Those Stark County residents who appeared in the film "Underdogs" will get a chance to see themselves on the big screen when the film debuts at the Cleveland International Film Festival next month.
The movie, which wrapped up production this past summer, is directed by Stark County native Doug Dearth and features the people and places of North Canton and Stark County.
Dearth has shown one other film at the Cleveland International Film Festival — "9000 Needles," and said he looks forward to bringing another film to the area.
"Being from Ohio, I’m really supportive of that festival and considered it a good fit to show the movie there for the first time in Ohio. We filmed it there and so many of the crew and cast are from there.”
The film will air:
- 8:40 p.m. April 9 at Tower City Cinemas, 230 Huron Road, Cleveland
- 2:15 p.m. April 10 at Tower City Cinemas
- 6:45 p.m. April 11 at the Akron Summit County Library, 60 S. High St., Akron
Tickets are $14 for each showing and go on sale March 15 for festival members and March 22 for the general public. Call the Box Office at 877-304-3456 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets to the festival.
Dearth will lead a Q&A session after the screenings.
The independently financed film tells the story of a Division IV high school playing football against the cross-town rival and perennial powerhouse. Off the field, a local machinist and father of the quarterback is being sued by the city’s main employer over intellectual rights to a new space heater invention amid rumors of company outsourcing.
Dearth knows a thing or two about being an underdog. A Canton native and Lake High School graduate, Dearth moved to Los Angeles in 1993 to pursue an acting career. In his first appearance in a movie, “Money for Nothing,” he starred alongside John Cusack, Philip Seymour Hoffman, James Gandolfini and Michael Rapaport. He switched to working behind the camera and has since worked as a producer for “Grace is Gone” and “The Jack Bull."
He told North Canton Patch this week that the movie has turned out better than expected.
"It has it actually kind of exceeded my expectations," Dearth said. "It’s always a long process. I started writing this about a year ago. Now we have a finished film, which, believe it or not, is really fast in the film industry."
Dearth said he hopes the film's showing at the Cleveland International Film Festival will lead to bigger things for the independent movie.
He hopes the Stark County extras and other members of the community will come out to the festival to see their home on the big screen.
"I think it's going to be a great chance for us all to come out and celebrate each other's hard work and have some fun at the festival," Dearth said. "I'm just very excited. I'm looking forward to coming to town and seeing everyone again and showing the community what we were doing all summer long."