Santa Rita Film Co. To Release THE IRON ORCHARD
With a focus on Texas before expanding to national markets, Santa Rita Film Co. has announced that Ty Roberts' "THE IRON ORCHARD", starring Lane Garrison, Ali Cobrin, and Austin Nichols, will open in theaters starting on February 22, 2019 in exclusive engagements in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and in the Midland-Odessa areas. The drama, about ambitious oil magnate Jim McNeely that is based on Tom Pendleton's rousing 1966 novel of the same name, will then open in New York, Los Angeles, and additional markets across the state of Texas on March 1st as part of a theatrical platform release throughout March and April.
This will be the first official production and theatrical release under the Santa Rita Film Co. banner with an aim to release at least 5-7 titles per year theatrically by 2020. Current production of other titles including "12 Mighty Orphans" and "Night Shade", which are currently in development. Santa Rita Film Co. also executive produced "Sister Aimee" starring Anna Margaret Hollyman and Michael Mosley, which will have its world premiere in the Next section at the 2019 Sundance FF with Endeavor Content handling sales during the festival.
For THE IRON ORCHARD, the distributor plans to capitalize on the strong word of mouth generated from a 2018 festival run that included top awards from the Austin Film Festival, Dallas International Film Festival and Lone Star Film Festival. By focusing on the target audience in Texas before going to wider national markets, the distributor recognizes how the audience in that market mirrors the authentic approach to making the film and the iconic characters are easily recognizable as a reflection of the times from the emerging mid-century oil empires that help build these parts of Texas.
"In the spirit of 'The Last Picture Show' and 'Giant' I'm excited to bring a piece of mythic Texas to the big screen," said filmmaker Ty Roberts. "With the support of audiences who appreciate a slice of Texas infused Americana I hope our grassroots theatrical release will make a successful road trip across America. I'm proud to finally bring this beloved and vital novel about love and life in the oilfields to audiences. THE IRON ORCHARD is not only a love letter to West Texas but a cautionary tale about ambition and enterprise which feels as pertinent today as it was in post-WWII America."
Said producer Houston Hill: "Starting in Texas, where the oil business is built into the fabric of almost every community there, just makes the most sense for us. Our goal is to follow the successful model created by faith based films but instead of churches, we're focusing on the support from the other religion in Texas: petroleum companies."
Executive producer Greg McCabe added: "The Texas oil community has been waiting a long time for this iconic book to make its way to the big screen. I couldn't pass up an opportunity to work with a passionate filmmaker like Ty Roberts, who did an absolute superb job of capturing on film the heartache and the exhilaration of our industry."
THE IRON ORCHARD is the story of Jim McNeely (Lane Garrison), a young man thrust into the vibrant and brutal West Texas oilfields in 1939. In a state gushing with oil and filled with ambition, McNeely settles into a small-town community that is slowly overcoming the trauma of the Great Depression. The formidable path before him is riddled with obstacles - overbearing bosses who try to keep him down, powerful oilmen who are reluctant to invest in a fresh face, and women who see SALVATION in his charms - but he finds a glimmer of hope with his first loves: new wife Lee Montgomery (Ali Cobrin) and drilling for oil. With everything falling into place to ascend to the top of the oil chain, McNeely stumbles upwards through his success and in turn jeopardizes his desperate longing to conquer this brave new world of influence and wealth. What will define his legacy in building the rich oil tradition of West Texas?
Based on Tom Pendleton's 1966 salacious novel of the same name that defined generations of Texans to follow, THE IRON ORCHARD harkens back to a time of unfulfilled dreams and tarnished spirits that would either break men unworthy of admiration or shower them with riches that could corrupt even the most righteous of us all.
"THE IRON ORCHARD" was directed by Ty Roberts, written by Gerry De Leon and Ty Roberts, produced by Houston Hill, Camille Scioli Chambers, Ty Roberts and George Sledge, executive produced by Greg McCabe, Ryan Haggerty, Brint Ryan, Peter Atherton and Gary Newsom, co-produced by Van Scott Folger and Anne Fleitas, with editing by James K. Crouch and Ty Roberts, cinematography by Mathieu Plainfossé, production design by Mars Feehery, art direction by Scott Colquitt, set decoration by Mary Goodson, costume design by Juliana Hoffpauir, and music by Duncan Thum.