Local Man’s Movie Highlights Struggle, Understanding Of Mental Health

Image by Matt Hummel / WNY News Now.

GERRY – A local filmmaker is producing an independent movie that will include taping at Heritage Ministries on Route 60 in the Village of Gerry. 

Travis Carlson says the movie, called Mothers Day, is based on a true story about his relationship with his mother, who he says suffers from mental illness. He tells WNYNewsNow that he decided to make the movie after a “difficult” conversation that he had with his mother.

“Making a film that represents that and helps show my transition to appreciate that the world is different for different people,” Carlson said. “It might help others also have that reaction.”

“Mental health and people having a different brain chemistry can really affect the reality that they experience.”

The filmmaker says that “love can conquer” the challenges that mental illness can present.

Carlson, a former Heritage employee, says his previous employment and the role the organization plays for the community played a critical part in his decision to film a scene at the property.

“Heritage is a huge part of the Town of Gerry. Most of the people that I interact with in Gerry work here, have worked here,” Carlson adds. “It’s just a part of the landscape.”

Carlson explains that the production was delayed for a time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As production was allowed to be resumed, he says he instituted several measures in accordance with CDC and New York State guidelines.

Senior Chaplain of Heritage, Larry Petry, says that the production will allow the organization to have its values displayed for the community to see.

“This is a really wonderful opportunity to showcase the kind of stories that we experience every day with our residents and families,” Petry said.

Petry says the organization had several conversations with Carlson on how to film on campus as Heritage was also working to comply with COVID-19 mandates.

“Thankfully, the scene that Travis wants to film here, honestly it’s all worked out really well,” Petry said. “It’s simple enough, basic enough and just the layout of our facility. We’ve been really fortunate that in working together, thinking through some logistics, it’s something we’re able to pull off fairly simply.”

The Chaplain, in addition, says that the filming in the Town of Gerry serves as a reminder that no matter how big or small a town may be, talent can be found.

Carlson, meanwhile, advises the community not to fear asking for help in any venture that one might take.

Carlson says the plan is to have production completed by this winter.


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