Posts Categorized: excel entertainment

Review~ Believe : The Soccer Movie

23 Sep, 2014 by in believe, excel entertainment, manchester united, movie review, soccer Leave a comment



The family drama “Believe”, is set in 1984 and inspired by true events. The film is a funny and touching tale about Sir Matt Busby, legendary Manchester United football manager, who helps a wayward boy fulfill his dream. An act of petty crime by 11 year old Georgie becomes a collision of fate as Sir Matt tracks him down, only to discover that the boy is an extraordinarily gifted footballer and captain of a team of unruly talents. Having lived with football all his life and survived the tragic 1958 Munich plane disaster, in which eight of his young players were killed, Sir Matt is still committed to continue his work of ‘training lads for life’ and so begins a thrilling adventure as Sir Matt Busby, comes out of retirement to transform a young group of boys into a dream team.


I’ve hear about Manchester United at our local soccer club, but to be honest I knew nothing of their history of the legendary coach Matt Busby. I’d not hear of the fatal Munich crash that took the entire team and left their coach. In a film, with Field of Dreams like nuances, Believe the Soccer Movie warmed by heart, and I shed a tear or two. Set in England, the film follows young Georgie as he attempts to pick pocket the wrong person in hopes of entering his street soccer team into the Manchester Jr. Cup tournament. Sir Busby chases down the 11 year old thief and makes the boy promise he will allow the former U coach to be the manager of his team. But Georgie’s mother has a different idea for his future. He is to study, test and enter the local prestigious prep school for boys.

This soccer mom was inspired! The soundtrack of the movie includes songs I remember from the 90’s…the Smith’s and Musical Youth. The physical setting,  I found to be a bit limited and narrow, but still enjoyable. I will take my children to see it as this is a family film. There is drinking, gambling, stealing and smoking , but I found nothing offensive. The only content that might be upsetting to young children are the numerous crash scene flashbacks where we see a bloodied Sir Matt Busby. You may want to also rent or buy the DVD to be able to rewind some portions where the English accent is a bit thick. As an American, I admit, I missed a bit of what they said.

Overall, the theme is one about believing in dreams. Inspirational and fun. Perfect if you have a footballer in your own family. Thanks to Excel Entertainment for the pre-screening!


Released By

EXCEL ENTERTAINMENT is the preeminent independent film distribution company in Utah, and though largely known for its Mormon-themed films (God’s Army, The Work & the Glory series, 17 Miracles, Pride & Prejudice, etc.), Excel has also had success releasing films with non-Mormon themes and stories (Forever Strong, Saints & Soldiers, etc.).

Although the technology and means by which audiences consume films is changing rapidly, the demand for highly creative storytelling that motivates us to live up to the light that each of us has been given is as high as ever. We feel a deep obligation to not only bring stories of hope to the world, but to promote films with high standards of craftsmanship reflective of a belief in a divine and benevolent creator.

Opened in U.S. theatres on September 12. Check your theatre listings for a viewing near you.

Facebook page* Pre-order at Deseret Book*


Saints and Soldiers Movie Blog Tour + Giveaway

08 Aug, 2014 by in adult, deseret book, excel entertainment, movie, movie review, movie trailer, saints and soldiers, utah film 3 comments

Genres: Adult, Movie



Fire and Ice has had the amazing opportunity to be a part of the round table discussion and filming of Saints and Soldiers: The Void (found here) a couple of weeks ago. Last night was one of the pre-screening events for the movie which hits theaters August 15th. I had a sneak peek at the third movie in the Saints and Soldiers franchise. The theatre was absolutely packed, no seats available. Excel Entertainment and Deseret Book hosted the event, giving away swag bags to the media attendees: a t-shirt, water bottle, MREs, a special 2 pack DVD combo set, and water bottle in canvas tote bags.


Lots of eager fans packed in shoulder to shoulder to watch The Void which features Danor Gregory. Gregory is a black soldier, once a hellcat operator and commander, demoted to a truck driver as the war is coming to a close. He experiences daily constant prejudice and ridicule from fellow soldiers. Director Ryan Little highlights how these men sacrificed all in honor of their country, yet were treated as unequal and the lesser class.  You may recognize the other main black solider played by Alex Boye, famous LDS singer, (who, by the way was in attendance at the pre-screening.) It was amazing to see Boye in an unfamiliar role. Both men have some acting skills!


Movie three has many elements– historical London radio broadcast, authentic WWII black and white cinema footage, and still shot highlights of road signs where battles were fought. There is theme juxtaposition of good vs. evil, equality vs. inequality. Racial prejudice is explored in a unique way. Everything feels up close and personal with tight shots.


I truly enjoyed that film three, The Void had a bit of a lighter tone in many parts thanks to Michael Berens who plays Rodney “Ramrod” Mitchell. Lots of laugh out loud moments with his snarky attitude. The franchise of movies gives viewers a realistic look at what war times bring. Movie one, Saints and Soldiers is particularly stark as it explores shell-shock or PTSD from Corbin Allred (Deacon’s) point of view.


Content: There is heavy war-related violence, psychological tension and raw emotion, so I don’t recommend the films for children.


Excel Entertainment and Deseret Book have been the best of hosts in all pre-movie events. I am thrilled to have met the cast, directors and writers. Such an impressive group of people.

The Void hits theatres August 15th. Go, go go! Learn more


saints and soldiers the void

Saints and Soldiers: The Void Coming to theaters August 15th

Germany, May 1945, the twilight of WWII. On a final mission deep in the Harz mountains a U.S. tank crew discovers a platoon of Germans, including three infamous Panzer tanks, preparing to ambush allied supply trucks.

