Death, My Darling | Horror, Experimental | Waterloo, Iowa

The debut feature film of Jarrod Van Hauen’s was bound to occur shortly after business partner Mike Barkhoff’s debut, “INFINITE.” featured in 2018. In the two years since, Van Hauen has lended his talent to several short films produced by Barkhoff, a couple of podcast episodes, and even some writing and acting roles that went unappreciated due to the 2019 hiatus of Barkhoff’s.

The hiatus, which saw Barkhoff leave behind two unfinished films, a handful of web series, and more, left Van Hauen in a tricky predicament, as he wanted Barkhoff to be a front runner for producer of his feature film. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter of 2020 that conversations of Van Hauen’s debut reignited and became serious between the duo. What Barkhoff proposed as a film to gain knowledge and experience with a green screen grew quickly before their eyes. Barkhoff’s initial proposal was that they make a film in which a man fights for his right to regain his life or go to heaven, rather than the latter. Van Hauen, not a religious person, was intrigued, but wanted to explore more corners of the project. With the notes Barkhoff received from Van Hauen, he perfected a script.

The two began untraditional efforts of filmmaking. How it would work was simple – Barkhoff spent a month filming. At the end of each night, he would share the footage with Van Hauen and take notes. At times, he’d have to rerecord five minute sequences. At others, his acting was ‘too stiff’, according to Van Hauen. A challenge unexpected was the length of the film. Clocking in at forty-five minutes, the IMDb minimum for film length, Barkhoff had a difficult time – as editor – configuring how to do so. Even more flooring, the script was seventy pages (typically, a page equals a minute). Barkhoff also produced the soundtrack for the film, which took half the time filming did. The reasoning for this is also simple – the film contains essentially no dialogue. Barkhoff had to make forty-five minutes worth of music, accompaniment to the scene, no less, to make up for the lack of dialogue. The end result is a film that Barkhoff shared only with four people prior to it’s premiere, a producer of it in Ron Gomes, the director, Van Hauen, a mentor, Pokey Spears, and his girlfriend.

The results were better than he was prepared for, with Gomes declaring it a “beautiful art film”, Van Hauen calling it “perfect”, and Pokey showing interest in it’s minimal production regardless of being good. Barkhoff began filming in mid January and ending in late February. He finished editing and scoring it by March, and scheduled it for an April 30th, 2021 release on his entertainment media outlet, Live Free, the YouTube channel of which has seen numerous short films and films released to people for free, much of which has gained darling attention from the online audience. Admittedly worried at first, Barkhoff’s worries were taken back when he heard the love for it Van Hauen had. Describing it as a challenge, he admires the way COVID has made artists adapt to their craft, declaring it something that will make them “smarter, more talented, and better immersive.” Still, Barkhoff can’t shake the notion that some artists just aren’t doing it right, as he has been heating beef between him and rapper GMKTRE, and his label signee Norff just recently released a track aiming to diss another in Tae Barber – the latter of which is a schoolmate of Barkhoff’s. Barkhoff recently made a statement regarding possibly holding off on releases beyond June due to the ‘climate’ of the film industry, with the surges of cancellations in cartoon characters and classical film elements.

Death, My Darling, clocking at forty-five minutes, which has been enjoyed by Producer/Actor Ron Gomes and Producer Pokey Spears, will be released on YouTube for free April 30th, 2021 at midnight. Following it will be the Bonus Features, released in early May. 



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