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An award-winning DeLand film studio is getting ready to present a veteran-directed film starring local actors that will have its worldwide premiere at the Athens Theatre in May.

Air Force veteran Kevin A. Kimball from Jacksonville is the writer, director and star of Coming Home. He plays one of the lead characters, Tech. Sgt. Jack Ward.

“He is an experienced and incredible actor,” Joey Maxwell, a producer of the film and owner of The Studio Creative Group, said. “He was not going to put himself in that role, but myself and my wife, Allison, who is also a producer of the film, knew there was no one but Kevin to play this role properly.”

The other lead character, Senior Airman Danny Spiro, is played by Reggie Peters, who is a successful commercial actor from Port Orange.

The film follows two active-duty servicemen returning home from deployment and experiencing very real emotions and events that many servicemen go through daily. The film was made to be enjoyable for not only veterans and active-duty members, but all audiences.

“This is a human story about two men going through very real, human emotions that happen to be two men in uniform,” Maxwell said. “Audiences around the world can empathize and relate to the film.”

In Coming Home, Jack Ward and Danny Spiro begin their return from deployment and anticipate what to expect when they arrive home to their families. As a more experienced airman, Ward helps Spiro cope with the realities of returning home to his 1-year-old daughter, whom he has never met, and a wife who may no longer need him after raising the child without him for an entire year.

The film is loosely based on a true story. The nature of the events in the film comes from the experiences of Kimball, who served in the Air Force for nine years.

“He used his experiences from multiple deployments to base the emotional experience of the characters throughout the film about coming home,” Maxwell said.

The goal of the short film is to use it as a platform to raise funds and awareness for a feature film on the same subject.

“We have a full-length film behind this that broadens and expands on this story,” Maxwell said.

The film premieres at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, May 17, at the Athens Theatre, 124 N. Florida Ave. in Downtown DeLand.

It was originally set to premiere March 29, but the ongoing coronavirus outbreak forced it to be postponed.

“We are hoping it will give us more time to generate a little more interest,” Maxwell said. “We just released the trailer and it has generated 6,000 views as of this morning [March 17]. It is being shared in a number of military groups on Facebook, which has also helped a lot.”

The trailer for the film is available on YouTube.

The screening will feature exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, and a panel discussion with cast and filmmakers at the end of the film.

“We do expect a full audience,” Maxwell added.

General admission costs $10, and admission costs $7 for veterans and active-duty service members. Tickets can be purchased online at www.athensdeland.com.


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