Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"Forever Strong" (aka my brother is a movie star!)


I attended my first ever film festival tonight--I've always dreamed of going to the Sundance Film Festival, or Cannes, or somewhere exotic, but no, my first film festival was in Orem, Utah--the 7th Annual LDS Film Festival at the Scera Theater. I know, some of you will roll your eyes and think to yourself you don't want to read any more... but I hope you do.

If you've ever lived in Utah, you have probably heard of Highland Rugby (if not, were you under a rock???). Both of my brothers (Matt and David) played Highland Rugby under Larry Gelwix for many years. Coach Gelwix is an amazing man and teaches his players life lessons while helping them to be the best rugby players possible (17 National Championships under his belt, and 3rd in the world in '98). He requires good moral behavior and total commitment to the team and he mentors each boy along the way. Both Matt and David can attest that Larry has helped them be the great men they are today (and they'd both concur that they are great men because humility is not a trait that they have mastered yet :)).

Ryan Little and Adam Abel (of "Saints and Soldiers" fame) heard about Coach Gelwix and the ways that he has helped shape so many young men and decided they wanted to share his story. They put together a great script based on actual events in the history of Highland Rugby--they brought in real actors from LA (Gary Cole, Sean Astin, Neal McDonough, and a few others that were recognizable) and used local actors (Jimmy Chunga, and others that you've seen before) for the speaking parts. The very cool thing (that will make my baby bro Dave famous) is that they used actual Highland players and Alumni to play most of the rugby players. David was just home from his mission and was "recruited" with the help of Larry Gelwix to be a part of this cool project.

"Forever Strong" is the mantra of the Highland Rugby team (Kia Kaha). The film has such a good message and the story, acting, and filmography were all great. It was so nice to see a show that was uplifting and true. After the screening we stuck around to talk to those that made the movie which was really interesting. We even got to fill out a Nielsen's ratings survey to help them know how to edit the movie before wide theatrical release. It doesn't have an MPAA rating yet, but would likely be PG-13 because of underage drinking and drug use. I took Olivia and Coleman and they both really liked it--I didn't feel like it was inappropriate for them. Someone there described it as "Hoosiers" type movie, with Rugby instead of basketball, but I'm not so sure. Most of the sports movies deal with teams that are underdogs and somehow overcome incredible odds and win a championship. This film deals more with growth and progress of a troubled young man who learns good principles and is able to change his life through Highland Rugby. At the end of the movie they have a quote by Larry Gelwix (who has a cameo as one of the refs in that Championship game) which is very inspiring, but of course I don't remember it, so I'll have to post it later. The producer pointed out at the end that they didn't have swearing--have you seen a movie without ANY swearing in it, ever? I don't know that I have (not counting church-themed shows, of course).

I highly recommend it to all--and you are in luck! It will show one more time at the LDS Film Festival, this Saturday, January 19th at 7:30 pm at the Scera Theater. Ryan wasn't able to go with us tonight, so maybe we'll see you there. If you can't make it, make sure to catch it when it comes to a theater near you (still not sure of the release date, I'll post it when it's going to open). And when you do, make sure to look for my cute brother David--shown above and below on his wedding day--and then you can feel famous too.

5 comments:

Nicole said...

I really do want to see this movie!! Jeremy works with Larry and was invited to the showing.... unfortunately I had to work and we will be out of town this weekend. We will definitely see it when it hit theaters.....I'll look for your brother! :)

C+K said...

I am stoked. Still haven't seen it, can't wait.

Sally said...

Sundance, Shmundance, Lisa. If Orem isn't a hotbed of cinemactivity, I don't know where is. Your brother is cute. :)

Janene said...

good to know! We'll watch for this one. And I'm glad you got to have small say in the editing. Would that we could do that with a lot more movies!

Heidi said...

WOW! It's amazing to see David all grown up! I can remember first meeting him when you moved into our neighborhood--he was just a baby! The movie sounds cool. Maybe it will come to Mesa! Thanks for sharing the cute picture of you and your siblings. Lindsey looks so much like your mom.