Writer-director Emilio Estevez launched his indie film The Way, starring his father Martin Sheen, at last year's Toronto Film Fest. And now, like so many other indie filmmakers these days, he's releasing it himself by cobbling together his own distribution and marketing team. After Toronto, Estevez and Elixir Films producer David Alexanian met with a number of distributors, says Alexanian, who selected John Sloss and Bart Walker’s Producers Distribution Agency (PDA) and Trevor Drinkwater’s ARC Entertainment to release The Way.
PDA and ARC will release the film on Friday, October 7 in 15 markets in the first week, exclusively in AMC Theatres. Then The Way will expand to another 15 markets on October 14 and broaden to 500 screens across the country on October 21.
Says Sloss: "For a concept like PDA to work as effectively as we have on “Exit Through the Gift Shop” and hope to on “Senna,” you need a film that resonates powerfully across wide and varied audiences. In Emilio’s film, we feel we have just that.”
The film, which is partly based on the Jack Hitt book, Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim's Route into Spain, was filmed in Spain and France along the Camino de Santiago with a cast led by Sheen and Estevez plus Yorick van Wageningen as a hiker who wants to lose weight, Deborah Kara Unger as a Canadian woman who hopes to quit smoking, and James Nesbitt as an Irish author. Synopsis below:
Martin Sheen plays Tom, an American doctor who comes to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to collect the remains of his adult son, killed in the Pyrenees in a storm while walking The Camino de Santiago. Driven by his profound sadness and desire to understand his son better, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage. Along the way he learns what it means to be a citizen of the world again and discovers the difference between “The life we live and the life we choose.”
The core team releasing the movie is comprised of marketer Dennis Rice, distributor Richard Abramowitz, Cynthia Swartz of 42West, Marc Schiller of Electric Artists, Tierney Kelly, Terry Hines and for digital distribution, FilmBuff. They will support the film's release with an aggressive marketing plan which involves sending Estevez and Sheen on a North American screening and PA bus tour during the eight weeks prior to the film’s wide October release, which kicks off in late August. Supplementing their efforts are marketing specialists who will help to implement a wide-ranging grassroots strategy: Jonathan Bock and his Grace Hill Media team will handle the faith-based audience, Maximus will reach out to the Catholic community, 360 Degree Communications will take on the body/mind/spirit world, H & M Communications will tap the Hispanic market and Kelly Seehausen of Big Picture is arranging sponsorships.