Having recently won a series of film festival awards, the independent feature film The Last Whistle will debut on June 28th at theaters in Los Angeles, New York, and in multiple other markets across the U.S. The film will also have a same-day release on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Vudu.
The critically-acclaimed football drama follows a high school coach (Brad Leland, best known as “Buddy Garrity” in the critically acclaimed Friday Night Lights), who is shaken by the sudden death of his promising star player, who collapses during practice. As he fights against his inevitable responsibility for the event, the veteran coach tries to play on to maintain the team's winning streak, instead of handling the tragedy. The town then turns against him, and the player’s mother sues the coach for negligence, placing his career at a crossroads. Through this crisis, the coach is pressed to face some uncomfortable facts about the decisions he has made in his life -- and the way he has made them.
The Last Whistle also brings awareness to the heart condition known as Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), which can be associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), and are conditions that affect young athletes across all sports. Unrecognized cardiovascular disorders, such as SCA and HCM, result in the death of a young person every three days in the United States (1). The filmmakers collaborated with the American Heart Association in the making of the film to help raise awareness about these dangerous conditions.
Brad Leland is accompanied by a diverse roster of experienced film and TV actors. The talented cast includes Emmy winners Jim O'Heir (Parks and Rec), Eric Nelsen (Erase, The Affair), Sainty Nelsen (Netflix’s Trolls, Boss Baby), and Kristos Andrews (The Bay), as well as Fred Tolliver Jr. (She’s Gotta Have It), Tyler Perez (Code Black), and a standout debut performance from Deanne Lauvin, who was awarded Best Actress at the Deep in the Heart Film Festival.
The Last Whistle also features BCS Championship winning coach Les Miles as the town’s principal critic of the beleaguered coach. This is Miles's second major role in a feature film, and his last before he starts his new coaching position with the Kansas Jayhawks. Miles also served as an advisor to Leland, who had never before played a football coach.
Part of the movie’s score includes an original song written for the film by popular Texas country singer Pat Green and radio personality George Dunham. The song, “Til the Last Whistle Blows”, is a musical homage to football players who leave everything they have on the field of play.
Writer/Director Rob Smat penned the script for Robert Rodriguez’s Rebel Without A Crew series. When Smat’s script was not selected for the series, he decided to produce it as an independent film. A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Smat is a graduate of the USC Film program. This is his debut feature.
The Last Whistle opened to positive reviews at the Lone Star Film Festival in Fort Worth (where the film was produced), and has won Best Picture and Best Screenplay at the Australian Inspirational Film Festival, and won Best Picture and Best Actress at the Deep in the Heart Film Festival.
The Last Whistle is produced by Michael Orion Downing, Thomas Kutzler, and H. Max Gonzalez in conjunction with Eric Nelsen, Sainty Nelsen, Gregori J. Martin, and Kody Klement. The distribution deal was negotiated by Circus Road on behalf of the filmmakers.
(1) Maron BJ, Doerer JJ, Haas TS, Tierney DM, Mueller FO. Profile and frequency of sudden death in 1463 young competitive athletes: from a 25 year US national registry: 1980-2005. Circulation 2006;114:830.
SOURCE: Coterie Media