"'Emanuel'" spreads an important message about the power of forgiveness."
Steph Curry wanted to be a part of a special project -- a movie that took what seemed like an eternity to make. But in the end, was absolutely worth it.
Brian Ivie stood on the balcony and gazed out to the ocean. It was a beautiful day on the heels of the happiest moment of his life. He was on his honeymoon, but his wife was in tears.
"She was weeping," Ivie told NBC Sports Bay Area. "She was watching something on her laptop and she turned to me and said 'Nine people just got shot during their bible study.'"
Ivie said it was a unique occasion where one of the greatest moments of his life collided with one of the worst.
"And then she said, 'You don't understand, they're forgiving him," Ivie explained. Amanda flipped the laptop around to a clip. The family members were forgiving the murderer just 48 hours after the massacre that occurred at the Charleston, S.C. that left nine dead.
Ivie, a film director, knew this story needed to be told and he explained that to his wife. He remembers telling her out loud that when this story is retold he hopes the forgiveness aspect is not left out. It didn't take long until he wanted to be a part of it, but he wanted to wait a year so he didn't seek opportunity on a subject so sensitive. But it had to be done.
Ivie was a bit reluctant to approach Curry in the beginning to be a part of this project.
"At first I thought he was reluctant because he didn’t have time or because it was a small film but I learned it was because he had a history, he grew up in the church and it was just too close to home for him," Ivie explained.
Someone from Sony ended up coming to a screening and at the time the world didn't know Curry was about to start a production company in Hollywood -- this guy did. That same guy, following the film, ran up to Ivie, gave him a big hug and knew Curry had to see this.
Steph watched it on the road.
"I think for [Steph] it was as a man of faith this was the kind of faith he wanted to be about, which is a faith that it lives in the real world and deals with real issues it’s still messy it’s hard but it preserves," Ivie said. "And so for him, it was like this represents me and my brand and what I want to do in Hollywood and so he jumped on board."
In addition to his six-All-Star selections, three NBA Championships, husband, son and father -- Curry had a new title: Executive producer of "Emanuel." Along with actress Viola Davis and co-producer, also an actress, Mariska Hargitay.
Curry's part of the film was more than what one would anticipate being an executive producer. He didn't want anyone to forget about the story.
"Because we see so many of these mass shootings all the time but this one was defined by the redemptive acts of love that were shown in response and it’s been a big part of the healing. I think for Steph it’s kind of like that’s what he likes you know?"
Ivie also said the film was a great representation of Curry's heart. Upon researching this latest project I noticed Curry will not be a part of any business decision unless it was something that represented him as a person. And the best part? He's great to work with.
"It's very, very easy," Jeron Smith, CEO of Unanimous Media -- the media company Curry had formed.
"Stephen is incredibly consistent. He knows who he is and he’s comfortable in his own skin. It’s very easy for him to digest an opportunity and know if it fits and is authentic to who he is," Smith said.
That's because the new media opportunity comes from three important focal points: Faith, family and sports.
I know what you're asking ... Is there anything Steph can't do? I asked Smith. The short answer is no, but he humored me a bit.
"Oh man, that’s a question you’d probably have to ask him because if you ask me, I honestly think ... I hate doing this because people think I’m biased but I think Stephen is like the most incredible person on the planet. He 100 percent is special, God has 100 percent blessed his life and you know he’s blessed but when you get to know him you understand why he’s blessed."
Blessed indeed -- and through it all has been his mother, Sonya. She's seen it all, felt it all -- but this was a special moment for her. Upon her viewing of the film, she said it was one of the proudest moments she had as a mom.
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"It was very humbling," Ivie said. "Tt was really cool because she spent a lot of time with my wife at the event and what I love about Steph is he just doesn’t look through anybody. You’re the most important person in the world when he’s with you and I think, I love his heart and to me because of course I agree wholeheartedly it’s not just about his brand I wanted him to be a part of this because of who he is and what he represents to the world and for his mom to say that given everything he’s accomplished it’s absolutely mind-blowing to me but I think it’s because she saw him on stage standing up and talking about the film and talking about his faith and for her that’s who she is as well. It was a really cool moment I mean honestly all of this is still a blur."
The film will be shown in theatres June 17 and 19. Each interview from the survivors' families will leave you teary-eyed, yet hopeful.