A movie filmed in and around Fayetteville will debut in 200 theaters across the country beginning in February.
The film, a civil war-era story called Freedom’s Path, was written and directed by filmmaker Brett Smith, and is produced by Seattle-based studios Rocket Soul Studios and 1812 Films.
Freedom’s Path is based on a short of the same name by Smith released in 2015. It stars RJ Cyler (The Harder They Fall, Me And Earl And The Dying Girl), Gerran Howell (1917, Catch 22), and Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting), and tells the story of “the friendship forged between a Union soldier and runaway slave William who is helping facilitate the Underground Railroad,” according to a Deadline article from 2019.
Here’s how a Screenrant review posted late last year describes the film:
The story follows William (Gerran Howell), a Union soldier during the American Civil War. After deserting a battle and intentionally injuring himself to avoid death, William gets caught in the crossfires of Confederates hunting down a group of Black fighters. Left to flee the scene with Kitch (R.J. Cyler), a runaway slave with a heart of gold and a will of many men, William soon discovers the casualties of war —especially when you’re Black or on the right side of history. Kitch and William develop an unsuspecting friendship throughout an impossible mission to help free other slaves via the Underground Railroad.
Kerri and Blake Elder of Fayetteville-based company Rockhill Studios served as executive producers on the film, and Rockhill was also involved in filming the new movie. Most of the filming took place in October and November 2019. Locations used in the film include Prairie Grove Battlefield Park, War Eagle Mill, Lincoln, Cane Hill, and others.
This week, it was announced that the film will be released in AMC and Regal theaters nationwide beginning Feb. 3, to coincide with the beginning of Black History Month. In addition, the film will be streamed on HBCU GO — a free-streaming digital platform of Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group that serves as the leading media provider for the nation’s 107 Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“We’re proud to support the movie FREEDOM’S PATH by engaging the HBCU community to join this important conversation,” Allen Media Group’s Founder, Chairman and CEO, Byron Allen told Deadline this week. “Our partnership with the film, and the launch of HBCU GO Give 365 aligns with Allen Media Group’s commitment to education as a path to economic inclusion.”
As part of the partnership, a portion of ticket sales from Freedom Path‘s theatrical release will go directly to HBCUs that support the arts.
Fayetteville and Little Rock are two of the 200 cities that will pick up the film in theaters, according to a post on the film’s Instagram account this week.
The cast also includes Harrison Gilbertson (Picnic At Hanging Rock), Afemo Omiliami (Poms) as Ellis Freeman, Carol Sutton (Poms), Thomas J Byrd (Chi-Raq), and Jermaine Rivers (The Gifted).
The film has already picked up a handful of awards on the festival circuit, including the Audience Award at Fayetteville Film Festival and Cinequest San Jose Film Festival in 2022. The film also won the Best of Fest award at the Lone Star Film Festival, along with the Festival Award at the San Diego International Film Festival, and the Special Jury Prize at the St. Louis International Film Festival, all in 2022.
Watch the trailer below, and catch the film in theaters and online beginning Feb. 3.