I Hope You Dance

Feature Film


I Hope You Dance is a song that won the Billboard Magazine Award for most performed song in America amongst numerous other major awards (Grammy, CMA, etc.). The # 1 hit was performed by Lee Ann Womack.

M17 is producing a full length, dramatic feature film inspired by the ethos and sensibility of this chart topping song.  The film will be produced by esteemed producer Mark Wolper/The Wolper Organization (50 Emmy Awards and Two Academy Awards) and Spencer Proffer, who will also produce and supervise all music connected with the film. Academy Award winning screenwriter, Ron Bass ("Rainman") has adapted an original story by screenwriter Nancey Silvers into a tour de force for actors.

Over the years, this song has become an anthem for high school graduations, weddings and other life milestones. Now, it's illuminating and hopeful message will be woven through our feature film, reflecting the theme of overcoming adversity with grace and humanity.

We plan to cast name, accomplished actors in the key roles, and surround them with cameos from the music world in both acting and musical performance roles. Judith A. Proffer, M17's Vice Chair, head of M17's  literary and charitable arms as well as editor/author of the IHYD Book, will serve as the Co-Producer of the film.

Proffer and Wolper plan to make an important film, in the spirit of and demographically aligned to, films such as The Descendants, Ordinary People, Crazy Heart, Little Miss Sunshine, Sideways, to name a few prototypes.

From the time the song/record were released to multi-platinum success years ago, to when Oprah Winfrey featured the gift book of lyrics on her show { 2.7 Million copies to date}, this work has become an American classic message of hope, self empowerment and joy to millions. When one Googles the title, they will see the song is used in all forms of celebratory events from the Nobel prize ceremony, theme for the NY Firefighters, weddings, memorials and even therapies to help those in need of spiritual and faith lifts.

The movie uses the framework of an extraordinary circumstance - twins, born of a surrogate, given to different parents, both unaware of the other child - to teach two very different groups of people vital lessons about love and family. Using the hit song as the emotional touchstone of the film, I HOPE YOU DANCE introduces audiences to an upper-class family coping with their child's Asperger's Syndrome. As a high-functioning autistic child, their son has trouble interacting on a social level. For a sports-obsessed dad and a mom with a drive to be "perfect", this reality proves challenging to accept. A tantalizing glimpse of what "normal" looks like comes when they discover their son has a twin brother, unaffected by Asperger's, being raised by a lower-income family (who were clients of the same surrogate, and were illegally given the twin infant).

The families try to share custody of the second son, but issues identifiable to all audiences - guilt, envy and pride - cloud the relationship between the two families. What no adults can see, amid the bickering, is the way these two brothers actually serve to complete one another. Despite being very different, they each have something to offer the other. They are better together than apart. Only when the adults have used both legal and illegal means to covet the "normal" child, do they finally realize what has been in front of them the whole time - they are no longer two families, but ONE family, each with individual strengths and weaknesses, each with something to offer and something to gain through a shared relationship. Through this lesson, they share custody of both brothers, learning powerful lessons about the true nature of love and family. 

I Hope You Dance Co-Writer Mark D. Sanders and Producer, Spencer Proffer at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville.