On Saturday, September 27, the Mental Health Association of Santa Barbara will hold a benefit screening of the film Canvas at the Granada to honor its writer/director Joe Greco and its star Joe Pantoliano. Also present will be child actor and soon-to-be major movie star Devon Gearhart. The film has attracted the attention and praise of mental health organizations all over the world for its unflinching yet sympathetic portrayal of a woman and her family coping with the consequences of her schizophrenia. Based in part on Joe Greco’s own experience, the film includes several outstanding performances, including that of Marcia Gay Harden as Mary Marino, the schizophrenic mother of Chris Marino (Devon Gearhart) and wife of John Marino, a working class South Florida man who must struggle to come to terms with his wife’s illness and the impact it has on his son.

At just 13 years old, Devon Gearhart already has the kind of career adults in Hollywood dream about. He has nearly a dozen professional credits on IMDB including appearances on the Showtime hit Weeds and in the 2005 feature Little Men. His big break came when he was cast in the upcoming period thriller Changeling opposite Angelina Jolie. The film was directed by Clint Eastwood, and in a recent interview, Gearhart said that Eastwood was his favorite thing about the experience. According to Gearhart, Eastwood is “an amazing director and a very nice person. He came up to me and said, ‘Devon, forget the lines, just say what you feel.'” Asked about other upcoming projects, Gearhart cited his role in the upcoming (August 2009) Shorts, saying, “Well, I just played a bully in a movie called Shorts and loved it. It is so far from my personality so it was so much fun. I have blond hair and they dyed my hair black to make me look meaner. And it worked. Robert Rodriguez is the director and I loved working with him. I learned a lot from him-and-it is my first comedy!”


The Heroes of award ceremony and screening begins at 7pm. Tickets are $15. For information on the Heroes of Hope Awards call the Mental Health Association at 898-0129 or email canvas@mhainsb.org.


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