“Forever ‘B’” is the twisting, turning, stranger-than-fiction true story of the Brobergs, a naive, church-going Idaho family that fell under the spell of a sociopathic neighbor with designs on their 12-year-old daughter.
When 12-year-old Jan Broberg begged her parents for permission to go horseback riding with their closest family friend, they graciously agreed. Robert Berchtold, after all, was a married father of five children, the Broberg’s neighbor, and a fellow Mormon Church member. However, Jan didn’t return that night … or the next … or the next.
On Oct. 17, 1974, Jan Broberg was kidnapped, drugged, strapped to a tiny bed in the back of a motorhome, and driven to Mexico. Upon awakening, she heard high-pitched alien voices repeating commands through a small intercom, leading her to believe that she and Berchtold had been abducted by aliens.
The FBI conducted a nationwide manhunt and found Jan five weeks later, but the bizarre story doesn’t stop there. In the early 1970s, awareness and understanding of pedophilia had yet to come into public consciousness, and Broberg’s family remained oblivious to Berchtold’s diabolical intentions toward their daughter. His continued calculated manipulation of the entire family ultimately led to Broberg’s second disappearance.
“Forever ‘B’” explores the shocking events surrounding these crimes and reveals the epic failures and untold personal dramas that point to the biggest tragedy of all — that these crimes could have been prevented.
Diversions LA called “Forever ‘B’” “A jaw-dropping story, the film serves as a cautionary tale in the extreme.”
Broberg said that her family helped her to survive the ordeal.
“My parents and sisters gave me a foundation of unconditional love — this is how I survived, and the love of my son, step-daughters, nieces, nephews, husbands, friends, and extended family is why I thrive today,” she said. “This is where it begins and ends! So many are living with abuse in their families, I can’t imagine that and I want it to stop! Someone has to speak up, tell, scream, rant and rage to interrupt this cycle that is kept secret in families and churches and communities — it’s hard to do, to be the one, but the freedom on the other side is well worth it, and you will save so many future lives!”
Excitedly back in southern Utah, Broberg is serving as the executive director of the new Center for the Arts at Kayenta opening this fall. She says that theater had a large impact on her life.
“The stage was my hospital, it is where the therapy I needed happened. My life and abuse was a complete secret except through the emotions and the characters I could play onstage. The theater saved my life — literally.” Her favorite recent stage roles include playing Daisy Werthen in “Driving Miss Daisy” at the Smith Center and Lindy Metz in “What the Night is For,” for which she received “Best Actress in A Dramatic Role” in the Los Angeles Regional Live Theater Awards.
Directed by Skye Borgman and with an original score by Carl Dante, “Forever ‘B’” won the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival and is an official selection at this year’s DOCUTAH International Documentary Film Festival.