By Andrew Beers
Getting Grace is a comedy film that explores the humorous side of death at a young age. Writer, producer, director and star Daniel Roebuck plays Bill, an isolated funeral director. When he gets a visit from the quirkiest girl in the Lehigh Valley area, his life gets flipped upside down.
Grace, played by Madelyn Dundon in her breakout role, is a teenage girl suffering from cancer and wants to understand the meaning of life and what to expect before dying. This is why she seeks out the funeral director, but instead finds a friend and a father figure. Her mother, played by the lovely Marsha Dietlein Bennett, is a suffering alcoholic, using booze as a way to deal with the stress of losing a child.
Although all three characters face challenges in the film, Grace holds everyone together by using her high spirits and enthusiasm even in the face of death.
This film was created locally in the backyard of DeSales, and the entire film was shot and set in the Lehigh Valley while also being dedicated to the Valley’s citizens. With nostalgic shots of historical and noticeable landmarks, the audience’s eyes were glued to the screen.
Screened on Oct. 25, the Salesian Center at DeSales sponsored the event in the Commonwealth Room of the DUC. The comedy delighted the audience during the movie screening and gave the Lehigh Valley natives hope for the future in film and fame in the area. The idea of this film was to show Hollywood what this area has in store and how films can continue to be fun and bring audiences closer to family and to God.
Before he proceeded with the screening of the film, Roebuck opened the screening by lightening the tension in the room with a few jokes. Once the film concluded, Roebuck addressed the cast and producers of the film with a Q&A that was opened to the audience to ask question not only about the film, but future projects for the Lehigh Valley area. Roebuck gladly announced a second film will be shot in the Lehigh Valley and that his production team is beginning to get backing from Hollywood.
The night was filled with laughter and smiles as everyone felt so grateful for what Roebuck and his team has done for the community. Roebuck explained how touching the subject of cancer and death is, and made sure to let the younger viewers in the audience understand that it is not wrong to ask questions before loved ones pass away.
A booth was set up outside the screening area that not only sold T-shirts, movie posters and the soundtrack on CD, but also card decks with information explaining what to ask a dying relative in a time of need. This film will be screened internationally and has been shown in over 100 theaters across the country. Getting Grace will also be out on DVD on November 7.