The independent company will open the film theatrically in New York on Sept. 28, followed by a limited national engagement in over 25 markets, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.
“The Samuel Project” is directed and produced by In8 founders Marc Fusco and Steve Weinberger, respectively. The film follows a high school senior, played by Ochoa, who dreams of becoming an artist and makes his grandfather, a dry cleaner portrayed by Linden, the subject of an animated art project. In the process, he discovers that when his Jewish grandpa was a boy in Germany, a young woman heroically saved him from Nazi capture.
Philippe Bowgen plays Ochoa’s teacher who assigns him the school project that Ochoa’s character decides to focus on his grandfather, learning about his life in the process.
The script was written by Fusco and Chris Neighbors, and produced by Weinberger, Rebecca Reyes, and Jeff Deverett. Rounding out the cast are Ken Davitian, Mateo Arias, Michael B. Silver, Liza Lapira, Catherine Siggins, and singer-guitarist Malina Moye.
Fusco is a former assistant to Steven Spielberg. He said, “As the son of an immigrant myself, then meeting and hearing stories from displaced survivors as my old boss Steven [Spielberg] was expanding the Shoah Foundation, a curiosity always stuck with me. How is today’s generation of young people different after their grandparents struggled to find and create new lives for themselves?”
Through art, the film explores how Jewish immigrants struggled to find new homes in the U.S. following World War II and explores themes of the universal struggle for acceptance and opportunity with direct relevance to today’s headlines.
“Selling a film to the masses after knowing it inside and out and speaking to audiences that really endorse it is very empowering for a distributor,” said Weinberger. “We’re excited to get this unique, uplifting film in front of moviegoers.”
“The Samuel Project” will be released in Miami, Boston, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, San Diego, Atlanta, Austin, Phoenix, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Detroit, Indianapolis, Denver, St. Louis, Tucson and Seattle.