Fight Diabetes, Enjoy an 80’s-Inspired Rom-Com? Yes, please!

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High school nerd pines for popular/attractive crush, experiences some zany hijinks while trying to win over said crush and learns some lessons about life and love along the way.

It’s a story we know well, yet can’t get enough of.

Lucky for us, “This Is the Year,” a soon-to-premiere rom-com movie, is about to tell that story to a new generation:

“In a last ditch effort to win over the girl of his dreams, a nerdy high school senior (Lorenzo Henrie) and his best friends embark on a road trip to see their favorite band at the biggest music festival of the year. On their journey, they realize that elaborate plans never go off without a hitch, and that you can find true love in the most unexpected places.”

If that sounds familiar—maybe like the plot of a teen flick from the 1980s—well, that’s the idea.

Produced by “Wizards of Waverly Place” alums David Henrie and Selena Gomez, on Friday, August 28, the film will be the first ever to have a live, digital premiere.

A First-of-Its-Kind Experience 

Billed as “a completely new movie premiere experience,” the virtual premiere promises a star-studded event that starts with a pre-show party, followed by the livestream of the film, then a live afterparty Q&A with David AND Selena hosted by Charli and Dixie D’Amelio. The night wraps up with a live performance by lovelytheband.

“Most premieres are for a very small collective of people, but not this one” Gomez emphasized in the film trailer. “We want all of you to watch it with us.” 

But, that’s not all—just by buying a ticket, you also help advance us closer to cures for type 1 diabetes (T1D).

When you go to the official movie website to purchase a ticket, enter the promo code JDRF1. You’ll get a $2 discount, and  $1 from each ticket sale will go directly to JDRF.

You may be thinking, “Cool! But how did this happen?” 

Like any story, it involves personal relationships and an unexpected twist.

But in this case, it also involves a family whose members are dedicated to helping others and know all too well about the day-to-day burden of T1D.

The Backstory

Kelly Engelbert of Charleston, SC, is the mother of two girls. Her youngest, 11-year old Libby, was diagnosed with T1D at age 3.  

“I’m a do-er,” Engelbert said. “I like to fix things and help people.”

A do-er she is indeed. In addition to her job as a Chief Financial Officer and being a T1D parent, she has been on the board of directors of the JDRF Palmetto Chapter for the past 2 years.

Turns out, being a “do-er” runs in the family.

“My father is the one responsible for this. He is extraordinarily charitable. He jumps right into everything you ask him to do. He’s the first to support your cause,” Engelbert said.

Her father (and Libby’s grandfather), Denis J. Gallagher, is also the executive producer for “This Is the Year.”

But there’s more to it than that.

“He’s known the Henrie family for almost 10 years and was an early stage investor in one of their production companies,” Engelbert said.

“We came to acquire the rights of the film,” Engelbert said about the movie, which is David Henrie’s feature-length directorial debut. Henrie also wrote the film.

“They had shot the film prior to COVID, really knew they had captured lightning in a bottle, and had planned for a theatrical release.’”

Then, the unexpected twist: The coronavirus pandemic struck and theatrical releases were put on hold, but demand for in-home, streamed content skyrocketed.

The opportunity presented a slight quandary for Engelbert and Gallagher: “We kind of sat back and really thought about this and said, ‘What’s really the best way to go? Do we approach the traditional outlets with this content and hope for the best? Or do we take this as an opportunity and really try to make something of it?’

They decided to go all in and make something of it.

Not only is this going to be the first ever live virtual movie premiere; it’s also the premiere of a new digital content streaming platform launched by Bold Capital Group, LLC— the firm Engelbert and her father launched and lead together.

“There’s a lot of potential here,” Engelbert said of the new platform. “It’s all been very quick. We’ve done it all within the span of maybe 3 months.”

A Happy Ending

Naturally, the father-daughter duo of do-ers also saw the event as an opportunity to give back.

“We thought, ‘Why don’t we have a charitable element to it?’” Engelbert said. “Obviously, it’s not hard for us to pick what charity we want to give to. We are super committed to JDRF and the research that’s being done. I’m confident that this is the organization that has the pathway to a cure.”

David and Lorenzo Henrie know Libby and that she lives with T1D, as does actress Jennifer Stone who starred in “Wizards of Waverly Place” with Henrie and Gomez. Stone has been a T1D Champion and great JDRF supporter. She served as a T1D Role Model at Children’s Congress 2019 an recently shared her story in JDRF’s Power of Us National Broadcast.

“When we mentioned this (donating to JDRF), they (the Henrie family) agreed absolutely 100 percent,” Engelbert said.

Gallagher even has a cameo in the movie.

“He plays Officer Joseph, the police officer who is at the jail,” Engelbert said as she laughed.

And with that, it’s always good to have a happy ending.

“Movies and music and entertainment have been our getaway. They let you have a laugh when things are tough,” Engelbert said.  “We hope the virtual live premiere of this fun, feel-good film will help people take a little break from all that is going on in the world.”

Purchase Tickets with $2 Discount; Give Back to JDRF

To  get a $2 discount per-ticket, go to the official movie website , enter the promo code JDRF1. $1 from each ticket sale will go directly to JDRF.  

Watch the trailer for “This Is the Year” below.