Monday, September 19, 2016

A Kentucky Teenager's Message of Hope

These are empowering times for aspiring young filmmakers. Consider Josiah Stendel.

In 2013, at age 13, the Richmond, Kentucky native founded his own independent media production company, Menlo Lights. In 2015, he released the faith-based short Every Man's Pryce, about a pickpocket whose life changes course after he is released from jail.

Up next for Stendel, now 16, is a red carpet premiere Thursday at the Kentucky Theatre in Lexington of his latest short drama Orphaned Courage. Chad Sigmund stars as an orphan who learns that his long-lost brother is alive and has become a gang leader. In an interesting plot twist, the orphan character, Elliot Thompson, has been raised by a retired MMA fighter.

All proceeds from the September 22nd event will go to ABBA Fund, an organization that provides interest-free loans for families seeking to adopt a child. That's right; this accomplished young man is already finding ways to charitably benefit others through his art.

From a recent interview with the Richmond Register:

Stendel said inspiration for the film came from his own family, which includes four adopted cousins. “I knew early on I wanted to spread the message of hope that it doesn’t matter whose DNA you have, but whose heart you have,” he said.

Sigmund, an experienced actor, pays Stendel a lot of nice compliments in the article. The filmmaker also released a 2015 concept short titled What You See

[Orphaned Courage]

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