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Behind the Scenes of LETTERS TO GOD: A Movie That May Become a Movement
By Domenic Fusco, Contributing Writer
LETTERS TO GOD is the first of three faith-based family films the newly formed film company Possibility Pictures will produce. MOVIEGUIDE® had the opportunity to visit the film set in Kissimmee, Florida at “Give the Kids the World” village where Executive Producer Tom Swanson, Director David Nixon, and Producer Kim Dawson and the cast and crew members were furiously working on the final days of production.
LETTERS TO GOD is an inspiring film based on a true story of a young boy coping with cancer and the tremendous impact his faith had on the people around him. Although it is a drama, LETTERS TO GOD is filled with laughter, love, hope, and triumph. The cast includes entertainment veterans, talented young performers and “Wish Children” who have life threatening illnesses.
The movie opens April 9 in many theaters.
MOVIEGUIDE®: Why do you think this film will have appeal to people outside the Christian faith?
Executive Producer Tom Swanson: It is more than a movie, it is a movement. There are six billion people on this planet, most of whom have experienced the pain cancer brings to them and those around them or at the very least they are only a few degrees of separation from people in their community that are tried with the illness. LETTERS TO GOD will inspire the audience with faith, love and courage needed to face their trials just as the lives around Tyler (the character in the movie) are transformed through his faith. We will be providing the movie to various cancer institutions to encourage patients in their fight for life and peace.
MOVIEGUIDE®: What is the difference between working on FACING THE GIANTS, FIREPROOF and LETTERS TO GOD?
Director David Nixon: I was one of the producers on GIANTS and FIREPROOF but now I am directing LETTERS TO GOD so Kim and others have to be concerned with budgets, etc. One thing that is an obvious difference is the budget. We had $80,000 to work with on FACING THE GIANTS so outside of bare essentials we had to rely on volunteers for almost everything, including actors. It is amazing to have craft services and a cast of seasoned entertainers and know we are able to build production sets. I believe the results will be positively significant when LETTERS TO GOD hits the theaters.
MOVIEGUIDE®: You’ve produced the megahit TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES and THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB. This also is a family friendly project but of a more serious subject. How different is working on LETTERS TO GOD than any of the other successful projects?
Producer Kim Dawson: I have been in the entertainment industry for 35 years and realize that entertainment is culturally important. As I have gotten older, my faith in Christ has strengthened, and I find it a joy to not only leave the audience with a smile on the outside but it is now important for me to have the story leave a smile on the inside. I believe we are delivering God’s love through film and it will have an impact culturally. Also, the wonderful thing about LETTERS TO GOD is seeing faith in action on the set that is, the love of God from our first prayer in the morning to every event throughout the day. It is a blessing to see people walk their talk.
MOVIEGUIDE®: How will you build on the successful marketing of FIREPROOF?
Executive Producer Tom Swanson: FIREPROOF was the most successful independent movie of 2008 because of support we got from the pulpits in America. When the preacher asks his congregation if they saw FIREPROOF and then tells them it’s a great movie, they go. That’s why it was in the theaters for 35 weeks. This time we are supporting the major cancer foundations and organizations with the movie to help encourage their patients in their difficulties. They all have agreed to use their mailing lists to promote LETTERS TO GOD, so we are expecting a great amount of ministry to come of the message, not just money.