HBU Faculty Premiere New Feature Film
Cinema & New Media Arts | On Jul 14, 2016
This week, Manifest Destiny premiered in Santa Ana, California. The feature-length musical comedy adventure, loosely based on the historical Lewis & Clark expedition is directed by Anthony Parisi and executive produced by Joshua Sikora (Chair of Cinema, Media Arts, and Writing at Houston Baptist University). The film also co-stars Cinema & New Media Arts faculty member Jesse GrothOlson.
Originally conceived by comedy duo Jeremy Hoffman and Kevin Abrams, who star as Lewis and Clark, Manifest Destiny uses the iconic historical events as a springboard for a light-hearted satire that touches on themes of American identity, friendship, and sacrifice. Featuring ten original Broadway-style songs written by Hoffman and Abrams, the film acts as a timeless American fable.
In production for the last three years by a small independent team based in California, HBU’s Joshua Sikora helped produce the film long-distance, consulting throughout the production process and providing integral support in post-production. William Hellmuth and the film’s director, Anthony Parisi — both long-time collaborators with Sikora — spearheaded the production, which traveled throughout California and Oregon to provide the film’s epic on-location scenery.
Jesse GrothOlson, Assistant Professor of Cinema & New Media Arts, co-stars as an egomaniacal (and heavily fictionalized) Thomas Jefferson, the film’s comedic villain. After principal photography in California, pickup scenes were shot with GrothOlson in Houston, providing a brief opportunity for several HBU students to serve as production assistants.
Manifest Destiny premiered on July 13 at The Frida Cinema, an arthouse theater in historic downtown Santa Ana, California. The premiere begins a cross-country tour that includes screenings at the Seattle International Film Festival Center and the Macon Film Festival in Georgia. The filmmakers expect to bring the film to Houston later this fall. Updates on future screenings can be found at the Manifest Destiny Facebook Page and Blu-Rays, DVDs, and the film’s soundtrack are all available for purchase at manifestdestinymovie.com.