When picking a location for a film, St. George isn’t usually among the top contenders. However, in a story based on the true events of the life of former Dixie State College student Ben Banks, St. George is the backdrop for the hometown movie that bares the hometown boy’s name.
In “Ben Banks,” there are quite a few actors from DSC, and the entire film takes place within St. George, with just a few shots of surrounding areas.
The movie is inspired by the true events of Banks’ life, with some sensationalizing taking place.
Identifying with the character of Banks is simple, writer and director Bryce Clark said.
“Ben Banks” appeals to those who have done things they are ashamed of and wished to have completely erased from our past, Clark said.
The message is one of such importance that once Clark got the idea in his head, he couldn’t get it out of his system until it was done.
After meeting Banks in a class at DSC, Clark saw how well people responded to him. The character of Banks was easily inserted into the movie idea already forming in his head.
Clark said that showing someone who had actually experienced the idea that “if you really believe in the atonement of Jesus Christ, everyone gets a second chance,” would be more personable.
With Banks playing the role of himself, the character is brought to life and made more believable through the person who experienced it, Clark said.
Relatable characters are throughout the movie. Amy, Banks’ love interest, has a past that she is afraid will haunt her the rest of her life. Mischa Barton played the role of Amy, and Clark said she took the part because she identified with the character.
“Ben Banks” is a movie full of redemption, forgiveness and second chances, as well as entertainment. Heartwarming moments create connections with the characters.
As with most things, “inspiration came from the most unexpected places,” producer Justin Lyon said. The movie has a lot of heart and portrays Southern Utah beautifully, Lyon continued.
Lyon said that it was great to help an artist fulfill a vision and make a movie with such heart..
Clark said he hopes that “Ben Banks” is a “love poem to the city.”
“Ben Banks” opens in theaters in St. George, Cedar City and West Jordan on Dec. 7th.
Written for Dixie Sun News by Jessica Leavitt