I was recently able to participate in the screening of a movie, Summer of ’67. It is a Vietnam War love story told from the perspective of the women left behind. It releases theatrically June 29 at Regal Hollywood 27 in Nashville. It was created by husband and wife duo, Fred and Sharon Wilharm of Main Street Productions. You can read more about them at faithflixfilms.com.
Sharon says, “This is the 7th feature film for my husband and I. I do the writing and directing, handling everything that goes on in front of the camera, and he does the filming and editing, handling everything that goes on behind the camera. In addition to me doing interviews as a filmmaker, we had 4 leading ladies who each have amazing stories.”
Summer of ’67 will bring you to tears and move your heart. It is a good, clean film rooted in faith. Everyone should watch this movie. My perspective has grown and my appreciation for those who served during this time has too. Visit summerof67.com to learn more! I am so honored that Sharon would chat with me so we can learn more in-depth about her career, her faith & the making of this film.
An Interview with Filmmaker, Sharon Wilharm
Meghan: When did you & your husband first get into this line of work & what was your motivation?
Sharon: Fred actually went to college to go into television. His degree is in broadcast communication, but when we met he was a businessman with a small chain of coin laundries.
After we’d been married almost 10 years, he decided to make a documentary about the historic town we’d moved to. That documentary morphed into a faith-based feature film written and directed by me and starring me. I hated it because I didn’t know what I was doing. But God kept calling us back to movies, so I started studying and learning, and each movie we get a little better.
Meghan: Wow, that is so inspiring, Sharon! You also teach others to screenwrite. What is your favorite part about getting to do this?
Sharon: I’ve always loved conferences. I love meeting fellow writers or filmmakers and I love the connections you make. I feel my strength as a teacher is inspiring others to greatness. That’s what I enjoy, is helping others succeed.
Meghan: How do you decide who will play which roles in the movies you and your husband create?
Sharon: That’s actually pretty easy. We each do what we do best. Initially, we tried to tell the other what to do, and, as you can imagine, that didn’t work well. So then we decided to delegate so that we each have input, but now I handle everything that goes on in front of the camera and he handles the behind the camera technical details. I’m the one out in front. He’s the one making sure everything looks good.
Meghan: Well, that’ll preach! Summer of ’67 is very personal to your family. Can you briefly tell us why?
Sharon: My dad was aboard the USS Forrestal when it caught fire in July 1967. Growing up I heard the story and always wondered what it must have been like for my mother hearing the news but having to wait three days until she found out that he was alive. Then I thought how different my life would have been had he been one of the 134 men who were killed. Summer of ’67 is a Vietnam War love story told from the perspective of the women left behind. It follows the lives of three young women whose men go off to fight in the Vietnam War.
Meghan: What was the most difficult thing about the making of this film?
Sharon: You’d think that with our seventh movie, that everything would be easier, but, as one of our crew said, Summer of ’67 was a God-sized endeavor. Trying to pull off a period movie on a micro-budget is no small task. In addition to the expected struggles, we encountered an unbelievable number of unexpected challenges. The biggest being that three weeks before filming, Rachel Schrey, our leading lady, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
She literally told the doctors they’d need to arrange her schedule around her filming. She had her surgery and eight days later was on set. It was scary for everyone wondering how she’d do, if she’d be able to handle it, but she was amazing! She had her physical limitations, but everyone just pitched in and most of the cast didn’t have a clue what was going on until later. We also had two supporting actors with M.S. Both Jeff Lester and Jesica Paige, have M.S. and so they had their physical limitations as well. But, again, we have the most amazing film family, and everyone worked together and made it work.
Meghan: Their character and dedication shine through, Sharon. Thank you for sharing that with us. What do you most hope this movie will accomplish?
Sharon: My goals are two-fold. I hope that it will educate younger generations, bringing awareness of the sacrifices made by the men and women during the Vietnam War as well as modern military families. But even more than that, I hope that Summer of ’67 will bring hope and healing for Vietnam War veterans and families. That they will feel affirmed and appreciated. That they’ll have a good cry and maybe start sharing together their struggles and their triumphs.
Meghan: How has creating Summer of ’67 moved & inspired you and your cast?
Sharon: Honestly, even though my dad was in the Navy, he was only in the military while I was a baby. So I really never gave much thought to what military families go through. It’s given me a much better appreciation, especially for those who served during the Vietnam War when they were treated so poorly. The cast members also shared how it increased their understanding and appreciation as well.
Meghan: It did for myself too, and I was so grateful for it. Can we expect more faith-based films in the future?
Sharon: Well, this is our last movie, but there are so many super talented filmmakers making great movies. Most people think the only faith-based films are those that release in the theaters, but that’s only the tiniest tip of the iceberg. Go into a LifeWay store or check out Christian Cinema or PureFlix or Parables or any of the other online stores or streaming services, and you’ll discover hundreds of wonderful stories to enjoy.
Last thoughts from Meghan: That was awesome. I hope you’ll check out the videos below and connect with Sharon and the cast. They are truly generous!
Summer of ’67 Movie Trailer
Ray Campell’s Testimony
Connect with Sharon:
Learn More: Summer of ’67 Cast Members
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