“Ways to Live Forever” is coming to select theaters starting July 19.
The film “Ways to Live Forever” is a poignant look of living with terminal cancer seen through the eyes of 12-year-old Sam played by actor Robbie Kay who chooses to live forever by recording his story. Sam possesses an inquisitive and courageous soul to face the unknown with openness and honesty.
Joining Sam on his quest to find answers and peace despite a ticking time table is his best friend Felix played by actor Alex Etel. Their camaraderie and adventures shine light through a spectrum that breaks apart the potentially dark unknown future from what is positively attainable in the present. Together they are able to start to accomplish Sam’s wishes that include going up down escalators and breaking a world record.
The film mentions the impact of recording your story where experiences can “lodge themselves into people’s hearts” like works of art that are left behind. What is temporary and what is eternal? Sam’s character is tested by life’s temporary assignment.
It is the relationships that enrich the film. Look out for Sam’s evolving relationship with his father played by actor Ben Chaplin. There is a turning point of acceptance and understanding.
What could be a cancer battlefield just laden with fear, depression and sadness is a battlefield fought with humor, joy, connection to reality and who matters most. The movie has moments that will endear the story of Sam and his family to you that can be watched over and over again.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Paul Hancock, the CEO of the Worldwide Motion Picture Corporation. Since 1977 the WWMPC has been a boutique distributing company that acquires high end independent films from around the world and prepares them for theatrical releases in the United States.
How did the WWMPC get involved with “Ways to Live Forever?”
Our selection process is based on several different criteria. Primarily it is the scope and feel of the film and if the film has a good sense of a theatrical release. When you go to see a film in the theater there is a different texture to the film verses a DVD release or something on cable. We are looking for something that has a big presence with some sort of message or sort of feel. We are a little bit different in the sense of we don’t cater to the big stars as the studios do but we do have a list of things we look for which can include how the story plays out, cinematography, script, dialogue and acting at a certain caliber. All of these things sort of blend together and apply to “Ways to Live Forever.” It didn’t have any major actors but a lot of very good actors that have been in a lot of things over the years that is reflected on screen to form a unique and special motion picture.
The message the film has for pediatric cancer has been fantastic. It has been really great with the families around the United States who have seen screenings and have just loved it. The other interesting thing is that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) that rates all films called me personally. They told me that when they were rating the film they thought that it was one of the best independent films they had seen in many years and it would be an artifact film. In other words, it is a film that people can hang on to and keep in their libraries for years to come.
What do you hope audiences take away from the film?
It is the sense that death is not a permanent situation and that even though one may leave this world their soul if you will or presence on earth with their family continues on and doesn’t evaporate. The film eloquently expresses even though you may pass away you’re not necessarily going to be forgotten. That feeling if you really think it through is very powerful and equating that to families that are going through this cancer ordeal with their kids—they want to have that special feeling that even though their child may pass away the child’s memory can be retained for many years to come. There is a comfort in that.
What is your hope for the film beyond the initial release?
These cities are the initial kickoff and then it will widen out to other cities in the US for the remainder of the year. Next year we will have a nice DVD release of the film, go to the cable television networks and it will go through the normal process of being released out. Most importantly, I am happy that our supporters around the United States get to see the film for their own personal use. It is a film that you can watch over and over again.
Can you explain the partnerships with the various cancer related organizations?
The relationships that we have with these organizations are based on essentially two tiers. One tier is an official contracted relationship that involves participation on a revenue basis. Some of the box office money that is received for the film goes back to their research departments to help find cures and help families and they in turn help support the film through their supporters such as John Hopkins in Baltimore, CHOC in Orange County and CHLA in Los Angeles. The second tier are organizations that wanted to be involved who support the film’s story and have become even more supportive as time goes by and get the word out.
Favorite moments or scenes that stand out to you?
One of the most powerful scenes is with Sam and his father. Sam is suffering from a seizure of sorts and the father is called to action to try to find some pills in order to get Sam to relax. It is a poignant moment because the father after finding and giving the pills to Sam expresses that he is panicked. Sam is the one who remains calm and helps his dad find the pills. The father then asks who is the son and who is the father? This moment expresses so many things about the process that people go through in a crisis where people can fall apart sometimes. Everyone needs to come together to make daily life possible.
Do you have any interesting stories in the making or distributing of this film?
It is all relative to the partnerships of the hospitals, organizations and foundations around the country. It is the first time that we have ever partnered with organizations on the philanthropic basis. It is an interesting process partly because it is not done that much in the film industry. We are sort of blazing a trail in that regard. It has been very fulfilling in that respect and frustrating in others due to the bureaucracies involved. Generally speaking it has been very unique. What we are doing essentially is carving out a specialized audience for the film who are touched by cancer.
Is there anything you want people to know about this film?
The most important thing for people to know is that the film although on the surface may seem like it would be depressing is in reality an uplifting and positive film. The film leaves the viewer with a sense of how things really work through families and the disease. I guarantee you that if you give it a chance you will like the film.
I know you have over three decades worth of experience invested in the film industry. What inspires you to do what you do?
It has been really a cathartic experience for me over the years. I originally got into the business in order to experience what it would be like to follow through with a film including the process and how film affects people and the world. It has been a real unique thing to see the differences that have occurred with the various genres that have played into the film industry, how the film industry affects our society, how media is affected by film and vice versa. The film industry really has a profound effect on society. It has been interesting for me to try to bring high quality films to the US that are basically foreign based that audiences in the US may not get a chance to see.
Don’t miss the film “Ways to Live Forever” and catch the film during the initial release beginning July 19, 2013 at the following locations:
AMC Burbank 8 – Burbank, CA
AMC Orange 30 – Orange, CA
AMC Empire 25 – New York, NY
AMC Cherry Hill 24 – Cherry Hill, NJ
AMC Valley View 16 – Dallas, TX
AMC Streets of Woodfield 20 – Chicago, IL
AMC Hampton 24 – Norfolk, VA
AMC Owings Mills 17 – Baltimore, MD
Main Website: http://waystoliveforevermovie.com/home/
Proud and thankful to be an American!
God bless America with —
Comfort for all who mourn;
Peace for all who are troubled;
Grace for all who are needy;
Courage for all who fear;
Strength for all who are weary;
Faith for all who are seeking;
Hope for all who are uncertain;
Protection for all who serve;
Wisdom for all who lead.
Enjoy this video featuring music from Michael W. Smith’s “Freedom” album.