Seasons of Gray: A Modern-Day Joseph Story, which opens Oct. 18 in theaters around the country, shares a timely response to the age-old question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?"
"If you're human and you've experienced disappointment and confusion, the story of Seasons of Gray will resonate with you," says Todd Wagner, senior pastor at Watermark Community Church in Dallas, which made the film.
The movie is the culmination of a nearly decade-old dream by former Watermark staff member Paul Stehlik, now a missionary in Africa, to share biblical stories through the medium of film, updated in a modern cultural context for contemporary audiences.
Seasons of Gray tells a beloved tale thousands of years old in a timely way that reaches far beyond the Christian community to mainstream audiences. The compelling story of Brady Gray (Andrew Cheney), the favored son of a two-time widower, begins on location at a Texas ranch. After Brady's father lavishes him with accolades and gifts, his half-brothers, fed up with his privileged position and arrogant attitude, kick him off the family ranch with a stern warning to never return.
What lies ahead is a roller coaster of ups and downs as Brady goes from restoring his life, obtaining a job and developing a love interest to being wrongly accused of sexual assault and thrown in jail. Throughout the story, despite questioning his life's purpose and plan, Brady remains devoted to his faith and learns the true meaning of forgiveness.
"Seasons of Gray is an inspiring story that proves that through the good and bad times in your life, God is with you," says Rick Santorum, CEO of Dallas area-based EchoLight Studios, distributors of the film. "Losing everything is what made Joseph who he was. Despite encountering extreme hardships, he remained faithful to God and his family. In the 'me-centered' culture in which we live, the film powerfully shares this vital message."
Directed by Stehlik with a screenplay written by his wife, Sarah, Seasons of Gray was shot using a professional crew and principal cast. An open casting call in Dallas attracted more than 250 individuals, including some actors who auditioned remotely from Los Angeles. About 400 volunteers, mostly from Watermark, helped make the film, doing a variety of tasks.
"People ask me, 'What in the world is a church doing making a movie?' And I say, 'Why in the world wouldn't a church do everything it could to spread a message of peace, redemption and hope?'" Wagner says. "We are not looking to get into the movie business, but we are in the people business, and are always looking to impact lives of individuals and families. Seasons of Gray has the potential to do just that."
Reviewers have praised the strong performances and high production values in the film, which won audience awards at the San Diego and San Antonio Christian film festivals. Best-selling author Max Lucado endorsed the film. His recent book, You'll Get Through This, also chronicles the story of Joseph.
"This modern-day retelling of the biblical story of Joseph is a powerful reminder that God will get us through, no matter what the circumstances, to a place of redemption and new beginnings," Lucado says.
Seasons of Gray opens Oct. 18 in Dallas-Fort Worth; Little Rock, Ark.; Phoenix; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Chicago; Alexandria, Minn.; Kansas City, Mo.; Stillwater, Okla.; and San Antonio.
"The story of Joseph is in many ways a picture of the story of Jesus," says Chris Mano, director of photography on the film, who also served as a producer and editor. "We want to show how God uses for good the things man intends for evil. We're excited about the film getting a chance to bring this message to a broader audience."
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