A version of this story appears in Sunday’s The Oklahoman as part of a package on the state of film in Oklahoma. To read more, go to NewsOK.com or pick up a copy of The Oklahoman.
Faith-based Oklahoma movie “Home Run” scores big with the help of film rebate
The uplifting sports drama, lensed in Okmulgee and Tulsa in 2011, opened in theaters nationwide in April and is due on Blu-ray and DVD in July.
When the production qualified for a 35 percent Film Enhancement Rebate, making “Home Run” in Oklahoma became, well, a home run.
“We were likely to do it here in Tulsa because of our family situation,” said Mathews, who has two young children. “Once we understood the rebate and the ramifications of it, there was no chance we would go anywhere else.”
“Home Run” opened in theaters nationwide in April. About a month later, the state House of Representatives voted down the proposed extension of the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program, which expires on July 1, 2014.
“Some people have the perception that somehow money is coming out of the state’s pocket and going into some rich Hollywood producer’s pocket,” said Oklahoma Film and Music Office director Jill Simpson. “But in reality, it’s coming out of the state’s pocket, going into the production and coming right back into the state of Oklahoma through the purchase of goods … and services and the hiring of local crew.”
“Home Run,” which will be released July 23 on Blu-ray and DVD, focuses on baseball all-star Cory Brand (Scott Elrod, who had a small role in the Oscar-winning drama “Argo”) whose alcohol abuse sends his life into a tailspin. After he is arrested for driving under the influence and suspended from the team for eight weeks, his agent (Vivica A. Fox, the “Kill Bill” movies) sends him back to his hometown of Okmulgee, where he reluctantly enters a 12-step recovery program and takes over coaching a local youth baseball team.
Mathews, an award-winning television and film producer whose work has been featured on ESPN, The Family Channel and Trinity Broadcast Network, coproduced and worked as executive producer on “Home Run” with fellow Tulsan Tom Newman, whose credits include the Max Lucado adaptations “Resurrection” and “Christmas Child.” as well as the 2005 missionary drama “End of the Spear.”
“Tom and I have been in the production world in Tulsa, in Oklahoma, for years. So we had crew that we knew and loved and wanted to pursue to work on the film, as well as other kind of supportive people around a film’s production,” she said.
The movie lensed in Okmulgee and Tulsa in October 2011.
“We turned around and used our rebate on graphic designers and video people helping us make … trailers and whatnot. That work was done in the state of Oklahoma,” Mathews said. “We spent it on services in the state of Oklahoma to help get the word out about the movie.”
Simpson said the goods and services that moviemakers buy in Oklahoma can range from fencing and security to catering and lodging. Plus, crew members spend their per diem on food, entertainment and souvenirs.
In the case of “Home Run,” Mathews also got the chance to work with her husband, Scott Allan Mathews, who composed the music for the film. That had the extra benefit of qualifying the movie for an additional 2 percent rebate for including music created by Oklahomans in the film.
Their Grammy-nominated friend Steve Ripley, the Pawnee-based musician best known as a member of The Tractors, crooned the opening theme, “Broken.”
“He’s such a major talent,” Mathews said. “He sings a couple verses of a song that kind of foreshadows the whole film’s story and it’s very beautiful.”