As promised, the opening night film for the 9th annual Prescott Film Festival, A Boy Called Sailboat, delighted the near sell-out crowd and received a standing ovation. Executive Director Helen Stephenson beamed, “There is something exciting about seeing a great film in a full theater... think about the last blockbuster you saw at typical with a full audience, maybe one of the Marvel movies. Usually the largest theater holds about 240 people— we had more than twice that!”
Filmgoers were treated to a unique opportunity to ask questions of the film's Australian director, Cameron Nugent and the young man playing the title character, actor Julian Atocani Sanchez, both of whom were in attendance. Audience participation was high during the Q&A, with director Nugent sharing the story of how he got Oscar winning actor JK Simmons to be in this low budget film. (Hint: research and a unique script are essential.) Simmon's regular salary for three days work would have equaled the entire budget for the film. When Nugent shared the budget for the character in the film, Simmons said he wanted to be in the film anyway. He worked for two days on the film and donated his salary to a non-profit.
The feature was preceded by the short film Downside Up, which showed us a world in which everyone had Downs Syndrome, and the few children born without it were “different.” “The film gently poked fun at all the stereotypical ways we approach people who are different than us and tried to remind us that we all can add value to society,” said audience member Ellen Harp.
“We are especially excited because sales are the strongest we have ever seen”, said Stephenson. “ I think there are several other movies with the potential to be this size or even a bit larger. The audience reaction has been so positive! A standing ovation on the opening night! It was SO exciting for us and especially the filmmaker, Cameron Nugent. Cameron was texting the experience to his mom back in Australia right after the Q&A. It was a very memorable evening!"