Director Justin Baldoni believes in using his platform to tell stories that matter. So after spending time with Zach Sobiech, a teenage musician living with terminal bone cancer, Baldoni knew God wanted him to share Zach’s story with the world.
“I think that there are these moments in our lives where you can feel, even at the moment, that there’s something bigger happening,” Baldoni told The Christian Post, describing his experiences being around Zach, his mother, Laura, and the rest of his family back in 2013.
“I think that’s how God works. He puts you in places, so long as you’re open and you’re receptive to it, that you don’t know why you’re there, but you know you’re there for a reason that’s bigger than you.”
Fast forward seven years and Zach’s inspiring — and sometimes heartbreaking — story is now a major motion picture titled “Clouds,” hitting the streaming platform Disney+ on Oct. 16.
Zach was 14 when he was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer known as osteosarcoma. Knowing his time was limited, the Minnesota teen fulfilled his dream and recorded the farewell song Clouds in December 2012. Zach lived to see his song become an unexpected worldwide sensation before he died in 2013, just 17 days after his 18th birthday.
“Clouds” (rated PG-13 for brief strong language), named after the viral song, is directed by Baldoni and stars Neve Campbell as Laura, Fin Argus as Zach, and Sabrina Carpenter as his best friend and songwriting partner, Sammy. The film focuses on Zach’s musical ambitions as well as his relationships with his family, friends, and then-girlfriend, Amy.
Baldoni, who first told Zach’s story in the 2013 series, “My Last Days,” told CP that the time he spent with the Sobiech family changed his life, from the way he approaches his marriage to how he chooses to use his platform. Zach’s perspective on love, life, and faith, the director said, far surpassed his 17 years.
“I think about things differently,” Baldoni, who practices the Bahá’í religion, said. “[Zach] distilled teachings from the Bible in such simple ways. … Zach was someone who always looked for the good in people. … And if somebody was saying something negative about someone, he could chime in and say something positive. That was his heart. How does that not change you, when you see a 17-year-old living the way you kind of know you should be?”
Laura, who was heavily involved in the making of “Clouds,” shared her family’s story in the 2014 memoir, Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered a Mom’s Small Prayer in a Big Way. In it, she details how her faith sustained her amid the difficulties of Zach’s cancer battle.
“As a mother losing a child, there’s a whole lot of hurt that goes with that, and a lot of struggle,” she told CP. “I’m so incredibly grateful for the faith for my faith, because my faith informs me that there’s something more beyond this, and I could trust in that.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett