Park City mom loves making feel-good films
December 9, 2011
Park City resident and actress Pam Eichner believes people need to see more warm, family-friendly and thought-provoking films.
"There are so many shows where people get shot, blown up and sliced up," Eichner said during an interview with The Park Record. "There is plenty of that stuff out there, so to sit down with a nice movie that might bring a tear to your eye and make you feel good is a great treat. Sadly, there are too few of these types of movies out there."
With Eichner’s most project, "The Letter Writer," which premiered on BYU TV, Ch. 21 in Park City, over Thanksgiving, the number of those nice little films has increased by one.
Those who missed the airing can see it again on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 12, at noon and Saturday, Dec. 24, at 3 p.m.
"’The Letter Writer’" is about a slightly misguided teenage girl who is living with her mom, played by me," Eichner said. "The parents are divorced and the daughter is not necessarily a bad kid, but just misguided."
One day the daughter, played by Aley Underwood, gets a letter that tells her how special and unique she is.
Recommended Stories For You
"She tracks down the person who sent the letter and the connection with him changes her life and changes her mom’s life," Eichner said. "It’s a yummy, warm and fuzzy family movie."
The film, featuring a cast that includes Bernie Diamond, who passed away last July, Kylee Thurman, James Gaisford and Stella McComas, was shot entirely in Provo by director Christian Vuissa.
"The Letter Writer" is Eichner’s sixth film, and her second working with Vuissa.
"I worked with him a couple of years ago on a film called ‘One Good Man,’ which was made for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints community," Eichner said. "We worked together so well that he called me back to audition for this film."
Eichner, while not Mormon, said she likes working with Vuissa.
"All of his films are very pretty," she said. "He also gets out of the way so the actors can act.
"I was excited when Christian called me for the film," she said. "I knew it would be a nice movie. I knew my eight-year-old twins could watch it. I knew that my friends’ kids could watch it."
Unfortunately, there is a stigma that follows these types of feel-good movies, Eichner said.
"This particular director tends to do primarily LDS films has quite an international following, but with that, some people assume the film will be nice, but will also be boring," she said. "That’s not the case, especially with this particular film. I was excited to see it because when we were working on it, we could feel it was going to be magical."
"The Letter Writer" also marks the second time Eichner had worked with Underwood.
"She played one of my daughters in ‘One Good Man,’ so it was sort of a reunion, and was really nice. I had my fingers crossed that I would get the role and I did."
Eichner, who also writes a parenting column, used her real experience of being a mother of two sets of twins, ages 21 and eight, to prepare her for the role.
"It’s not a real stretch for me to play mom stuff, but in ‘The Letter Writer,’ the child is troubled, which is something I have been fortunate not to have experienced," she said.
Eichner’s love for acting developed while living in New York more than 20 years ago.
"Back then, I pretty much couldn’t get arrested," she said. "I’d go an audition and nothing really happened. I couldn’t afford to keep doing it, so I got a real job and left acting until I moved Park City, when my husband told me to pick it up again."
Since moving to town 11 years ago, Eichner has been busy with her acting.
"I do an average of two films a year," she said. "I’ve done a lot of TV commercials and I couldn’t be happier."
Utah audiences may recognize Eichner from her ad work for Kia of Kaysville, IFA Country Stores, E 911, Meta Stock and Anti Meth, to name a few.
"I’m in a really fortunate position where I can pick and choose the project I want to do," she said. "When you’re younger, it’s all about, ‘I hope I look great.’ Now, it’s about when someone watches me and I make them cry or they believe the role and I look real to them."
Eichner’s first role was a featured extra in an independent film called "Dark Matter," with Meryl Streep.
"It was a Sundance Film a few years ago that kind of fell off the face of the Earth, which may be a merciful thing," she said with a laugh. "I normally don’t take work as an extra, but when I found out it was going to be with Meryl Streep, I did it."
Other films Eichner has appeared in include "Under the Western Sun" and "Hottie Boomba Lottie," which was the only comedy accepted into the 2008 L.A. Film Festival, and recently released on Redbox.
"I’ve turned down projects after reading what they’re about because I wouldn’t want to see them," she said. "I’m not excited to put my name on those types of films, but this film is a sweet magical movie and I’m over the moon to be a part of it."
"The Letter Writer" will air on BYU TV, which is Ch. 21 in Park City, on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 12, at noon and Saturday, Dec. 24, at 3 p.m.