Sandy, UT – MEGAPLEX THEATERS JORDON COMMONS – Hundreds of all ages attended the premiere of the latest film from veteran filmmaker, Mitch Davis (Other Side of Heaven, Christmas Eve) entitled “The Stray” (distributed by Purdie Distribution). The premiere was attended by a majority of the cast and crew including its two main stars, Sarah Lancaster (Chuck Everwood, Saved By the Bell: New Class), and Michael Cassidy (Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Men at Work).
Other notable figures in attendance were local legends Michael and Lynne McLean who provided the setting for the Colorado home of the Davis Family in the movie, T.C. Christiansen (17 Miracles, The Cokeville Miracle, Ephraim’s Rescue) who was Director of Photography for “The Stray”, and John and Jean Groberg who were the real-life inspiration for Mitch Davis’s film, “The Other Side of Heaven.”
The Grobergs attendance marked an announcement by Mitch Davis that the long-awaited film sequel to “The Other Side of Heaven” should begin production in Spring of 2018.
“The Stray” is the true story of a young family struggling to find that special balance between the various competing demands of work and family. With the serendipitous arrival of a stray dog into the family dynamic, and through a series of dramatic moments common to most growing families, the Davis Family determines that a change of career path and geography will save their family from its emotionally draining and deteriorating path.
After shifting from a demanding career in the film industry in Los Angeles, to trying his hand at Screenwriting in the mountains of Colorado, the Father (based on the life of the director, Mitch Davis, played by Michael Cassidy) hopes to reconnect with his oldest Son, Christian, (played by Conor Corum) by going on a campout with his son and two neighborhood boys. Struggling to find their destination lake, the band of beginner campers take a stop to set their tent for the night as a menacing storm approaches. Just as the campers are settling in for the night, a lightning bolt strikes the tent causing injury to the campers that propels the drama for the remainder of the story. Through their struggles on their campout, Father and Son, and the relationship between the husband and wife (played by Sarah Lancaster), strengthen bonds from their trials and a deeper appreciation for the sacrifice that love demands.
“The Stray” is a family movie in many senses of the word. The Stray was directed by Mitch Davis, whose real-life experience was the basis for the father character. The screenplay was written by Mitch Davis with his real-life son Parker Davis; both sharing producer credits as well. Music was by Christian Davis and the Film was edited by Marshall Davis. Other non-credited efforts were made by other members of the Davis family.
“The Stray” is also a family movie in the sense that there is nothing morally objectionable but also features characters of all ages from Mitch Davis’s toddler granddaughter (who plays his daughter in the movie), all the way up to the old, crotchety, obstinate and curt farmer-neighbor, Rod. Most powerfully this could be considered a family film as it centers around a family unit as the core of the dramatic elements.
“The Stray” is likely to be well received by audiences looking for a solid film option for children ages 8-12, and those who appreciate a film with faith-based or religious overtones to some of the dialogue and scenes. The film’s two main adult stars, Sarah Lancaster and Michael Cassidy performed perfectly in that they were realistic as both husband and wife, as well as parents; neither performance could be considered overly dramatic or underplayed. Audiences should not go into this film expecting stand out performances from the child actors, nor does the film claim to promote such. However, it could be said that they didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the film.
Shot primarily in Utah, the scenery is beautiful and story very approachable and not preachy as some might expect from a family-faith-based film. Don’t wait for Netflix to watch this movie. Take a cue from the main characters and use this movie as a vehicle to spend valuable and positive time with your children. “The Stray” is being released nationwide on 600 screens. To check listings in your area or to view trailers for the film, visit http://thestray.movie
Nick Galieti is an author, documentarian, and LDS Podcaster with LDS Perspectives and Book of Mormon Central. http://www.whatnickdoes.com
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