News Column

'Faith-friendly' film could play in Ashland

August 26, 2013


Aug. 26--ASHLAND -- If there is enough early interest, the faith-friendly film "A Strange Brand of Happy" could be seen in Ashland.

"I grew up in Ashland and so did Joe Boyd, who is the lead actor and a producer, so we'd love to see it play there," said film producer Isaac Stambaugh, a member of the Paul G. Blazer High School class of 2000 who grew up "two blocks from Hager Elementary."

In addition to being an Ashland native, Stambaugh said he would love to see their film play in Ashland because two of his uncles helped build the Cinemark 10 facility.

"We really care about making it happen there. It's one of our top priorities," he said, explaining they have set up a website devoted to the cause, which can be found at

Stambaugh and others have been working on "A Strange Brand of Happy" for the past two years, with primary filming in the Cincinnati area. Distribution of the film includes a debut in 50 cities across the country, he said, and the film will be the first to use to determine additional screenings for markets including Ashland, where it could be played at Cinemark 10 if there is enough early interest. Stambaugh explained the film needs at least 500 pre-orders for seats before the cinema will agree to put it on the screen.

"They have agreed to play it in Ashland if we get 500 reservations by Sept. 1. If not, it will not likely play. There's a little bit of wiggle room, but not much," he said.

If the community shows enough interest, the film could be seen here on Sept. 13, Stambaugh said, adding he and others involved with the film hope to have an after-party and community reunion of sorts, with a question and answer session, at a soon-to-open "music venue and coffee shop," at 1733 Winchester Ave.

Stambaugh said the "faith-friendly" film tells the story of "an aimless bachelor" who is downsized from a corporate job which he hated, who a friend sets up with a life coach as he struggles only to find himself and his place. The star of the show ultimately finds himself amidst " a motley crew of retirees" who have a series of hijinks as they work to discover what makes them, and ultimately God, happy.

If people want a fun, uplifting movie, it is not preachy or heavy handed," Stambaugh said, adding "A Strange Brand of Happy," isn't a movie anyone should be embarrassed to invite their friends to watch with them.

According to a press release about the movie, "The film stars Joe Boyd ('The Second City,' 'Hitting the Nuts') and Grammy Award winner Rebecca St. James '(Suing the Devil,' 'Sarah's Choice') and Pittsburgh native and Academy Award winner Shirley Jones ('Elmer Gantry,' 'The Partridge Family'). The film is being distributed nationwide by Los Angeles-based film distribution company Integrated Media Associates.

Boyd, the star and president of Rebel Pilgrim Productions, grew up in Ashland and a Cincinnati Christian University alum. Isaac Stambaugh, the film's producer, is also Ashland born and raised resident and a Paul Blazer High School graduate.

The company is partnering with to release the movie in as many markets as possible utilizing a crowd sourcing model. The film's producers are counting on a word-of-mouth grassroots effort to open up in more theaters nationwide."

To show support for the showing of "A Strange Brand of Happy" in Ashland, reserve seats by visiting the website.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at


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