Grace Anna Highlights the 2nd Annual Salute Our Heroes Gala

Several years ago while shopping for a greeting card I stumbled over one that read something like this, “once in a while you meet someone who leaves a footprint on your heart and you are never ever the same.” I have had the privilege of this happening twice in my life; my husband 10 years ago and, in 2013, a little girl name Grace Anna. The one difference is, up until this weekend, I had never actually met Grace Anna but had only knew her through Facebook. Scrolling through Facebook one night I saw a video a friend had posted of this sweet little girl singing the National Anthem, I was captured.

How did this little girl who could only be about 2 years old, certainly no more than 3, know the words to the national anthem so well?

Grace Anna is the daughter of Angie and Jeff Rodgers and they reside in Kentucky. Grace Anna has a rare form of dwarfism called Conradi Hunermann Syndrome and has dealt with such health issues as being born blind due to cataracts, severe kyphosis and scoliosis of the spine. Doctors tried to persuade her parents to abort on five different occasions, but this was not something they would consider. Grace Anna has overcome many obstacles in her now 4 year old life.

Grace Anna and her mother, Angie Rogers

Grace Anna began singing at only 16 months, and she loves to sing.

The “Grace Anna Sings” Facebook page, at the time of this writing, has over 600,000 followers. She has changed lives; she has lifted her followers out of their worst days and thousands have posted how much they love this child. It is hard to explain how you can love someone you have never met but Grace Anna has such spirit and personality that I don’t know that it needs to be explained. I often watch her video of “Amazing Grace” before going to bed each night, and recently my hope of meeting this wonder came to fruition.

Grace Anna and her family were traveling to Topeka, Kansas to attend the Military Veteran Project’s 2nd Annual Salute Our Heroes Gala, where she would be singing the National Anthem.  Grace Anna’s family are strong supporters of our military and have family members who have served.

The mission of the Military Veterans Project is “to advocate, educate, and honor our military veterans and families through program support.” The program has assisted veterans and service members with medical advocacy, PTSD treatments, suicide prevention and other services. The Military Veteran Project was created by Melissa Jarboe in honor of her late husband, Sgt. Jamie Jarboe. For more information on the project please go to www.militaryveteranproject.org

The guest speaker for the evening was Bobby Henline, a veteran of Desert Storm who re-enlisted after Sept 11th, 2001. While serving in Iraq the Humvee he was in was hit by a roadside bomb; he was the only survivor out of 5 men. Bobby suffered severe burns over 38% of his body, lost his left hand and had over 40 surgeries while being hospitalized for 6 months. Bobby now does motivational speaking and stand-up comedy. The gala included a cocktail hour, dinner, and a silent auction of a wide variety of donated items, which raised approximately $3000 for the project.

Grace Anna, dressed in a beautiful red dress, black jacket, and matching red bow in her hair sang the National Anthem with as much heart and soul as a child can muster. After dinner was served at the gala Grace Anna’s older brother, Isaiah, carried her out into the lobby area.  As they walked by I said to Grace Anna, “Hi, Grace Anna, my name is Juanita, can I shake your hand?” She responded, in the sweetest, softest voice, “Hi Juanita.” I thought she would shake my hand but what she did next left me in tears. She did not shake my hand but leaned over, kissed me on the cheek, then took my face in her hands and said “now, you give me a kiss” I gave her a kiss on the cheek.

If you have not had the privilege of watching her videos, reading her web page or seeing her pictures that are posted on Facebook, you must treat yourself. Your heart will be captured.

www.graceannasings.com

 www.facebook.com/GraceAnnaSings

DVD Review “Anna Nicole”

Starring: Agnes Bruckner, Martin Landau, Adam Goldberg, Cary Elwes, and Virginia Madsen
Director: Mary Harron
Distributed by: Sony Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 89 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

When I saw the cover for “Anna Nicole”, I would have sworn that it was a documentary about the late supermodel. Agnes Bruckner (TV’’s ““Private Practice”) is really spot on with the looks and the nails this role. The film is based on the New York Magazine article “”Paw Paw & Lady Love”” by Dan Paul Lee. It also packs a solid supporting cast including Martin Landau, Adam Goldberg, Cary Elwes, and Virginia Madsen. Growing up “adoring” Anna Nicole in her prime as a kid, I really enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look into her troubled life.

Official Premise: Anna Nicole Smith (Agnes Bruckner) was a single mother from Texas, who became one of the biggest supermodels in the world, but her sudden catapult to fame came with a price, as drugs, alcohol and reckless behavior led her down a tragic path. Now you get to see the whole story in this compelling original film, as Anna Nicole’s sexual desires, crippling addictions and her overwhelming need to be famous lead her from incredible fame and fortune to her unfortunate descent.

This film also grabbed by attention since it comes from the Director of “American Psycho”, Mary Harron. I think she had a good vision and it shows both the rise and the fall of this supermodel quite well balanced. It is well-written thanks to John Rice & Joe Batteer (“Blown Away”, “Windtalkers”). If there are any fans out there still of Anna Nicole Smith, I would recommend giving this a watch for sure. Just remember this was made for Lifetime, so don’t expect any skin. The one thing that I was a little upset about that there are no special features included along with this DVD. I would have been curious to see about Agnes transformation into Anna Nicole.

