It's really difficult for an ordinary person to make a feature film outside the Hollywood system, but Brooks Douglass had strong motivation. He wanted to tell the story of a brutal crime committed against his family more than 30 years ago and how he and his sister survived it.
In 1979 two drug crazed drifters shot all four members of the Douglass family and left them for dead. The parents died at the scene but their two children, 16 year old Brooks and 12 year old Leslie survived.
"Heaven's Rain" is a strong drama about the emotional ordeal the two young people endured for years after the murderers were caught.
Forced to testify nine different times over three decades, Brooks and Leslie Douglass relived their trauma over and over. I can't imagine how Brooks found the strength to co-write a screenplay of their story, produce this film, AND play the role of his own father.
Before turning to filmmaking Brooks had become Oklahoma's youngest state senator mainly so that he could push through some much needed victims rights legislation.
Taryn Manning (who plays McGarrett's sister in the new "Hawaii Five-0") is stunning as Leslie, the young woman who struggles to escape the horror of that terrible day when her parents were killed and she was repeatedly raped.
Their murdered father was a Baptist minister who preached about the need to forgive our enemies. Those sermons haunt the angry Brooks played by Mike Vogel until years afterwards when he actually gets to meet one of the criminals. Their moments together inside prison walls are the center of this heartfelt movie.
"Heaven's Rain" is not flawless, but it's powerful. As Brooks describes his own experience, once he was able to forgive the man who destroyed his family, he was "able to breathe again."
You have just one chance to see "Heaven's Rain": Thursday, March 17th at 5:30 PM at the Dole Cannery Regal Theatres.
Afterwards, Douglas as well as co-stars Taryn Manning and Mike Vogel will answer questions.
The screening is sponsored by Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro as a benefit for the Sex Abuse Treatment Center.