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Director: Michael Weil

Cast: Moyale Guardini; Michael Madsen.

Date: 2022

Country: United States

Synopsis: A damaged ballet dancer experiences the hardships of her condition, when she receives a mysterious phone call from someone from her past, forcing her on a severe spiritual crossing.

GRACE, the film that won the title "The Winner of Winners", a competition made up only of winners at festivals around the world. How was the "GRACE" project born?

Firstly, it's a genuine pleasure to have received such an honor and to be a part of Deluxe Film Festival. The long journey of GRACE began when I shattered my femur bone some years ago. I was bed-ridden, unable to walk, fashioned with a titanium rod and multiple screws newly implanted within my body. At first I felt quite sorry for myself, eventually I was able to shift my thinking, and instead appreciate that I was alive and had the potential to walk normally again, despite coming close to paralyzation or death. The experience brought me back closer to God and my faith. I understood that God had a plan in my life despite my difficult circumstances.

Receiving this tangible lesson, I considered a narrative and characters that could powerfully showcase these highly-dramatic themes. Through my research, I learned further of the extreme dedication of a ballet dancer, from very early youth and beyond, and the detrimental shock of when the career is taken away. For our character in GRACE, the abrupt end of her career as a Principal Ballerina was the perfect vehicle to establish our themes within the story. Narratively, with our exposition and structure, we took some creative risks that I feel paid off. Aesthetically, cinematography, performance and music were a major focus among our uncompromised production elements. From a producing point-of-view, we faced many challenges. In the end, I was very blessed to have casted my Wife as the lead role, Brazilian actress Moyale Guardini, and her co-star, the legendary Michael Madsen. The film has gone on to do very well, receiving multiple awards in-front and behind camera.

A project of international scope like yours which is Oscar-Qualified for the 96th Academy Awards, what should a young person do to be able to follow the same path you did?

Assuming that a filmmaker is utterly committed to a project, and they have the resolve to see it through, the blueprint of any great project is the story. Before deciding on locations or making decisions about camera or anything else, the words on the page first have to have created something compelling.

A lesson I learned earlier in my career was to not skip steps and remain patient in the development process.

Of course, you'll have to make leaps of faith at some point, but make sure your story is great first. I would also suggest taking creative risks and absolutely following your instincts. Do not be afraid to fully commit and instill your own particular style. No matter the genre, consider making the project as compelling as you possibly can, and you have every production-element in your arsenal to help you. Also, to be completely honest; pray.

What are your inspirations when you write stories?

I absolutely love going to the movie theatre, since I was very young and still very frequently now. There have been occasions where I was in a theatre, the film had ended, and I was left transfixed, almost "euphoric" in a state of film-loving-awe. Some films stay with us in our thinking until the next day, sometimes longer. A handful of films have impacted me immediately and significantly, even still now, ever since the credits first rolled. This is the holy-grail feeling of all obsessed film-lovers' experience with their absolute favorite films. This emotional, impacted feeling is what I try to pursue when creating a project.

Whether it happens to be my favorite film, Lord of the Rings (Trilogy counts as one!), or a project from my favorite filmmaker, Christopther Nolan, I naturally feel inspired by incredible work, and really try to stay in-tune with what is moving me within all great art. Narratively, I feel I am drawn to telling thought-provoking, highly-emotional epics.

Honestly, I'm inspired by every production element that can enhance a story, especially music as well. Ask my Wife, I'm either playing gospel music or movie scores in the car.

After your victory at the Deluxe Film Festival you were asked to become a juror to evaluate the finalist films from all over the world. What is it like for you to be part of this initiative?

Truly, I'm honored to have been asked to become a juror for Deluxe Film Festival. I'm very excited to watch incredible projects from all over the world. I must assure the filmmakers, they're in great hands, I like to think I have great taste! And of course, Deluxe Film Festival is a wonderful event. I feel very fortunate to be a part of it on both sides.

What about your future plans?

I am currently writing and developing my most ambitious project to date, in which my Wife and I are producing again, under our production company banner, "M&M". The project is a feature film in which the plot is being kept heavily under-wraps, and the mysterious title is known only within our production team and a few studios. This is a project that I think about everyday, in which I absolutely plan on dedicating every ounce of love, sweat, tears, and creativity that I have. The project can be described as a Drama-Action-Epic. We are incredibly excited.

Michael Weil Biography

Michael Weil is an award-winning writer, director, and editor. From drama to comedy, abstract or concrete, Michael has created various and diverse content that is effective and authentic. With an extensive background in creative writing and photography, Michael is a huge advocate of compelling narrative that accompanies beautiful cinematic-composition. Michael has a genuine passion for creativity, art and collaboration and continues to strive to create original and thought-provoking content.


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