ENCINITAS — About 18 months ago, Encinitas film producer Graham Sheldon was in Bloomington, Indiana, on the set of his second feature film production, “The Good Catholic,” a romantic comedy featuring Hollywood mainstays Danny Glover and John C. McGinley.
The film marked a milestone in Sheldon’s career, the first time he worked with major Hollywood on-screen talent.
A year-and-a-half later, Sheldon is again celebrating another milestone involving “The Good Catholic.” The film will make its theatrical debut on Sept. 8, after filmmakers signed a distribution deal with Broad Green Pictures earlier this year.
“For independent filmmakers, theatrical distribution is the holy grail, so we are extremely fortunate and excited to have Broad Green distribute our film domestically,” Sheldon said.
The film is based loosely on the story of the parents of Paul Shoulberg, the film’s director.
It stars Zachary Spicer as a young, idealistic priest whose world is turned on its ears by a woman named Jane, played by actress Wrenn Schmidt.
Following film wrap up and post production, Sheldon and crew submitted the film to film festivals across the country. The film made its premiere in February at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, where jurors awarded the film the Panavision spirit award, given to the top independent film.
Sheldon said audiences packed screenings and greeted it with standing ovations.
“That was when we knew we had a good film,” Sheldon said.
Shortly after the success in Santa Barbara, the filmmakers sent the film to distributors for consideration, and a number of distributors also courted them as well, Sheldon said.
By March 2017, Sheldon said, the team had settled on inking the distribution deal with Broad Green, a relatively new film company with an already impressive film resume, including “Bad Santa 2.”
“The Good Catholic” will premiere in most major markets, though currently the film won’t be shown in San Diego. Sheldon is working on that, though, contacting La Paloma Theatre and Digital Gym Cinema about showing the movie.
“I would love to have the film shown here in Encinitas, because this is home,” said Sheldon, who has resided in Encinitas since finishing school at Indiana University.
Sheldon said he also plans on attending the theatrical premiere at the Laemmle’s Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills in September.
Sheldon said the path to getting a film in theaters is not easy, but his advice to young filmmakers is to not give up on that goal.
“I would say the lessons for aspiring filmmakers would be to make movies you’re passionate about, do it often and surround yourself with people as talented as you,” Sheldon said. “Be as prolific as possible. It’s never been easier to get your content in front of audiences with the advent of platforms such as YouTube, so find your voice that makes you unique and keep making stuff.”