A new movie that was originally slated for theatrical release will now be offered as a first-of-its-kind experience that an entertainment company in the Charleston area created.
"This is the Year," a coming-of-age film directed by former Disney Channel star David Henrie, of "Wizards of Waverly Place," will shift from a traditional big-screen rollout to a live virtual premiere during the global pandemic.
That live premiere, which is set for 7:30 p.m. Aug. 28, will include opening remarks from Henrie and his co-star and friend Selena Gomez, in addition to a cast Q&A hosted by TikTok stars Charli and Dixie D'Amelio and a musical performance by lovelytheband.
The movie is a project of Daniel Island entertainment company, Bold Entertainment, whose employees have been working to pave new pathways in the film industry during a trying time. The company, which is involved in producing and distributing television, film, music and digital content, is based in the Lowcountry because its chairman, Denis Gallagher, is a Charleston resident.
The film chronicles a group of best friends who embark on a road trip to see their favorite band at the biggest music festival of the year. There's also a classic romantic interest between a nerdy high school senior and the girl of his dreams. The nostalgia is likely to be strong among young people who are missing out large, fun group gatherings during the pandemic.
"I had way too much fun crafting the vision for this film," said Henrie. "While the story itself in the film is a classic one, the execution should feel fresh and new."
Bold Entertainment took on the challenge of adjusting the movie premiere format to meet new coronavirus regulations. The foremost enigma was how to release a film while movie theaters remain closed across the country.
In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster loosened movie theater restrictions at the end of July, allowing for 50 percent capacity or up to 250 patrons, whichever is less, to gather. Those rules don't apply to every state, though, continuing to present an obstacle for the company's widespread release.
To achieve its goal, Bold Entertainment teamed up with Daniel Island tech company Pedestal Technology, to develop a new streaming platform that will be used for the premiere and as a means to distribute other content moving forward.
"We’re creating a brand-new movie experience at home, which is much more than just a typical release to video on demand,” explained Bold Entertainment producer Doug Coupe.
On the newly crafted platform, "This is the Year" will be available for 48 hours to ticket purchasers. The premiere includes Henrie and Gomez's introduction.
Because Bold Entertainment is locally based, the company is offering the chance to purchase a discounted ticket for $9.99 at thisistheyear.film by using the code BeBOLD. Without the discount, tickets will cost $11.99. A portion of proceeds will support COVID-19 relief.