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Gainesville girl on big screen next week
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Faith Renee Kennedy, 11, talks about her experiences acting during an interview at Regal Hollywood 15 Cinemas in Gainesville. Faith scored her first leading role in the upcoming faith-based film “Champion,” playing Gracie Weathers, the daughter of a dirt track racing driver. - photo by Erin O. Smith

‘Champion’ screenings

When: Various times May 19-25

Where: Regal Hollywood 15 Cinemas, 120 Green Hill Circle, Gainesville

More info: 770-539-9282 for movie times, for trailer and more information

Faith Renee Kennedy, for the most part, is like most 11-year-olds.

She likes feeding ducks in the backyard of her Gainesville home, painting, creating digital art, computer programming, playing with her five cats and six kittens, and listening to and singing along with her favorite band, Twenty One Pilots.

However, unlike most 11-year-olds, Faith is an accomplished actress.

She’s been in numerous television shows, including SundanceTV’s “Rectify,” and co-starring roles in “Containment” and “Zoe Ever After.” She was also featured in the Zac Brown Band’s “Remedy” music video trilogy.

Faith scored her first leading role in the upcoming faith-based film “Champion,” playing Gracie Weathers, the daughter of a dirt track racing driver.

While the movie is faith-based, Faith’s mom Vicki Kennedy said it isn’t “too preachy” and feels more like real life with plenty of twists and turns.

The movie will debut May 19 in 36 theaters, including Gainesville’s own Regal Hollywood 15 Cinemas.

After opening weekend, the box office numbers determine whether or not the film will play in more theaters.

“It’s not like ‘Star Wars,’” Vicki said.

Word of mouth is key in getting the movie out for more people to see.

It was filmed over a month's time in Woodstock through August and September 2015.

Most of her scenes were filmed at Dixie Speedway, where Faith said her favorite times were spent in a VIP box playing with plastic racecars.

“I really liked hanging out there,” Faith said. “It was a great month.”

Some days, the temperature rose to 103 degrees.

“You couldn’t have the (air conditioning) on because the (microphones) would pick it up,” Vicki said.

That didn’t stop Faith from performing at her best. The preteen has always had a passion for acting. For her fifth Christmas, she begged her parents for a microphone and a stage.

Even before that, she was asking her mom how she could get inside the TV.

Vicki knew early on that her daughter was passionate about acting and wanted to pursue it professionally. To chase her dreams, Faith has always been home-schooled. A flexible schedule has allowed her to send in taped auditions three or four times a week and make trips to Atlanta once or twice a month for auditions.

“It became my job,” Vicki said.

However, Vicki and Faith have made sure to keep their business life out of their mother-and-daughter relationship.

“When we’re off, we’re off,” Vicki said.

Faith is signed with J. Pervis Talent out of Atlanta and CESD Talent out of Los Angeles and New York City.

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