Phil and Jackie in Winter Solstice


(2016, 11 min.)

Sofia is in an art class and her father comes to pick her up. He has some important news to tell her, that his long unemployment is over, and that he has accepted a job out-of-state. But at seven years old, he knows he must find a way to break the news gently. He brings her to the zoo, treats her to ice cream and a night of sightseeing. Unfortunately all the child knows is that her father will no longer be in her life, and she doesn't have the perspective to know what that will ultimately mean for her.


Her father has joint custody with his child's mother, and Sofia picks up on the bitter conflict between the estranged couple as she overhears a phone conversation that is none too artfully concealed, The father attempts to break the news of his imminent departure to his ex-wife and knows the burden it will place on her.


A child of seven may not have a fully developed brain, but children, hear, see and understand things instinctually in a way that is often overlooked, especially when it comes to the anxiety based around the continued presence or potential non-presence of the parent.


Running time 11 min., color. Written and directed by John C. Koch. Featuring Sofia Murnion, Brian Murnion and Nancy Walsh. Co-produced with Chute Media, Billings, Montana. This short is part two of the Winter Solstice trilogy.

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Phil and Jackie tend horses in Winter Solstice


(2016, 14 min.)

The cast of Winter Solstice
Carissa reads to Phil in Winter Solstice
Jackie tends horses in Winter Solstice
The Nurse must deliver the news in Winter Solstice

Carissa, a Los Angeles transplant, traverses the western plains as she returns home to rural Montana with her new fiancé, Steve. She has not been back for several years, and she has made a successful new life for herself in her new home. They are making the trip to spend Christmas with her ailing father at his remote ranch, where he is the last family member remaining. The family has just received some shocking news that puts an end to a decades old mystery. The revelation has been too much for her father to bear and he has suffered a stroke.


The family has coped with its share of tragedy through the years, and Carissa must come to terms with the painful memories of the past as she tries to comfort her father. On the precipice of a new life, the pain of her youth is finally receding, but not without a cost.


This short is the first part of a Winter Solstice trilogy. Part II is now in post-production and Part III will shoot in December 2016.


Running time 14 min., color. Written and directed by John C. Koch. Co-produced with Chute Media, Billings, Montana. Cinematography by Jim Abel.

"Every day for nearly 20 years they expected the phone to ring and have it be Jackie saying she was okay."


— Carissa from Winter Solstice



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