WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The red carpet was rolled out in West Springfield today for the premiere weekend of the movie Jack Jonah, inspired by a West Springfield teen who died of an overdose.
Jack Jonah’s family and friends say he was a teen with real dreams and a bright future.
On April 6, 2016, that was taken away. His story is inspiring and educating others on the national opioid epidemic.
"Jack would want to save lives," Jack's father, Kirk Jonah, tells us.
Jack Jonah died three years ago of an accidental opioid overdose when he was nineteen.
His family started the Jack Jonah Foundation to try and tackle the opioid crisis in western Mass
Now, they are bringing his story to the big screen.
"It turned out so well and over the last two days, we’ve had over 1,500 people come and see it, review it," Jason Campbell, the director and producer of Jack Jonah, explained.
The film stars Dean Cain, who is best known for his role as Superman in the television series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
The movie, in addition to Jack’s story, also focuses on how to save lives.
"The message is called 'Make Courage Contagious' and what we're trying to get out there is have the courage to make the right decisions. Have the courage to speak up. If you know someone who's doing heroin or doing opioids, have the courage to go to someone that you trust and speak up, because if you don't, that person could lose their life," stated Jonah.
Director Jason Campbell tells Western Mass News that this film gives those struggling with addiction or people who know someone struggling an outlet.
"We’re in an epidemic. The opioid epidemic isn't just here in western Massachusetts, but all around the country and the message of this film hits home to people, so we want to be able to give them hope through the film and we also want to give them a resource through the film," says Campbell.
Michael Sigler plays Kirk Jonah, Jack’s father, and he says it was not only a challenging role, but a meaningful one.
"I was very nervous of course, because he is very charismatic and aside from that sort of pressure, he’s a father who lost his son and he and his family are dealing with that, and by dealing with it, they didn’t just ignore it and hope it went away. They’re fighting back," said Sigler.
And as Jack’s father, Kirk, says, he wants his son’s story to be heard across the world, which is why the film is going to have free screenings in schools, churches, community centers, and anywhere that wants to educate people on addiction, but Kirk says his family is sure this is what Jack would have wanted.
"What we do as a family is we reflect back at Jack would want us to do this, because Jack would want to save lives. He would want other people to not make the same mistakes that he made," added Kirk.
Our very own Chris Pisano and Izzy Post had the honor of being in this movie.
It will be shown in the Agawam Cinemas on Thursday and Saturday.
To learn more on the Jack Jonah Foundation, you can click or tap here for additional information.