Film Crew Took Over Fresno's Fulton Mall

May 25, 2009 6:20:56 PM PDT
A film crew took over Fresno's Fulton Mall. They've begun shooting a full length move based on a true Fresno story. The scene begins with a foot chase. Gang members are chasing a man through a Fulton Mall festival set around 1993, but the pursuit ends when the director yells cut.

Crews are shooting the film "Finding Hope Now". It's based on a real life local minister Roger Minassian. Minassian is credited with transforming the lives of more than 1,600 former gang members through his "Hope Now for Youth" program. Emmy Award winning actor Michael Badalucco is playing Minassian in the movie. Badalucco said, "Roger is a man of goodness. He's driven. He's changed people's lives. I have never ... well ... maybe I have played a good character like that, but never someone real, that you could meet and feel." Minassian said, "I hope he brings out what he's talking about: the love, the compassion, the hope that Jesus brings to a person's heart."

Monday was the first full day of work. The Christian themed movie is being shot on a shoestring budget, just $500,000. Most of it will be taped in Fresno.

Avan Jogia plays a lead role as an at risk youth saved by Minassian. Actors aren't saying much about how the movie unfolds. They promise just like the reverend's life, there's a happy ending.

Filming will continue around town throughout the month of June. Producers estimate over the course of shooting the film they will use a cast and crew of up to a thousand people. They hope to release the movie sometime next year.

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