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In collaboration with Sophia Stephens from Philosophy Productions, Brian Owens and his VIE Creative Group artistic infrastructure has co-wrote, directed and produced two short holiday films, “A New Holiday” and “An Intimate Christmas,” which will both air on Christmas Day on NINE PBS.

The films are associated with Owens’ LIFE Creative STL ecosystem, which encompasses his for-profit production company LIFE Creative Group. It provides resources and creative opportunities to underserved communities interested in telling the stories of St. Louis through film, television, music and more.

Additionally, the business benefits Life Arts Inc., a non-profit organization founded in 2015 by Owens and now led by Darius Williams, focused on developing today’s leaders through developing people with an approach. artistic. Both work simultaneously to bridge the gap between an individual and an institution, creating an industry that benefits the community.

“A New Holiday,” follows the story of 10-year-old Thelma, played by Riley Adams, as she is struck by the tragedy of losing her grandmother during the Christmas season. Her grief soon turns to hope, joy, and love, which shows her the true meaning of the party.

Although Adam’s life experience differs from that of her character as she has never lost anyone close to her, she said that she was able to put herself in Thelma’s shoes from a what point of view. ‘she feels that she hasn’t seen her grandmother for a long time.

“I haven’t seen my grandmother face to face in years, and it makes my heart sad sometimes to know that because she always has kind words for me and gives me a lot of confidence”, a- she declared.

Adams also said it’s important to live your life even after losing a loved one.

“When you lose someone and you have to do one of their favorite things to do without them, you need to persist and make sure you don’t stop since they’re gone,” she said. “You’ve had some amazing moments that you don’t want to lose or forget, but you still need to keep an open mind.”

Owens and Stephens said the main message they want viewers to take away from “A New Holiday,” despite the unprecedented times of the ongoing pandemic, is that we still have plenty to be thankful for.

“There’s a line in the movie where I say, ‘A gift from the past unwraps the joy you once had,’” Stephens said. “We filmed in the middle of the pandemic and were fully aware of what was going on. We didn’t want to act like we didn’t know what was going on. We wanted to encourage those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 and / or who may be suffering from other circumstances. “

The all-black cast also stars Stephens, who stars as Joy, Kennedy Holmes from NBC’s “The Voice,” jazz singer Anita Jackson and nine-time Grammy trumpeter Wynton Marsalis as the narrator. It also features musical performances by Bebe Winans, Karen Clark-Sheard and saxophonist David Sanborn.

The original music is by Owens, Jarrett Johnson, Charles Ransom and Stephanie Holly.

“A New Holiday” was shot at Jazz St. Louis, Powell Symphony Hall and Sheldon Concert Hall.

Owens said “An Intimate Christmas” was written with Malena Smith in mind, a promising singer-songwriter he’s been a mentor since 2015, in whom he sees great potential.

“I wanted to build something around the positioning of Malena, so that people can really see what I see in her and I thought that a vacation movie would be the perfect place to do it,” he said. he declares.

A press release says: “The movie is a Christmas musical that chronicles the lead role of Smith, who is cast in a holiday livestream at the last minute by its over-enthusiastic director, whose actions feature questionable behavior in the name. of the holiday spirit. “

Smith, who is primarily a singer-songwriter, said she had a great time performing herself and hardly felt like she was performing. She said she wanted viewers to walk away from the movie knowing that less is more and that you just need to be themselves.

“I’m an outgoing person, who can be fiery at times, but as I got older I learned that life is all about simplicity and little things that don’t need a ton to make sense of things,” she declared.

“A New Holiday,” follows the story of 10-year-old Thelma played by Riley Adams as she is struck by the tragedy of losing her grandmother during the Christmas season. Her grief soon turns to hope, joy, and love, which shows her the true meaning of the party.

She sang and recorded two songs for the film, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “Auld Lang Syne”, both available on all streaming platforms.

The Mighty Pines, Joshua “Paco” Lee, and Soul Sanctuary have appearances in the film. It was filmed on location at the University of Missouri-St. Louis Touhill Performing Arts Center.

The two productions are approximately 30 minutes in length and will air consecutively on Christmas Day from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. CT. They will also be available online, on demand via and the PBS Passeport platform.

From Christmas Day (until early January), both productions will also be available in full on Brian Owens’ YouTube channel:

Paid interns contributed to both the films and the AP for LIFE Artist-in-Residence, who assisted with screenwriting, set design, filming and post-production.

“These productions are a testament to the grace of God and the rich talent that we have here in St. Louis,” Owens said in a press release. “Making productions of this caliber with high quality talent, story and visuals was wonderful for everyone involved. We are excited to re-spotlight our 2020 production of “A New Holiday” and, new for 2021, “An Intimate Christmas” in time for the holidays. These are varied and local holiday stories that can be enjoyed freely by anyone, thanks to our friends at NINE PBS. “

About George M. Lovelace

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