Updated: Aug 6, 2019
By Louis Jones
An older sister deems it her responsibility to finish her younger sister’s film. It sounds like the plot to a movie, but it’s the actual story of a woman who made her deceased sister’s directorial debut a reality.
Lynette and Brittany Weeks grew up in a religious household, attending weekly church gatherings, Bible Studies, and local events done by churches. While Brittany was the one who would usually jump first into something and learn from her experiences, Lynette would watch and learn from example. Growing up, the two of them were always together, enjoying life and helping each other. “We were like two peas in a pod,” is how Brittany describes the relationship with her younger sister. However, there was one thing that would distinguish the both of them, eventually leading Brittany down the path that she has chosen today.
Ever since they were children, Lynette had a natural talent and passion for writing. Whether it was creating stories from her imaginative mind or proofreading an essay that needed to be submitted for a class assignment, Lynette had this raw talent and skill with words. There was one instance where Brittany asked her younger sister to help write an essay, but ended up having to remind Lynette not to make it sound too eloquent or else the teacher would find out that somebody else wrote it.
As time went on, Lynette would slowly grow a collection of manuscripts, shorts, and stories that she created. Oddly enough, she actually graduated college with a degree in Business Administration. That didn’t stop her from writing. There was one project that she had been working on for two years. She poured her heart and soul into it with hours and hours of time and dedication. Unfortunately, even with a passion for writing, Lynette found herself battling depression for three years. Throughout that time, the collection of her works slowly came to a halt, including the project that she’s spent years working on. Soon, she would give up writing entirely, trying to fight her own demons in this depressive state.
However, she would eventually find herself out of this dark part of her life. Brittany recalled the day her sister found her way back, “She had a calling in a dream from God.” Lynette took this calling to heart, which became the driving force behind her film. Titled Repression, the short film focuses on Mike, who is battling his inner demons after the death of his mother. Going through a dangerous alcohol addiction, Mike must find a way to overcome these negative influences and find himself again on the spiritual level. Repression will screen at the Churches Making Movies Christian Film Festival in October.
Lynette found herself in her writing again all while rekindling her religious and spiritual connection with God. Over the course of six months, Lynette would oversee Repression, acting as the writer, director, and producer. Of course, whenever she felt herself losing faith in the film, Brittany would be right by her side, trying to keep her motivated and stay on track through the completion of the film. There were a couple of times when Lynette asked Brittany for her opinion on certain parts of the film. Brittany, not knowing much about film, would be surprised when Lynette would say “That’s exactly what I’m looking for!”
Lynette had a dream for the film clear in her mind. Aside from just having a theme in the film, she wanted every person who watched the film to walk away from it having their own take on what the message of the film is, sometimes having to watch it multiple times before they found their own. She didn’t want her film to just have one clear cut answer to it all. She wanted the viewers to think and reflect on it, both during and after watching the film. For Brittany’s first time watching it, she couldn’t quite find her own message. Sadly, she did find it after losing her sister.
While Repression was being made, Lynette became baptized in her journey to strengthen her connection with God. Unfortunately, one week after the film was completed, Lynette passed away. Brittany was devastated from the loss of her younger sister. She felt like her life was too short, especially after just finishing up the film. Brittany remembered the large collection of works her sister left behind, all the amazing work that would go left untouched. Instead of letting Repression be added to that collection, Brittany took it on as her own responsibility to make sure her sister’s work wouldn’t be lost to dust.
Although the actual filming portion was finished, there were still some final post-production steps that needed to be done, such as film editing and sound editing. After gaining access to her sister’s accounts, Brittany then began finishing up everything that need to be done before submitting to film festivals. And soon enough, she slowly began to realize that she liked doing these kind of things.
After her sister’s passing, Brittany watched the film again, and found herself relating to the main character on a much deeper level. She felt angry at God for losing her sister, for making her go through so much suffering. She felt angry at how the world works and how so many dangerous and hurtful things could happen. But at the end of it, she found her message from the film, “The battles that I’ve faced daily weren’t society’s, but they were my own. You are the core of everything,” she said.
Brittany began to realize that there are so many things that are out of our control, and that people are going to see suffering and have to endure the loss of a loved one. And although we can’t change it to what we’d like, we can take from it and learn how to look at our lives differently and learn how to appreciate the relationships we have when we have them.
And with that in mind, Brittany began her own spiritual journey, slowly reconnecting with her faith. Soon after, she took it upon herself to make sure that the rest of her sister’s work don’t become lost in time. Although nothing is currently set in stone, she plans on bringing out more of Lynette’s work for the world to see and to keep her sister’s dreams and creative work alive.