‘The 211 Home’ to have advance screening at Garden Cinemas

  • Tate Andersen stars in “The 211 Home” as Daniel O’Malley, a 14-year-old baseball lover heartbroken when he does not receive a new fielder’s glove for Christmas, only for two strangers to help him understand the true meaning of the holiday. IMAGE STILL

  • Tate Andersen, center, Nick Dent, and Sharonne Lanier star in “The 211 Home,” a movie about a 14-year-old baseball lover heartbroken when he does not receive a new fielder’s glove for Christmas, only for two strangers to help him understand the true meaning of the holiday. IMAGE STILL

  • Brattleboro, Vt., resident Michael Gantt stars as Nathan Caponi in “The 211 Home,” a movie about a 14-year-old baseball lover Daniel O’Malley, who is heartbroken when he does not receive a new fielder’s glove for Christmas, only for two strangers to help him understand the true meaning of the holiday. IMAGE STILL

  • The Garden Cinemas on Main Street in Greenfield. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 9/16/2021 4:37:41 PM

GREENFIELD — How does Christmas in September sound?

The Garden Cinemas plans to hold an advance screening of “The 211 Home,” an independent film produced by New Shepherd Films, on Saturday. The movie, which will be shown at 9:30 a.m., tells the fictional story of 14-year-old Daniel O’Malley, heartbroken on Christmas when his grandfather gives him the old baseball mitt he used as a child instead of a new fielder’s glove, only to meet two strangers who help him understand there is more to the holiday than receiving the perfect present.

“It’s sort of a feel-good movie. Think of it as a Hallmark film, Christmas film, with a Christian theme. It’s a … heartstring-puller,” said Isaac Mass, who owns the Garden Cinemas with his wife, Angela. “I think the people who come to it will enjoy it.”

There is no charge to attend the advance screening, though donations will be accepted to help New Shepherd Films founder Jim Huggins recoup some of the money he poured into making the film. Huggins took Paul Morin’s short story “The Christmas Express” and adapted it for the silver screen. He also directed the flick. Last week, the U.S. Air Force veteran announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for governor of Oregon, where he lives and where the movie was filmed. Attempts to contact Huggins were unsuccessful.

One of the strangers the main character meets is played by the Rev. Michael Gantt, a Brattleboro, Vt., pastor who recently retired after 40 years in the pulpit. Gantt said the movie was filmed in October 2020.

“It was a fun movie to make. I really enjoyed it,” he said, adding that the cast was broken down into three groups that shot scenes separately. “Some have experience, some have never been in front of a camera in their life.”

Gantt explained three or four stories collide to create a separate tale. The film has won film festival awards for its screenplay and poster art.

“There’s no profanity, no violence, no nudity or sexual content or anything,” he said. “We’re really committed to making films the whole family can see together.”

Gantt said the movie will be released in time for Christmas, though there is not yet a confirmed date. He is also hosting other pre-release screenings in the Northeast in hopes of reducing some of the film’s debt.

Gantt mentioned New Shepherd Films got its name from Huggins’ history of rescuing German shepherds.

“Telling stories that highlight God at work in everyday lives without beating the viewer over the head with the Bible is what drives our efforts,” the studio’s website reads. “We will not deliver a ‘sermon in a box.’”

More information about “The 211 Home” and New Shepherd Films is available at bit.ly/397LQa4. The trailer can be watched at bit.ly/2XooQl4.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.




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