The documentary 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story will come out on DVD and digital Feb. 23 from Virgil Films.
7 Yards is a feature-length film that explores the resilience and perspective of Chris Norton. In October 2010 at age 18, Chris suffered a debilitating spinal cord injury during a college football game. Doctors gave him just a 3% chance to ever move again, but he defied that diagnosis.
After years of physical therapy and training, Norton’s story went viral in 2015 when he successfully walked across the college graduation stage with the help of his fiancée, Emily. Video of Norton walking to get his diploma touched the world, and it received more than 300 million views. Soon after, Chris and Emily set an ambitious new goal: walk seven yards side-by-side down the wedding aisle.
The film features interviews, reenactments and real footage from the couple’s 2018 wedding. It’s the inspirational comeback story of Chris and his journey from college athlete to medical miracle to viral inspiration and now adoptive father.
The documentary Nasrin will come out on DVD and digital HD Jan. 26 from Virgil Films.
Narrated by Academy Award winner Olivia Colman, Nasrin, filmed in Iran by women and men who risked arrest, is an immersive portrait of one of the world’s most courageous human rights activists and political prisoners, Nasrin Sotoudeh, and of Iran’s remarkably resilient women’s rights movement. In the courts and on the streets, Nasrin has long fought for the rights of women, children, LGBT prisoners, religious minorities, journalists and artists, and those facing the death penalty. She was arrested in June 2018 for representing women who were protesting Iran’s mandatory hijab law, and she was sentenced to 38 years in prison, plus 148 lashes. Even from prison, she has continued to challenge the authorities. An Amnesty International petition calling for her release received over a million signatures from 200 countries.
The film features acclaimed filmmaker Jafar Panahi, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, journalist Ann Curry, exiled women’s rights activist Mansoureh Shojaee, and Nasrin’s equally courageous husband Reza Khandan.
Nasrin features an original song by Tony Award-winning composers Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, performed by four-time Grammy winner Angélique Kidjo.
The documentary 21 Miles is traveling to digital HD Jan. 16 from Virgil Films.
From Director Richard Parry (Shooting Robert King, BASE) and executive produced by Coldplay’s manager Dave Holmes and creative director Phil Harvey, the film is the story of a father’s incredible journey to reach his son in England.
Kais, a 30-year-old Tunisian, arrives in the French shantytown with nothing more than the shirt on his back and 21 miles of sea between him and his 8-year-old boy Marcel.
The feature-length drama Trafficked: A Parent’s Worst Nightmarewill be released on DVD and Digital HD Jan. 26, during Human Trafficking Awareness Month, by Virgil Films.
Directed by Joel Paul Reisig and written by Reisig, George Sunders, and Scott Voshel, Trafficked is based on actual stories of American families who have had their lives uprooted after a child has been abducted and trafficked.
The story follows Allison Riley (Sophie Bolen, The Horse Dance, Rodeo Girl), a beautiful young girl with a bright future and a dream of becoming a veterinarian. On the eve of her 16th birthday, she sneaks out of her house to meet a handsome boy she met online and disappears. Her parents, Joanna (Kristy Swanson, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) and Case (Mark Boyd, Whip It, “12 Monkeys”), contact the police who assume that Allison is just out with a boyfriend. They reluctantly hire private investigator John Belton (Dean Cain, “Lois and Clark,” God’s Not Dead), who has a reputation for making his own rules. Belton quickly discovers that Allison has likely been trafficked by a young man she met online and that he’s on a race against time if the Rileys hope to see their daughter again.
“Awareness is the first step towards putting an end to these atrocities in our world,” Bob Elder, president of distributor Collide Media Group, said in a statement. “Trafficked is a heart-pounding feature film reminding us of how urgent this topic is and why we need to act now.”
The documentary Michael Smerconish: Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started will come out on DVD, digital sellthrough and VOD Dec. 8 from Virgil Films.
Smerconish celebrates his 30th year as a talk radio host in this one-man performance, which is both an intimate memoir and a unique explanation of the origin of nation’s partisan divide. He regales viewers with stories that range from meeting Ronald Reagan as a newly minted voter, dining for eight hours with Fidel Castro, entertaining rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Famers’ Yes in his backyard and confronting the living members of Led Zeppelin with a demand that they reunite. Smerconish’s political journey from reliable Republican to one of the nation’s leading independent voices is both personal to him and a compelling explanation of the nation’s shift toward partisanship.
He went to great lengths to ensure his account would come to life. The 2020 outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic coincided with the launch of what was to be a nationwide speaking tour. Tickets for a two-night Philadelphia launch sold-out in under five hours; other dates across country were about to be announced when the world went into lockdown. Undeterred, Smerconish recruited noted television director Chris Strand to oversee the recording of this onetime performance in the empty and historic Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pa., on a stage once graced by theater royalty including Robert Redford, Grace Kelly, Jimmy Stewart, Kevin Kline and Andrea McArdle.
