If you want to make movies then start making movies,” Jack said. “Nobody is going to do it for you. Write a script, schedule actors, shoot it and then edit it and put it into film festivals, and then do it all over again.”



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