Premiering Soon: Hallmark Movie Influenced By Guide Dogs of America

The IAM’s favorite charity, Guide Dogs of America | Tender Loving Canines (GDA | TLC), welcomed actress Sarah Drew to an open house at their campus in June as she prepared for the starring role in Hallmark’s soon-to-be released movie Guiding Emily.

Drew, known best for her role in the show Grey’s Anatomy, toured GDA | TLC’s Sylmar, Calif., campus as part of her research for the new project where she plays a newly-blind person receiving her first guide dog.

Commenting before the SAG-AFTRA strike Drew told TVLine, “Shooting Guiding Emily was a deeply moving experience that allowed me to enter into the blind and partially sighted community in a very powerful way.”

“I was also honored to visit the Guide Dogs of America open house the weekend before we started shooting,” said Drew. “I was able to tour the facility and learn all about the process for raising service dogs and the sacrifice puppy raisers make to train them for two years and then send them off to a member of the blind and partially-sighted community.”

Guiding Emily Producer Beth Grossbard first contacted GDA | TLC’s Director of Development & Marketing Zack Gittlen in an effort to find ways to promote the movie within the blindness community. Grossbard quickly realized that Drew needed to be introduced to people in the blindness and guide dog community to perform her role.

Luckily, GDA | TLC was having their open house and invited Drew to attend. Gittlen spent the day with Drew, showing her the facility and teaching her about the making of a guide dog.

“So many times there are movies done about people who are blind or the guide-dog world that contain inaccuracies,” said Gittlen. “Sarah’s willingness to spend a whole day with us shows her dedication to portraying our community as accurately as possible for this film.”

“It means a lot that she spent the time with us to learn about our world,” said Gittlen.

The movie Guiding Emily is based on a book of the same title by Barbara Hinske.

Hallmark Movie & Mysteries will premiere Guiding Emily on Friday, Sept. 8 at 9 p.m. ET.

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