Local Filmmakers Focus Attention on a National Cause

Twenty-two US Veterans take their life daily with PTSD being a contributing factor. Two local film companies, Hometown Studios, and Stingray films, have joined forces to help shine a light on this very important cause. The movie “Pray They Stand Down” will be filmed locally, but will command a National audience with its message. This film will feature Branson, and the surrounding area as well as local actors and crew. This last weekend was devoted to gathering information and connecting with local businesses that will be participating in the film and its creation.

The screenplay for “Pray They Stand Down” was written by Damian Costello, of The Ground Up Productions. The Film will be codirected by Damian and Tristin Ray; the film’s Director of Photography is Clayton Potter. Both Tristin and Clayton own Stingray Films. This film will follow the life of Marine Veteran, Chad Sikeston. He receives the Purple Heart and Medal of Valor in Afghanistan after being shot. After returning home to his small town in Missouri, he fights for his life once more, before a perfect friend is brought into his life.

The Production Crew for Pray They Stand Down
Tristin Ray, Damian Costello, and Clayton Potter

 Carolyn Sires is one person who is aiding in the cause to alleviate the hold PTSD has on so many today. Carolyn introduced us to Educated Canines Assisting With Disabilities (ECAD) in addition to what she has done as an advocate for the Puppies Assisting Wounded Soldiers (PAWS Act). She brought two of her service dogs with her. Tuna and Chloe went with us as we went out to raise awareness for the upcoming movie. Ms. Sires most recently worked promoting the successful documentary, “To Be of Service” (Now airing on Netflix). Many ECAD K9’s are featured in the film. We asked her what it was that made her decide to work with “Pray They Stand Down”. She stated, “Watching the teasers and seeing the script made me actually feel the struggle so many go through. It’s a message that needs to get out.”

Carolyn Sires discusses ECAD and The Paws act with Lisa Saylor at Rep. Billy Long's office in Springfield, Missouri
Carolyn Sires discusses ECAD and The Paws act with Lisa Saylor (Director of Constituent Services) at Rep. Billy Long's office in Springfield, Missouri

The weekend began by meeting with Lisa Saylor, the Director of Constituent Services, at Representative Billy Long’s office in Springfield. We spoke about ECAD, and the PAWS act. Lisa was excited to talk about the subjects because of the overwhelming bipartisan support and how much it has the ability to help folks that can utilize service animals. She was also very pleased to hear about the new movie project and the fact that it is a local venture.

Saturday was a whirlwind of meetings with businesses in the Branson area that will be involved in the filming process. We visited The Branson Landing,  The Paddlewheel, Main Street Marina, and SWIN Dispensaries. You could see the excitement building from folks in the area knowing that a film with such an amazing message will be shot right here in the Ozarks.

The filming will begin within the next month or so with a cast of great local actors including: Chad Bianco, John Thomas, Darrell Campbell, Jonova Lavon, and many others. “We want to make cinema in Missouri; we believe this is something everyone can be really proud of” said Damian Costello.

You will want to stay tuned right here to find out more about this exciting film You can look up “Pray They Stand Down” on Facebook as well to get up to date information. Below is a video that will give you a sneak peak at the weekend.

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