TUCKET, Ga. - A new film-in-the-making centers on a young, Ringgold woman killed in a crash in 2016. After Katie Beth Carter's death, her community came together and accomplished some amazing things in her name.
Katie Beth Carter, 18, graduated from Heritage High School in 2016. Just a few months later, as a marching band dancer at Jacksonville State University, a crash involving a tractor-trailer took her life. Now a group of filmmakers want to bring the story of "Kind Katie" to your local movie theater.
In the weeks following Katie Beth Carter's death, it was clear The Jacksonville State University freshman was a special young woman.
"We like to say she is the most remarkable, unremarkable kid because she wasn't the best academically necessarily, she wasn't the best dancer...although she loved it with her whole heart, she just loved people," says Kind Katie Co-Writer and Co-Producer Jon Graham.
Music star Taylor Swift even heard about the tragedy and donated $5,000 for funeral expenses. Katie Beth also left a mark on her classmates at Heritage High School. "Come to find out, she was known as 'Kind Katie' among her school and right before she graduated she had given every one of her classmates a personal note with a note of encouragement," Jon says.
She had such an impact on her Ringgold community, that an ongoing effort to build a school for a village in Nicaragua became a mission for Katie Beth's legacy.
"The class was like, 'We've got to do something, what can we do to show how much we love Katie?' And Coach E.K Slaughter, the head football coach and also the teacher of that class said, 'If we build that school, can we name it after somebody?' and they said, 'Absolutely!'" Recalls Jon.
Supporters raised $60,000 and earlier this year the Katie Beth Carter Memorial Secondary School opened outside León, Nicaragua. "So literally these are the homeless people who lived in trash heaps in the streets of Leon and now they have a beautiful new school and right now they're putting together the pieces to build a water tower where there will be a ready source of clean water for them," Jon explains.
And it all happened because of Katie Beth's spark for life. "This little girl kicked off a series of dominoes that are changing an entire village," he adds.
Now Jon and a team of filmmakers want to bring her story to the big screen, using a government supported crowdfunding strategy to offer profit sharing to investors. "We're trying to offer an opportunity for the faith-based community to get behind a project as it's being produced," says Jon.
They need investors to make it a reality, so they can share more of 'Kind Katie's' story with the world. "If she would have known that giving her life in a car accident would have caused all of this, so many people have told us she would have just said, 'Okay, let's have this.'" says Jon. "It's a story that just had to be told."
Jon believes this is the first faith-based film to attempt a crowdfunding/profit sharing strategy, and he hopes he can prove that it's possible. Jon says the Carter family is very supportive of the film, and all the good that has come from Katie Beth's story.
If you'd like to learn more about the film or learn how to become an investor, visit www.kindkatie.com