Complimentary Passes to the Orlando, FL Screening for “Anna Karenina”

If you would like to enter for a chance to win complimentary passes to attend an advance screening at AMC Downtown Disney 24, please leave a comment below and let us know your favorite Keira Knightley film. Winners will be chosen on a RANDOM BASIS. ONLY ONE ENTRY PER PERSON/PER HOUSEHOLD PLEASE! OTHERWISE ALL ENTRIES WILL BE DISREGARDED. The winners will be will notified via email if chosen to win. Good luck and thanks for supporting MediaMikes.com

Focus Features will be releasing ANNA KARENINA November 30th.

Wednesday, November 28th at 7:30pm.
AMC Downtown Disney – Orlando, FL
Passes are limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Below find a link to the film’s website and a brief synopsis.
http://focusfeatures.com/anna_karenina

The third collaboration of Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley with director Joe Wright, following the award-winning boxoffice successes “Pride & Prejudice” and Atonement,” is the epic love story “Anna Karenina,” adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel by Academy Award winner Tom Stoppard (“Shakespeare in Love”). The story Unfolds in its original late-19thcentury Russia high-society setting and powerfully explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart, from the passion between adulterers to the bond between a mother and her children. As Anna (Ms. Knightley) questions her happiness, change comes to her family, friends, and Community

Production Commences on “Anna Karenina”

PRODUCTION COMMENCES ON ANNA KARENINA

LONDON, October 3rd, 2011 – Working Title Films has commenced production on Joe Wright’s epic love story Anna Karenina, adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel by Academy Award winner Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love). The film will shoot in the U.K. and Russia. Focus Features will distribute the movie domestically, and Universal Pictures International (UPI) will distribute the movie internationally.

Anna Karenina marks Mr. Wright’s fourth film with Working Title, following the award-winning box office successes Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, and The Soloist. The film is produced by Working Title co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner and reunites them with Paul Webster, all three of whom produced Mr. Wright’s first two films Pride & Prejudice and Atonement, released domestically by Focus and internationally by UPI. Also for Focus, Mr. Wright recently directed the hit adventure thriller Hanna.

Keira Knightley, Academy Award-nominated for Pride & Prejudice, will star as Anna Karenina in her third collaboration with Mr. Wright. Ms. Knightley stars opposite two-time Academy Award nominee Jude Law, as Anna’s husband Aleksei Karenin; and Aaron Johnson (Nowhere Boy), as Count Vronsky. Rounding out the cast are Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire), Matthew Macfadyen (Pride & Prejudice), Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), Alicia Vikander (The Seventh Son), two-time Academy Award nominee Emily Watson, Olivia Williams (Hanna), and Ruth Wilson (Luther).

Also reteaming with Mr. Wright on Anna Karenina are Academy Award-winning composer Dario Marianelli, twice-Academy Award-nominated costume designer Jacqueline Durran, three-time Academy Award-nominated production designer Sarah Greenwood, and Academy Award-nominated director of photography Seamus McGarvey.  Melanie Ann Oliver (Focus’ Jane Eyre) is the editor. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui is the choreographer on the movie.

The story unfolds in its original late-19th-century Russia high-society setting and powerfully explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart, from the passion between adulterers to the bond between a mother and her children. As Anna (Ms. Knightley) questions her happiness, change comes to her family, friends, and community.

Working Title Films, co-chaired by Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner since 1992, is one of the world’s leading film production companies. Founded in 1983, Working Title has made nearly 100 films that have grossed over $4.5 billion worldwide. Its films have won 6 Academy Awards, 26 BAFTA Awards, and prestigious prizes at the Cannes and Berlin International Film Festivals. In addition to Anna Karenina, the current release slat includes Tomas Alfredson’s thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, and Tom Hardy; Baltasar Kormákur’s Contraband, starring Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale; Rowan Atkinson in Johnny English Reborn, directed by Oliver Parker; and Ken Kwapis’ Big Miracle, starring Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski.

Universal Pictures markets and distributes films internationally through Universal Pictures International (UPI), which officially began doing business on January 1, 2007. In the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, German-speaking Switzerland, Benelux, Russia, Australia, Mexico and France, UPI directly markets and distributes movies through our local offices, creating campaigns and release strategies that respond to the culture and market behavior of those territories. In other parts of the world, Universal distributes through Paramount’s local offices as it transitions out of the formerly shared UIP model. In some smaller territories we continue to work through UIP on theatrical distribution.

Focus Features and Focus Features International (www.focusfeatures.com) comprise a singular global company. This worldwide studio makes original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. The company operates as Focus Features in North America, and as Focus Features International (FFI) in the rest of the world.

In addition to Anna Karenina, and Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy, current and upcoming Focus releases include John Madden’s hit espionage thriller The Debt, starring Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, and Jessica Chastain; writer/director Dee Rees’ contemporary drama Pariah, which world-premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival; Being Flynn, written and directed by Paul Weitz and starring two-time Academy Award winner Robert De Niro and Paul Dano; Lorene Scafaria’s pre-apocalyptic comedic romance Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley; Moonrise Kingdom, the new feature from Wes Anderson, starring Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwartzman; Sam Fell and Chris Butler’s ParaNorman, the new 3D stop-motion comedy thriller from animation company LAIKA; and the historical tale Hyde Park on Hudson, directed by Roger Michell and starring Academy Award nominees Bill Murray and Laura Linney.

Focus Features and Universal Pictures International are part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. Comcast Corporation owns a controlling 51% interest in NBCUniversal, with GE holding a 49% stake.