The director of The Dark is Rising and To End All Wars, David Cunningham moved his family to Hawaii, wanting his children to experience the childhood he had as the son of YWAM (Youth With a Mission) founders, Loren and Darlene Cunningham. Returning to film for the first time since 2008. Cunningham's next film is a 1920s period piece called Running For Grace starring Jim Caviezel, Matt Dillon, and Ryan Potter (Big Hero 6).
“Jim can do anything,” the director said. “People have short memories, but when you start reflecting on his filmography, he has played a tremendous range of characters over the years. I found him really entertaining to watch. I believe the audience will as well. Matt was also so genuine and engaged, and Ryan’s got that charisma and charm. It was a fun ensemble.”
The story revolves around Jo (Potter), a half-Japanese, half-white orphan who doesn't fit in anywhere in the community due to the effects of segregation. When a new plantation doctor (Dillon) trains him to assist in medical tasks on the plantation, Jo falls in love with the plantation owner's daughter, Grace (Olivia Ritchie), sparking conflict in the community.
Cunningham's experience as a "haole," a white kid in Hawaiian culture, informed his perspective. “We tried to make a film that celebrates who you are,” he said. “There’s a lot of discussion in popular culture about diversity. What you look like should be secondary to who you are."
On July 20, Running For Grace will release in multiple theaters in Hawai’i (Kona, Hilo, Honolulu, Maui) , and then in limited theaters across the United States on August 17th. The film will then be released to various on-demand and streaming platforms.