A star-studded cast provides a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays with Fathom Events production Buttons. This new musical film in theatres on December 8, 2018 is a heartwarming musical movie that includes veteran actors Dick Van Dyke (Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Returns), Angela Lansbury (Murder, She Wrote and Mary Poppins Returns), with narration by Kate Winslet and Robert Redford.
Buttons, a new musical film, especially appropriate for the Christmas season. From creator and director, Tim Janis, Buttons tells a lovely story of how deeds of kindness, especially for vulnerable children, leave lasting legacies. Buttons, is a delightful, musical tale with universal themes about the faith and answered prayers of a nun (Roma Downey) as two guardian angels (Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury) rescue vulnerable orphans.
This special Fathom Event includes a lovely tribute to legendary dancer, director and choreographer Gene Kelly, hosted by Kelly’s wife and biographer Patricia Ward Kelly. Patricia shares intimate, behind-the-scenes stories about some of her husband’s most popular and universally beloved movies.
Narrated by Robert Redford and Kate Winslet, the film also features beautifully and appropriated cast actors Abigail Spencer, Jane Seymour, Roma Downey, Ioan Gruffudd, Katie McGrath, Robert Picardo, Charles Shaughnessy, Paul Greene, John de Lancie, and “Nova” a song written by Sir Paul McCartney. The movie introduces Alivia Clark, Noelle Parker, Devlin Stark, Reilly Anspaugh, and Tom Rhoads.
This special Fathom Event includes a special tribute to legendary dancer, director and choreographer Gene Kelly, hosted by Kelly’s wife and biographer Patricia Ward Kelly. Join Patricia as she shares intimate, behind-the-scenes stories about some of her husband’s most popular and universally beloved movies.
Tim Janis is an American composer with 10 Billboard charting CDs, over 1 million albums sold, 4 National Public Television Specials, and more. He has worked with some of the top artists in the music and entertainment industries including Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Ray Charles, George Clooney, Jackie Evancho, and James Earl Jones. As a symphony maestro, he has conducted the Czech National Symphony, the Kwazulu Natal Philharmonic and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.
In 2012, Janis produced “The American Christmas Carol” concert for Kate Winslet’s Golden Hat Foundation supported by Sarah McLachlan, Loreena McKennitt, Andrea Corr, Hayley Westenra, Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, an orchestra, a choir, etc. in Carnegie Hall, and more. Buttons also serves Kate Winslet’s Golden Hat Foundation, an autism non-profit organization.
Having written his own music, studied piano, and received a degree in composition from the University of New Hampshire, Janis has released over 15 solo compositions, among them Etain (1996), A Thousand Summers (2002), Across Two Oceans (2004), and Coming Home (2005), as well as many Christmas recordings. Janis performed in a live special for PBS, 2001’s An American Composer in Concert, with the American Symphony Orchestra, which he conducted.
Sonoma Christian Home has a lovely, sweet, exclusive interview with multi-talented Tim Janis, who describes himself as a Christ-follower. SCH Editor at Large Dr. Diane Howard reports.
SCH: How did this movie event initially develop?
TJ: It initially developed in two ways. First, I was at a mass at St. Christopher’s when the idea came to me. Then Dick Van Dyke came across my song ‘Keep a Smile on Your Face’ and contacted me directly to say that we needed to do something with this song.
SCH: What attracted so many stars to participate?
TJ: They have been attracted to the cause and mission for this project.
SCH: How will you continue to promote this project with its wonderful causes and missions?
TJ: Tomorrow we have an event at Carnegie Hall to promote this project with proceeds going to Kate Winslet’s Golden Hat Foundation. Avril Lavigne, who came to Christ because of her struggle with Lyme disease, wants to participate in this project to support Lyme disease efforts. We hope to make this project an annual Christmas event with special guests and segments included each year, as we are doing with highlighting Gene Kelly’s work this year.
SCH: What do you hope audiences will gain from this project?
TJ: I am a Christ-follower and desire that audiences receive Hope and are inspired towards kindness.
SCH: How is this movie event timely and timeless?
