A Week Away Is On Netflix NOW

If you liked movies like Pitch Perfect, Greece, Camp Rock, and High School Musical you are going to LOVE A Week Away.  It has feel good music, friendship, family, love, kindness, forgiveness, and how faith can be found in the most unlikely of places.  It is the perfect movie for the entire family and believe me, after you watch it you will want to download the soundtrack right away and watch the movie again and again.

Will Hawkins (Kevin Quinn) is in trouble. Again. It’s what he does best. A foster kid since he was ten, he’s been in and out of more homes and schools than his case worker can count. After his final run-in with the law he has a choice to make - go to juvie or a Christian summer camp. Both sounding equally awful, he chooses the one where he can at least bring his guitar, one of the last items given to him by his deceased father. He lies about his background to try and fit in with other campers, especially with his newfound crush Avery (Bailee Madison). But can he keep this up? Does he want to? Will he ever be able to replace the family he lost? With catchy musical numbers and songs by prominent Christian Contemporary Artists and the creative team from High School Musical and Camp Rock, A Week Away comes to life as the first faith-based film of its kind. 

The cast includes Kevin Quinn, Bailee Madison, Jahbril Cook, Kat Conner Sterling, Iain Tucker with David Koechner and Sherri Shepherd.

Soundtrack Now Available!  The full 12 track album is available on all digital streaming providers and includes a special feature by Johnnyswim.  The soundtrack also features 3 singles: “Let’s Go Make A Memory,” “Place In This World,” and “Best Thing Ever (Stage Version).”

Recently I got to interview the cast and it was so much fun!  Here are some fun facts about the movie and what I learned about the cast:

1. Legendary contemporary Christian music artists Amy Grant and Steven Curtis Chapman make cameo appearances in the film as a camp counselor and the camp lifeguard, respectively. Amy Grant was thrilled to be part of the film, “It was incredible. How those songs were placed felt like they were
written for the script and the story.”

2. The film was shot on location at YMCA Camp Widjiwagan just outside Nashville, Tennessee, in 2019.  Unlike other productions where different elements are spread out about the country or done virtually, A Week Away had rehearsals, filming, and music recordings all in one location. Both the producers and the cast agreed that creating all the elements at one location at a real, functioning summer camp added an air of authenticity to the production.

3. Actor Kevin Quinn, who plays Will, originally auditioned for and was cast as Sean. However, due to
experiences in his own life, particularly the loss of a close friend, he felt a stronger connection to the
character of Will. He asked to re-audition for that role, and the rest is history.  Kevin was a contestant on American Idol and has said his several summers at camp helped him to prepare for the experience. At camp, he won the “Best Spirit” award one year and “Most Outstanding Camper” the following year.

4. Actor Bailee Madison, who plays Avery, has been acting since she was a little girl, so summer camp
wasn’t part of her childhood. Working on A Week Away felt like making up for lost time for Bailee, who felt like a kid in a candy store. Looking back on the experience of filming A Week Away, Bailee was thrilled to be surrounded by people her own age since she has spent much of her career primarily acting alongside colleagues much older than her.

5. Bailee also has a co-producer credit on A Week Away, an experience that has had a lasting impact on her. She said, “I learned so much about my voice and the creative process by being part of the larger collaborative process. I couldn’t be more grateful for that opportunity.”

6. The original song “Good Enough” is one of Bailee’s favorite songs in the film. “I think growing up in
the world of social media, while you are always being compared and judged on how you should look
and dress sets up a facade of false perfection. And we need to be reminded that we are exactly who
are supposed to be. That we are good enough just the way God made us. That’s such an important
message right now.”

7. Bailee adds that she is excited that the film is releasing during the current climate, when people are craving stories of human connection, touch, and conversation. She hopes that A Week Away is a glimmer of light for people who look back fondly on their own summer camp or vacation experiences or who look forward to times when they can reconnect with friends and family.

8. Producer and a writer on the original story, Gabriel Vasquez, talked about how important it was to the team to create a film that both parents and kids could enjoy together. He knew that a key audience for the film likely attended summer camps like the one in the film and would no doubt recognize many of the songs in the film from their own childhood.

9. It was important to filmmakers to make a film that was authentic to the world of Christian summer camps and that was populated with characters who could openly and believably talk about their faith, while still making space for diverse perspectives and affirming the goodness in all people. “We didn’t set out to make a Christian film,” says producer Steve Barnett. “We wanted to make a film that had Christian elements that have universal appeal.”

10. Kat Conner Sterling, who plays Presley, wasn’t able to make an audition in person, so she submitted a self-tape through an open call. She was on a cruise with her family when she got the call from the producers with the good news. This is Kat’s first feature film. 

11. Director Roman White grew up in Nashville and the camp at which they shot A Week Away is only 20 minutes from his home. He was even a summer camp counselor in college. Roman has directed films, commercials and close to 400 music videos to date!

12. “Blobbing” - where a camper sits on the end of a partly inflated air bag (known as the blob) and is
launched into the water when another participant jumps onto the air bag - is a real activity popular
across summer camps in the U.S. Kat and cast member Jahbril Cook loved being on location at camp
because they were able to do “the blob” in their down time. The recommended height for the Blob
tower is 15 feet above the water surface so Kevin’s concerns in the film about height were legitimate.

13. Jahbril Cook, who plays George, has a theater background in high school and college, where he
actually wrote his thesis about a summer camp. This is Jahbril’s first feature film.  Being on his first feature film set was full of surprises for Cook. One of the most surprising aspects
was how much “waiting around” there is on set. He was thankful to have his Nintendo Switch on hand
for games of Super Smash Brothers he’d play with the other male cast members. Once Kat and Bailee
learned about the gaming sessions, they “broke into” Jahbril’s trailer for competitive games of Mario Kart.

14. All of the cast are talented singers and performers, so when asked what their non-singing talent would be if they had to perform in a summer camp talent show, they had some interesting responses. Jahbril would bake; Bailee would turn to her newfound ability to trick rope with a lasso; Kevin would perform slam poetry; and Kat would get some friends together to do improv comedy. The producers were quick to share their talents as well. Alan Powell said he would likely dance. Roman would do a magic show. Steve Barnett and Gaberiel Vasquez said they would likely stay behind the scenes and produce the show. Golf claps to Gabriel and Steve.

15. A Week Away was a 21 day shoot that featured more than 100 extra campers for the bigger musical numbers.

So this weekend grab the family, some popcorn and get ready to dance, smile, and watch a feel good movie the entire family can enjoy together and love!

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