Local brothers tap national talent for faith-based film project

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Hollywood sound operator Dean Thomas holds a microphone above actor Rich Swingle during a scene for the film "Second Chances," directed and produced by local brothers Elijah (in cowboy hat) and David Holston (not pictured). Courtesy photo

Young Coeur d'Alene filmmakers and brothers David and Elijah Holston are now just two degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon.

And Tom Cruise. And Ron Howard.

"I wake up and I’m so surprised this is happening, and that I’m directing as well," Elijah, 16, said Friday afternoon.

Among the talent hired for their first feature-length film, "Second Chances," is Hollywood sound operator Dean Thomas, who brings 30 years of experience to the project.

"He’s worked with Ron Howard on 'Frost/Nixon' and he’s done sound for a lot of the 'Jack Ryans,'" Elijah said. "He just moved up here because he got sick and tired of working on movies that further Satan’s kingdom, so he wants to make content for God’s kingdom."

"Second Chances" is a Christian film based on redemption and sacrificial love. It follows the life and actions of teenage protagonist Cameron Taylor, played by L.A. actor Cal Jennings, who experiences a family tragedy and a critical mistake that leaves him desperate for answers.

David explained that Cameron is saved halfway through the film, which "completely changes his whole worldview."

"I’m hoping that this would reach to the lost people and show them that they have to trust in God and that when they trust in him, he’ll lead their paths," he said.

David, who was featured in a Press article earlier this year for capitalizing on plowing snow in Seattle, is serving as the executive producer and helping to fund the $52,000 film budget.

Through connections with a staff member at a local radio station, the brothers connected with actors across the U.S. More than 500 responded to the call for auditions.

"It’s absolutely amazing," David said. "Back in April, we thought it was going to be an unprofessional movie. We had a very good script, but we were just going to have local homeschoolers in the movie, but then the Lord brought people to us."

Two of those actors are local — 12-year-old Ethan Drier of Spirit Lake, who plays little brother Drew, and Abigail Hovey of Post Falls, who plays a leading character, Elise Thompson.

Another actor is Rich Swingle of New York City, who has 32 acting credits on IMDB.com.

"My character (Alan Doherety) plays the spiritual mentor to the main character and I help him on his journey and introduce him to Jesus as his savior, and that brings a huge transformation in his life," Swingle said. "It’s my favorite kind of story and it’s done so well."

He lauded the Holstons for their professionalism and commended the work of scriptwriter Morgan Giesbrecht of Black Creek, British Columbia, for taking Elijah's plot and turning it into a great story.

"It really holds together,” he said. “We’re finding some marvelous moments.”

Giesbrecht wrote the 112-page script for "Second Chances" in a little more than four months. She has known the Holston family for a few years since they met at a homeschool conference in Washington.

She said she's always loved writing, but "I never thought I’d be doing something this big." The story came to her after a lot of praying and brainstorming, she said.

"(It's) really showing how, even in the struggles we have in life, even when we don’t feel like God is ther for us, he always is," she said. "It was a unique opportunity for me to explore that aspect in writing."

The film is being shot with a Panasonic 4K Cinema Series camera with a Fujinon 20-120 cinema lens at locations across North Idaho, including Coeur d'Alene, Athol and Hayden.

The brothers' film company, Steadfast Pictures, is expected to release "Second Chances" in the spring.

For information, visit www.steadfastpics.com or see Steadfast Pictures on Instagram.

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