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Scenes from "What If" Filmed in Varnum Offices; Movie to Premiere in Grand Rapids August 10

August 6, 2010

Grand Rapids, MI – Hollywood stars including Debby Ryan from the Disney Channel's Suite Life on Deck, Kevin Sorbo from Hercules, John Ratzenberger from Toy Story and Cheers, and Kristy Swanson from Buffy the Vampire Slayer will be at Grand Rapids' Celebration! Cinema North on August 10 for the premiere of What If, a family film created by Pure Flix Entertainment and filmed in West Michigan.

Pure Flix Entertainment has partnered with Varnum LLP to host the film’s premiere in Grand Rapids, and all proceeds from the event will benefit the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital (HDCH). What If features scenes filmed in Grand Rapids and West Michigan, and 7-year-old Grand Rapids resident Taylor Groothuis has a featured role.

"The premiere is a double win; it's a film the whole family can truly enjoy and it benefits an incredible organization," said Tom Kyros, a Varnum partner and member of the Foundation’s board. "This is entertainment that is uplifting as well as entertaining for whole family. We at Varnum and at DeVos Children's are proud that Grand Rapids has been chosen for the premiere."

Stars who will attend the premiere the evening of August 10 include:

  • Kevin Sorbo; Hercules
  • Kristy Swanson; Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Debby Ryan; Disney Channel's Suite Life on Deck
  • John Ratzenberger; Cheers, Toy Story I, II and III, A Bugs Life, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, WALL-E and Up.
  • Taylor Groothuis, local actress
  • Russell Wolfe, Producer of What If and CEO of Pure Flix Entertainment
  • Dallas Jenkins; Director of What If

The August 10 premiere of What If starts at 7:30 p.m. and is open to the public with proceeds to benefit the HDCH.

The story of What If follows the life of Ben Walker (Kevin Sorbo), who fifteen years ago left his college sweetheart Wendy (Kristy Swanson) and his calling to be a preacher, in order to pursue a business opportunity. Now with a high-paying executive gig, a trophy fiancé, and a new Mercedes, he hasn't considered a family or felt the need to set foot in a church in fifteen years.

But God has other plans. While on a thrill ride outside the city, his new car mysteriously breaks down, and he's visited by a tow truck driver named Mike (John Ratzenberger) who claims to be an angel sent to show Ben what his life would look like had he followed his true calling. Suddenly Ben wakes up in the middle of domestic chaos as his "wife" Wendy and daughters (including Disney Channel's Debby Ryan and local actress Taylor Groothuis) are getting ready for church, where Ben is the new pastor.

Before he can get back to his old life, Ben must first embrace this reality and discover the value of faith and family, and perhaps restore his love for those who were heartbroken fifteen years ago.

The Dove Foundation describes What If as, "A charming story for the entire family." The full review and trailer are posted on the Dove Foundation's website:

Varnum is proud to support the premiere to benefit the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital. Established in 1888, Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt & Howlett LLP is a leading Michigan law firm providing a broad range of legal services to meet the complex needs of its clients.

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