Rob Diamond’s new film ‘Sacred Vow’ features Park City actresses
September 30, 2016
Dealing with marital infidelity varies from couple to couple and person to person.
Some couples will collectively try to work things out, while others will call it quits.
Sometimes it takes one of the two to rally and get the other back.
This is the message of Rob Diamond's new independent feature film "Sacred Vow," which will be released digitally, on DVD and on cable this month by Bridgestone Multimedia.
The film stars seasoned actor Shawn Stevens and two Parkites — Pam Eichner and her 13-year-old daughter Sarah.
Eichner plays Amber, the mother, and wife to Stevens' unfaithful character Doug. Sarah portrays their daughter Isabel.
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This is the first time Eichner and her daughter have worked together, and it turned into a great experience for both, according to Eichner.
"Sarah auditioned and I crossed my fingers because I thought it would be fun making a film together, because filmmaking is such an intricate part of my life, and who I am," said Eichner, who has appeared in such films as Christian Auissa's "The Letter Writer," Danny Cameron's "Under the Western Sun," John Lyde's "Christmas for a Dollar" and Shelly Brandon's short and intense "Undertow." "Filmmaking is my emotional and creative release. So, I thought to be able to do this with her would be an amazing experience because she is such a solid, passionately intense person."
When Sarah got the part, Eichner set some ground rules.
"I told her that if I started to direct her or started saying things that annoyed her that she would let me know through a couple of hand signals that we came up with," Eichner said. "The reason was because I really want this to be her own experience. I didn't want her to do this film through me. I wanted this all to be her work and her interpretation of who Isabel was, otherwise it wouldn't be her."
Eichner found early on that her daughter had the chops to do what Diamond
required for the role.
"She nailed it, and I'm not saying that because I'm her mother," Eichner said. "She was the only child on set and got along with everybody. I stood back in awe and let her do her thing."
The filming schedule, especially the first day, was hard for Sarah because she was still in school.
"Sarah goes to school at Rowland Hall in Salt Lake and had to wake up early for that," Eichner said. "I picked her up from school at 3:30 p.m. and she had to be on set at a little home in Holladay at 5 p.m. and shot through the night until 5 a.m."
Eichner took an inflatable mattress, a sleeping bag and pillow to the set for Sarah.
"I told her she could rest and do whatever she needed to do," Eichner said. "But she had so much fun, that she never slept, until she crashed and burned on the car ride home."
Sarah, whose other roles have only been as a non-speaking, featured extra, said she will remember the experience for the rest of her life.
"The role of Isabel is a very strong and honest girl, and she lives a pretty normal life until things go wrong," she explained. "It was hard for me because her situation is different from my life.
"[Isabel] is an only child and her parents are having issues in their marriage," Sarah said. "So, since my life is opposite, it was nice to have mom help me out with things."
Sometimes Sarah just had to follow Eichner's lead.
"There was a scene she did so well, that it struck me and helped me get into the moment," she said.
Sarah has worked with Eichner to prepare for auditions at home by going through lines, but working together on camera was a new experience.
"It's even better when you work with someone you really know well, because I think it makes things in the scene more sensitive," Sarah said.
Working with Stevens and Diamond were the other highlights of the shoot.
"Shawn was great because he has so much experience and was so helpful and patient," Sarah said. "Rob was so easygoing and it was comforting to have the director be a friend, because he made the situations not embarrassing or awkward. That helped me become more honest with my role, because we all got into it so much."
Eichner was attracted to the script because she had worked with Diamond on past productions.
"I was in a film called 'Wayward,' which was a modern adaptation of the Prodigal Son," Eichner said. "He had seen a film that I did years and years ago and liked what I did, so he kept me in the back of his head and called me to read for 'Wayward.'"
The two got on so well that Diamond — known for the films "Elizabeth's Gift," "Saint Street," "Tears of a King" and "Justin Time," to name a few — called Eichner for another project.
"A family emergency prevented me from doing that, but Sarah and her twin brother Matthew appeared as featured extras," she said. "They had attended many of Rob's acting classes and he was taken with them and asked if Sarah would be interested in appearing in 'Sacred Vow.'"
The role of Amber in "Sacred Vow" challenged Eichner.
"It's a very intense, at the end of the day, love story," she said. "There is love not just between a husband and wife, but within a family, and it's about how far this woman, Amber, will go to protect and keep her family together. She goes to an extreme that I'm not sure many of us can go to."
The role is so different than who Eichner is.
"The funny thing is that I run on happy," she said. "I am not a sad person, so it amazes me that I can do these roles that flexes all of these intense muscles."
But that's what makes these roles so life affirming to Eichner.
"It's interesting because I tend to feel things deeply," she said. "While I resonate on a happy frequency, things do affect me profoundly and I see things differently than a lot of people do.
"I actually had to take off a few days from the world to recover from the role because it was not only emotionally tasking, it took me to the edge, but also physically demanding," Eichner said.
Like her daughter, Eichner also enjoyed working with Stevens, who just relocated to Utah from California.
"He's a very seasoned Hollywood actor and pretty much gets any role he wants, and to be able to work with him was great," Eichner said. "He was my safety net and let me take the role as far as I could, and helped me take it further. I hope this is the start of a long run of working together."
Both mother and daughter are looking forward to the premiere.
"I want to see how I did things, and I also want to see how Sarah worked out," Eichner said. "It was fun for me to see the process through her eyes — the wardrobe fittings, the hair and makeup."
"I think it will be kind of odd to see myself onscreen, but cool at the same time," Sarah said.