Facets premiering Wilmette filmmaker’s first feature

Filmmaker Sam Kretchmar

Wilmette writer / director / cameraman, Sam Kretchmar just wanted to make something to keep his creative juices flowing. His writing partner and producer, Michael Covino, wanted to make the “the greatest movie ever.”

Last year the duo produced the feature drama, “Keep in Touch,” Kretchmar’s directorial debut, that is currently enjoying a week-long, paid Chicago premiere at Facets Cinematheque.

The story is about Colin (Ryan Patrick Bachand), who after a life crisis, tracks down his long-lost love from elementary school, only to discover that she was killed in a car accident. Colin’s Facebook search leads him to her younger sister, Jessie (Gabbi McPhee), an aspiring musician who bears a striking resemblance to the girl he once loved.

Quickly becoming obsessed, Colin arranges a not-so-random introduction to Jessie and a relationship blossoms before he can confess his true identity and history with her sister.

“Keep in Touch’s” origin is very personal since this happened to Covino, who had looked up an old flame and found out she had died. “There’s a weird generational gap between those who grew up with Facebook and our generation, who watched Facebook and Google grow,” notes Kretchmar, an NYU Film School graduate.

Deciding to produce a short film together, Kretchmar and Covino hammered out a script for “Keep in Touch” in January, 2013. “We were able to blend our voices into each of the characters,” Kretchmar says.

They shot in New York for six days in March, 2013 from which they cut a three-minute teaser. While Kretchmar was working as a DP on a fine arts film in Indonesia, he had the opportunity to screen the teaser for producer Gilda Moratti who came aboard as executive producer.

“We were shooting a tiger who wasn’t co-operating and I had the chance to show Gilda the teaser. She loved it and said, ‘how much do you need?’”

Returning to New York, they filmed for 21 days in December, 2013, also incorporating most of the footage from the short. It was completed the end of 2014, after which screened at 40 festivals and won 11 awards, including Best Narrative film from 2015 CIMMfest.

Distributed by New York-based Film Buff, “Keep in Touch” will be available for download and streaming online in December.

Colin Costello’s credits include the Emmy-nominated “Moochie Kalala Detective’s Club” and the recent family film, “Traveling Without Moving.” He can be reached at colin@colincostello.com.