Brian O’Donnell, writer, co-director and co-producer, will be at The Nightlight for a Q&A after each screening. O’Donnell was born and raised in Akron and graduated from Walsh Jesuit High School.
The independent film is made with a clear, new voice and puts a progressive, Midwestern spin on a classic family drama. Based on an original screenplay written by O’Donnell, the film was shot on location in Akron and Wooster, Ohio.
“AKRON” is a family drama about two handsome college freshmen in the Midwest, Benny and Christopher, who meet playing football, and begin a sweet romance. As their love for each other grows, a past tragic event involving their mothers comes to light. This revelation tests their own love and their close-knit families. Throughout this reflective love story, with the beauty of rural Ohio as its backdrop, Benny travels an emotional journey that examines both his own feelings and his family’s ability to come to terms with the past.
In April 2016, “AKRON” was an official selection to the Cleveland International Film Festival, screening both in Cleveland and Akron, at the Akron-Summit County Library. Over 400 people were in attendance at the Akron screening. In addition, since the fall of 2015, AKRON has screened in over 20 film festivals around the world and has won the following awards:
• Best LGBT Feature Film – Columbus International Film + Video Festival
• Best Feature Film – OutReels Cincinnati
• Best Feature Film, Audience Award – ImageOut Film Festival (Rochester)
• Audience Award Winner (Best Film) – Desperado LGBT Film Festival (Phoenix)
• Best Feature Film, Audience Award Runner-Up – Kansas International Film Festival
• Best Feature Film, Audience Award Runner-Up – MiFo LGBT Film Festival (Fort Lauderdale)
• Best Feature Film – Male, Audience Award Runner-Up – Roze Filmdagen (Amsterdam)
• Best Feature Film, Nominee (winner TBA) – Cincinnati Film Festival
Wolfe Video, the largest exclusive distributor of LGBT films, has secured all worldwide rights to AKRON, except US theatrical rights, and will release AKRON in DVD and across video-on-demand platforms in early 2017.
“AKRON” was directed by O’Donnell and Sasha King, and stars Matthew Frias, Edmund Donovan, Amy da Luz, Joseph Melendez, Isabel Machado, Cailan Rose and Andréa Burns. The award-winning film was produced by King, O’Donnell and Ellen Kollar and Tim Kollar of Towpath Productions.
“We were thrilled with the 400-plus people who came out to watch ‘AKRON’ at the Cleveland International Film Festival’s local night in Akron, so we couldn’t be more excited to bring the movie back to Akron,” said O’Donnell. “And the Nightlight Cinema is the perfect place for us to be screening – an independent, nonprofit movie theater dedicated to the work of advancing cinema and community in tandem. Akron is a character in ‘AKRON’ and so it is special to show to a hometown audience. I’m proud to show that, like the main characters in ‘AKRON,’ gay men and lesbians are a natural and essential part of the fabric of society, part of the family.”
“We are excited for audiences in Akron to connect with these characters and engage with this sensitive and unique story of love, forgiveness and the power of family,” added King.
Brian O’Donnell (Writer/Director/Producer): Honors graduate from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, with a major in Dramatic Writing. Executive Director of Calamus Foundation and Manager of National Grants Program at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, a graduate of Walsh Jesuit High School.
Sasha King (Director/Producer): Award winning Irish Producer and CEO of Princess Pictures, Ltd. sashakingfims.com
Bill Snodgrass (Composer, Editor, Music Supervisor): Composer for E Network, NBC Sports and credits include movie and Broadway hit ONCE.
Patrick Jordan (Director of Photography): Winner of 2014 Galway Film Fleadh, Donal Gilligan Award for Best Cinematography for his work on the film Volkswagen Joe. Credits include Oscar nominated film Pentecost.
Ellen O’Donnell Kollar (Executive Producer): Lawyer and board member of various educational and cultural institutions. Raised in Akron, Ohio and a graduate of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.
Tim Kollar (Executive Producer): Lawyer and private investor.