Among this spring’s movie posters at Rave Cinema, between the faces of the Lorax and Julia Roberts, one could find the face of Ivy Tech Community College−Northeast student Natalie Weese.
Weese, a student in the Business Administration program, played the lead role in “Healed by Grace,” a locally produced film that premiered this April.
In the film, Weese plays Riley Adams, an elite dancer whose life changes when she is involved in a devastating car accident. She must submit to what God wants for her life and not her own will, and in the process she is able to rediscover hope, grace and love.
Similar to her character, Weese comes from a Christian family, and she has been dancing her whole life. She connects with her character in the movie in many ways, largely due to the fact that she wrote the first draft of the script.
“I wrote her character—her personality and who she is as a person, so I especially relate to her,” Weese said.
During filming, she worked with a local dance studio and at a local equestrian center, with a horse that her mother had actually trained.
“When you are making a movie, it’s a lot smarter to think about assets you have available,” Weese said.
Behind the scenes, Weese plays many roles. At her father’s faith-based production company, Blended Planet Films, she takes part in editing, script writing and casting for movies.
Though she has been in other films, Weese considered “Healed by Grace” to be her big acting debut. She described the night of the premiere at Rave as being “surreal.”
“It was amazing—for me it was very strange having kids come up to me and being afraid to talk to me,” Weese said. “We felt really honored to have so many people come and support the film.”
Half of the shows at Rave during the first weekend sold out, leading the theatre to show the film for an additional four weeks. One of the audience members at the premiere was Robyn Boss, director of Admissions at Ivy Tech−Northeast, whose husband played a small role in the film.
“It was packed ... Lots of people came out to support this local company and to watch the great things they do,” Boss said. “You could tell they put a lot of work into the project.”
Next on the horizon for Weese is “Life: Without a Net,” a film for which she is the casting director.
“I really love film acting and editing,” Weese said. “I want to keep being involved in all processes of filmmaking.”