Written by Cooper Dowd
Actress, producer, and writer Julia Verdin, best known for her successful projects on child trafficking like ANGIE: LOST GIRLS, recently announced that her inspirational family drama, ANGEL & AMY, began casting.
“A shy, 16-year old Amy just wants to dance, but her deafness causes her dreams to be shattered when she is bullied out of dance class by the crew leader,” the synopsis reads on the movie’s website. “Finding the most unbelievable new dance partner, her neighbor’s neglected dog, they perform a spectacular routine that lands them on a national TV talent show where they compete against her former crew for the championship.”
Partnering with executive producer Robert Craig, Verdin said that she is excited to get to work on bringing her script, which she entered into the Kairos Prize®, to the big screen.
“I’ve been doing a series of social impact films to raise awareness on child trafficking, which is an issue that I am very passionate about,” Verdin told Movieguide®. “I did a short film, LOST GIRLS, and then a feature ANGIE: LOST GIRLS. I’ve been very successful in raising awareness. I wanted to make a film that would really open up people’s hearts, lift their spirits, make them smile.”
Verdin used that attitude to pen her newest script.
“I saw this clip of a dancing dog and a young teenager that won a talent competition in England,” she continued. “It made me smile so much and really warmed up my heart. And I thought, ‘You know what? I want to make a movie around this.’ And then I also like to make films that are inspirational about characters that face challenges, against all odds, and have to come to success.”
Verdin and the team behind AMY & ANGEL revealed that one of the challenges Amy must face is dancing while deaf. According to Verdin, they want to cast a deaf actress in the lead role.
“So the concept of loving dance and wanting to be able to dance but not being able to hear the music and having that extra challenge would give it something else,” Verdin said.
She added: “I’m a great believer in whatever happens in life, whatever kind of lot you’re given, it’s about finding a way to make the best of that. And I wanted to show a character with a disability who didn’t let it get in her way, but just kind of had faith.”
Verdin noted that her faith plays a significant part in how she portrayed the central theme of faith in AMY & ANGEL.
“My faith is what really keeps me centered and grounded and always choosing to look at the best in every given situation, whatever happens. I tend to use that with the characters,” she said.
“I’ve learned in life all I can do is my best, [and that] is make movies out of love and make the movies that I feel I’m being called upon to do and put them out there and let go of the results,” she added. “With AMY & ANGEL the message is, if you have faith you can do anything. It’s just about not letting adversity get you down.
“This will be a movie that all the family can sit down together and enjoy. I like the idea of a kind of community, families coming together and finding films that they can all watch together and enjoy.”
Verdin credits Movieguide® Founder and Publisher Dr. Ted Baehr with helping her improve the script after she took his class, “How to Succeed In Hollywood Without Losing Your Soul.”
“I did a rewrite on the script after Ted’s class,” Verdin said. “Ted’s class was amazing and it really kind of made me think. I felt like the film script went to another level as a result of it.”
While AMY & ANGEL does not yet have a release date, check back to Movieguide® soon for updates and news.