By Karen L. Willoughby, Managing Editor
WEST MONROE – What Rodney Ray, a member at First Baptist Church of West Monroe, saw when he attended the funeral of a war veteran became the linch-pin of his new film, Flag of my Father.
He saw five pair of hands reach for the flag that had draped over the veteran’s casket, Ray told pastors and other guests at a mid-March preview of the film that includes battle scenes from “Iraq” – which was shot entirely in Ouachita Parish.
“The storyline is real, the special effects are incredible, and the acting is intriguing,” said Jerry Price, director of missions for Northeast Louisiana Baptist Association. “The movie presents a solid patriotic theme and provides much-needed encouragement considering our current national situation.
“The message of the film centers on the values of sacrifice, commitment, and honor,” Price continued.
“Great movie,” said Steve Dozier, superintendent of schools in Union Parish. “I did a lot of looking back at my time in the service and after I came back. I felt it honored the veterans’ service to their country, and explained our loyalty to the flag.”
Andy Brown, Sheriff of Jackson Parish, said the film was “very inspiring. The message I got was that God gives us all a second chance.”
[img_assist|nid=6180|title=William Devane|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=74|height=100]Flag of my Father involves stage, screen and television actor William Devane as Vietnam veteran Jake, and his four sons, including John Schneider – famous for his role as Bo Duke on the televised Dukes of Hazzard – plus one daughter, Judith, whom the sons believe “Dad loved you best.”[img_assist|nid=6181|title=John Schneider|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=67|height=100]
Serving her country was an honor for Judith, who had served as an Army nurse during the Gulf War, but it left her with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, which she deals with in the film at the same time she’s dealing with her brother’s disdain of her. This intensifies when their father dies and the flag from his coffin becomes yet another point of discord.
In battles both in the war and at home, Judith relies on her faith in dialogue refreshingly honest and genuine, as it is for each character the film. As yet unrated – though a PG-13 rating is expected because of the battle scenes – there is no language nor action that should keep a Christian from bringing friends and family to see this film.
The Red Carpet Premiere of the film is set for 7 p.m. Friday, April 16, on a 32-foot-wide screen in the worship center at First West. Stars in the film, including Devane and Schneider, are to be at the black-tie event that has a per-person ticket price of $50.
The price drops to $10/person Saturday, for showings at 1, 4 and 7 p.m., also at First West. Veterans, active duty military, law enforcement and firefighters are to receive a 50 percent discount.
Saturday’s film-related events start at 7:30 a.m. with registration for a four-mile Run 4 My Father run/walk, with proceeds earmarked for the Northeast Louisiana War Veterans Home. Schneider has said he will run; Devane, that he will walk.
Also on Saturday at First West, live music, food, tethered hot air balloon rides, military displays and the actual Humvee blown up during the filming of Flag of my Father. A flyover of B-52 bombers was still tentative at press time.
For more information and tickets see www.r2films.net.