The result is an engaging, informative, humorous and compelling look at America’s political landscape through the lens of a unique observer. In July of 2020, CNN aired a one-hour special featuring some of the material contained in this, the full program.
The documentary Miniature Wargaming: The Movie will come out via digital sellthrough and VOD Dec. 1 from Virgil Films.
The film dives into the heart of the miniature wargaming industry and reveals the impact it has on people’s lives. The film follows four individuals as they unveil how wargaming affects their lives in different ways: Andy Bryant, a British war veteran who turns to wargaming as an escape; Chris Nicholls, owner of a small business fighting to secure his family’s future; and two young gamers, Matt and Adam, who travel across Europe in a bid to fulfill their dream of competing in an international tournament. Finally, uncover the true story behind this incredible hobby with best-selling author Henry Hyde who reveals how this hobby came to pass.
The documentary includes never-before-seen footage with Sir Peter Jackson (director of the “Lord of The Rings” series) and interviews with Rick Priestley (creator of miniature games Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000), sculptors Alan and Michael Perry, and Warlord Games co-founders Paul Sawyer and John Stallard.
The documentary Maybe Next Year, about Philadelphia football fans, will come out on DVD and digital HD Nov. 10 from Virgil Films.
Since 1776, Philadelphia has existed in the shadows of New York City and Washington D.C. Counted out and overlooked, Philadelphians turned to football as a way to let out their frustrations. After 58 years of coming up short, a Super Bowl title has become Philly’s holy grail. What started out as the most promising year in decades, the 2017 season quickly unraveled with the season ending injury of their MVP quarterback. With the deck stacked against them, an “underdog” city bands together and puts their faith in an unlikely backup.
From throwing snowballs at Santa Claus to having a jail in their stadium, this fan base has earned their title of “worst in the NFL.” Maybe Next Year peels back the veil and offers an intimate look at the lives of four very different and very dedicated Eagles fans, unified by their commitment to family, unwavering passion, and the common dream of becoming Super Bowl Champions. Eagles fans paint their own portrait of what brotherly love truly means in this comeback sports story.
The documentary Win, Lose, or Draw Straws will come out on Digital HD Oct. 13 from Virgil Films.
The feature exposes one particular oddity of the U.S election system, the increasing existence of and wildly varied ways of determining elections that end in perfect ties. Told by the people who experienced the emotional highs and lows of a political campaign that was determined by a random game of chance and exposing the way random luck affects our lives from local races all the way to the White House, the film travels the country to uncover the most peculiar election tiebreakers in American history, while exposing the backroom dealing and insider trading of local politics.
Along the way viewers meet colorful characters who have participated in, worked on, and voted or not voted in real elections that ended in perfect ties. They meet the woman who lost a bowl-drawing in Virginia that shifted the power of government and nearly installed a new governor. The documentary also delves into the Mississippi house election that swung the supermajority control after being reversed three times. It also investigates the coin flips between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Iowa caucus.
Coupled with historical context from the presidential campaign of 1800 to the 2000 Bush-Gore debacle in Florida, and the 2016 Iowa and Nevada caucus coin flips and high-card draws, the documentary explores important themes such as why people want to seek office in the first place and the cultural perceptions of luck, destiny and America itself.
Two Boston Guys, featuring a pair of Boston comics, will come out on Digital HD Oct. 6 from Virgil Films.
Jimmy Dunn and Tony V., the two comics, met more than 30 years ago while working their way up through the New England comedy circuit. Both are Massachusetts natives, Tony from Charlestown and Jimmy from Beverly. In their very first joint special, they paint a portrait of married life in the suburbs of Boston and crack wise about their wives, their neighbors, and the people they really wish they could punch in the throat. With their combined comedic talents, they represent the very best of what Boston has to offer.
The animal-rescue documentary Breaking the Chain will come out on digital HD Sept. 1 from Virgil Films.
From executive producer Anjelica Huston, Breaking the Chain follows fieldworkers with PETA’s Community Animal Project as they visit impoverished areas of Virginia and North Carolina to give care to mistreated animals who — without their help — would continue to suffer or even die. The film explores the uphill battle that faces neglected animals and their champions who work on the frontlines of the animal neglect and overpopulation crisis. Forgotten animals rely on PETA’s field team for even the most basic necessities of life as often these are the only humans in their lives providing them with adequate shelter, basic medical care, or even much-needed affection.
Confronting misconceptions from within the animal sheltering community and beyond, Breaking the Chain celebrates real efforts to change the world for companion animals and the behind-the-scenes work of the people who are making it happen.