Shane M. Pergrem, director of “The Almond Tree” and owner of True Artists Studio
Danny and Leslie Engle were your typical high school sweethearts. They went everywhere together, attending the same school, church and even the same youth group. After years of dating, they married and bought a home together. Starting a family was the next step for this American Dream.
But after multiple attempts to become pregnant, the Engles learned they had a very slim chance of conceiving. The news was devastating and nearly tore the couple apart.
“There were times in our marriage when we both wanted to give up,” says Danny Engle in the trailer for the film. “We both said it’s not working. The pain, the money, the difficulties. We can’t even complete a family.”
But the couple eventually learned how to turn their stumbling blocks into stepping stones and discovered what true love is.
Shane Pergrem, owner of True Artists Studio, was commissioned by Berachah Baptist Church to make a short, 5-minute film about the couple and their unique story. Pergrem says after doing a few interviews with the couple he knew there was a bigger story to be told.
“Their story tugged at my heart strings. They had been through so much and five minutes didn’t do them justice,” says Pergrem. “I knew I could do more for them.”
So, after completing the 5-minute project for the church, Pergrem volunteered an additional 10 months of filming and editing to shoot a full documentary called “The Almond Tree” that showcases the journey – good and bad – the couple endured to complete a family.
“Other than the musical composition — composed by ‘Starving in the Belly of the Whale’ — and for the graphic design, it was all me and I couldn’t be more proud of how it turned out,” explains Pergrem.
“The Almond Tree” was given an official selection at the Appalachian Film Festival, the Awareness Film Festival West, and the Hamilton Film Festival. It also won the Best Documentary award at the American International Film Festival.
This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by True Artists Studio.