There are few things I’ve enjoyed more as a filmmaker than the pleasure of reuniting with colleagues I worked with in my past life as an actor. Collaborating with them now in a completely different facet of the industry is never shy of surprises. Case in point, my good friend Jan Broberg, who’s also the subject of my latest mini-doc, ‘Jan Broberg’s Guide To Thespians, Sociopaths & Scream Queens!’
It baffles my mind to think the fates would bring Jan and I together again after nearly twenty five years apart, having first met on the road in the national tour of an obscure Mormon musical called ‘Saturday’s Warrior.’ It was on the road during that tour that I first learned what a truly fascinating, and bizarre life story Jan herself possessed. I’ll never forget where we were (in a beautiful gazebo on the island of Oahu during our tour’s Hawaii-stretch) when Jan first confided that she’d been kidnapped when she was only twelve years old, (TWICE) by a trusted family friend. Riveted doesn’t even begin to describe my teenage experience of listening to her recall her ordeal of being horribly brain-washed, and her entire family dragged into a four year long journey straight into the very pits of of Hell itself.
Kidnapped not once, but TWICE??? How in the world does something like that happen? Well, it can and does happen, and far too often. The statistics are almost too mind-boggling to believe. But the truth is that in America a child goes missing every forty seconds. By the time you finish watching my mini-doc, eight children will have gone missing, and three will never see their families again. Circumstances, and environments all over the country and beyond offer a veritable hotbed of potential for the would-be pedophile/kidnapper, and having both been raised Mormon Jan and I are in agreement that certain elements of many fundamentalist groups and religions are extremely problematic in that they’re not teaching their young members to question what they’re being taught to believe as gospel.
This kind of vulnerability is key when finding a subject (or subjects) that are ‘ripe’ for brain washing. Of course it’s equally important to also mention that Jan and her entire family have all been incredibly brave, and forthright in admitting the trust they placed in one Robert Berchtold was way too much, way too soon. I won’t go into the details of Jan’s ordeal here too much, suffice to say it is covered some in my mini-doc, as well as a gripping book chronicling Jan’s story, Stolen Innocence: The Jan Broberg Story.
Jan’s book is a must-read, and available at Amazon.com. Another equally fascinating chapter in Jan’s post-abduction life is that of truly gifted thespian. For over twenty years Jan has been working steadily as a stage, film and TV actor and causing many to sit up and take notice of her supremely impressive ‘acting chops.’ Presently, Jan is co-starring opposite Elijah Wood in Franck Khalfoun’s bloody remake of the 1980 cult horror hit, MANIAC. “What’s so utterly bizarre now if you think about it,” recalls Broberg “that I would forty years later - be playing a part where I am face to face with a deadly sociopath, it’s really almost kind of funny in a sick and twisted way.”
Jan’s performance in the film has been garnering a lot of attention, and having been lucky enough to spend some time with her in LA and having myself explored several successful forays into documentary film making, I knew a ‘cinematic hybrid’ of Jan’s real life ordeal, and her ‘reel-life’ performance in MANIAC. had to come to pass. The results are here for you to peruse yourself. Be warned however, this mini-doc takes no prisoners where showing Jan’s cinematic ‘goods’ is concerned. Her scene in MANIAC is shocking so brace yourself. When you see it, I suspect you too will have no doubt that inside Jan Broberg are the makings for one HELL of a ‘Scream Queen’ and a damn fine actor to boot!