An Indy Film Blog On The Borrego Springs Film Festival Website

It’s another beautiful morning in Borrego Springs and you’re driving down Palm Canyon Drive. Then, off in the distance, you see a strange purple shape. What in the world? Is it an illusion?  Is it an alien sighting of the weird sort?  Nope, as you get closer you realize, the unexpected shape is a pice of furniture!  A little bit of a living room is nestled aside Christmas Circle. 

You’re looking at “THE PURPLE COUCH.”

More specifically, you’re looking at the main set piece for a very unique and local film project that is designed to encourage participants to sit down, relax, and tell stories about themselves.

Local residents/filmmakers Michael and Cheryl Johnson created “THE PURPLE COUCH” project to re-connect storytelling on a more personal and fundamental level.  The idea began at a simple dinner party while sitting in their living room and socializing, when Cheryl asked her company, “What was a defining moment in your life?” 


The Johnsons felt as though they had a close connection with their friends, yet, as Cheryl explained, “We’d known some of our guests for over 15 years, but what they shared that night amazed us.” 

The insight was the beginning of an ambitious filmmaking idea: homes are where stories are most often shared, but since you can’t bring the whole community into a living room, they decided to take the living room into the community.  From there, they’d let people share their stories, just like they did at the dinner party.

“Throughout the ages, the art of storytelling is how we learned and how we connected with others. Fewer and fewer of us are really sharing, and too few of us are really listening,” says Cheryl.

“And so, ‘THE PURPLE COUCH’ was born. The color purple was chosen because it symbolizes courage, wisdom, spirituality, love, royalty, creativity, and the divine, among other things. And not inconsequently, it is the color you get when you mix red and blue together.” 

Now, to stimulate both a cinematographic event and to help create a community film for the Borrego Springs Film Festival (BSFF), Michael and Cheryl are assisting in a production of “THE PURPLE COUCH” here in Borrego Springs!  This filming will take place during the 50th Annual Borrego Days celebration. 

“THE PURPLE COUCH” production team hopes to get Borregans to come forth and share, to speak about stories important to them. The couch will be placed in front of local Borrego locations like the Borrego Art Institute, Big Horn Fudge, or The Borrego Sun to help create attention from the festival goers and encourage participants.  

Variety is the spice of life and this event will definitely add some spice to the soon to be iconic 50th Anniversary Borrego Days event.  After all, students from the Class of 1965 will be here to have a class reunion. Imagine their take on the changes that have occurred in Borrego since their graduation so long ago. They certainly should be “on the couch!”

To be part of this event interested parties are encouraged to contact local residents, and co-producers of the BSFF “THE PURPLE COUCH” film, Matt Nothelfer and Alicia Wszelaki.  They will help coordinate preliminary interviews and let people know what the rules of the game are for this fun community movie.  Please reach out to them via or call 312.788.7763  

For more information, and for film examples of “THE PURPLE COUCH” online, visit:

Come on board and have some fun with this unique project.  BE ON THE PURPLE COUCH!

Matthew NothelferComment