Christian Movie Connect on the “New Hope” red carpet

Ben Davies and Hope Anderson

On Friday, February 10, 2012, I was able to attend the red carpet premiere of the movie “New Hope” in Monroe, Louisiana. This faith-based movie by R-Squared Productions stars Ben Davies, a follow up to his debut role in “Courageous” as the rookie cop. It was quite a spectacular event with the film’s stars arriving by limo to walk the red carpet amid flashing cameras and videographers…and, of course the Christian Movie Connect cameras. (A special shout out to my videographer/editor Rusty Hogue of Gene Ponti Communication Group and stills photographer Eric Lincoln of Eric Lincoln Photography!!!).

One of the exciting things about an event like this is watching all the elegantly dressed men and women…lots of planning, preening and primping went into this evening I’m sure! Personally, I had an easy time with my dress selection but finding the shoes and accessories took about four shopping trips over a period of a week!

Christian Movie Connect interviews "New Hope" actors

Cheryl Ariaz Wicker interviews “New Hope” cast

It was great meeting the cast during my on-camera interviews. I came to appreciate the talent of Ben Davies after seeing him in “Courageous” as the young rookie cop. My first meeting with him was in a phone interview for Sonoma Christian Home as he was driving from Birmingham to Monroe for the premiere. It was great to meet him in person. Although the movie is about basketball, he doesn’t really play the sport but he is very athletic. He is a student at Samford University where he is studying Broadcast Journalism. I met Samuel Davis and Perry Frost for the first time at their interviews. I already knew Perry’s family, having worked with her sister, Taylor Frost, at R-Squared Productions during the production of “Flag of My Father” and knowing her father from the ministerial staff of

"New Hope" cast with Rodney and Jill Ray at red carpet premiere

“New Hope” main cast with filmmakers Rodney and Jill Ray

my church, First West. This was Perry’s first film acting role, but you would never have known by her performance. Also, may I say that she plays her role of the “bad girl” surprisingly well for a preacher’s daughter! Samuel Davis impressed me with his humble spirit and courteous ways…and his incredible talent! He is a Texan and a student at the University of Texas.

New Hope cast and director Rodney Ray

Q&A with “New Hope” director and cast

The movie was very well done. The theme of suicide, depression, and other teen issues gave the movie a serious tone at times, but there was also lots of humor and romance, giving it a lighter feel at times. The main characters were very likeable…well, except for Lucas Green, the angry, bullying high school student played by Ben Davies. The characters helped to pull me into the story. “New Hope” is the follow up to R-Squared Production’s “Flag of My Father,” both written and directed by Rodney Ray.

Christian Movie Connect interview by Cheryl Ariaz Wicker with Ben Davies

Christian Movie Connect host Cheryl Ariaz Wicker interviews Ben Davies

The screening of the movie was followed by an after party with lots of great food and a chance to mingle with fellow attendees. I only got half way through my plate of food until it was time to start interviewing again. Oh well, such is the life of the press!

After the premiere, Christian rapper Big Al gave a concert for a late night audience of teens followed by a second screening of New Hope. I caught a few minutes of Big Al and then met a friend for a late night breakfast at the 50’s Diner. Typically after a dress-up affair like this, I never want the night to end…to I stretch it out to the nth degree! Buttermilk pancakes, hash browns and country ham at 2:00 a.m. was a perfect way to end a perfect night!

Christian Movie Connect is produced and hosted by Cheryl Ariaz Wicker. To see the Christian Movie Connect video coverage of the premiere, go to:

To see the trailer of “New Hope, go to:

To learn more about New Hope, go to