Gabriel Ngandu is a young Congolese revolutionary running from the terrible mistakes of his past. His journey of escape leads him to new experiences and even a new religion that challenges long-held beliefs about his destiny and world around him. He find himself torn between the influences and expectations of two very different father figures- Mwabila, his revolutionary leader, and President Kabasubabu, his new religious leader. Called to serve as a missionary, he is sent back to his native village to build an orphanage with Jason Martin, an American who also has a tragic and secret past. Together, they struggle to understand and overcome their histories, cultures, and prejudices to serve the people around them.
Caught between enmity and reconciliation, revenge or forgiveness, intolerance or understanding, they begin to see the potential for a better; more peaceful future for themselves and for the Congo. Worlds finally collide when explosions rock the new orphanage and Kabasubabu is kidnapped by Mwabila’s revolutionaries. Gabriel is faced with choosing between the two different worlds of these father figures… or finding his own path toward a new world inspired by understanding and redemption.
Winter 1839. LIBERTY, MISSOURI. Local jailer, Samuel Tillery (Jasen Wade) is tasked with watching Missouri’s most wanted men as they await their upcoming hearing. Caught between the local Missourians’ increased drive to remove the prisoners, and the prisoners’ desperate efforts to survive, Tillery is pushed beyond what any lawman can endure. Based on actual recorded accounts, Out of Liberty is an intense, evocative western, with an outcome you have to see to believe.
Q & A with Director Garrett Batty
Where did the concept come from for Out of Liberty?
I love a good Western, and I’ve wanted to do one for a while. The events at Liberty Jail involve a triangle of conflict between the jailer, the mob and the prisoners. It seemed like an intriguing plot to explore. Amidst some of the better known occurances were attempted jailbreaks, repeated appeals to the legal system and an impromptu court hearing. With 1830’s Missouri as a setting, it’s the perfect backdrop for a powerful western.
What most surprised you in the making of this film?
One of the surprises along they way was how dedicated and committed the cast and crew were to telling this story. One example of this is with the character of Caleb Baldwin played by Adam Johnson. I’ve been friends with Adam Johnson for years, and have loved watching him in everything from CHARLY to The Outpost on The CW. He was gracious enough to come do this movie as a favor for me. I anticipated he would show up, deliver a good performance, keep the set fun, and be on to the next project. But Adam surprised me. He brought a performance that gave a level of humanity and depth that turned Caleb Baldwin into a real person for me. It was humbling, inspiring, and it has stuck with me. Every actor gave their all, and it shows on screen. It was really quite a nice surprise to have that caliber of talent on this film.
How long did it take to film your movie?
We filmed OUT OF LIBERTY in November, 2018.
One fun story – I was holding auditions, and was surprised when Jasen Wade showed up to audition. We had never worked together, and it was an honor to have him audition. He read for a role and did a great job. But I felt I should ask him to read the part of the jailer, Samuel Tillery. He looked a little disheartened, but agreed to read for the part. He was perfect for it! About a week later, we offered him the part and he graciously accepted. I asked him to make some time for a call so that we could discuss his approach to the character. As we discussed the character, he paused for a minute, then said “Wait a minute… I’m just playing the jailer, right?” He was shocked to find out that the jailer was the protagonist of the film. He was expecting it to be just a small supporting role.
I loved The Other Side of Heaven 2. I’m so glad to see that it’s doing so well in theaters. Make sure to go see it if you haven’t yet!
IN A MIRACULOUS FEAT
THE OTHER SIDE OF HEAVEN 2 INCREASES
ITS BOX OFFICE 86% IN WEEK SIX
In an unprecedented movie industry success, The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith, increased its per showtime average 86% inside Utah Megaplex theaters in week six of its release after having already increased its performance 33% in week five from week four.
“This is just an indication of how much people like the movie,” said the film’s director and producer, Mitch Davis. “And people in Utah are finally waking up to the fact it won’t be in theaters forever.”
Davis cited the adversity his faith-promoting, indie film has had to overcome competing with five Disney blockbusters in a row to survive at the box office and called his movie’s Utah success “a modern day movie miracle.”
“I used to work for Disney but right now it’s pretty hard not to hate those guys,” Davis quipped, explaining his film had to compete for theater screens with Aladdin, Toy Story 4, the re-release of Avengers: End Game, the new Spiderman and, most recently, Lion King.
“I mean, seriously, it has been hand to hand combat trying to book and hold screens against those big movies,” Davis said.
Davis had special praise for regional theater chain, Megaplex Theatres, and its longtime head of programming, Cal Gundersen, for helping The Other Side of Heaven 2 perform well.
“It’s great when you have partners like Cal wanting you to succeed,” Davis praised. “Him and everyone else at Megaplex down to the theater managers. They are all pulling for you and you feel it.”
Elder John H. Groberg, whose story this sequel and its predecessor tell, seconded Davis’s sentiments about the support of local theaters.
