Columbiana County couple to premiere locally made film ‘Unwavering’ faith
By GUY D’ASTOLFO
“Unwavering,” a film that was written and directed by Josh Menning of Leetonia and shot in Youngstown and Columbiana County, will get its premiere next week at Main Street Theater.
The faith-based film has a cast that hails from the Mahoning Valley, Pittsburgh and Cleveland.
It tells the story of Sarah (played by Katie C’etta of Pittsburgh) who is being held captive by a terrorist group. As she is tested and struggles to stay true to her faith, she has flashbacks from her childhood, her first love, getting engaged and the event that reveals how she was captured.
Menning calls it “a mix of loving memories, intense emotional situations and edge-of-your-seat suspense.”
The cast of the 95-minute film also includes Justin Rose, Jason Klingensmith, Nicholas Baronzzi, Sarah Hunter, Emily Kelly, Emily Geary, Randy Lee Murphy, Randy Parsons, Daniel Nungusser, Emily Rusu, Georin Aquila, John Smith, Theresa Wylie, Joseph Morales, Randy Campbell, Brookabella Horner, Aubrey Unkefer, Ethan Hall, Tucker McElroy, Cora Mansfield, Shelby Brunn, Pakob Jarernpone, Jessica Joerndt and Alison Kamis.
The film features an original score by Todd Maki of Youngstown.
Tickets to the premiere, which will take place at 7 p.m. April 22, are $15 and are available in advance at menningphotographicfilms.com and at the Main Street Theater box office, 5 N. Main St.
The film is the second by Menning and his first full-length film. His first offering was a short film titled “Gretchen’s Lock” (2015), which was about a group of campers in Beaver Creek State Park who encounter signs of a supernatural legend.
“Unwavering” was shot in 10 days in July. “The first week, we filmed in a warehouse with no air conditioning in Washingtonville as the temperatures outside were in the 90s,” said Menning. The warehouse is the set where the hostage scenes were shot. “The next week, we filmed in multiple locations ranging from Columbiana to Mill Creek Park at the Rose Garden in Fellows Riverside Gardens to the Silver Bridge, and then to Rogers Community Auction in Rogers.”
Menning grew up in New Waterford and is a graduate of East Palestine High School and Kent State University. His wife and business partner, Danielle, is a graduate of Crestview High, Kent State and the University of Akron law school.
The couple started doing wedding photography in 2011 and were immediately successful. By 2012, they were working full-time as photographers, forming Menning Photographic Ltd. Danielle would soon give up practicing law.
By 2014, the couple branched out into business-promotion videos. “That’s when the urge to shoot a film began,” said Menning, who began writing the script for “Gretchen’s Lock” in 2015. That film was shot in four days and premiered one year ago at Main Street Theatre to two sold-out screenings.
The success of “Gretchen’s Lock” spurred Menning to begin writing “Unwavering.” Many of the cast members from the first film also appear in the current one, as do Menning and his wife.
After next week’s premiere of “Unwavering,” Menning said he will begin looking at other theaters in the region to have screenings, and will also consider shopping it to film festivals.
The film’s website is menningphotographicfilms.com/unwavering.