LOS ANGELES, California – September 4, 2013 – (HISPANICIZE WIRE) – Mission Park marks the debut feature film for writer/director Bryan Anthony Ramirez and producer Douglas Spain (Star Maps, Band of Brothers). The film is slated for a national platform release in select Santikos Theaters on September 5, 2013 in San Antonio, TX as well as AMC Theatres in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City on September 6, 2013. Then it will expand to Bakersfield, Pittsburg and Salinas, CA through Maya Cinemas on September 13, 2013. It stars Jeremy Ray Valdez (La Mission), Walter Perez (The Avengers), Fernanda Romero (Drag Me to Hell), Will Rothhaar (Battle Los Angeles), and Joseph Julian Soria (Filly Brown) with Will Estes (CBS Blue Bloods) and Sean Patrick Flanery (Showtime’s Dexter). David J. Phillips (Life Happens) is co-producer and Armando Montelongo of Flip This House fame is the executive producer.
Mission Park tells the story of four childhood friends, whose ambitions land them on opposite sides of the law. Rookie FBI agents Bobby (Valdez) and Julian (Rothhaar) must go undercover and face their hidden pasts in an attempt to bring down their ‘best friends’ (Perez, Soria) criminal organization. The film won best narrative feature, best director, and best acting performance (Walter Perez) at the 2013 Boston International Film Festival, as well as the special jury prize for best feature film at the WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival 2013.
In the initial stages of the film, the filmmakers encountered many difficulties that pertained to funding opportunities for the project. Mission Park had an almost all Latino leading cast and without a recognizable name attached to the film, investors did not feel confident in its success. Both Ramirez and Spain were persistent and believed the cast and the story to be strong enough to resonate with a wide audience. Fortunately, Armando Montelongo from Armando Montelongo Productions loved the idea and jumped at the opportunity to help finance the film.
Unfortunately, the filmed faced the same obstacles when it sought distribution. Even though the film had garnered great reviews and won multiple awards at the Boston International Film Festival and the WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, distributors were weary of the project. They noted that the filmmakers had produced a great film; however, they felt that an ethnic leading cast was a “hard sell.” There aren’t any marketable Latino actors and Hollywood is in no rush to create any. “Therein lies the catch 22,” says Spain. It is up to the directors and producers to cast Latinos in the lead roles and to stand behind that decision as they had done with Mission Park. They now knew that distribution had to be accomplished independently without the help a major studio. Luckily, co-¬‐producer, David J. Phillips was able to acquire a meeting with AMC Theaters. After screening the film, AMC saw great potential and agreed to a platform release on September 6th starting in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, with other markets to follow. Santikos Theaters also wanted to be involved in support of local San Antonio filmmakers such as Ramirez. They even decided to open a day earlier (September 5th) to honor the city of San Antonio and stay ahead of the competition.
“it is up to the directors and producers to cast Latinos in the lead roles and to stand behind that decision as they had done with Mission Park”
The story of Mission Park is an American story, one that tells the value of friendship and the faults of ambition. Ramirez and Spain believe if a film portrays Latinos or other ethnicities as part of the American fabric, as in Mission Park, it will have potential for great success; and not only appeal to a specific ethnicities but will resonate with a variety of viewers. Due to these beliefs, the team behind Mission Park did not take ‘no’ for an answer. Against great odds they achieved a theatrical distribution for Mission Park, a true underdog of a film with a fighting chance!
“Santikos Theatres is excited to work with an award winning film that was not only produced locally but filmed entirely in San Antonio. We appreciate the opportunity to support local filmmaking and bring director Bryan Ramirez’s ‘Mission Park’ to our guests in San Antonio.” – Chris Prichard
“Through our AMC Independent platform, we regularly explore new distribution platforms to help independent filmmakers tell their stories,” said Nikkole Denson-Randolph, vice president, specialty and alternative content, AMC. “We are very proud to bring Mission Park to our screens and believe it to be a meaningful story.”
About Santikos Theaters
Based in San Antonio, Santikos Theatres has been making movie memories in South Texas for over 100 years. Santikos Theatres is committed to offering their guests a “Total Entertainment” experience with the newest technologies and amenities. For more information, visit http://www.Santikos.com.
About Maya Cinemas
Maya Cinemas is developing a chain of megaplex movie theaters focused on providing the highest quality movie-going experience in new and redevelopment market areas. By capitalizing on the expertise of its management team Maya intends to develop movie theaters in locations with a strong Latino presence. Maya theaters offers first-run Hollywood movies, and in one screen specialty and Spanish language films, utilizing state-of-the-art technology and providing first-rate entertainment with superior customer service. For more information, visit http://www.MayaCinemas.com.
About AMC Theatres
AMC Theatres delivers distinctive and affordable movie-going experiences in 344 theatres with 4,988 screens primarily in the United States. The company operates 22 of the 50 highest grossing theatres in the country, including four of the top five. AMC has propelled industry innovation and continues today by delivering premium sight and sound, enhanced food and beverage and diverse content. For more information, visit http://www.AMCTheatres.com.