Friday, November 12, 2010

"Hamill," film about deaf UFC fighter wins Breakthrough award at 2010 AFI Film Festival

From WKTV in Calif:

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – HAMILL, the movie based on the real life story of UFC fighter Matt Hamill (pictured), has been named the winner in the Breakthrough category at the 2010 AFI Film Festival in Los Angeles. The announcement of the audience award was made at a press conference in Los Angeles Nov. 11.

The movie, which focuses on the early life of Matt Hamill, a national champion collegiate wrestler who was born deaf, shows Matt’s struggles in dealing with his deafness and his world. Hamill, with the support of his family – especially his grandfather, went on to a successful career in high school and college wrestling. Although the movie wraps up before he reaches his post-college days, today Matt Hamill is a star fighter in the UFC. He lives and trains in the Utica area.

The movie also features the college relationship between Matt and Kristi Hamill, a New York Mills native, who met Hamill at RIT in Rochester.

Matt is portrayed on film by Russell Harvard, who played one of the leading roles in There Will Be Blood. Kristi Hamill is played by Shoshannah Stern. Harvard and Stern are also deaf.

The Los Angeles Times had listed HAMILL as one of their Hidden Gems at this year’s festival. The American Film Institute holds the festival annually in Los Angeles.

The film has not yet been signed to a distribution deal, but producers indicate that it could be in theaters by the spring. Being a major film festival award winner should help.