Westside teacher Cathy Crawford has always enjoyed going to the movies.
Last week however, one particular movie hit theaters with which Crawford has a personal connection — a very personal connection.
In the movie “Home Run”, a professional ball player with a substance abuse problem is forced into rehab in his hometown, finding new hope when he gets honest about his checkered past, and takes on coaching duties for a misfit Little League team.
Among those responsible for bringing “Home Run” to life is its executive producer, Carol Mathews — sister of Cathy Crawford.
“Cathy is the CEO of Hero Productions — a Tulsa-based company that produces a lot of training videos and films for corporations, they’ve done some work with ESPN and have produced several other videos,” Crawford said. “Many of the projects her company produces, she does with Tom Newman’s Impact Productions, also in Tulsa, which is a Christian-based video and film company.”
When Newman suggested to Mathews that they collaborate on a joint project, the two spent much time in discussion and prayer before settling on the idea of a story about recovery from addiction.
“Carol knows it was the Holy Spirit that led she and Tom to the idea of a project about addiction recovery —neither of them or anyone in their family had struggled with addictions,” Crawford said. “In doing research (for the project), they went to a church in Tulsa and learned more about Celebrate Recovery. She had heard people who’d gone through the program talk about it and wanted to check it out for herself.”
As the project evolved, Mathews and Newman decided to make Celebrate Recovery more prominent within the framework of the narrative, with the program being an integral part of the main character’s own road to healing.
After further prayer, the creative team brought in a team screenwriters, some of whom are from Oklahoma, and developed the treatment which would become “Home Run.”
“Filming started in the fall of 2011, I think, and the project attracted some Hollywood names — Scott Elrod, Dorian Brown, Vivica A. Fox, and a few others,” Crawford said, “but much of the movie was filmed in Tulsa and Okmulgee, so there were also several local actors who starred in supporting roles or who were used as extras.”
Premiering in Tulsa on April 4, the movie opened in limited release on Friday, April 19, and is to get an “expanded limited release” in May.
“Even taking into account the limited number of theaters — 400 nationwide, I think — the movie did very well on opening weekend, grossing high statistically relative to how many theaters it was in — just behind ‘Oblivion’ and ‘42’,” she said. “We’re hoping it does just as well in upcoming weeks.”
So, what does Mathews hope the impact of “Home Run” to be?
“My sister was very clear with me about what she hoped people would come away with from the movie — hope,” Crawford said. “Even what we think of as the most hopeless of people, the hopeless of circumstances, has hope for real change. A person’s past does not have to define their future. In the movie, the main character tries to fake it for a while, tries to pretend to be dealing with things from his past and we all have our own ‘demons’ but they don’t have to define us or hold us back, and ‘Home Run’ tells that in an honest, intelligent, heart-warming way.”
Although “Home Run” isn’t yet playing in Rogers County, Crawford said it’s worth seeking out and the story is presented in such a way that it’s relatable to everyone.
“I’m very proud of my sister and what she’s done,” Crawford said. “I spoke to her last night and she’s already working on content for the DVD release, so she’s not resting on her laurels, but she is hopeful that this (movie) makes a difference in people’s lives.”