About this project
Who Are We?
Hometown Productions is a brand new independent film production company based in Ohio. Garden Avenue is the first project we are developing. Inspired by a true story, it’s a‘Rocky’ type film set in the world of local Cleveland politics—and what better city than Cleveland to make it in—a blue collar town for a blue collar story where the longshot actually wins for a change.
The founders of the company, John P. Vourlis and James Rokakis, have a wealth of experience in the film industry and the world of local politics, both of which are key to the success of this enterprise. We are both very passionate about this project. We’re also incredibly lucky to have Ron Underwood (who made the films ‘Tremors’ and ‘City Slickers’ among others) on board as our director.
What’s the Story?
At the tender age of 22, Jimmy Petrakis, the son of Greek immigrants and just graduated from college, witnesses firsthand the callous, uncaring, banal, matter-of-fact racism of his neighborhood’s city councilman, Eddie Kawalski. Shocked into action, our hero decides to run for the local council seat held by the 20 year incumbent Kawalski.
His family thinks he can’t be serious, his father thinks he should be open to taking money for favors if he wins, and his best friend and soon to be campaign manager, Dave Katz, thinks he should go to law school and forget this whole crazy idea. The incumbent Eddie thinks he's a joke. No one takes Jim seriously. Even he thinks he’s jumped in the deep end and he’s going to drown in this election--ending any hopes of a political career before it even begins.
Despite his own real self-doubts, Jim joins the fray and struggles to maintain his idealism against an opponent who will stoop to anything to win. Buoyed by the belief that he can make a difference--that he must make a difference--Jim fights to win the election, knowing that if he fails the neighborhood he grew up in, the place he loved and called home, will turn into a cesspool of crime, poverty and urban decay.
The names have been changed to protect the innocent—and the guilty—but the places and events that occurred in that tumultuous, chaotic, wickedly funny, and sometimes heart-breaking summer of 1977 are all very real.
Through triumphs and failures, both personal and public, we watch a young man grow from a naïve, idealistic, 22 year old into a savvy, effective, successful politician, on the roller-coaster ride that is down-and-dirty local politics. We follow our hero on the campaign trail right up to the nail-biting election, where against all odds he triumphs, becoming the youngest city council member in the history of Cleveland.
Garden Avenue is inspired by the true story of James Rokakis, Cleveland City Council member from 1977 to 1996.
What Are We Doing Here?
We’re looking to raise $12,500 in development funds by election day, November 2nd, (this is a movie about an election, after all!) to kickstart Garden Avenue. With this seed money, which we will use carefully and wisely, we'll be able to pay for the initial film development costs that we’ve budgeted. This seed money will also help us gain entree to larger funding sources by demonstrating a grass roots commitment to this project. The more we’re able to raise, the better we will look to the strategic investors we’ll be meeting with to fund our movie. So help us out in whatever way you can! A list of incentives and rewards for making a pledge are listed on the right hand side of this page. Please take a look and pledge whatever you can. And spread the word, tell everyone you know! Be an important part of getting this movie made! Thank you!
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