American Family Studios shooting film in Tupelo

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Cameras will roll on Monday, as work begins on a feature film in Tupelo.
“I Am Potential” is a true story adapted from a book of the same name about Patrick Henry Hughes, who was born without the ability to see or straighten his arms and legs.
“We follow the dad’s story arc. In the beginning, he didn’t know how to be a dad,” said Zach Meiners, who’s writing and directing the film for America Family Studios.
Patrick John Hughes had hopes of seeing his son on the football field. He had to let those dreams go, but new dreams revealed themselves after Patrick Henry Hughes began playing piano at age 2.
The son grew up to attend University of Louisville, where he played trumpet in the marching band. His dad pushed his wheelchair in formation with the other players.
“The dad eventually got to see his son perform on a football field,” Meiners said.
The Hughes men were in town on Thursday and Friday to record music for the production.
“We’re recording a song I wrote called ‘Crusade Cannonball,’” Patrick Henry Hughes said at American Family Association’s Tupelo headquarters. “It’s a take on ‘Wabash Cannonball.’”
The director plans to give Patrick Henry Hughes a cameo in the film, but his part will be portrayed by actors.
A pair of Tupelo twins have been tapped for the early years. Jimmy Bellinger, who has appeared on “Glee” and “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” will take over for the later years.
Cast members include Jama Williamson from “Parks and Recreation” and Burgess Jenkins from “Remember the Titans.”
The Hughes family lives in Kentucky, but filming was moved to Mississippi because of tax incentives for film production.
The movie will be shot throughout the month of May, and locations will include Tupelo High School, Harrisburg Baptist Church, North Mississippi Medical Center and Tupelo Regional Airport.
Volunteers are needed to serve as extras for scenes to be shot throughout the month. All age groups are needed.
Kendra White, second assistant director, said the more the merrier for crowd scenes on May 22 and 29.
“We want as many as we can get,” she said. “We’ll have an auditorium to fill up. We’d like to get at least 300 people.”
To serve as an extra, send your name, age and contact information to casting@afa.net. Anyone wanting a featured extra position should include a head shot.
“It’s a really long day when you’re an extra,” White said, “but it’s a wonderful opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes to make a movie.”
scott.morris@journalinc.com