New movie 'Old Goats' targets sweet spot

By GERRY HARRINGTON, United Press International  |  Aug. 20, 2012 at 1:05 PM
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"Old Goats," an inventive comedy about three retirees who refuse to withdraw from life, targets older viewers often snubbed by Hollywood, a top executive said.

"There's a real hunger on the part of older Americans for movies that don't ignore them, treat them with condescension, or make them objects of comic relief and/or pity," Executive Producer David Skinner told United Press International in an e-mail.

The heartfelt, intelligent film, which had its theatrical premiere in Seattle Friday, is next to be screened in Palm Springs, Calif., Sept. 28. That is to be followed by a planned initial run at independent theaters and chains in parts of California, Arizona and Florida with substantial retiree populations, as well as in major cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, Skinner told UPI.

The marketing also includes "consciousness-raising" screenings at senior centers and retirement communities "to generate word of mouth," along with red-carpet gala screenings at historic movie palaces and multiplex theaters in conjunction with retirement communities.

Advertising focuses on older-demographic radio stations, neighborhood newspapers and political-style lawn signs that say "Vote Old Goats" with stylized images of the three lead characters.

The signs "play off the zeitgeist of the campaign season," said Skinner, who is also founder and managing director of ShadowCatcher Entertainment LLC, which is handling the "Old Goats" marketing.

The film, which suggests personal growth can happen at any age, also appeals to younger audiences, Skinner said, so it is also marketed to younger filmgoers "the way you market indie rock concerts."

This includes teaser posters on lampposts, postcards left in coffee shops and bars, and other cryptic, challenging messages.

The front of one Seattle postcard said, "Experience the Power of Experience" above the characters' stylized images. The back said, "Old Goats are coming," with the premiere date and location, and Facebook and Web site links.

"We see our primary window for theatrical play dates as late September through early November," Skinner told UPI. "It's a nice window of opportunity for a film of this size: The summer blockbusters have wound down and the Christmas blockbusters have yet to hit."

The film, which first-time writer-director Taylor Guterson, 31, completed for less than $5,000, won nine awards and citations, including "best of the fest" selections at the Seattle International Film Festival, Palm Springs International Film Festival and Sun Valley (Idaho) Film Festival.

The character-driven film features Bob Burkholder, who turns 90 Sunday; Britton Crosley, 74, and David VanderWal, 63, who are friends living in a small town near Seattle.

"These are first-time actors who were the center of attention at our premiere," Skinner told UPI in a phone interview. "A year ago, they never acted -- which suggests you never know what's going to happen in life."

"I devised a story to fit the personalities of Bob, Britt and Dave," Guterson said in written director's comments. "It's basically these three men behaving as themselves in imaginary circumstances."

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