Late Pepperdine Alumna’s Feature Film ‘Salvia Divinorum: A Western Approach’ Released – Graphic | Episode Movies

The poster for the film “Salvia Divinorum: A Western Approach” shows the leaf of the Salvia Divinorum plant. Pepperdine graduate Erin Wyche directed the film. Photo courtesy of Solarium Media

Erin Wyche graduated from Pepperdine in 2007 with a degree in media production. In March 2008, Wyche began filming her first documentary about a salvia plant in Mexico, but died in 2013 shortly before the film was completed. Wyche’s friend of over six years, Patrick Krauss, said their daughter was just six weeks old at the time of Wyche’s death.

Retrieved from the Facebook page Salvia Divinorum: A Western Approach Documentary.
Pepperdine graduate student Erin Wyche smiles in a photo taken by her friend one evening in 2007. Wyche directed her feature film, Salvia Divinorum: A Western Approach. Photo courtesy of Patrick Krauss

Wyche was from Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, where she attended Springfield Township High School. Krauss said Wyche was very involved with art throughout high school, but it was Pepperdine who sparked her interest in filmmaking. Krauss said she chose Pepperdine for the change of scenery.

“She just really fell in love with Malibu and then fell in love with the whole vibe,” Krauss said. “As an East Coast girl, it was really different for her.”

Photo courtesy of Patrick Krauss.
Erin Wyche waves during her Pepperdine induction ceremony in 2007. Wyche graduated with a degree in media production before pursuing a career in filmmaking. Photo courtesy of Patrick Krauss

After graduating from Pepperdine, Krauss said Wyche began her career at TV Guide Network, where she worked for about six years. Wyche started out as a production assistant in TV production and eventually worked her way up to fill producer and field producer roles.

Krauss said one of Wyche’s greatest inspirations for filmmaking was former Pepperdine professor Don Ohlmeyer. Ohlmeyer was an associate professor of television communications and previously served as president of NBC’s West Coast division – he died on September 10, 2017.

“He was really a no-nonsense, smart guy and really inspired her,” Krauss said.

Outside of filmmaking, Wyche has also attended awards shows such as the Golden Globes, Emmys, and SAG Awards, where she interviewed big-name names in Hollywood, Krauss said. She did this while still working as a production assistant for TV Guide Network.

“They put her in a hotel room with a musician like Nelly, or she interviewed Vanessa Williams — a lot of people,” Krauss said. “She really worked her way up in Hollywood.”

Wyche began her directorial debut with her documentary Salvia Divinorum: A Western Approach. Krauss said the film is a documentary that examines the psychedelic plant – Salvia Divinorum – from an objective point of view. New count here – LE” class=”Inline comment collapsed”>

The controversial substance is a naturally occurring plant in southern Mexico that was traditionally used as a medicine by the Mazatec people. Wyche’s film takes a scientific approach to the plant, discussing its harmful effects and medicinal benefits.

“I am very pleased that your film is finished,” said Krauss. “We put so much into it. It’s very big.”

Krauss said the film was difficult to complete because both Krauss and Wyche had jobs at the time. To even out the time conflicts, they mostly do this Shot the film on weekends and during each holiday period.

Wyche and Krauss also worked on a small budget, which Krauss says made it difficult to get the interviews they needed. Since the work is from Mexico, they had to find a way to interview locals without having to leave the country to save on costs.

“We got interviews in Mexico where this psychedelic plant came from,” Krauss said. “So we didn’t have money to travel to Boston or Mexico, but we had enough money to hire someone on Craigslist and set up the interview and then have a second-unit cameraman shoot the interview for us.”

Wyche found out she had lupus in 2011 but continued to work on her film. After having her daughter in 2013, Wyche developed a deadly lupus-related blood disorder and died six weeks after giving birth to her daughter, aged 28.

“I don’t know anyone who could say anything bad about her,” Krauss said. “She’s just a really good soul.”

Photo courtesy of Patrick Krauss.
Erin Wyche smiles with her daughter during a family photo shoot in 2013. Wyche’s daughter was just six weeks old at the time of Wyche’s death. Photo courtesy of Patrick Krauss

Krauss said he produced and completed the unfinished film on Wyche’s behalf. The film continued in production for nine years after her death.

“I was slowly trying to get by as a single father, but then I was also trying to finish Erin’s film,” Krauss said. “This film lasted about 14 years.”

Despite all the obstacles that came with the production of the film, Salvia Divinorum: A Western Approach was officially released on June 22nd. Wyche’s film is available on Amazon and half of all proceeds from the film will go to Wyche’s daughter.

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Follow the graphic on Twitter: @PepGraphic

Contact Kaela Hockman via email: kaela.hockman@pepperdine.edu

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