Helper and several other popular Castle Country locations will be on display as "The Wayshower," featuring Academy Award nominees Eric Roberts and Sally Kirkland, will simultaneously premier in Los Angeles, Calif., Price and Logan on March 8.
The film is the latest project from actor, director and producer Jsu Garcia, who has been a part of the movie industry for the past 30 years, appearing in films such as "A Nightmare on Elm Street," "Traffic," "We Were Soldiers" and "Along Came Polly." Shot on location in Helper, Goblin Valley and several other worldwide locations, "The Wayshower" has a solid grounding in the history of the region as Garcia's friend, mentor and collaborator Dr. John-Roger has family ties to the area.
According to Garcia, the film is a spiritual thriller which chronicles a man, who, while running from the past, finds a secret book with ancient powers, a tool that can give him the answers he seeks. However, a dark force will stop at nothing to reclaim the sacred text. When the book is stolen, an age old battle resumes. But the protagonist's teacher - a "Wayshower" - can only show him the path. He must travel the way on his own.
"At times it can be hard to write and film something you truly believe in, to put yourself out there," explained Garcia, who also stars in the movie, in a telephone interview. "However, the story in this movie is something that is close to my heart. It's about finding yourself; finding yourself through your spiritual teacher."
The movie has a strong local connection, as Sen. David Hinkins, who co-produced the film, happens to be a nephew to the movie's co-producer, co-director and co-writer, John-Roger. Garcia credits Hinkins as a great help in making Helper part of this movie and also for establishing a connection for the characters some of which have factual ties to this area.
"Honestly, the thing I enjoyed most about this movie was filming in Utah. The people there were so great to us from the very beginning," said Garcia. "People just aren't like that most places I have been. The level of generosity in Helper was amazing. They treated me very well. And I feel because of that we made a very good movie. JR (John-Roger) is the son of a coal miner and I was proud to make a movie out there."
While the script for the film was something Garcia and John-Roger had been working on since they finished their first full length feature film "Spiritual Warriors," Garcia was quick to point out that the vibe in Helper during filming definitely influenced the movie's progression.
"Honestly, this is one of the easiest shoots I have ever been through," continued Garcia. "The people in Helper provided us with so much, they really took us in and made us fell like part of the community."
Garcia was so moved by the generosity of Castle Country that he plans to donate 30 percent of the film's local profits to Willie Ellington and the Price American Legion baseball team.
The filmmaker reported that extensive props from clothing to vintage cars were provided by local citizens, making Castle Country even more of a backdrop for "The Wayshower." According to Garcia, the film's backdrop coupled with the stimulating techniques he used within the story should make for a unique viewing experience.
"I saw 'Moneyball' recently," explained Garcia, talking about last year's Brad Pitt film which chronicled the Oakland Athletics and their General Manager Billy Bean. " I was moved by the premise of the film. I am trying to create something of quality, something different that could change the whole game just like 'Moneyball.' So many people have shot our movie down because they think it's religious and they didn't even see it. It gets tagged as a religious movie and it's not, it's a spiritual thriller. It's a cool movie if you sit down and let it work you."
In Price, "The Wayshower" will screen at the Price Theater on March 8-11 at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. daily.
"It's going to be cool to see myself in a different movie," concluded Garcia. "I wanted to do a movie where I'm not having a sex scene or I'm chasing after a chick or I'm killing someone. I wanted to do something that was aurally and visually stimulating to people and I think we have done that."