National distributor picks up film shot in Thomasville

Feb. 5—TRIAD — Thomasville is ready for its closeup, Mr. DeMille.

A feature-length film shot largely in the Chair City last year has been picked up by a worldwide film distributor, and it's slated for a limited theatrical release — including a premiere in Greensboro — in mid-March.

Greensboro film production company 4 Leagues Media has sold North American distribution rights for "Tethered" to Gravitas Ventures of Cleveland, Ohio, whose thousands of releases include the current Pierce Brosnan film, "The King's Daughter."

The film's theatrical release in select major markets — and in Greensboro — has been set for March 18.

"This was huge for us, because this was always the end goal," said Dan Robinette, co-founder of 4 Leagues Media and director of the movie. "We had aspirations that it would get picked up, and Gravitas Ventures is a pretty damn good distributor to be interested in it."

"Tethered" was filmed in early 2021 at the privately owned Wild Wing Farm near Thomasville, an approximately 400-acre, largely wooded property that gave the filmmakers just what they needed — a scenic, secluded spot for filming.

"It's gorgeous, and it's in the middle of nowhere," Robinette said. "When we're doing sound for a film, we always pick up (the sounds of) cars and planes, but that never happened here. It was so quiet."

A psychological thriller, "Tethered" tells the story of Solomon, a blind teenager who befriends a hunter in a large patch of woods, where they are tormented by a mysterious creature lurking there. The film is based on the 4 Leagues Media short film of the same name, which was also shot at Wild Wing Farm in 2017 and won a number of awards on the festival circuit.

"Tethered" stars a couple of Hollywood veterans — Alexandra Paul, best-known for her role as Lt. Stephanie Holden on the "Baywatch" television series in the 1990s, and Kareem Ferguson, an acclaimed stage actor who has numerous movie and TV credits — as well as regional actor Jared Laufree in the lead role of Solomon. Chris Demm of Rock 92's "The Two Guys Named Chris Show" also has a cameo in the film.

Another local angle is that Will Whittington, a senior film major at High Point University, worked as a production assistant and camera operator during the filming.

Following its theatrical release, "Tethered" will be available for rent or purchase on iTunes and Amazon, and then the distributor will try to get a deal on a streaming platform such as Netflix or Hulu.

"We're incredibly excited to be releasing 'Tethered,' " said Bill Guentzler, senior director of acquisitions for Gravitas Ventures. "We feel audiences will enjoy its subtle tension and psychological twists and metaphors."

In the meantime, 4 Leagues Media officials plan to continue making more films in the Triad, according to Robinette.

"This is where our connections are," he said. "There's a lot of great local talent here." — 336-888-3579