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Southlake Style

Southlake Resident Produces Film That Inspired the Late Thomas Kinkade

Jul 29, 2015 04:07PM ● By Kevin

Southlake Resident Ben Dane. Photo by Jeff Nicholson, courtesy of IMDB.

The independent feature, “Beyond The Farthest Star” and The Thomas Kinkade Company announce the national city-by-city release of the film and unveiling of a new painting inspired by the story. 

The film stars Renée O’Connor, Todd Terry and Barry Corbin, along with Billy McNamara, Andrew Prine, Cherami Leigh and Lou Beatty, Jr., and is distributed through a unique theater-on-demand system by Gathr Films®.

"It is an honor to have our film associated with an artist whose work consistently reflects belief in home, family, and hope in a time so callous and cynical in its social, political, and artistic expression,” says writer/director Andrew William Librizzi.

Librizzi worked closely on the film with Southlake's own Ben Dane, who served as the executive producer of the film. Dane has also done work as an actor and producer in the past, known for "The Significant Other," a romantic comedy, and "Still Born," a drama short. Librizzi and Dane worked together on "Still Born."

"We started talking about a feature film, of course 'Beyond The Farthest Star,' a realistic portrayal of a family spiraling out of control," Dane said. "We talked about the concept first. He did some initial writing. We were doing stage readings in Dallas area with actors I knew. Everything seemed to work right. We went from there."

Dane grew up in Houston and has lived in Southlake for the past 10 years.

"In several projects I worked in where I’m not a producer, it’s your job to say the lines on the stage and play the character," he said. "You have to know the character and create a character and know your lines, be there on time and just work. With this film, I was able to be very involved in the project form Day 1. All those things have been wonderful. It’s even better when you really love the project. As a producer, you’re team building, working with other creative and making the project happen. That’s what’s exciting about it. It gives you something to be passionate about."

Early in 2012, famed artist Thomas Kinkade experienced a rough-edit of Beyond the Farthest Star and was inspired by its story. The “Painter of Light” usually crafts a sketch, then watercolor, for concept, color and layout before completing a final painting in oil. However, days after the initial work, Kinkade died suddenly. 

After the unfinished work sat dormant in the Kinkade vault for some time, Thomas Kinkade’s brother, Patrick Kinkade, wished to see his brother’s vision to completion. Patrick, who now serves as the Thomas Kinkade Company’s Chief Creative Officer, encouraged his son (and Thomas’s nephew), Zachary Thomas Kinkade, to consider completing the original idea. Zachary, now continuing the Kinkade legacy as a resident artist at the Company, was inspired to explore Thom’s original concept and paint a new impression of the film’s story. 

The film itself had a few hiccups along the way outside of Kinkade's sudden passing, including some issues off the set. It took many years for the project to come full circle, but it was worth it, according to Dane.

"Overall it made the project richer, far greater and we’ve had so many wonderful things happen through the process," Dane said. 

Patrick Kinkade says, “Thom was deeply moved by the film. It’s a shame he was unable to finish the painting. Despite that great loss, we at the Thomas Kinkade Company are thrilled that Zac was compelled to complete the painting in his own style and bring this vision to fruition.” 

The painting honors the film and Thomas Kinkade’s concept with the characters from the film looking up into a night sky over a quaint Texas city. Thomas Kinkade’s luminosity technique was used to capture the glowing stars in the sky above and the lights of the idyllic city below. 

"The film deals with brokenness and a lot of contemporary issues," Dane said. "I think there’s a lot of unspoken things the film deals with that people struggle silently with. They have a little bit of quiet desperation, especially in the time we’re living in. There’s a lot of unanswered questions. We live in a very  precocious, very cautious time where there's no guarantees. 

"We’ve have so many positive reviews on the film. We had one the other day that said this film is a trendsetter. It’s going to break new grounds for indy film making because it is so different."

The painting will be released on Monday, August 17, 2015, at a special screening of Beyond the Farthest Star at the AMC Palace Theater in Fort Worth, Texas. The event will be held at 7 p.m. and Patrick and Zachary Kinkade will be in attendance to unveil the finished painting and meet with attendees. Tickets are available online only here, and not at the door. Dane said that if interested viewers miss out on the performance, they can also visit this site to schedule a viewing of the film at their desired location.

The film has 23 confirmed screenings scheduled through the end of the year across the country, including eight in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Other one-night events include Houston, San Antonio, Burbank, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, Pittsburgh and Phoenix, with more expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Dane's experience with Kankade comes years before his first encounter with the film.

"I always admired Thom and his work because he uses luminosity," Dane said. "When you turn down the lights in the room and the painting glows, like the lights come on in the painting. His art has always been full of hope. My wife and I have a print that hangs in our living room (Hometown Memories). It’s kind of Norman Rockwellish. We love the painting because it’s representative of what we believe in, in family. It was purchased many years ago.

"One of the things I think is so incredible is thom was always called a painter of light, but he struggled with the dark issues. Human issues. Everyone always saw the paintings he painted, the wonderful images full of hope. I think that for us in the film, there are real, dark issues in the film that people sweep under the rug and you don’t want out in the open. Even though the family struggles, there’s hope. There’s a unique connection between his work, his light, and the film. Without shadows, you can’t have light."

Pathlight Entertainment, in cooperation with the Kinkade Company, is releasing the film and Kinkade painting. Starting Aug. 10, in special Gathr Films® one-night cinema events, Beyond The Farthest Star will begin showing in multiple cinemas. 

This grassroots system allows fans to demand when and where they experience “Star”, on the exact day and time they select, in top-brand cinemas across the country. The film has also inspired a Harper-Collins novel by best-selling author team, Bodie and Brock Thoene, and remake of the classic song, “Beauty For Ashes” by Dove Award-winning Crystal Lewis.

Richard Propes, The Independent Critic says, "Beyond the Farthest Star is that rare film with the courage to speak a harsh and authentic truth while never losing sight of its grander truth." 

In the film, Pastor Adam Wells, revered as "the Next Billy Graham" of the sleepy Texas town, faces circumstances forcing him to choose between church superstardom and his fractured family. His decision changes everything.

Information provided by Robinson Creative Inc., with contributions from Southlake Style Web Editor Kevin Haslam.

Pat Kinkade Talks Beyond the Farthest Star

Pat Kinkade Talks Beyond the Farthest Star from BTFS Movie Channel on Vimeo.

BTFS Official Trailer "Truth" 2015

BTFS Official Trailer "Truth" 2015 from BTFS Movie Channel on Vimeo.

A twist of fate brings the national spotlight to a forgotten Texas town and a once famous preacher has an opportunity to regain his former glory or seize one last chance to restore his fractured family. Narrated by his fifteen-year-old daughter, we watch as Adam Wells, a minister driven by the prospect of achieving greatness as the next nationally-syndicated TV Evangelist lays down his opportunity at “celebrity” and even his own life in order to become something even greater... A loving husband and father to his wife and daughter.

Crystal Lewis' Beauty for Ashes

Crystal Lewis' Beauty for Ashes from BTFS Movie Channel on Vimeo.

From Crystal Lewis' "Twenty-Five" CD and Pathlight Entertainment's "Beyond the Farthest Star" movie soundtrack.