Story Of 20th Century Icon Billy Graham Comes To The Big Screen In Billy - The Early Years, Releasing Nationwide October 10, 2008

Brentwood, TN (PressExposure) August 21, 2008 -- Coinciding with the 90th birthday of Billy Graham, new film captures the heart of the beloved man, the coming-of-age story of 20th century icon Billy Graham will be seen on the big screen this fall through the release of the film Billy: The Early Years. This highly anticipated film will be released theatrically on October 10, 2008 across the country.

Billy: The Early Years captures the true essence of Graham’s life’s journey from an earnest young man at the crossroads of faith and doubt, to ultimately facing the moment of decision that launched one of history's most influential evangelists. Starting out with the tranquility of the Graham dairy farm in North Carolina, Billy: The Early Years depicts the look and feel of the Depression-era as we accompany Graham to the tent revival where he finally heeds the altar call, and follows him through the struggle of doubt and resolution of the next decade of his life.

The film paints a vivid portrait of Graham against the backdrop of his relationship with the evangelical star of the 1940’s, Charles Templeton, a gifted young preacher whose faith would not withstand the onslaught of scientific skepticism. Templeton and Graham eventually part ways, and in the film, Templeton comes to personify the rising tide of disbelief into which Graham launched his crusades. The movie’s power lies in it’s honest portrayal of Graham’s struggle with the ideas represented in Templeton’s eventual unbelief and shows how Graham’s faith, so compellingly represented in the film, goes on to change the face of modern evangelism in the second half of the 20th Century.

Graham is portrayed in the film by rising young star, Armie Hammer (Veronica Mars, Flicka), who was announced as the upcoming Batman/Bruce Wayne in the new film, Justice League: Mortal. Hammer plays an incredibly authentic and poignant Graham, and takes the viewer deep into the heart of this iconic world-renowned yet humble figure.

Directed by veteran Actor/Director and Golden Globe nominee, Robby Benson (the voice of the Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Ode To Billy Joe, Ice Castles, The Greatest Story Ever Told), the Billy: The Early Years’ cast includes well-known Hollywood talent including Oscar-winner Martin Landau (Mission: Impossible, Ed Wood) and Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman); as well as Stefanie Butler (CSI: NY), daughter of ex-Atlanta Brave Brett Butler; Kristoffer Polaha (North Shore) and platinum selling country sensation Josh Turner (“Long Black Train”) as singer George Beverly Shea. John Carter Cash, son of John and June Carter Cash, serves as music producer.

Together with Rocky Mountain Pictures, In Service America, Interlinc and other additional marketing partners, the Billy: The Early Years marketing plan will seek to create significant grassroots traction while radio, television and newspaper advertising and promotions will work in conjunction with additional aspects of the campaign. The film launch will also encompass a number of strategic marketing elements, including more than 50 VIP screenings in key markets, a soundtrack highlighting Christian and country music artists, key events built around Graham’s 90th birthday, a novel of the work published by Thomas Nelson Publishers and an upcoming home entertainment DVD release.

Nashville based Landis Entertainment & Media Partners, run by Barry Landis, will spearhead all marketing aspects of the film, in association with the distributor Solex/MATP. Landis, a long time entertainment marketer of faith-based properties for major, high level entertainment and corporate conglomerates such as Wrigley’s and AT&T was also the head of companies such as Atlantic Records, Warner Bros. and KOCH Records Christian divisions, has made a solid mark on the entertainment world through his visionary accomplishments and multiple career achievements.

Producers Larry Mortorff and Martin Shiel commented, “We are extremely excited to be surrounded with such an amazing team and have tremendous confidence in their ability to market this distinguished and touching new film.” Producer Bill McKay said, “Barry Landis is a blend of an entertainment strategist as well as a great wrangler and distiller of the group’s ideas.”

Filmed in and around Nashville, Tennessee with a 90% Tennessee crew, Billy: The Early Years made perfect use of the new incentive plan from the state of Tennessee that grants up to a 32% cash rebate. "This particular film is definitely in Tennessee's 'sweet spot',” said Perry Gibson, executive director of the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission. “We love the subject matter and were bowled over at how the producers put together such a talented Tennessee cast and crew, as well as garnered some the top names in the Nashville music industry. We’d welcome them back anytime, they were really terrific."

For more information about the film, please visit

About Solex/MATP

Solex/MATP is distributing Billy: The Early Years in association with Rocky Mountain Pictures. The company is a formidable partnership forged between producers Martin Shiel, Larry Mortorff and Bill McKay, who have between them produced more than 50 movies and documentaries as well as programs for TV. Mortorff is known for his family films, ANDRE, the JUNGLE BOOK, TARZAN and the LOST CITY OF OPAR as well as the live action PINOCCHIO, and he and McKay produced AGAINST ALL ODDS for TBN. Mortorff also produced Christian films THE OMEGA CODE and ONE NIGHT with the KING. Martin Shiel of Solex Productions is an accomplished director and producer in film and TV. McKay also produced documentaries on some of the most famous people in the world, such as Pope John Paul, Mother Teresa, Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Ellie Weisel.

About Landis Entertainment & Media Partners

LE&MP is a veteran marketing agency focusing on strategic faith-based solutions and execution to industry leaders, connecting Nashville and the entertainment world at the highest levels, specifically in the areas of music, film and technology. In addition to film marketing, Landis runs the Christian division of KOCH Records, the largest independent distributor of music in the world and is a partner in the social networking site, Circlebuilder. Landis has also allied with Collective IQ, a merchant banking organization to provide unique access to the financial world and is the executive director of The Briner Institute, a non-profit entertainment industry think tank associated with Vanderbilt University.

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Press Release Submitted On: August 13, 2008 at 2:15 pm
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