Writer/director Daljit Kalsi explores life’s final season in heartfelt new drama.
A film first written nearly ten years ago by Greenville, SC filmmaker Daljit Kalsi is now nearing completion and being submitted to fall film festivals across the Southeast.
Harvest Season follows Ed and Elsie Mason on the day the long-married couple receives the worst possible news: Elsie isn’t going to win her fight against cancer.
If you have ever lost a loved one and said to yourself, “I wish I would have spent more time with that person instead of doing (fill in the blank),” then you know exactly what Ed is feeling once the initial shock from the news wears off.
Ed has never been a man who can put his feelings into words, and he’s afraid he hasn’t done enough to show his wife how much he really cares for her.
They spent decades building for a future, only for those plans to be suddenly taken away by a horrible disease, leaving Ed asking, “What now?”
Elsie, always Ed’s anchor, has his answer.
“It’s a very emotional film, and a very personal one,” Kalsi said. “It’s also unlike any film I’ve made before. There are no suspense or action sequences, it’s all about two people on this one terrible day, and allowing themselves to find comfort in one another, in their memories together, and one final plan for the future.”
Kalsi wrote the first draft of the film in the fall of 2009 after moving from Fort Myers, FL to Greenville, SC.
“Every year after that, when the leaves would start to turn, I’d start thinking about this script,” Kalsi said. “There’s at least six other versions that I’ve written over the years, but I always came back to this first one.”
Kalsi and Harvest Season star/producer Merritt Vann discussed the script while attending a fall film festival for a previous film in 2017.
“I told Merritt that every fall I think about making this film, and he asked to read it. A few hours later, he called me and said ‘we have to make this movie.’
Vann lost both of his parents to cancer. He wanted to portray Ed as a tribute to them.
“I was there at the end for both of them, saw what it did to them, what it did to me,” Vann stated. “When I read this script, I had been right where Ed is, and I just wanted to bring that character to the screen and dedicate the performance to my mother.”
Kalsi and Vann turned to Chantey Colet to play Elsie.
“While she was initially hesitant to take the role, Chantey delivered an amazing performance,” Kalsi remarked. “Both she and Merritt gave Ed and Elsie so much more than what was on the page, and added even more nuance than I had tried to put into the script.”
Kalsi said there are many nuances in the film that he hopes the audiences will appreciate.
“In life, there are the big moments that define us, and all the little moments that get us through. If you’ve been married or in a long-term relationship, you’ve probably felt a lull. You might not have even realized the lull, until your partner does something: a small gesture, laughs a certain way, or brings up a memory and this little moment that you find yourself sets loose all these emotions, and you realize again just why and just how much you love this person across from you,” Kalsi said. “It happens for Ed and Elsie a few times as we follow them in this film. It’s subtle, but it makes the film so much more meaningful to me, and I hope that when people watch, it touches them the same way.”
The supporting cast includes Lindley Mayer (Miss South Carolina United States 2016), Maxwell Highsmith, Mark Meekins, and newcomer to the screen, Kate Bullard.
The film was made possible with production assistance from Antler Hill Arts, the Polk County Film Initiative, Johnson’s Farms, and Sialmas Family Restaurant.
“Some great people opened the doors to their businesses and their homes to us to allow us to make this film,” Kalsi said. “We are especially grateful to Janie and Ken Seay, co-founder of the Reedy Reels Film Festival in Greenville, for allowing us to film at their weekend home. The location was almost like another character in the film, and we’re grateful to the Seays for offering that to us.”
Harvest Season is currently in the final stages of post-production and is being submitted to film festivals across the Southeast.