GMC TV Presents the World Premiere of Heaven's Rain
An Unthinkable Attack, the Pursuit of Justice and the Power of Forgiveness
The Bold, True Story about Former Oklahoma Senator and Victim Rights Advocate Brooks Douglass and His Family Premieres Sunday, April 29 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET
Atlanta, GA - January 13, 2012 - On Sunday, April 29, 2012, GMC, America’s favorite television channel for uplifting music and family entertainment, will present Heaven’s Rain, a GMC World Premiere Movie starring Brooks Douglass in his film debut, Mike Vogel (The Help) and Taryn Manning (Crazy/ Beautiful). Heaven’s Rain captures one of the most important stories of our time, in which violence is challenged by the resilience and courage of one man’s mission to find forgiveness and fight for victims’ rights. Heaven’s Rain premieres on GMC Sunday, April 29 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET.
“The story of Brooks Douglass is a remarkable and powerful one,” said Brad Siegel, vice chairman, GMC. “In the wake of a brutal attack, he emerged as a tireless advocate and champion for victim’s rights. Everyone who sees this film will be moved by this story. We are honored to bring it to our GMC viewers.”
The movie is told through the eyes of Brooks Douglass, who suffered an unthinkable attack when two strangers entered his home and claimed the life of his mother and father who were Baptist missionaries. It was in 1979 when Brooks and his sister Leslie were teenagers that a drug-crazed drifter Glen Ake and his partner Steven Hatch invaded the Douglass’ rural Oklahoma home. Brooks opened the door to what he believed to be a man in need. The men pulled out guns, bound the family, repeatedly assaulted Leslie and shot all four family members. Richard and Marilyn died at the scene. Brooks and Leslie, left for dead, recovered from their severe wounds, but their ordeal had just begun.
As the story flashes back in this intimate family portrait, we see happier times for the Douglass family and a home filled with love, compassion and faith. The story explores the long term effects of the Douglass’ teachings and how the power of forgiveness can triumph injustice, tragedy and loss.
Ake and Hatch were caught, tried and in 1980, sentenced to death. For the next 16 years, however, the suffering rolled on as a legal system created to protect the rights of the accused, required the Douglass children to testify in court and relive the horrific night.
Brooks and Leslie were deeply affected by that traumatic night. They experienced financial challenges and emotional trauma. Leslie fought to put her life back together after the attack. Brooks struggled through high school and college, but eventually regained his footing and became Oklahoma’s youngest state senator. As senator, he passed a series of victims’ rights bills, including the right of victims to view executions.
In Heaven’s Rain, we see Brooks dedicating his life to gaining legal justice for the unjust and releasing himself from the prison of bitterness that had dominated his life and relationships. The film’s premiere date on GMC coincides with National Crime Victims Right Week. The network is planning a series of screening events and discussion in select cities to coincide with local community efforts.
Heaven’s Rain was written by Brooks Douglass and Paul Brown, who also directed the movie.
GMC (www.watchGMCtv.com) is America’s favorite channel for uplifting music and family entertainment. The Parents Television Council™ awarded its Entertainment Seal of Approval™ to GMC for being “an authentic family-friendly cable network.” In 2011, GMC was the second fastest growing ad supported cable network in total day households and A18-49. GMC can be seen in over 51 million homes on various cable systems around the country, as well as DISH Network on channel 188, DIRECTV on channel 338 and Verizon FiOS on channel 224. Follow GMC TV on Facebook at http://facebook.com/gmctv and on Twitter @gmctv or http://twitter.com/gmctv.
The Tragic Beginning
On the night of October 15, 1979, 16-year-old Brooks and his 12-year old sister Leslie were preparing the dinner table in their family’s home in rural Okarche, Oklahoma. Their mother, Marilyn Sue Douglass, age 36, was finishing up in the kitchen and their father, Dr. Richard Douglass, age 43 at the time, and a pastor of the 3,000 member Putnam City Baptist Church, was studying his scriptures.
They were well respected in their community and the Baptist church, having served as missionaries in Brazil years before settling in Oklahoma. At 7:45 p.m., as they were about to sit down to dinner, they heard dogs barking outside. Leslie, the reigning Miss Teen Oklahoma, found an unkempt stranger in the yard who claimed to be looking for a neighbor.
When the stranger asked to use the phone, Brooks invited him in, but another stranger carrying a gun, his accomplice, barged in behind him. Brooks’ act of hospitality set into motion a series of events that made national headlines and shaped the course of his life.
Ake and Hatch were caught tried and in 1980 sentenced to death. In 1986, the court determined that Ake had not received correct psychiatric care and granted him a retrial. Convicted again, he received life in prison instead of the death penalty. In 1996, Hatch was executed for his crimes with Brooks and Leslie watching. They were the first beneficiaries of the law that allows victims to watch an execution which Brooks helped to pass.
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