Tuesday, Nov. 06 2012 3:21PM
‘A major thing’
Hollywood-type film shot in Lee’s Summit set to make debut
By Toriano Porter
A taste of Hollywood is back in Lee’s Summit this weekend and an area filmmaker is at the helm of a movie shot in and around the city.
“3 Blind Saints,” written and executively produced by Lee’s Summit resident Steven Gray, screens for the first time in Lee’s Summit Nov. 11 at Dickinson Eastglen Theatre, 1451 N.E. Douglas Rd.
Show times are 11 a.m., 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. and features gift giveaways and door prizes.
“It’s just such great timing and good for all us because being shot mostly in Lee’s Summit it gives people a chance to see how well it came together,” Gray, pastor at World Revival Church near Interstate 470 and View High Road, said of the film’s theatrical screening and official release. “It’s a quality film. You see downtown (Lee’s Summit), you see where the cars drive by; it’s just good public relations (for the city) and kind of a unity thing.”
As part of promotion for the movie, Gray and his production company partnered with Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street as a way to “give back.”
For every Lee’s Summit resident ticket sold, “3 Blind Saints” will give $2 back to Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street. Gray said the donation is the production company’s way to show gratitude for the cooperation shown during filming of the movie.
“What we did is sort of a give back appreciation,” Gray said. “We are going to donate $2 for every ticket that comes in just to say ‘thank you’ and give a gift back. That’s good too because we may want to shoot another film someday and now we know that we can all work together.”
“3 Blind Saints” is described in press material as a fun story of three guys whose road trip turns into a jail sentence. Pretending to get saved, their scheme backfires when the judge assigns them to a local church for community service.
The film features Hollywood actors Richard Speight, Jr. (“Supernatural,” “Band of Brothers”), Stelio Savante (“Ugly Betty”), Elijah Rock, Barry Corbin (“No Country for Old Men”), Murray Gershenz (“The Hangover,” “I Love You, Man”), Audrey Matos, and Irma P. Hall (“Meet the Browns,” “Patch Adams”). Although the actors will not be in attendance during the Lee’s Summit screening, the crew all worked alongside almost 200 volunteers from the Lee’s Summit and Kansas City area during filming.
“We did something together because downtown cooperated,” Gray said. “Volunteers cooperated, and the people from Hollywood, who had to come in and help us, cooperated. At the end, you get a fun, family movie and you get to show it in your home town. Since I live in Lee’s Summit, that’s really cool, too.”
Writing the film and seeing it come to fruition was a pleasant experience, Gray said.
“Personally for me, learning to write a screenplay – and it is a craft and an art that you don’t learn by doing one film,” Gray said. “But certainly by doing one film that actually got produced and you can see it on the screen is a major thing. There are scripts everywhere floating around that people will never see.”
“3 Blind Saints” was produced by Hungry Horse Media Productions and directed by John Eschenbaum, and in August reached a distribution deal with FilmWorks Entertainment for worldwide distribution. The official U.S. release will be Nov. 20 with the film available on DVD, digital and video-on-demand.
International sales efforts began last month at the MIPCOM market, which was held in Cannes, France, Oct. 8-11.
“It took us a long time to find what I felt was a good match,” Gray said of the distribution deal. “We had some bigger companies than this company but this company really like the film and wanted to put their hearts in it bringing it out. So, I felt this was a good match for us. We were excited when we finally got (the deal) and they are doing a good job getting it where it needs to be.”