TJ: This project has timeless messages of inspiration from God that encourage kindness, gentleness, meekness, and love for others that enable audiences to feel and see what is important, and can change hearts.
SCH: How will this movie event serve children with autism and others with severe challenges?
TJ: This project support efforts to serve the autistic, especially the non-verbal autistic. I have worked with Margret Ericsdottir’s and her son Keli, who has nonverbal autism, to develop his musical ability. Margaret would like to develop campuses to serve the non-verbal autistic… Avril Lavigne wants to participate in this project to support Lyme disease efforts. We have given 1,800 free tickets to this event to the USO for soldiers.
Tim Janis and his team bring gifts to our world that helps us see and experience Christ’s truth, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and more through multidimensional artistic prisms that engage our hearts, minds, souls, and lives towards Eternal Good.
Director and creator Tim Janis believes the uplifting message of this musical movie event comes at a relevant time for audiences of all ages. He also says, “I am thrilled to bring Buttons to theaters with Fathom Entertainment. I’ve always loved the classic Hollywood musicals and to work with Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury is an honor of a lifetime…Gene Kelly has also been a hero and inspiration to me, so I’m excited to include a special tribute to him hosted by Patricia Ward Kelly.”
Tickets for Buttons are now available at Fathom Events and participating theater box offices.
A portion of the proceeds from the movie will support Kate Winslet’s Golden Hat Foundation, an autism non-profit organization founded by actress Kate Winslet and Margret Ericsdottir. Their mission is to adjust and change the perception of people with autism by shining a light on their abilities and emphasizing their great potential. Winslet and Ericsdottir et al, believe that with appropriate education and career training, these individuals can truly realize their potential and dreams.
Buttons is a musical tale from creator/director Tim Janis that shines with magical beauty, dance, and song. The story is set in a New England mill town in the early 1900’s, during a time of robber barons, mills and rising industry, when a nun’s prayers are answered as two orphan children meet two unexpected visitors (guardian angels) who turn the tide of events and change the children’s lives and their legacies forever.
Emily, a sickly orphan, is rescued by the sisters of St. Mary on Christmas Eve, 1932 (Roma Downey and daughter, Reilly Downey Anspaugh). She is taken into a children’s hospital where she is visited by a mysterious Angel on Christmas Eve (Angela Lansbury) who reads her a tale about a young child named Annabelle. During Annabelle’s happy childhood, an Angel (Dick Van Dyke) helps her cope with her father’s long absences away at sea.
Annabelle’s life seems full of magic until tragedy strikes when she loses her parents. Her only remaining family is her mother’s rich but selfish stepsister, Mrs. Wentworth (Katie McGrath), whose husband (Robert Picardo) owns a textile mill that mercilessly uses child labor.
Instead of caring for Annabelle they send her away to work as a mill girl. There the other mill children treat her cruelly and call her “Buttons.” Annabelle runs away, but she ends up on the cold streets where she struggles to find food and shelter. Hearing of Annabelle’s escape, Mrs. Wentworth becomes paranoid that the truth will come out about her treatment of Annabelle and ruin her reputation, so she sends the overseer of the mill out to find Annabelle.
On Christmas Eve, after days of searching, finally he finds Annabelle and chases her through the woods where she is forced to cross the frozen river to escape him. However, Annabelle falls through thin ice and is submerged in the freezing water. But, suddenly she is pulled from the water by her Angel and carried to the church steps.
Inside the church the Browning family (Jane Seymour/Charles Shaughnessy) attends the Christmas Eve service, missing their daughter and sister they had lost to scarlet fever. Elizabeth, the older daughter hears a mysterious knock at the church door that no one else hears. She runs outside the door to discover Annabelle on the church steps covered in snow. The Browning family rescues Annabelle, bringing her home and adopting her.
Years later when Annabelle is now 28 (played by Abigail Spencer), she receives a mysterious letter from a woman named Rose who tells her of a young child, Emily in a children’s hospital in need of a home. In answer to the nun’s prayers, the love of guardian angels, Annabelle and Emily’s stories and legacies are woven together into a triumphant and heartwarming ending with universal inspiration and application.
To learn more about this author, please visit Dr. Diane Howard