Finding Hope Now (FHN) is a new DVD available online, in Christian book stores everywhere and even Walmart in select markets. It stars Michael Badalucco and Avan Jogia. Released in 2010 to critical acclaim at film festivals, the tense and emotional independant drama finally landed the distribution deal it’s producers had been searching for. [Note: you can get a taste by scrolling down to the trailer below]
FHN inspires audiences by depicting the true story of Rev. Roger Minassian (played by Badalucco) who left the security of his pastorate to do something truly amazing. He alone took to the streets and transformed Fresno, CA, a city ravaged by gang violence, by showing thousands of kids how to lead lives filled with meaning, purpose and hope. I also found it inspiring for reasons you don’t get to see on screen, so I’m happy to share some backstory. I went to grade school with the director/producer Jennifer Tadlock. Her passion, talent and determination are what brought the film to life, on both the big screen in 2010, and now in your living room today.
Recently I got to ask her about her FHN journey.
JC: How did you originally learn of the story and get involved?
JT: “I had just won an award for Ray of Sunshine I Directed in LA and there was an article in the paper about me in Fresno. My Executive Producer/Writer just happened to be looking in the Entertainment Section that day, which he never does, and saw the article on me and called me and said he wanted to send me the script. He was looking for a Director and was impressed by my background.”
JC: What was the budget (approx.)?
JT: “This film budget exceeds just over 1MM.”
JC: It’s interesting what your independent film was able to accomplish on a shoe-string compared to the many, mega-million dollar budgets used for films that have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. How long did you have to wait for it’s eventual release?
JT: “We had numerous offers but wanted to make sure we got the best deal where the production company would be making a profit the quickest. 50% of the revenue could go to HOPE NOW FOR YOUTH, and hopefully start more chapters around the country, and even the world. So it took about 4 1/2 years to get World Wide distribution with the 2nd largest distributor in all of North America for DVD’s!”
JC: How many times was did a distribution deal appear to be happening, and then fall through?
JT: “About 2-3 times with the major studios, where it got all the way to the head person and then passed because they didn’t think our main talent would bring enough of a big draw to the theaters.”
JC: Explain how some of the proceeds are helping the cause?
JT: “Like I mentioned, 50% of the profits will go to the HOPE NOW FOR YOUTH organization here in Fresno and will help get other chapters started around the World. Currently there is a chapter in Cambodia, in Colorado and there was another one in CA, but that went under because they did not have the finances to keep the chapter operational. It costs about $50,000 a month to run a chapter, which is needed to pay salaries of counselors and staff and operate the program that takes these gang kids off the streets and aids in completing their schooling, finding a job and converting to Christianity – which is why the program has an 85% success rate, and has taken over 2,000 gang kids off the streets to date.”
JC: What else would you like people to know?
JT: “We have World Wide Distribution and currently have the DVD available in Christian bookstores across the country and in select Walmarts. It will gradually roll out to more and more Walmarts, Targets, Best Buys etc.. and then will be international in virtually every territory in the world. As exciting as this sounds, we still desperately need the word to be spread so more and more people know about the film and are inspired to buy the DVD. Small independent films do not usually have hundreds of thousands to spend on P&A (publicity and advertising), so we are greatly relying on social media and word of mouth to get the film out there. The DVD is also available on our website which we do not share profits with any distributor, so more money can be quickly donated to HOPE NOW FOR YOUTH. Our website is http://www.findinghopenowmovie.com .”
Here is the trailer, I bought my copy and recommend you get yours today – JC