“Jean and I have visited several theaters the last few weeks and have been treated with kindness and generosity,” Groberg said. “There is something special about this film and the experience of seeing it inside a theater. I sincerely hope many others will make the effort to go and experience the same thing before the movie is gone from theaters.”
I’m excited to get to tell you about an upcoming movie “Twice the Dream.” This movie looks like it will be amazing! Let’s check out some of the details. And don’t forget to enter the giveaway below!
About “Twice the Dream”
After years of being forced to live their mother’s aspirations, Amber and Sam Bradshaw are offered an opportunity to chase their own dream of becoming musicians. Upon this quest, a tragedy strikes. In the wake of this tragedy, they discover that it is their dreams that hold the family together. Coming Spring 2019.
Director Q and A
How was it to write and direct your first feature film, Twice the Dream?
A: It sincerely was a dream come true, in every sense. The cast and crew were all so incredible and really put on their “A” game. At the end, we all felt like family! Some of us of course, literally being family. ;P Haha and by that I mean, my husband was one of the producers, and was also the director of photography. My mom is amazing at art and making props, so she was in charge of the art and prop department. A lot of my lifelong friends helped as well, and my brother. So it truly was a dream come true making the movie I love, with the people I love. It was nothing short of magic!
What were some high points during the creative process?
A: There were so many high points, everything from writing the screenplay, to setting up that perfect shot. When writing the script, there seemed to be something so special about being so into the story, and so sucked into that world. But, as soon as we got on set, it was incredible to see those characters and scenes come to life. I would say that was a high point- seeing these characters come to life, living, breathing, and interact with each other. It was really fun working with the actors as well, and collaborating with them. The cast truly understood their characters- just as much as I do. Sometimes, maybe even more. A few of the actors would come to me with some ideas, or thoughts on scenes, and their character’s journey, and sometimes would suggest certain lines of dialogue. 9 times out of 10, we were always on the same page, and I let them go for it. It was soooo cool seeing this!
What was your favorite scene on set?
A: Every scene! Haha jk. Although I did enjoy filming every scene on set, the concert scenes were the most fun to film. Everyone was dancing, laughing, singing along. Those were my favorite scenes to film… and we had three concert scenes! 🙂
Any learning moments you want to share?
A: Making this film has been a long journey, and throughout that journey, I have learned so much. Ultimately, I think that one of the most important things that I have learned would have to be to just trust myself and the stories that you want to tell. Along the way, a lot of people will try to discourage you- and that’s just life. Just because someone else doesn’t particularly get your vision, doesn’t mean that it’s not good. If you have a story that you want to tell, then you need to tell it. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
What inspired you to tell this story?
A: Growing up, I realized that there weren’t a lot of inspiring, feel-good coming of age movies. Movies that I really wanted to see at that age, stories that I could relate to. It was always such an underserved market. (For the record, these types of moves aren’t only limited to that age group, because I still want to see these kind of movies. They are for the young at heart.
So, at the tender age of 14, I started writing my story, “Twice The Dream”. Something about this particular story had set my soul on fire. The characters had absolutely consumed me, but in the best possible way. I knew it was my mission to get this story told through film. I could hardly think of anything else!
How is it being a female in the film business?
A: Being a female in the film industry is definitely tough. At times, it really seems that all of the “suits” in Hollywood making the decisions are men. I sat in many meetings like that. They would be interested in my story, but they would insist on making certain changes- changes that would change the very heart of the story. Although these offers were sometimes tempting, I would resist, remaining stubborn. I’ve even been called a “B” word because of this. But you know what? I think it’s necessary. As women in this industry, we have to stick up for ourselves. Luckily, I think this is changing. Slowly, but at least we are getting somewhere. People are starting to realize that half of the population are women. And as such, I think it’s safe to say that we know what a large portion of the population can relate to in film. Together, we are changing this.
What advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers?
My number one piece of advice is to stick to the story that you want to tell. Don’t let any “suit”, or colleague, teacher, or even a family member try to convince you otherwise. You’re set on the story you want to tell? Great! That’s the one you need to go with. Because as we all know, making a movie is hard work. So you have to love your story so much, that you would be willing to go on this journey with it. And another thing… never give up.
Do you think your experience as an actress helped in directing other actors? Why?
A: I absolutely think it helped. Truthfully, I believe my experiences as an actress have helped me as a writer as well. Since I’m familiar with the actors process, and the way actors think, I found it fairly easy to convey direction to the cast. And they always took that direction so well, and would totally understand where I was coming from. We were always on the same page!
What is your next step with Twice the Dream?
A: We are knee deep in post production right now, finalizing the sound mix, original score, color grading, etc. It’s been a fun but long process in itself, but I feel like I’ve learned a lot. We are currently exploring different distribution options. Looking for the right partner! Our goal is to release it theatrically first. (Even if it’s a limited release) Following our theatrical run, we plan to release it on various VOD platforms such as Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, etc.
Do you have any other projects on the horizon?
A: Oh, most definitely. Since I’m crazy, I’m currently writing two different scripts- both female driven like Twice The Dream, but very different genres. One is a thriller and the other is a fantasy. I also am still working on my YA fantasy novel series and re-launching that.
