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Forrest Lucas Launches Theatrical Distribution Venture with Professional Racecar Driver Ali Ashfar


Forrest Lucas Launches Theatrical Distribution Venture with Professional Racecar Driver Ali Ashfar

Forrest Lucas, founder and owner of Lucas Oil Products, Inc., MAVTV, Lucas Oil Speedway, and the naming rights to the Indianapolis Colts' Stadium, "Lucas Oil Stadium", and Ali Afshar, the record-setting professional racecar driver, turned actor, turned movie producer (and now all three at once), have set their sights on the theatrical film distribution business and will begin releasing movies in 2019 under the Forrest Films banner.

ESX Productions, the film development, production and financing banner that Lucas and Afshar established in 2015, will fold into Forrest Films and operate as a label within the new parent entity, with actress/producer Christina Moore joining the Forrest Films producing team. Moore has produced seven films with Afshar and Lucas to date.

A multifaceted entertainment company with the ability to develop, package, finance, produce and now release a slate of high-end, commercial films telling inspiring and purpose driven stories, Forrest Films is housed on the Warner Bros. lot, with Warner Bros. having distributed the company's previous films - "American Wrestler: The Wizard" starring Oscar winner Jon Voight, and the off road sports drama "Dirt" (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment).

Veteran distribution executive Scott KENNEDY has been hired to oversee the distribution efforts of Forrest Films as President of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution. KENNEDY most recently served as Executive Vice President of Operations and Distribution for Open Road Films. He handled over 30 films while at Open Road including "The Grey," "End of Watch," "Side Effects," "Chef," "Nightcrawler," the Sundance favorite "Dope," and the Academy Award® Winner for Best Picture, "Spotlight." Together they generated over $700 million in domestic box-office.

Kennedy started in the distribution film business with MGM almost 30 years ago before moving on to such notable companies as Miramax Films in 1998 and then on to Open Road Films in 2011.

The expansionary initiatives of Forrest Films are supported by a media fund, backed by Forrest Lucas, which allows the company to not only finance the production of feature films, but also provide P&A funding for theatrical releases. Forrest Films will fund and orchestrate theatrical release campaigns tailored and scoped individually for each film, ranging from limited releases in target markets, to platformed rollouts, to wide openings nationwide, depending on the film and fully supported with marketing, advertising and publicity.

Forrest Films will release seven films in its first year of operation. These will include the action/drama "Ride," starring award-winning actor/rapper Chris "Ludacris" Bridges ("Fast & Furious" franchise, "Crash," "Hustle & Flow"); The drama "Bennett's War" starring country music star Trace Adkins, Michael Roark ("Magic Mike," "Beauty and the Beast") and Allison Paige ("The Flash"); the romantic drama "Roped" starring John Schneider ("Smallville," "The Rebound"), Casper Van Dien ("Starship Troopers," "Sleepy Hollow") and Christina Moore ("Without A Paddle," "True Blood"); "American Fighter" starring Tommy Flanagan ("Gladiator," "Sons of Anarchy," "Guardians of the Galaxy"), Emmy award winner Bryan Craig ("General Hospital"), Sean Patrick Flanery ("Boondock Saints," "Powder") and George Kosturos ("American Wrestler"); sports-themed "Lady Driver" starring Sean Patrick Flanery ("Boondock Saints," "Powder"), Christina Moore ("Without A Paddle," "True Blood"), Grace Van Dien ("Greenhouse Academy") and Casper Van Dien ("Starship Troopers," "Sleepy Hollow"); the thriller"The Stand at Paxton County" starring Christopher McDonald ("Happy Gilmore," "Thelma and Louise"), Michael O'Neill ("Dallas Buyers Club," "Seabiscuit") and Jacqueline Toboni("Grimm," "Easy"); and "Wheels of Fortune" starring Jeff Fahey ("Alita: Battle Angel," "Lost"), Matt Jones ("Red State," "Home"), Matty Cardarople ("Stranger Things," "Selfie"), and Noureen DeWulf ("Ghosts of Girlfriends Past," "The Backup Plan").

ESX was the first foray into the feature film business for Lucas, whose own inspiring 'rags to riches' story serves as the impetus behind the creative mantra of the company and guides the slate of inspirational films that promote the American way of life and the American dream.

Said Lucas, "I entered the movie industry with a commitment to bring inspirational, hopeful content to the marketplace. Putting these movies in theaters is an extension of this mission. Being in the U.S. theatrical distribution business allows for a direct connection to filmgoers and a way to build our purpose-driven brand."

Said Afshar, "Our feeling is that the types of films we support are underserved in the theatrical space, hence an opportunity exists for us to be the ones delivering movies that speak to these audience segments."

"I am thrilled to be joining the ESX Productions and Forrest Films team," said Kennedy. "Our slate of films emanate highly impressive quality and the team's contemporary perspective on distribution and marketing signifies a promising future for the brand."

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