At a time when Christians in America are utterly dismayed and angry over the way secular progressives are implementing legislature to destroy our religious freedoms, God’s Not Dead 2 is the the right movie at the right time to bring hope and courage to a generation who is ready to stand up tall for what they believe in most!
At the premier of God’s Not Dead 2 in Hollywood this week a special kind of light illuminated the room. Some might say it was the impressive collection of talent that gave the room a diamond glow, or perhaps others might speculate it was the pure excitement to see the sequel to one of the most successful faith-based films in box office history.
But for believers, we know that when two or more are gathered in His name, Jesus will be there. And on this night there was no denying His Spirit filled the room with an invisible yet tangible presence.
The buzz was electric as six hundred guests took their seats at the elegant Director’s Guild of America Theater, regarded as one of the most distinguished screening venues in the country.
Co-Founders & Executive Producers David A.R. White, Michael Scott, Elizabeth Hatcher-Travis and Allison Wolfe (wife of the late Russell Wolfe) took to the stage to pay tribute to the cast and crew, and talk about the journey of their new film.
White gave thanks first to Director Harold Cronk, who directed both God’s Not Dead 1 and 2, and acknowledged the work of 10 West Studios.
Both White and Scott underscored how they could not have made this film without every single person on the Pure Flix team, but also made a point to commend their newest executive producer – Brittany Lefebvre for her excellent contribution to the film.
“We could not have done this without our incredible writers – Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon,” said White. “I also want to give a special thanks to Rice Broocks for all the hard work he did on this film in terms of helping out with the apologetics, the message behind the movie, and to really help bring that clarity and sharpness to the film.”
Then White rallied the audience in a round of applause for the impressive roster of talented actors including Melissa Joan Hart (ABC ’s Melissa & Joey), the handsome and talented Jesse Metcalf (Dallas), and multi-talented actress/singer/songwriter Haley Orrantia (ABC’s The Goldbergs).
Pure Flix stacked the deck with savvy ensemble casting, including reality television star Sadie Roberston (Duck Dynasty, Dancing with the Stars); Maria Canals-Barrera (Wizards of Waverly Place); Emmy Award winner Ray Wise; the legendary Pat Boone; Ernie Hudson (Oz, Ghostbusters); and the gifted Tricia LaFasche along with sassy Robin Givens.
Adding a touch of rock and roll to the film, the Newsboys deliver a riveting encore performance of their hit song “God’s Not Dead” highlighting the joy of the courtroom victory, and the power of Christ.
White wrapped things up with a tribute to his late partner, Russell Wolfe, who died last year at the age of 44 after losing his battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
“I just want to say, this last year has been an incredible journey for God’s Not Dead 2 and all of the things that God has put in our path… But I just really want to take some time to honor Russell Wolfe who passed away last year…he’s our partner, and his fingerprints and DNA are on this film. He weighed in on all the script stages, and yet he never had a chance to see the film shot…but this film is definitely a film for Russell. We love you Russ and with that, let’s roll.”
As the credits rolled the audience cheered. Kelly Shackelford, Esq., President & CEO of First Liberty said “This movie is riveting. And, as a leader of the largest legal organization in the country engaged solely in religious freedom across America, I can say this movie is dramatically similar to many of our real life cases.”
Maria Canals-Barrera who plays Catherine Thawley in the film, looked absolutely gorgeous in her black cut out floral gown. “I hadn’t seen it until tonight. I wanted to wait until the premier, and I’m very, very pleased,” she said. “The story is so well written and I’m so happy it was so well executed. It’s basically about our freedoms – freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and protecting those freedoms, and that’s all so very important.”
Canals-Barrera told SCH that she is shooting a new pilot called A Bronx Life with stand up comedian Vladimir Caamano. “I play his mama, and if it gets picked up, it will be on NBC.”
The after-party quickly got underway at the luxe London Hotel in West Hollywood, known for its iconic glamour, stylish allure and spectacular rooftop views. As guests munched on crab cakes and steak fajitas, they mingled, made new friends and tweeted after-party photos.
Accompanied by her stunning mother Korie Robertson, 18-year-old Sadie Robertson looked radiant in her demure red cocktail dress. Her gorgeous fresh face and mega watt smile lit up the room, but best of all, she maintains a humble spirit that speaks volumes to her Christian upbringing.
Korie Robertson, who shared a wonderful cameo role with husband Willie Robertson in the first God’s Not Dead movie, beamed over her daughter’s work in the new sequel, sharing with SCH that she couldn’t have been happier that this was Sadie’s very first movie experience.
Actress Haley Orrantia, who plays the key role of Brooke, is one of the breakout stars of the film. She looked heavenly in her pearly shimmer dress and mane of raven black hair.
Haley told SCH that her show The Goldbergs has been picked up for a 4th season. After she wraps up filming, she plans to spend this summer working on her music. Orrantia co-wrote and sings the song “Silence You” for the ending credits on God’s Not Dead 2. Her music genre is country-pop.
Orrantia reflected, “The premiere was a celebration of an amazing project with an extremely talented group of people. The movie turned out great and I was so happy to see the cast and some of the crew at the event. It was awesome to see all of our work come together to make such a heartfelt story.”
Maria Canals-Barrera who plays Orrantia’s mother tweeted: “Wow! @hayleyorrantia is fantastic in @GodsNotDeadFilm So cool to play her mama. :-)”
More than anything, this celebration was about the message of the film. Amidst a dazzling cast on a beautiful rooftop in Beverly Hills, it was crystal clear: all the honor and glory went to the ultimate unseen star of the film, our beloved Jesus.
To learn more about Bryan Seltzer’s photography and work, visit IPAnews.com
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