Principal photography will begin Monday on the production of the family film “Gift of an Angel.”
The majority of production will take place in McAllen and Harlingen, in addition to other locations across the Rio Grande Valley.
Based on an original script by Marion Milner, Flo Krisko and story by Tara Pirnia, the feature will be directed by award-winning director Amanda Raymond (“From Emily”), who also rewrote the script.
The film is being produced by Tara Pirnia and Andrew Sugerman. It stars Alyssa Milano (“Charmed,” “Who’s The Boss?”) Christian de la Fuente (“Soñar No Cuesta Nada,” “Devious Maids,” “The Class”) Angel Parker (“Marvel’s Runaways,” “The Strain,” “Trial and Error”) and Eva Ariel Binder (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Last Ship”).
The dramatic film’s plot will be centered on issues sure to resonate with the people of the Valley.
When a young girl (Binder) is separated from her mother by agents at the U.S./Mexico border, it is a local social worker (Milano) who, through a series of events, is able to place the scared child in a temporary foster home, under the care of a woman (Parker) who coincidentally, lost her own family several years prior.
According to Sugerman, “Rather than film this story in our native cities of Los Angeles or Austin, we felt the necessity to create the authenticity of the South Texas area and the real people of the Rio Grande Valley, in order to do justice to the realities of our characters and their environments.”
The production is using as many locals as they can source for crew and cast, such as McAllen actor Michael Karam. Many of the film’s cast and crew have stated that they found a personal attachment to it.
Milano has been a very outspoken critic of the Trump administration’s immigration policies and has advocated for proper treatment, case handling and suitable legal representation for detainees all while frequently being mocked by those who oppose her outcries. Producer Tara Pirnia said, “This really became a passion-project for Alyssa, who also serves as an executive producer on the film.”
Pirnia herself can relate as well. “I am first-generation Iranian Immigrant and I know first-hand the pressures and difficulties one must go through to come to this country, and the difficulties they face once arriving, which is rarely spoke of,” she said.
Raymond explained, “With the current immigration issue that is dividing our country, I wanted to tell a story that shows its impact on a single family. By being up close and personal, it reveals the real struggles these people are being forced to endure, and humanizes the situation.”
The independent feature film is being produced by Pirnia’s Future Sight Entertainment and Sugerman’s Pantheon Entertainment Banners, in association with Raymond’s 13 Curves Productions.