East Texans who had roles in an anti-human trafficking movie filmed locally in 2016 might soon get to see their work on the big screen.
Micah Lyons, a Hallsville High School graduate who is now a movie producer based in Los Angeles, filmed “The Runners” in several East Texas cities, including Hallsville, Kilgore, Jefferson and others, with co-producer Joey Loomis of Morning Star Images in 2016.
The owner of Breath of Life Productions, Lyons signed a recent deal with international sales agency Motion Picture Exchange, which will work with several countries to get distribution for the movie.
Lyons said the film is set to be distributed in North America this spring.
“The exact release date will be determined by the distributor, which is oftentimes coordinated with other territorial releases,” Lyons said Tuesday.
Lyons recruited several local actors and extras during “The Runners” scenes that included action shots of car wrecks and shootouts.
Lyons said MPX is working on negotiations now with North American distributors to get a theatrical release for the movie.
“If we can get a theatrical release in the U.S., it will show on about 50 to 500 screens and if it does well, that number will grow,” he said. “Beyond that, we’re hoping and expecting it to be on Netflix and available at most major retailers including Redbox, Target, Walmart and others. We are in the process of closing a TV broadcast deal in Africa, and we recently signed deals for distribution in South Korea and Kuwait.”
Lyons said he was most surprised and pleased by the distribution deal in the Middle East country of Kuwait, where human trafficking is a notorious problem. He said the movie could be distributed in more than 30 countries by the time distribution dealings are finished.
“This movie is about a heavy topic — human trafficking — and it has Christian undertones throughout,” said Lyons, who is a Christian. “I think it’s amazing that a Christian movie about human trafficking gets released in Kuwait, in the Middle East near Iraq and Saudi Arabia, where human trafficking happens. Christianity isn’t always welcomed.”
Lyons said MPX is working with Uncork’d Entertainment, a U.S. film distributor, for North American release of “The Runners.”
“They have done a lot of action/sci fi type films, and some of their most recent movies had actors like Val Kilmer, Ethan Hawke and Mischa Barton, so we’re very excited,” he said.
While “The Runners” is working on a U.S. release date, Lyons is not sitting idly by. Instead, he plans to return to East Texas in the spring to begin filming “Off the Grid,” with co-producer Chris Routhe of Routhe Productions.
“We are going to be filming the biggest movie yet, which will be an action/psychological thriller that we plan to begin filming in East Texas, specifically Lake O’ the Pines area, in April and May,” Lyons said. “This is a movie I wrote and will direct about a fugitive charged with murder who is trying to prove his innocence.”
Lyons said this movie will feature a well-known actor, and he will again be recruiting local actors and extras for the film.
“We will have helicopters crashing, car crashes, boats blowing up, lots of action,” he said. “We will once again use a lot of local actors and this will be a larger scale movie than ‘The Runners.’”
Lyons said he loves returning to his hometown and including it in his profession.
“I love bringing the family feel to these movies by recruiting local actors,” he said.