These days being entertained is easy—but we’re not always made better by what we watch.
In Finding Grace, screenwriter and actor Warren Fast makes his directorial debut with a coming-of-age story that aims to build us up in the midst of life’s darker side.
It tells the story of teen girl Alaska (Paris Warner), and the single dad (Jasen Wade) who’s trying to raise her well though her transition into adulthood. The pair lock heads when she’s arrested for underage drinking and is assigned to community service at a nursing home. There, Alaska meets the stubborn and world-weary Julianna Foster, who teaches her about how to find healing in helping others, and what life looks like from perspectives other than her own.
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When pitching the film to investors Warren said he wanted them to be involved in a movie that emphasised the healing power of community.
Speaking with Hope 103.2 Warren said, “All of us go through troubles and trials, but I think if we look outside of ourselves and see there’s always someone suffering more than we are – [helping] them… helps alleviate what we’re going through, and we can heal faster.
“If [Alaska and Julianna] can both get through their individual hang-ups they can heal together.”
When Art Imitates Life
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In some ways, art imitated life for Warren, as his local community in Panama City, Florida rallied around him to help the movie get made, and – as it happened, created something that’s become a time capsule for the town. It was later decimated by a natural disaster.
“Being an unknown it was hard to raise funds,” said Warren, “…but I believed in the story – I knew I had a good story, and that when people could see it and I could get it in front of them they would love it. And that seemed to be the case.
“This is a town that’s a little bit touristy – you’ve got the beach, and all kinds of fishing going on around here, and we had a hurricane come through after we’d filmed and it destroyed everything. Now we have immortalised on film what it looked like before the hurricane [while it’s being rebuilt].”
“I think by helping others through things… can really help us heal, and recover from our own challenges.”
Taking a message of community and hope to screen, is something Warren believes faith-based films are uniquely placed to do.
“All of the films in the faith genre try to bring hope to people,” said Warren. “To say, ‘there is something beyond ourselves’.
“I have quite a strong Christian faith for myself, and know that we’ve been given this world – and we are going to go through hard stuff in it… but our Heavenly Father is always there to give us comfort through it all. And we can know that there’s something after all this, [but in the meantime] we’re all here to help and love each other.”
Caring for Others Can Turn Our Own Lives Around
‘Help’ really seems to be the central theme of Finding Grace, and how offering support to others can turn around our own circumstances.
The movie asks, “Can we, through our own trials, look to others and find something that we can help them with?” Warren said. “I think by helping others through things – or even showing enough love to be able to identify that they might be going through something – can really help us heal, and recover from our own challenges.
“…Especially [during the COVID-19 crisis], it’s so easy to reach out to people – just message them online and let them know you care about them. By loving others in that way, we’re all going to get through this. You’re never alone – you are not alone. And that’s the message I’d like people to take away from Finding Grace.”
Finding Grace is available now on iTunes and on DVD May 5th.