GRAMMY® Award-winning Christian singer Russ Taff reveals the private pain behind his public image in the new documentary I Still Believe, arriving in theaters as a Fathom Events presentation. The film, directed by Rick Altizer (Chonda Pierce: Laughing in the Dark), features archival photos and footage from Taff's long career along with personal accounts from the singer, his wife Tori and colleagues Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Bart Millard, Bill Gaither, Mark Lowry, Chonda Pierce and Michael Tait.
I Still Believe is a music-lover's dream, charting the success of a young singer from Arkansas in local ensembles, then the popular group the Imperials through solo projects Walls of Glass, Medals, Russ Taff, Winds of Change and Under Their Influence. While celebrating his musical contributions and showcasing his unmistakable vocals, however, it also relays a story of deep pain, reconciliation and healing.
The film's title reflects one of Taff's signature songs but also serves as a bold proclamation of a faith that has endured hardship. Carrying private personal pain and a battle with alcohol abuse for years, Russ and his wife, Tori, felt that the time was right to pull the curtain back and share their story with the world.
"As I'm moving into the last part of my life, I just want to give God glory," Taff said. "I want to tell everybody what He did and how He did it, about the miracle that happened to me. I would hate to go, with my time on this earth being done, without telling people what Jesus did for me."
Tori, Russ' wife of 42 years and cowriter of many of his most popular songs, including "We Will Stand," also hopes that the couple's story will give hope and inspiration to others who may be facing similar struggles.
"I know what it feels like to feel really alone in this," she said. "If someone, during the worst of it, had dragged me into a theater for a one-night only Christian movie and I saw somebody up there that said, 'Yeah, it was bad, and we are in a good place now, and it took years and it took a ridiculous amount of hard work, but this is how God did it for us,' that would have been remarkable."
The couple's two daughters, Madi Rose and Charlotte, also appear and speak from their own perspectives. Originally, Russ and Tori were hesitant to include them and even filmed most of the movie without their involvement before finally realizing that "they have a story, too."
"It's not fun and it's not pretty, but they deserve to have a voice in this," Tori said. "They're 22 and 26 years old, so we said, 'What do you want to do?' And they both said, 'We want to speak.'"
Taff, who will release his latest recording, Believe, on Nov. 2, featuring a new rendering of the anthem "I Still Believe," says Madi Rose and Charlotte served as inspiration for coming forward with his story.
"With my daughters, I just want them to see me as a person who fell but got back up," he said.
I Still Believe will release for one night only in 600 theaters on Tuesday, Oct. 30. Immediately following the film, theater audiences will have the opportunity to view a special acoustic session with Russ and his friend, multi-GRAMMY® Award-winning singer/songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman. For information on tickets and theater locations, visit Fathom Events.
DeWayne Hamby is a communications specialist and longtime journalist covering faith-based music, entertainment, books and the retail industry. He is also the editor of the White Wing Messenger, director of communications for the Church of God of Prophecy and author of the book Gratitude Adjustment. Connect with him at dewaynehamby.com or on Twitter - @dewaynehamby.
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