By Sam Robinson
Luke Broyles, 16, of Carmel, has been making films for ten years. It all started when his parents gave him a toy sword, a shield and a video camera. Film making has since taken him across the world, including Mali to cover water usage.
Broyles latest movie, The Battles that Changed Us, premiers for free on June 7 at 3 p.m. at the Howard Schrott Center at Butler University.
The 60-minute film goes back in time to follow the stories of four civil war soldiers who, isolated from their unit, are forced to deal with the trauma of war and their inner demons.
“It showcases the battles of the war and the battles in their hearts,” Broyles said. Broyles wrote the script for the movie in 2012, and since then his production company, Luke Productions, has been involved with the filming and post-production of the film.
“I’m the glue that holds everything together,” Broyles said. “There are a lot of moving parts.”
Broyles said this movie had the most moving parts of any other film he’s produced. Broyles worked with civil war reenactors, cannons and pyrotechnics for the battle scenes of the film. On a budget of eight thousand dollars, he hired professional actors, a production crew, make-up artists, and a composer for an original score.
He raised the 8 thousand from two executive producers and donations from friends, family and supporters of his movies.
“I’ve been in a lot of festivals worldwide, so I’ve made a lot of contacts,” Broyles said. Broyles has received more than 36 awards worldwide for his films, which range from 3 minute shorts to feature-length films.
Broyles has been attending the Interlochen International Arts Academy in Michigan instead of attending public school in Carmel. He studies film and art there. While he’s gone, his manager and mother, Donna Hogard, handles the day-to-day of a film production company.
“I’m his hands and feet,” said Hogard. “I extend his reach. I’ve been working with him for a long time. I guess you could say I’ve been working since the very beginning.”
Hogard said that seeing his son develop as a filmmaker, and her being able to help him along the way, has been one of the most enriching experiences of her life. She didn’t ever think that giving him that camera at age 6 would’ve turned into 10 years of filmmaking.
“I didn’t see him beyond playing with the camera, but at that age I saw him directing his peers and making a movie,” Hogard said. “I called a film maker friend and said ‘I don’t know what to do with this.’”
Ten years on, she said she’s seen her son develop into a good person, not just a good filmmaker. So she isn’t worried about her son entering an industry where many fail to succeed.
“He wants to tell stories that are impactful,” Hogard said. “And he cares about the relationships he makes with actors. As a mother you worry about that, but I think he cares about other people.”
Broyles said that, at the end of the day, making a film is essentially communicating with people. “I’ve learned this in all of my films,” Broyles said.