From filmmaker Reinaldo Marcus Green (MONSTERS AND MEN; upcoming KING RICHARD),along with the Academy Award winning writing team behind BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (Diana Ossana & Larry McMurtry) and Academy Award nominee Mark Wahlberg, JOE BELL tells the intimate and emotional true story of an Oregonian father who pays tribute to his gay teenage son Jadin, embarking on a self-reflective walk across America to speak his heart to heartland citizens about the real and terrifying costs of bullying.
JOE BELL is directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green and stars Mark Wahlberg, Reid Miller, Connie Britton, Gary Sinise.
Summary: The biographical story of musician Jeremy Camp.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 12th March 2020
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 19th June 2020
Australian VOD Release Date: TBA
Director: Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin
Screenwriter: Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin, Jeremy Camp (book)
Cast: Timothy James Adkinson (Pete Nelson), K.J. Apa (Jeremy), Cameron Arnett (Doctor Furst), Nicolas Bechtel (Jared), Rushi Birudala (Raj), Tanya Christiansen (Jannette), Abigail Cowen (Adrienne), Reuben Dodd (Josh), Hali Everette (Megan Henning), Gregory Hobson (self), Anjelah Johnson-Reyes (Professor Rochester), Marshall Meeker (Yves La Joie), Katie Anne Moy (Jacqueline), Sahjanan Nasser (Maria), Nathan Parsons (Jean-Luc), Britt Robertson (Melissa), Melissa Roxburgh (Heather), Terry Serpico (Mark), Gary Sinise (Tom), Shania Twain (Teri)
Running Time: 116 mins
Classification: PG (Australia)
OUR I STILL BELIEVE REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths’ I Still Believe Review:
Becoming a teenage heart-throb is the dream of every young actor. But while the pull of stardom is very strong reaching that heart-throb status is never a guarantee of a long and successful Hollywood career.
Flash back to the late 1990s and Dawson’s Creek was the biggest show on television. Its male stars – James Van Der Beek, Joshua Jackson and Kerr Smith were on posters on every teenage girl’s wall around the world. Today all three are lucky to get small roles in television shows and B-Grade movies.
The next actor following in those foot-steps is young star K.J. Apa. The New Zealand local has risen to stardom as the star of Netflix’s very own Gothic teenage mystery show Riverdale where he plays comic book legend Archie Andrews, while his new film I Still Believe opens in cinemas across Thailand this week.
Apa’s movie career to date has been successful from a critical point of view. Films like A Dog’s Purpose and The Last Summer have certainly earned him more fan attention while his work on the gritty The Hate U Give gave him a chance to show the world his acting ability. I Still Believe sees Apa’s career take a whole new direction though… a direction that many of his young fans probably didn’t see coming – the starring role in what many people would label a faith-inspired film.
In I Still Believe Apa plays Jeremy Camp – one of the world’s highest selling Christian musicians. The movie follows Camp’s life from the moment he leaves the country-side home of his parents (played by Gary Sinise and Shania Twain) and heads to college. It is there that he meets musician Jean-Luc (Nathan Parsons – The Originals) who recognises Camp’s musical ability and starts him out on his career.
From there though things don’t exactly go the way that Camp wants them to. First he and Jean-Luc find themselves competing for the affection of the same woman – the beautiful Melissa (Britt Robertson – Tomorrowland). But even that doesn’t run a smooth path when Melissa is diagnosed with cancer and is soon battling massive odds to just survive.
Unlike many ‘religious’ films I Still Believe doesn’t come across as a preachy film. While both Jeremy and Melissa’s faith is there for all to see the film also explores themes of a hope and love as it depicts a young couple facing one of the biggest challenges of their lives. The screenplay also brilliantly allows the plot to explore the story of a man who begins to doubt his own faith as the odds stack up against Melissa.
While many religious films are also plagued by soap-opera style writing and bad acting that certainly isn’t the case with I Still Believe. Directors Andrew and Jon Erwin (October Baby) doesn’t hold back at all with this film. The audience will find themselves tested as the plot causes you to start to think about your own beliefs and how you would cope in circumstances where it appears that your partner may not survive. While Camp is a Christian the film would cause people of any faith or belief to look deep inside and explore how they would react in the same circumstance.
Likewise the directors also test their young stars. Britt Robertson is at times unrecognisable as she plays the terminally ill Melissa but the acting tour-de-force here is Kapa. In Riverdale we have had to watch Kapa deal with the death of his on screen father, which was brought about due to the off-screen death of actor Luke Perry, and once again here Kapa is put through an absolute acting wringer. Some of the sequences here as Camp goes through a personal and faith-driven breakdown would have been brutal and emotionally-toiling on Kapa. To the young star’s credit though he pulls them off with ease and many of his scenes have the power to have the audience in tears. If there was any question at all over whether Kapa had the acting ability to forge a career outside of Riverdale this is the film that proves the world his is oyster.
I Still Believe may be an emotional viewing for some audience members, but it is well worth packing the box of tissues and sitting through. A thought-provoking and challenging story-line mixed with a young star putting in the performance of his young career makes I Still Believe one of the biggest surprises of 2020.
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A cavalcade of stars, including superstars Ben Affleck, Jamie Foxx, Marlee Matlin, Gary Sinise, Jane Seymour, William H.Macy and Geena Davis, feature in CinemAbility : The Art of Inclusion, releasing October 5 on digital from Leomark Studios.
From Director Jenni Gold, the 1st wheelchair using female in the Director’s Guild, and released to coincide with October’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month,CinemAbility reveals a compelling and often amusing look at the history of disability portrayals in entertainment. From the early days of silent films to present-day Hollywood blockbusters, this historic film takes a detailed look at the evolution of “disability” in entertainment over the last 120 years by going behind the scenes to interview celebrities, filmmakers, and studio executives.
