"I'll Be There"
Do you remember the time when Michael Jackson died? Directed by the Austin-based Andrew Shea, and written by his University of Texas colleague Cindy McCreery, the drama I’ll Be There unfolds against the 2009 death of the King of Pop. Jackson’s unexpected passing prompts L.A. resident Grace (Jasmine Batchelor) to recall her difficult childhood in Houston in the 1980s, when the singer-songwriter was a constant presence in her life. Jackson was a constant source of comfort for Grace, who always felt out of place as the only biological child in a multiracial blended family with five children. While the world mourns Jackson’s death, Grace’s focus quickly turns to her brother AJ (Ryan Cooper), who comes to L.A. to receive treatment for bladder cancer. While Grace and AJ were close growing up, with AJ happily serving as Grace’s protective big brother, they have drifted apart as adults. When other members of their family arrived in L.A., including their parents, Grace’s sense of being an outsider among her adopted siblings not just returns but threatens any hope of reconciling with AJ. Set in L.A., but shot in Austin, I’ll Be There screens during the Austin Film Festival at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at the State Theatre and at 9:15 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Galaxy Theatres Austin. UT Department of Radio-Television-Film Prof. Andrew Shea previously directed the documentaries Portrait of Wally, Wrestling Alligators, and Buzz as well as the narrative features Santa Fe, The Corndog Man, and Forfeit. UT Department of Radio-Television-Film Prof. and Interim Chair Cindy McCreery previously co-wrote Ashanti’ 2021 music comedy Honey Girl and provided the story for 2010’s Free Willy: Escape from Pirate’s Cove. She also was a Walt Disney/ABC Feature Writing Fellow.
Aired: Oct. 25, 2023