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Back on set: New Mexico filmmaker finishes ‘The Inheritance’ in Georgia

New Mexican John K.D. Graham spent his downtime in southeastern New Mexico raising kittens and visiting his mother. (Courtesy of Cameron Anthony Gay)

John K.D. Graham is constantly learning to go with the flow.

It isn’t an easy task, but he gives it his best shot.

During his time with stay-at-home orders in place, he’s raised some kittens and spent time with his mom in southeastern New Mexico, where he grew up.

In August, he also completed filming his latest project, “The Inheritance,” in Georgia.

The production adhered to all COVID-19 safety practices – small crew, testing and mask wearing.

“Honestly, I was very nervous, and I stated to my team that I wasn’t able to guarantee them what the production would be like,” Graham says. “My co-producers found some ways to protect us. Filming was going to get done, because we didn’t want to be in production in the winter.”

Production took place over 17 days during four weeks.

Graham says that originally, production was supposed to take 20 days.

“The Inheritance” follows estranged siblings returning to their family estate to claim the inheritance their mother left behind.

After discovering that the deed to the estate is hidden on the property, a caper ensues as they compete to find it.

Their adventure brings them back together as they discover the message their mother intended for them: that the only true inheritance is the kingdom of Heaven.

Mena Suvari, second from left, in a scene from the film “The Inheritance.” (Courtesy of Mustard Seen Entertainment)

The film stars Mena Suvari, Jaleel White, Jeff Schroeder, Cameron Kell and Meredith Riley Stewart.

Graham, Alexandra M. Boylan, and Andrea Polnaszek wrote the screenplay. The three are behind Mustard Seed Entertainment.

The production was produced by Stewart, Boylan, and Graham.

Filming during the pandemic was very different, but Graham says that once production began, it seemed normal.

“Yes, you are wearing a mask,” he says. “And there was testing a few times a day. We did stay at least 8 feet apart.”

Being in the middle of summer in Georgia, there were plenty other distractions on the table.

“Our biggest problems were thunderstorms and lightning,” he says. “When we had those, it would shut us down until it passed. But you have to deal with that on any production.”

Having only one location made the production easier.

John K.D. Graham wears a mask on the set of “The Inheritance” in Georgia. (Courtesy of Trey Walker)

“It was a big estate and had lots of outlying buildings,” he says. “Each day, it was like figuring out a puzzle. I wanted to take the time to let the scenes play out in the same vein of Wes Anderson and Woody Allen. I wanted to see how things would come together.”

Graham is also celebrating the film “Switched,” which was released on video-on-demand on Sept. 4.

The Mustard Seed Entertainment project tells the story of Cassandra Evans, who prays that her nemesis, Katie Sharp, the queen bee of social media, would know what it’s like to walk a day in her shoes.

Her prayer is answered in an unexpected way when they get “switched.”

Graham says the film is packed with life lessons of forgiveness, perspective, encouragement and understanding, and will help teenagers who are searching for their worth in looks and popularity.

 

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ABQjournal.com. Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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