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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Indie Pick O' The Day: The Spitfire Grill

The Spitfire Grill is a film about redemption. The story centers on a young woman named Percy (Alison Elliott) who served prison time for manslaughter and arrives in a small town in Maine with hopes of beginning a new life. She works as a waitress in the Spitfire Grill, owned by Hannah (Ellen Burstyn), whose gruff exterior conceals a kind heart and precious little tolerance for the grill's regular customers, who cast their suspicions on Percy's mysterious past. None are more suspicious than Nahum, Hannah's nephew, although his wife, Shelby, has a kinder curiosity.

Percy is almost like a Christ-like figure in the film with themes of redemption and forgiveness that takes place in this small na├»ve town. The movie was actually created by Roger M. Counts, a long time Director and CEO of the Sacred Heart League, a Catholic nonprofit organization based in Walls, Mississippi. It’s actually the first time a religious organization budgeted an independent film that has received critical acclaim.

Profits from the sale of the film were used to construct a kindergarten through eighth grade school for 450 children in Southaven, Mississippi, located 10 miles from the Sacred Heart League headquarters in Walls. The school's cafeteria is named "The Spitfire Grill," and the film, which is available in both VHS and DVD formats, continues to inspire countless people.

Mr. Courts retired from Sacred Heart League, Inc. and Gregory Productions, Inc., in early 2002. He continues to receive requests from around the world for his advice and counsel, especially from young film makers attempting to create bold and beautiful film outside the Hollywood studio system.

It won several awards including the Dramatic Audience Award at Sundance.

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