A Stranger’s Story is based on one of the many intriguing, sometimes heartwarming and sometimes not, but always emotionally rich memories of John J.J. Batiste Sr. He was born in New Iberia Louisiana in 1913 to father Eraste and mother Elizabeth. This story takes place circa 1942 when John was traveling to Vancouver Washington to start a job in the shipyards in support of the war efforts. It reveals John’s faith, his efforts to share it to support a stranger and that stranger’s demonstration of what is meant by free will.
A Stranger’s Story is dedicated to the patriarch of the Batiste Brothers (John Jr., David, Paul, Michael, Peter, james and Thomas). It is a tribute to the concept of ‘family first’ (before self). The film is a microcosm of the life of John J.J. Batiste Sr. who wore his faith on his sleeve and strived to instill that faith in his sons, near and distant family, friends and any stranger who was willing to take the time to listen.
The film draws a contrast between faith and free will. John and Jonas are strangers to one another but do not hesitate to share personal information about their families, hopes and aspirations, and regrets (Jonas’ dilemma). John’s dialog, from the start of the film to the end, reveals his commitment to his faith and family. Jonas’ actions demonstrate one consequence of having free will to choose one path or another in times of crises.
James Batiste is the sixth (out of seven) son of John J.J. Batiste Sr. and Estelle Curtis. “This project has been a labor of love bringing to life (the public) one of many stories shared by my father”.
Alonzo Waller is an actor, producer, and director who has appeared in several film, television and theatre productions. You may have seen him in A Soldier’s Play, Miss Evers’ Boys, A Soldier’s Soul, Barney and Friends, A Thought Unchained, The Children’s Hour, the soon to be released feature films: The Senior, and My Dear. Just to name a few. Alonzo has been recognized for his contributions to the arts by The Live Theatre League of Fort Worth, Texas, University Academy in Irving, Texas. Alonzo studied acting at Kim Dawson Conservatory College of Film and Dramatic Arts, graduating with a degree in Acting Performance.
Tanya Gray is a writer and actress. She has appeared in theatre, film and tv productions. “I am humbled and honored to have been entrusted to help tell this story, and grateful to God, and the cast and crew for bringing it to life”.
Chris Ford is a Graduate of The University of Tulsa, Film & Theatre program. He is appreciative and excited for the opportunity to be a part of this film. Chris has appeared as a host and supporting cast in a couple pilot shows and television commercials. Chris co-manages a business and enjoys his time as a family man, when he is not pursuing film or television opportunities.
Estelle (Essie) Batiste
Brandie Riggs is an actress, model, and writer from Dallas Texas. She graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast News Journalism. She has been cast in numerous national commercials for companies such as Dave & Busters, Cantu, and Wingstop, as well as national print ads for Empress Hair Care, AT&T and Chrysler, and several independent films.
Gerald Pennington has a passion for performing. He’s a versatile actor who loves creating characters while performing in classic plays. He’s grateful for the opportunity to create great theater characters such as PFC Petersen in A Soldier’s Story Play, Sam Weinberg in A Few Good Men, George Murchison in A Raisin in the Sun as well as Willie in Master Harold and the Boys.
Emerald Khan is a Caribbean American actress based out of Dallas, Texas and graduate of Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. She is a well-rounded Performing Artist with a career beginning in 2000. She has built her career on stage and on screen in music, film and theatre. As she continues to grow in her career, her work extends beyond the stage and into the community as she volunteers her time mentoring youth, serving veterans, the homeless, and a variety of other philanthropic efforts that align with her purpose and personal values.
Dr. Cinetrea Grace-Williams attended Louisiana State University, Texas Women’s University school of Broadcast Journalism, Arts and Social Work, and also Ram Bible Institute & Seminary (Masters & Doctoral Studies). She is an actor, producer, dancer /choreographer, published writer, poet, editorialist and founder of a nonprofit arts organization.
Bill Hass began his career as a theater actor in the late eighties. He has performed on stages in and around Texas, doing everything from Shakespeare to Neil Simon. The training and experience he received performing live theater led him into writing and filmmaking. He has written, directed, and acted in multiple short films. He has also written and directed two feature films.