The late Anne Heche and the production team of her new film What’s left came together for a special moment on their last day of shooting.
On Wednesday, Gravitas Ventures shared a behind-the-scenes video exclusively with PEOPLE of Heche, who died at the age of 53 after being involved in a car accident in Los Angeles on August 5, and the cast and crew of What’s left Singing the hymn “Amazing Grace” at Victory Baptist Church outside of Amarillo, Texas.
The video identifies the footage as being shot on October 12, 2021 and reads that Heche asked the film’s writer-director Nathan Scoggins to gather the cast and crew and have the entire group “sing to her.”
“Anne loved to sing,” Scoggins says in a statement to PEOPLE, noting that Heche told him her favorite anthem was “It Is Well with My Soul.”
“She told me one day during filming that she loved old hymns; they would have comforted her growing up in chaos as a little girl,” says the director.
In the video, Scoggins can be seen at the church piano playing the song as Heche, standing behind him, and several cast and crew members join in on an impromptu rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
“Anne had heard that some members of our crew had gathered to sing on one of our days off and asked me if my ‘choir’ (as she called it) would sing for them,” says Scoggins.
“After we wrapped her up, I invited her into the church, sat down at the piano and, as our crew slowly gathered, began to play ‘Amazing Grace,'” the director continues, noting that “the awe-inspiring expression on Anne’s face” as he began the song “was palpable.”
“It was almost like playing those opening notes released something in her spirit,” adds Scoggins.
“What happened next was completely spontaneous as our producer, our PAs, DPs, camera crews, sound crews and ADs all got together to sing about a ‘Grace’ backing us up,” says the director, adding that Heche “in the middle we were all singing, crying, laughing. Free.”
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“Our arms around them, their arms around us,” Scoggins tells PEOPLE of the on-camera spontaneous rendition of the anthem. “It was a sublime moment that I will carry with me for the rest of my days.”
What’s left is a “raw tale of forgiveness, faith and family” that follows “a small-town black pastor (Cress Williams)” who, according to an official synopsis, has to deal with the return of his wife’s killer (Kellan Lutz) to his town for the film .
Williams’ pastor character offers Lutz’s character a job upon his return, giving way to a contentious relationship that “enrages the pastor’s estranged son (Marcus Gladney Jr.)” while the town sheriff, Maureen (Heche) , “investigating another murder that may be related” to the death of the pastor’s wife, the synopsis says.
Gravitas Ventures acquired distribution rights to What’s left after it premiered at the Austin Film Festival in October.
Heche’s co-stars in the film, Kellan Lutz (dusk), Cress Williams and more will honor Heche at the premiere of the new film in Amarillo, Texas on December 1, according to a film official.
What’s left Premieres in cinemas everywhere December 2nd.