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I’ll Be There

Directed by Andrew Shea
Narrative Feature
United States | 97 min | 2023

When heroes fall, families rise. Journey into Grace’s world as her blended family navigates life against the surreal backdrop of a childhood hero’s death.

As the youngest of five children, Grace’s blended family was never easy to explain to her friends. As soon as graduation came around, she left the confusion and rawness of her home life behind. When the film finds her more than a decade later, she has built a new life for herself in Los Angeles and cemented her place as the outsider of the family. But her new life is upended when she learns that her older brother AJ has cancer and her now estranged family comes to town to support him. The film is set during the days after Michael Jackson’s death in the Los Angeles hospital that is next door to the L.A. Coroner’s Office, where the King of Pop was autopsied. As we unravel the family’s traumatic past, the pivotal role AJ played as Grace’s protector, and the chasm that now exists between them as adults, Grace comes to terms with the ghosts of her past and her former role as the family’s “Golden Child.” Michael Jackson played an important role in the siblings’ childhoods and the irony of the timing isn’t lost on Grace. As she tries to reconcile her complicated relationships with her siblings, she’s also saying goodbye to the icon who was the soundtrack to that chapter of her life.

AFF Review: I’ll Be There
The Austin Chronicle
Mon. Oct. 30, 2023 by Richard Whittaker


Austin Film Festival Movie Review: I’ll Be There
Nerds That Geek!
10/27/2023 by John Edward Betancourt


True Indie: ‘I’ll Be There’ Writer-Producer Cindy McCreery Shares Her Indie Film Journey
Feb. 7, 2023 by Rebecca Norris


Austin Film FestivalAustin, Texas
October 26, 2023
World Premiere
Audience Award

What drew me to the story when I first read it was how raw and real it was. I’ll Be There is a heartfelt story about a young woman finally finding peace with her blended family. The film is based on real events and rooted in reality, but I was also drawn to the deeply interior and dreamlike moments in the story, which become more frequent and surreal for Grace with each passing sleep-deprived day.

This was always envisioned as an Austin-based project, and one of the many challenges we faced in development and pre-production was finding a credible approach to doubling Austin, Texas for 2009-era Los Angeles. Our locations team was up to the task and found terrific options for the myriad locations called for in the script, including Circuit of the Americas, an F1 race track that doubles beautifully for the 5 Freeway! Our cast is led by the brilliant New York- and L.A.-based actors Jasmine Batchelor, Ryan Cooper, Dorien Wilson, and Victoria Kelleher, but filming in Austin also allowed us to take advantage of a wonderful pool of diverse talent behind and in front of the camera, including Texas-based actors Marc Pouhé, Ajna Jai, Donny Boaz, Mikala Gibson, Jeremy Batiste, Celestina Harris, Casandra Canales, Kianna Sanchez, Cleofas Soto, Kenneth Bradley, and Erik Mathew.

I'll Be There - Poster

I'll Be There - Andrew SheaAndrew Shea

Andrew Shea is a versatile, award-winning director, screenwriter, and producer who has enjoyed success in film, television and theatre. His films have premiered at several of the most prestigious and selective film festivals in the world: the Cannes Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival, SXSW, DOC NYC, and the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). His most recent film, BUZZ, produced in association with Peter Berg and Matthew Goldberg of Film 45, was acquired by Endeavor Content and HBO. Shea lives in Austin, where he is a professor in the Department of Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas at Austin.

Film Information

Director: Andrew Shea
Country: United States
Year: 2023
Language: English
Runtime: 97 min
Rated:  PG-13


Writer:  Cindy McCreery,
Producer: Andrew Shea, Cindy McCreery, Barbara Morgan, Melissa Shea, Gilana Lobel, Camille Scioli Chambers
Cinematography: Alonso J. Lujan
Editor: Melissa Shea
Music: Stephen Trask

Connect With This Film

Principal Cast

BIFF - Beloit International Film Festival
BIFF | Beloit International Film Festival