Have you ever known someone who was determined to keep you at a distance, to make you feel foolish, frustrated, or angry every time you came near? Meet one Fannie Fairchild, the crotchety old woman who is the centerpiece of a new movie called “Flowers for Fannie.” Flowers is an original film produced by dear friends of mine, Fred and Sharon Wilharm. Today, I would like to introduce you.
The Wilharm family consists of mom, dad, and daughter – Sharon, Fred and Brittany. To the casual eye they are a perfectly normal family living in a perfectly normal little southern town, except for one thing – they make movies. I don’t mean home videos of sweet family moments; I mean full length feature films. The Wilharms are a rare breed. They don’t seem to know that regular families don’t make feature films. They don’t seem to be bothered by the enormous logistical nightmare that is making a movie. They don’t seem to understand little things like “difficult” or “impossible.” They want to make movies, and so they do. The Wilharms live with an incredible sense of possibility. It is in their DNA, and it is inspiring.
Flowers is the second full length film in the Wilharm collection, and it is charming. The screenplay was written and directed by mother, Sharon, filmed and produced by father, Fred, and daughter Brittany plays the young female lead, Louise. Add to the cast numerous friends, church members, locals, and several experienced actors. Together they create an intriguing troupe of everyday people who become witnesses to a miraculous transformation – that of Miss Fannie Fairchild.
Miss Fannie is a widow who lost her beloved George in the First World War. Over the 60 years she has been alone she has become stiff, stubborn, and difficult. Life is her opportunity to correct, criticize, and demand. Enter Louise, a young girl who lost her parents in a car wreck when she was in high school. Louise knows the weight of loneliness. She can see Miss Fannie with eyes of compassion, and she is a persistent thoughtful soul. Enhance the character mix with quirky relatives, a self-seeking opportunist, caring but frustrated neighbors, and a community of folks who don’t quite know what to do with Widow Fairchild.
With persistence and love, Louise extends an olive branch that Mrs. Fairchild cannot refuse. Along the way this story offers romance, heartache, intrigue, and humor. Quirky characters and small town charm weave their way into your heart and in the end, you are glad you got to know them. The Wilharms will tell you this movie was a labor of love – not a Hollywood blockbuster, but a hometown film about the heart, hope and believing in the impossible.
The truth is, when we meet a “Miss Fannie” in life it often feels like the prospect of change is remote if even imaginable. Transformation seems an unlikely outcome; too much to hope for. In Flowers for Fannie we are reminded that persistent unfailing love can reach the depths of a hardened human soul. Love can change us. Love has the power to bring new life when things appear lost or too far gone.
It seems the crucial element is a belief in possibility coupled with the willingness to work for it – to persist, invest, risk failure, embarrassment, and rejection. In the movie, Louise’s risk pays off and a life is forever changed. In real life the Wilharms took this risk as well. They believed in possibility and they worked for it – persistently, with a profound investment of time and money, facing the risk of failure, embarrassment, and rejection. This is what it takes in life to get a miracle. This is the power of Goodness. And this power resides in all of us.
I invite you to watch the trailer for Flowers for Fannie below. If you would like to see the film in full they are offering a FREE online screening on January 26, 2013 at 7:00PM CT. You can view it at the official website: www.flowersforfanniemovie.com. You can also purchase a copy of the movie there.
I am so proud of my friends and their effort to spread Goodness in this way. Let the courage of the Wilharms and their story of Fannie inspire you. Let yourself believe in the impossible! Your commitment to persistence, risk of failure, and investment can put you in the position of a life forever changed – you never know what might happen!
Have you seen a goodness movie lately? We have one to recommend.