Actor Corbin Bernsen, whose resume includes memorable roles in the "Major League" feature films and television's "L.A. Law" and "Psych," will be in Athens, Tenn., this weekend to show off his new movie. Bernsen, wrote, directed, produced and stars in "25 Hill," about soap box derby racing.
Athens is the first Southern stop on a multicity tour for the family film. According to publicists, Bernsen is taking "extraordinary measures" to spread the word about his newest movie and the legendary All American Soap Box Derby, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary next year.
In "25 Hill," Bernsen stars as Roy Gibbs, a one-time champ who develops a friendship with a boy who dreams of his own Derby victory.
"We're so excited to be bringing this film to the Athens area, where we have so many enthusiastic derby racers and families" said Bernsen, who wrote the script after reading a newspaper story about the financial difficulties of the Akron, Ohio-based Derby. "Together, we're going to fire up a whole new passion for the soap derby across the country."
The all-free weekend begins with a screening of the film at 6:30 p.m. today at Athens City Middle School. Bernsen will be on hand to speak about the film, meet with fans and autograph DVDs, which will be for sale at the screening. DVDs will be for sale later at Ian's Markets, 430 S. White Street and 947 Congress Parkway North.
On Sunday, a derby fun run race will be held for both experienced racers and those who want to try the sport for the first time, including adults. The fun begins at 12:30 p.m. in downtown Athens; the finish line will be in front of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce.
"The derby is a wonderful American tradition -- the kind we have too few of these days," said Bernsen. "We want to celebrate the derby, to honor it and promote it, and we need the help of Athens to do it."
According to a news release, the Derby is now in the black, thanks in large part to Bernsen's generosity and star power. Ten percent of all money raised to make the film as well as a portion of its profits have been, and will continue to be, given to the organization.
AT A GLANCE
* Note: All events are free. Advance registration for the film can be made by visiting http://25hillathens.eventbrite.com.
* Today: Screening of "25 Hill" with Corbin Bernsen, 6:30 p.m., Athens City Middle School, 200 Keith Lane, Athens, Tenn.
* Sunday: Derby fun run race, 12:30 p.m., Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, 13 N. Jackson St.
ABOUT THE FILM
"25 Hill" stars Nathan Gamble ("Dolphin Tale," "The Dark Knight") as Trey Caldwell, whose dreams of Derby victory fade when his father Thomas, played by Tim Omundson ("Psych," "Judging Amy"), is killed fighting in Afghanistan. But Trey begins to rebuild those dreams with the help of a reluctant hero, one-time derby champ Roy Gibbs (Corbin Bernsen), who is contending with his own heartbreak. A friendship is forged and wounds are healed under the light of a backyard garage, but their hopes are threatened when the Derby's demise appears imminent. The film also stars Bailee Madison ("Don't Be Afraid of the Dark"), Michael Tucker ("L.A. Law"), Maureen Flannigan ("7th Heaven") and Ralph Waite ("The Waltons").