Before the war, private Jesse Owens, was a product of segregation and racial discrimination. Forced by law to ride in the back of the bus and disenfranchised from the political process. Now, Owens fights the greatest tyrant in history, knowing the tyranny of racism will be waiting for him back home if he can survive the war.

With a deadly game of cat and mouse quickly unfolding, Owens and his predominantly white tank crew find themselves out-gunned and out-manned by the German Panzer tanks. Several in Owens’ crew are reluctant to put their faith in a black tank driver despite their dire circumstances. As the German tanks bear down on his unit, Owens has to fight for freedom on two fronts. With tension and fear beginning to manifest Owens knows they must put aside their differences to stop the enemy from their deadly plan. Knowing that a victory over the Nazis means a victory for racial justice, Owens and his men find a way to work together to save hundreds of lives in a desperate battle against the greatest odds they have ever faced.



Danor Gerald
Gerald’s first appearance in a feature film, “Believe” (2005), came while he was earning a Digital Cinema degree in Utah. Danor began getting leading roles with “The Cyclist” (2012) produced by prolific Casting Director Jeff Johnson. “Saints and Soldiers: The Void” (2014) is Mr. Gerald’s star-turn as the protagonist in a feature film. Gerald is most known for performances in teen-genre films like “High School Musical 2”, “Forever Strong”, and “House of Fears”.

Adam Gregory
Adam Gregory was born on December 28, 1987 in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. He is an actor and cinematographer, known for The Bold and the Beautiful (1987), 17 Again (2009) andHannah Montana: The Movie (2009). He has been married to Sheridan Sperry since February 26, 2010. They have one child.
Matthew MeeseThis is Matt’s first feature film! He is best known for his work on the hit sketch comedy show, Studio C, on BYUTV. He also enjoys pie, and the idea of gardening. Check him out.

Bart Johnson
Bart Johnson was born on December 13, 1970 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA as Barton Robert Johnson. He is an actor and director, known for High School Musical(2006), High School Musical 2 (2007) and High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008). He has been married to Robyn Lively since September 25, 1999. They have three children.


The Giveaway


One DVD combo set. Contest for US residents only, ages 18 and older. Void where prohibited by law. DVD outer jewel case has been altered by the publisher,  as it is not for re-sale.

The DVD combo pack includes Saints and Soldiers (Special Edited Version) and Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed


Saints and Soldiers is a dramatic, intense and heroic WWII film about members of the Greatest Generation struggling to be both good men and good soldiers.

Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed From the producers of the world-renowned hit film Saints and Soldiers and based on actual events, SAINTS & SOLDIERS: AIRBORNE CREED tells the action-packed story of three World War II U.S. Army paratroopers—Rossi (Corbin Allred), Jones (David Nibley), and Curtis (Jasen Wade)—fighting desperately to fulfill their mission against seemingly insurmountable odds.

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Saints and Soldiers: The Void Filming & Party

16 Jul, 2014 by in deseret book, excel entertainment, fort douglas, Heather Gardner Photography, saints and soldiers 2 comments

Yesterday some of the biggest fans of the Saints and Soldiers movies, as well as media, were invited to the filming of a question-and-answer round table. Hosted by Shadow Mountain, and held at the historic Fort Douglas museum, the meet-and-greet brought together the main actors and directors as they reminisced about how a student film became a three-movie international franchise.

The whole project began as an idea in director Ryan Little’s head about a bar scene where a German and American soldier must get along. The student short film cost a total of $2,000. From there, the ideas blossomed into the first Saints and Soldiers movie, which originally garnered an R rating. Staff lobbied to have the rating changed after they were repeatedly told “the problem is that you feel the impact more if it contains personalized violence. You care about the characters.”

Filming on Saints and Soldiers (S&S) began in January, which was picked because it was thought it would be the snowiest month in Utah. But not enough snow meant using potato flakes instead! Corbin Allred had just returned from his LDS mission and was working in mainstream acting in L.A. He was approached by director Ryan Little, accepting a role as Deacon.

The first Saints and Soldiers was entered into 16 film festivals, was accepted by each festival, and eventually won every single one. From there, the award-winning franchise took off with an “ethos of exploring human experience with conflicting circumstances.”  Each movie has to do with how we judge others, and the choices that have to be made.

Installment number three, which hits theatres August 15th, continues this theme. As Daynor Gerald, actor in The Void explains: it’s a story about “how we reconcile our inner conflict with the external conflict. A black guy caught in the middle of white guys as a commanding officer.”

“This is real life good versus evil; the struggles are relateable. Generations from now father and son will sit down and watch Saints and Soldiers together.”

As part of preparation for his part, Daynor chose to get his meal last, after everyone else, during the filming. Re-enactors came from all over the country to participate in the shooting — most of which took place in Alpine, Utah.

The interactions with veterans of war and their relatives was the most rewarding part of the process. S&S was screened at Pearl Harbor with a room full of soldiers in their whites, and Airborne Creed was shown at Ft. Benning. Corbin Allred was moved by “what the armed forces have done for us, the sacrifice. We don’t want to let the stories of history fade away.”

Adam Gregory adds “who and what is American is written all over these films.”

Me with actor Corbin Allred

I was honored to be a part of the filming and get to meet each member of the round table. Watch for an orange t-shirt in the DVD extra feature 🙂 Special thanks to Deseret Book and Excel Entertainment for the VIP treatment and swag!

See my iphone photos from the event on smugmug.


Meet the Actors and Director

The Giveawaysaints and soldiers swag

Two VIP passes to the pre-screening of The Void on  Thursday July 31, 2014 in Utah.

Must be 18 or older.
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