Talega Life Church of San Clemente, CA Opens its Doors For Private Screening of 'Welcome to Paradise' for The Performer's Academy Alumni

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A screening of "Welcome to Paradise" was held for the Alumni of The Performer's Academy, a performing arts school located in Laguna Hills, California. Brent Huff is a film director, writer and actor who also is a drama teacher at the Academy.

This film is about relationships, opening our hearts and helping those less fortunate, about moving past our judgments, having faith, believing, and putting the Word into action

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A screening of "Welcome to Paradise" was held for the Alumni of The Performer's Academy, a performing arts school located in Laguna Hills, California. Brent Huff is a film director, writer and actor who also is a drama teacher at the Academy.

Brent and William Shockley co-wrote Huff's most recent directing effort, "Welcome to Paradise." The film, produced by Patrick Stack and "Out of Pocket Films", stars Crystal Bernard ("Wings") Brian Dennehy ("Cocoon") and William Shockley ("Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman"). Brent found himself in need of many teenage characters for his film, and subsequently asked for volunteers from the "Performer's Academy" to take part in the movie.

The response was tremendous. Over 200 students and their families participated in the production of the film, and Sunday night (October 22) they were treated to a private screening of this faith-based film.

The challenge was finding a venue in South Orange County to screen the film. Many of the churches in the area were contacted, but for one reason or another, none could accommodate the request.

Nikki Stafford, a mother of a student at the "Performer's Academy," suggested "Talega Life Church in San Clemente." Pastor Pondo Vleisides graciously opened up his church for the screening and the "Performer's Academy."

"Welcome to Paradise" is an inspirational family story of a preacher who is sent from a big city church in Dallas to Paradise, Texas; a small, rural community in desperate need of direction. The fact that the preacher is named Debbie only complicates matters. Debbie finds a town that is stuck in complacency, as well as a community that has turned its back on its most needy neighbors. Debbie begins building a new vision for her congregation, and the veil of indifference begins to lift. When the Paradise Church is accidentally burned to the ground, and it's charter in danger of being revoked, the members rally around Debbie, and in doing so, realize that a "church" is defined by the people, not by the four walls that house a Sunday Service. Debbie's kindness and unique approach bring a breath of fresh air to this small country town. It also brings her a second chance at love.

Patrick Stack, Brent Huff and William Shockley were on hand for a Q&A session after the film. The response was overwhelming.

Parents, students of the Academy and members of the church that were in the audience, all agreed that "Welcome to Paradise" offers a fresh alternative for family entertainment.

Natalie Costa, owner of "The Performer's Academy," stated, "As a mother of a 13 year old child, I find that there is a serious lack of family oriented films available to us. For years, we've been reduced to watching animated films, films with talking animals, and now that my daughter is older, we find formula films about teenagers that our children can't relate to, nor do we want them to relate to. "Welcome to Paradise fills that void. Last night after the screening, my daughter talked for hours about the plight of 'Frances and Trevor' (two homeless characters from the film). She was very moved by their situation, and touched in a very good way by the movie."

"This film is about relationships, opening our hearts and helping those less fortunate, about moving past our judgments, having faith, believing, and putting the Word into action," says Lisa Green of San Clemente.

"This movie is a faith-based film that speaks to the human spirit. It makes you laugh, makes you cry and gives you chills. My family immensely enjoyed it. This film's message will resonate across America. The music was tremendous. Our family loved this movie," says Mitzie Lazarus of Anaheim Hills.

Pondo Vleisides maybe said it best. "As a pastor, I found this film not to be about religion, but a story about humanity, about right over wrong, about people rallying to help each other. This is what truly touched my heart."

"Welcome to Paradise" will be released in early 2007.

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NATALIE COSTA
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