An Orangeburg acupuncturist is seeking to unite his community with the premiere of his faith-based short film exploring the complexities that can arise when beliefs and family traditions collide.
Dr. Jose A. Rivera-Garcia wrote and produced the film, his first, titled "Trial" earlier this year.
The film's premiere will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Claflin University Auditorium at 400 Magnolia St. in Orangeburg.
A question-and-answer session will follow the film's showing.
Rivera-Garcia has said he was divinely inspired to write the script in less than a week and hopes the film’s subject matter transcends beyond entertainment and ultimately delivers a message of love and unity.
"I even cried after I saw it. It's got a strong message of faith. My goal and purpose is that people be impacted," he said.
The cost to attend the premiere is $5. Claflin students with IDs will be admitted free.
"The festivities will start around 6 p.m., when people can meet some of the cast and crew. We're going to have a red carpet from 6 to 6:45 p.m. Some Claflin students will be interviewing people ... and then at 7 p.m., two ladies from a local church are going to do a nice gospel song," Rivera-Garcia said.
"There will be a small video clip of all the actors talking about how they felt in the movie and how that impacted them," he said, noting that the 12-foot red carpet is not just for the actors.
"Anybody can basically get on the red carpet. I'll be there introducing people and if a person wants to meet one of the actors, we welcome them to talk to them. Our youngest actress is 15 years old," he said.
Rivera-Garcia even makes his acting debut in the film, playing a Jewish rabbi whose adopted African-American son, Jeremiah Estavo, is studying Messianic Judaism, totally bucking the family’s traditional beliefs.
The son is eventually taken to a rabbinical court to, as Rivera-Garcia has put it, “straighten him out from this Jesus thing.” He is questioned on his faith, which he ultimately has to defend.
"My next film will be just as powerful. But this one has such a unique message about faith. You're going to stand up for what you believe in. That's really the message of the movie. Jeremiah stands up for what he believes in regardless of his dad, the rabbis and all the other people," Rivera-Garcia said.
T-shirts will be on sale for $20 at the film's premiere.
Rivera-Garcia said he is excited about the progress he has made with his film, including its upcoming premiere.
"I'm excited about it. We had to overcome some really serious hurdles, but God got us through it," he said.