How did you finally get to make your movie?
A: I know the reason that I was able to achieve this dream is because I have been so fortunate to have such amazing support from my family and friends. They always have kept me going, and amazingly enough, they were the same people that saw my dream to the very end.
Dreams are important, but I know it’s hard. There are days, sometimes months when you feel like your dream might be impossible. At times, it can feel like the whole world is against you. During the pursuit of my dream, there were times when it felt like I was going nowhere. Sometimes, it was very painful. Blood, sweat, tears, and many other losses went into this pursuit. I would then ask myself, “Is this pain really worth it?”There were many times when I felt like I had absolutely hit rock bottom, and that my dream may never come true.BUT…. Yes, that’s a “but.” Here is the important part:I refused to give up. No matter how long it took, or how hard it was. This dream was too important to me. And I remembered why I had been holding on for so long.Moral of the story is: NEVER, EVER, EVER GIVE UP. Period. Dreams come true, even if it takes over a decade.
I’m really excited to get to tell you about a movie coming out next year, “The Other Side of Heaven 2”! I loved “The Other Side of Heaven” movie, as well as the books that inspired it (links below if you want to check them out). I can’t wait until next June to see “The Other Side of Heaven 2”. Don’t forget to scroll down to watch the movie trailer and enter the giveaway! You can also check out the movie website for more information.
“The Other Side of Heaven 2” FILM SYNOPSIS:
“THE OTHER SIDE OF HEAVEN 2: FIRE OF FAITH” continues the epic true saga of Elder John H. Groberg’s missionary adventures in Tonga as depicted in the eponymous Disney-distributed hit film of 2001. Whereas the original movie detailed Elder Groberg’s first mission to Tonga in the 1950’s as a 19 year-old bachelor, the sequel tells the inspiring true story of his return to Tonga in the 1960’s with his wife and five young daughters to serve as President of the Tonga-Fiji Mission.
Shortly after arriving in Tonga, John’s wife, Jean, becomes pregnant with their sixth child, a boy who is born with a serious illness that threatens to end his tiny young life. In fact, the boy is born too weak to be evacuated to another country with medical care sufficient to properly diagnose and treat him.
With their child’s life on the line, John and Jean face the ultimate trial of their faith only to find themselves enfolded in the love and prayers of thousands of Tongans of various religions who unite in a nationwide fast for the health of their little boy. Barriers of inter-religious strife are broken down as all unite in hopes of a miracle that will save the Groberg baby boy’s life, as well as that of the son of a non-Mormon Tongan minister who has been beaten within inches of death for religious reasons.
When I made the first “Other Side of Heaven” movie 17 years ago, I never imagined it would spawn an Academy Award winning actor’s career, nor that it would be distributed in DVD by Walt Disney Home Entertainment. Neither did I imagine that, all these years later, it would spawn an ambitious sequel.
Like the original film, this new movie tells the true story of Elder John H. Groberg’s missionary adventures in Tonga, only this time he is returning with his wife, Jean, and their five young daughters. His second mission proves just as dramatic and transformative as his first, as does the second film depicting that mission. Thanks in advance for watching!
JANE & EMMA is based on the life of Sister Jane Manning, one of the first black Mormons. She returns to Nauvoo to find that Joseph Smith, her prophet and friend, has been assassinated. Jane spends a ceaseless night with his widow, Emma Smith, sitting watch over the body of the prophet as a whirlwind of loss and confusion leaves them wondering how either one of them will be able to move forward. Through the long night, Jane wonders if the prophet’s promise to extend the blessings of eternity to her has died along with him. The film explores the possible events of that night, including Jane’s endeavor to remain amongst the Mormon people and Emma’s struggle to cope with her heartbreaking loss. Poignant issues of racism and polygamy threaten to break their bond of friendship. In the end, will Jane and Emma have the courage to follow the path each believes they must take?
The JANE + EMMA cast includes Danielle Deadwyler as Jane (THE HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS, GIFTED), Emily Goss as Emma Smith (THE HOUSE ON PINE STREET, SNAPSHOTS), Brad Schmidt as Joseph Smith (THE BIRTH OF A NATION, HOUSE OF LIES), and K. Danor Gerald as Isaac James (SAINTS AND SOLDIERS, THE VOID)
JANE & EMMA is directed by Chantelle Squires (THE WORK & THE GLORY trilogy) and written by Melissa Leilani Larson (FREETOWN). It is produced by Jenn Lee Smith, Madeline Jorgenson, and Tamu Smith and Zandra Vranes (Sistas in Zion) of Clearstone Films. The Executive Producers are Brent Jorgensen, Sundance Film Festival Co-Founder Stirling VanWagenen, and Jon Lear.
The movie also features the title song “Child of God,” performed by The Bonner Family.
I’m excited to get to tell you about Jane and Emma, a new movie coming out on October 12 today. Historical films like this are interesting to me. I’ve always wondered about Jane Manning James and Emma Smith is one of my personal heroines! I can’t wait to watch this movie!