Submitted by Nyhuis Creative.
TACOMA, WA – September 14, 2022 – The first annual Zion International Film Festival, presented by Nyhuis Creative, kicks off Thursday, September 22 with the regional premiere of The Last Champion at the Blue Mouse Theater followed by bowling at the Chalet Bowl.
John Wright was a hometown hero – the mighty star of his high school wrestling team and a promising Olympian. He could have had it all…but a bad decision shattered his dreams and forced him to leave under a cloud of scandal that has haunted him ever since.
Twenty years later, John returns to his small town after the death of his mother, hoping to save his family home from foreclosure. His icy welcome proves that his old friends and neighbors still haven’t forgiven him for letting them down. Unexpectedly, John has the opportunity to change everything – by coaching his high school wrestling team. There he meets Michael, a talented underdog with a troubled family life who faces a vicious opponent to destroy him both on and off the mat. Can John become the leader the team and Michael need, or will he lose himself to the dark demons of his past?
The Last Champion is an inspiring family sports drama that will have you believing in second chances. Beautifully shot in the Pacific Northwest, this is a story of faith, loss and redemption starring Cole Hauser (Yellowstone), Hallie Todd (Lizzie McGuire), Randall Batinkoff (X-Men: First Class) and Peter Onorati (It’s us). The film is directed, produced and co-written by actor Glenn Withrow (The foreigners).
“As a screenwriter, director and producer of The Last Champion, I participated in all stages of the process, from paper to screen. Besides the task of moving the project from pre-production to completion, it was essential to assemble the right team in front of and behind the camera.
“I worked closely with veteran casting director Ronnie Yeskel to find the right actors for each role. Cole Hauser, with his calm and intense authenticity, was the perfect choice for our lead character, John Wright.
“Creating the world of Garfield, John’s hometown, was a challenge, especially due to record snowfall. Although the small town offered its own beautiful locations, I was lucky enough to have the Award-winning art director John Dexter as production designer, he created and built many of the story’s interiors and exteriors from scratch.
“With the winter time constraints of the film, it was imperative to be as prepared as possible. I made several trips to Garfield throughout the year to pre-visualize and script scenes so that when we started principal photography we could be extremely efficient.
“It took five composers to audition to find Kazimir Boyle and his music was worth the wait. Our Oscar- and Emmy-winning post-sound team gave the film the detail, richness and power it deserves. Post-production is a long and complex creative endeavor and I couldn’t have worked with a more dedicated group of people.
-Glenn Withrow, writer/director/producer of The Last Champion
The 2022 Zion International Film Festival will bring together a unique blend of narrative and documentary films. Movie premieres, parties and networking events will take place around Tacoma at some of the best venues the area has to offer including the Blue Mouse Theatre, Grand Cinema, Chalet Bowl and Mayflower Room at Resurrection.
The Zion International Film Festival is programmed by festival director Laura Nyhuis, whose work has been praised by MovieMaker and Filmmaker Magazine.
For updates on the full lineup of the inaugural Zion International Film Festival in the coming days, follow @zionfilmfest on instagram, Twitterand Facebook or visit zionfilmfest.com/2022-film-schedule.
About the Zion International Film Festival Partners:
The 2022 Zion International Film Festival is supported by our corporate partners: Nyhuis Creative, Nations Media, Simple DCP and Elbe Supply.