The film serves to inspire people to see their true abilities rather than any disabilities. “I want people to realize their potential and that they have potential,” says Hughes, who was born with no eyes and with arms and legs that wouldn’t fully straighten. “If they have goals and dreams, just keep the passion to achieve that goal. Set your mind to it. Remember that life is truly a blessing.”
Hughes made national news in 2007 as a member of the University of Louisville (Kentucky) Marching Band. His dad, Patrick John Hughes—who was a stay-at-home dad by day and a UPS worker by night—pushed Patrick Henry’s wheelchair into every drill formation.
“My wife and I decided that I would be on campus with him during the day,” says Patrick John. “Once the marching band thing evolved, that was just another class. I didn’t want someone else to push him. I wanted to be there with my son. A lot of life is walking through a door that’s been opened for you. And what an incredible experience this has turned out to be.”
Patrick Henry had participated in marching band in high school but performed on the sidelines.
Then-Louisville director Dr. Greg Byrne had insisted that Patrick Henry actually march.
“I see beyond the wheelchair,” he says. “I see what we can do to make it work.”
In 2008, the Hughes along with Bryant Stamford published a book, “I Am Potential: Eight Lessons on Living, Loving and Reaching Your Dreams.”
Most recently, the faith-based American Family Studios in Tupelo, Mississippi, picked up the film rights. “This film illustrates an attitude and a mindset of perseverance and self-sacrifice,” says Jeff Chamblee, director of the studios.
Zach Meiners, writer/director/producer of the film, grew up knowing about the Hughes story. “Patrick’s story is just one that I grew up knowing about,” he says. “Getting to meet them and telling such an incredible story is an awesome experience. There have been a lot of documentary-type pieces on Patrick Henry. There hadn’t been a film done. Being able to tell a story in a way people haven’t seen it before … is something I’m excited about.”
The film premiered at the Louisville Palace theater on July 9 and then aired at select theaters in Tupelo as well as in Evansville, Indiana.
Groups from about 10 different marching programs—including UofL; Tupelo High School; Cincinnati Tradition Drum and Bugle Corps; Henry County High School in New Castle, Kentucky; and Atherton High School in Louisville served as extras in the movie.
Visit www.iampotentialmovie.com for more information.