"LET THEM SHINE," A NEW "HALLMARK HALL OF FAME" PRESENTATION STARRING EMILY VANCAMP HAS STARTED PRODUCTION IN ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO FOR BROADCAST ON THE CBS TELEVISION NETWORK
LET THEM SHINE, a new "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation starring Emily VanCamp ("Brothers & Sisters," "Everwood"), has started production in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for broadcast on the CBS Television Network. Inspired by a true story, this movie is about a 24-year-old first-time teacher who overcomes her initial fears and prejudices and makes a difference in the lives of the homeless children she teaches in a shelter's makeshift classroom.
Stacey Bess (Emily VanCamp), a young wife and mother of two in Salt Lake City who long dreamed of becoming a teacher, sets out to obtain her first teaching position after graduating from college at the end of 1987. With the school year already underway and her teaching options limited, she soon finds herself accepting a job at "a school with no name," where she is expected to teach homeless children from grades one through six in the same classroom. Despite concerns about the challenges of teaching students of various grade levels at the same time, Stacey is excited by the opportunity and earnestly prepares for her first day; however, her dream morphs into a nightmare when Stacey arrives at the shelter and finds that the "classroom" is a filthy shed with a few tattered books, one desk, several old mismatched chairs and a resident rat. The undernourished, unkempt and unruly children � and their struggling, disillusioned and occasionally disrespectful parents � are also worlds away from her teaching dreams.
Stacey fights off her tears and discomfort and, with her husband's support, decides to become an advocate as well as a teacher. She starts by cleaning, painting and decorating the "classroom" with the help of an eager student, Maria, and Nelson, a kind and artistic 65-year-old homeless man from the shelter whom Stacey enlists as a teacher's aid and art teacher. She also finds an ally in the school district's empathetic superintendent, who helps her get the desks and books that her students need � and even donates his own family's piano. In their refurbished classroom, Stacey encourages the students to share personal stories, which is often a healing experience for them. Reacting to Stacey's obvious interest and care for them, the students start to blossom, demonstrating a thirst to learn and the ability to thrive in the classroom. Their parents react with appreciation and pride at their children's newfound knowledge and skills; however, setbacks and emotionally taxing moments are always around the corner, such as when children who are progressing so impressively are suddenly pulled from the school after their parents choose, or are forced, to leave the shelter. Stacey begins to realize that her time with these transient children is as important to her as it is to them and soon she can't picture herself teaching anywhere else.
Currently, Emily VanCamp stars on the series, "Brothers & Sisters," as Rebecca Harper. She first won over audiences in her lead role on the critically acclaimed series, "Everwood," and as a series regular on "Glory Days." Her additional television credits include playing the lead female role in the upcoming mini-series "Ben-Hur." Among her feature film credits are lead roles in the thriller, "Carriers," opposite Chris Pine, and cptfc "The Ring Two," opposite Naomi Watts.
LET THEM SHINE is a Hallmark Hall of Fame production. Brent Shields ("The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler") and Gerald R. Molen ("Schindler's List") are executive producers; Jeff Bleckner ("Loving Leah") is the director. Camille Thomasson ("When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story") wrote the script based on the book Nobody Don't Love Nobody by Stacey Bess.
RATING: To Be Announced