Lights, Camera, Action: Filming to begin Monday for ‘Grace Wins,’ a religious film set in Vicksburg

Published 4:00 am Sunday, April 17, 2022

The city of Vicksburg will turn into a stage for the next three weeks as filming begins for “Grace Wins,” a faith-based film produced by Linda Sweezer Enterprises and Intrigue Films.

“We already have the producer/director here in our city — Johnny Meier; he’s been here about a week,” said Linda Sweezer. “Our main character is right around the area and we will have a diverse cast.”

She said rehearsals for the movie are completed and shooting begins at 7:30 a.m. Monday. The location has not been determined, although Sweezer said, “We’ll be in the heart of the city.”

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletter

Receive daily headlines and obituaries

Filming is set to conclude on May 8. Sweezer said members of the production crew arrived Thursday.

“We’ve got crew from everywhere,” she said, adding some of the production crew are from Jackson and Vicksburg.

“We’ll be shooting from downtown — we’ve got a lot of good spots downtown; we’ve got a farm in Bovina, we’ll film scenes at a farm in Pattison; all over. We’ve got a barbershop, a bookstore. We’ll be in a lot of great places,” Sweezer said. “We want to make sure we utilize the local businesses. We have people who are donating (items). Lasting Impressions is donating for the festival scene, and we’ve got some great talent lined up for the festival scene. We’ve got a gentleman from Vicksburg, Mr. Burt Carson, and Mark Doyle. They are excellent.”

Sweezer has described “Grace Wins” as a realistic drama that features the struggles of Brian, the main character, who is dealing with the consequences of substance abuse spurred by his family background of domestic violence.

The film depicts the highs and lows of Brian’s situations, and how he navigates through them.

The film highlights the bravery of Angela, Brian’s girlfriend, who helps him discover the depth of true love in the midst of chaos. Additionally, the story follows Samuel, an unconventional counselor, who cultivates spiritual renewal for Brian through his life-changing wisdom. The film seeks to encourage its audience by showing the redemptive nature of God’s grace and love.

Sweezer said the film has been in the works for four years.

“’Grace Wins’ was a play, and it was scheduled to be performed, but the pandemic hit,” she said.

The cast had been selected and come together, tickets were sold and the performance was about three weeks away when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, forcing the play to be postponed.

“During the pandemic, I just went ahead and hired some producers from Arizona to help me with the screenplay for the movie, and we’ve been working on the movie,” she said. “We worked until we decided it was time; things have kind of broken a lot with the pandemic, so we thought it was a good moment to go ahead.”

Sweezer said she will be looking for people to be in the movie, adding, “We will have a lot of roles for people who want to be in the crowd scenes — one will be a concert scene and one will be a festival scene, so we will need a lot of people to be in those scenes.”

She said Christian Gospel rapper Canton Jones will perform a mock concert for the film at House of Peace Worship Church International and will later present a mini-concert for the crew.

Sweezer said the festival scene will be filmed on Washington Street on April 22 at a site facing the Mississippi River bridges.

“I’m looking for some extras for the festival scene and the concert,” she said. “We’ll probably have at least 60 people in the festival scene so anyone who wants to be an extra, this is an opportunity to be an extra.” She said people who want to be an extra can call the church at 601-630-3362 or message Sweezer through Facebook and leave their contact information.

“We will contact them when we’re getting ready to shoot those scenes,” she said. “I’m looking for diversity.

“This will also be exciting for the city because people will see the cameras and area blocked off and say, ‘They’re shooting the movie.’”

Sweezer said “Grace Wins” has its own Facebook page and the film has a pre-production website at www.gracewinsthemovie.com. And people will be able to see some of the images shot during production by going to the House of Peace Worship Church website.

Sweezer said the production’s goal is to make the film available for streaming through different services and at venues where ticket prices will be affordable.

“We’ve got some great plans,” she said.

“This is our movie,” she said. “I want the people to know this is a movie for everybody who wants to see a wonderful, family-focused, faith-based film shot here in Vicksburg.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

email author More by John