With heart and humor, CinemAbility: The Art of Inclusion utilizes clips from Hollywood’s most beloved motion pictures and television programs to shine a light on how the media impacts society and the monumental effect these portrayals have on inclusion.
Featuring Ben Affleck, Jamie Foxx, Marlee Matlin, Gary Sinise, Jane Seymour, Adam Arkin, William H.Macy, Helen Hunt, Kyle MacLachlan, Daryl Mitchell, Beau Bridges, Richard Donner, Peter Farrelly, Randal Kleiser and many more!
CinemAbility : The Art of Inclusion, written by Jenni Gold and Samuel W. Reed, releases on VOD October 5 from Leomark Studios.
CinemAbility is in part a love letter to Hollywood, an industry that has consumed my life, and partly a wake-up call. Growing up as a wheelchair user I found many of the representations of people with disabilities on screen to be confusing. I remember every year my family would watch Affair to Remember when it aired on TV and I always found it odd that after Deborah Kerr became a wheelchair user she could no longer pursue the man she loved. I remember hating the sappy Movie of the Week style representations in the 70’s and 80’s. The person in the wheelchair was always syrupy sweet or angry and bitter. It wasn’t until Friday the 13th part 2 came out that I saw a wheelchair user the way I wanted to be seen. He was a cool teenager hanging out in the cabin in the woods just like everyone else, he had a girlfriend just like everyone else, and right before he was about to have the night of his life, he got killed by Jason, just like everyone else. His disability was not the topic and was not a factor in his story line.
As a filmmaker who loves the rich history of Hollywood, I realized that a historical overview of disability portrayals had never been done, and that’s certainly one of the aspects of the project that drew me in. It was fresh and exciting, but as we continued to research and interview more people about their recollections of disability portrayals in film it became clear that this was not the whole story. There was more behind these characters and depictions than the stereotypes that emerged, which in some instances are still adhered to. In fact, what we found was much richer, in that there is a strong correlation between these depictions and how people with disabilities are treated, and as portrayals have become more well-rounded and realistic, actual people with disabilities have become more accepted socially, and more integrated into society.
Being a director with a disability and the only DGA wheelchair using director member, the last thing I wanted to do was make another cookie-cutter documentary about disability. But soon I realized that a film like CinemAbility must be made, and if not by me then who? I knew this story first hand and I knew how to tell it. So, slowly I started to pitch it and soon I was interviewing A-List Academy Award Winners, Academy of Motion Picture and Guild Presidents, Producers, Studio Executives and the Showrunners of some of the hottest shows on TV. Hollywood heavyweights came to the forefront because these are caring people who are interested in good causes, and they realize inclusion is important. They all had something viable and important to say and even had some personal realizations that I caught on camera.
By connecting the dots between how people with disabilities are portrayed and how they are perceived in public, we were able to broaden the story beyond disability, to any minority group that has at one time or other been underrepresented or misrepresented in our media. We show how Sydney Poitier films impacted an entire Civil Rights Movement and how Will & Grace opened the door for homosexual civil rights. But where did that leave people with disabilities.
I found out very quickly that the changing of portrayals of disabilities in the 80’s lead us toward a major victory in 1990 with the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but after a backslide in these depictions, we might be able to get into the building, but what was the perception of people like me once we were in it? Would there be job opportunities if perceptions were still based on the understanding one gets from what we see in the media?
It suddenly became clear to me that this film was much more important than just recapping the history of a few interesting characters in the history of film, but about documenting the shaping of perceptions of minority groups through the media. And in doing so, I created a platform to do some reshaping of my own. This film has the ability to break down these stereotypes in a way that had never been done before. And most importantly it is done in a fun and entertaining way! People normally hear about a disability-themed documentary and they run for the hills, but those brave enough to take a peek are shocked to find they have a good time and laugh while also being challenged intellectually. As a storyteller, that is my entire goal.
When we started this project over a decade ago, disability was not included in most diversity initiatives, but that is now changing due to new crop of talented, passionate & determined actors with disabilities who have stormed into Hollywood and aren’t taking “no” for an answer. Enlightened Showrunners and Producers are also starting to take chances on stories, characters, and actors that are “different,” and yet it still remains that hardly anyone with a disability is working behind the scenes in Hollywood. It seems to be the perfect time for CinemAbility to open people’s eyes to something new.
Emmy Winner Jenni Gold is considered a triple threat in the world of entertainment. Her editing and screenwriting skills serve as a foundation for her directorial efforts which have received multiple awards and have placed her among the best in her field. As the only female wheelchair using Director Member of the Directors Guild of America, Jenni is the co-founder of Gold Pictures, Inc, a development and production company which was established in 2001.
In addition to directing the award-winning film CinemAbility, Jenni has become an expert on the power the media has in shaping perceptions, and is an advocate for total inclusion. She serves on the advisory board of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and has produced a number of films and corporate web series, servicing such well-known clients as The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
Jenni recently co-produced the soon-to-be-released film Tiger starring Mickey Rourke and Janel Parrish, and she is in post on a horror/comedy film which she directed titled, Aaah Roach, starring Casper Van Dien, Grace Van Dien, Barry Bostwick, and Jason Mewes. Jenni has also co-written and is developing a number of narrative feature films including the suspense thriller Adrenaline and a family film, Lucky. Jenni was also interviewed along with many other high-powered female directors in the newly released documentary This Changes Everything about discrimination in Hollywood.