LYNN HAVEN — An inspirational family drama with Christian themes will have its world premiere in Bay County in December, which is fitting because it was filmed here.
“Finding Grace,” a full-length feature film by local filmmakers Warren and Stacie Fast, will play at the Gretchen Nelson Scott Fine Arts Center at Mosley High School in Lynn Haven on Dec. 11. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the film will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are free, but seating is limited; those who are interested in attending should secure tickets in advance through EventBrite.com.
“The original message was hope — that people can have hope through their trials,” Warren Fast said. “With faith in Jesus Christ, we can get through it all because He took on the pain, the trials and the suffering. We hope people can grasp that portion of it, and that it’s presented in a way that they can be entertained without being preached to.”
The movie stars Paris Warner, Jasen Wade, Kisha Ogelsby, London Grace, Erin Gray and David Keith, with an appearance by Bo Svenson. Principal filming took place between April 26 and May 15, 2018, at multiple locations around the county. The story focuses on a struggling family, already on the verge of disintegration, facing new challenges that will test their faith in God and each other.
“I’ve acted in different genres and this is my first faith-based movie to be a part of, and I couldn’t be more proud of this team,” the Nashville-based Grace said in an online post. “This is a story everyone can relate to of all ages, races and religions and non-religious. It will make you stop and think.”
The Fasts’ foreign sales agent took the film to the Cannes Film Festival in France earlier this year, according to promotional materials. It’s a gathering place for all things cinema, where agents from all over the world search for the most promising directors. In addition to this international attention, Country Living magazine has rated "Finding Grace“ as No. 2 in its “11 Christian Movies Coming to Theaters in 2019.”
“Finding Grace” also will premiere in Beverly Hills and Salt Lake City. It will be released on DVD/Blu-ray and digital streaming the same week.
The film was written and directed by Warren Fast, and produced by Stacie Fast, with local company Edge Digital Marketing hired to shoot it. The couple already is working on producing a second film, with a goal to release one new film each year.
Julie Gordon, film commissioner for Bay County, said several “terrific places” signed on to be shooting locations, but one partner venue was particularly helpful — and tolerant — right from the start of production. It also served as one of the principal locations in “the meat” of the film, she said.
“That special place is Glen Cove Pavilion,” Gordon said. “Filming in ’real life’ locations can be very difficult and invasive, but this team (worked) to keep the impact to a minimum.”
Gordon described the film as “a coming-of-age, inspirational piece that society is longing for these days,” and suggested that the positive theme could be why some of the talent contacted the director and asked to work on the film — including Svenson.
One of the local cast members was Daphne Lewis, who shot her scenes on the first day of principal photography. Lewis has appeared on stage at the Martin Theatre and Kaleidoscope Theatre locally, and had roles in “Body Hair,” “Dancin’ — It’s On!” and many other productions, and recently wrote and produced a short film, “Mother Stands for Comfort.” In “Finding Grace,” she plays a female inmate in a “Scared Straight” scenario.
“I went in character and stayed that way until we were finished,” Lewis said. “The part I'm playing is of a woman who had seen the darker side of life, so I just wanted do it justice no matter how small the role. It was a great experience for me personally.”