Local filmmaker finds distributor in Wal-Mart

Local filmmaker and producer Richie Adams has secured a deal with Wal-Mart to have the retail giant act as the distributor for “Inventing Adam,” a film shot primarily in Baton Rouge.

The film, which was completed about two years ago and played the festival circuit, will also be shown twice a night at the Grand Cinema Monday through Wednesday before hitting the shelves at 2,800 Wal-Mart locations Thursday.

The film is a comedy about a San Francisco patent attorney who finds himself settling for the country club life before a trip home helps him reconnect him with his roots.

It was shot in Baton Rouge, St. Francisville and New Orleans and includes scenes filmed at Raising Cane’s on Chimes Street, The Mall of Louisiana, Fred’s bar and the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport.

Adams, who owns River Road Creative and now Highland Road Distributors, said now that video rental chains such as Blockbuster and Hollywood Video have all but vanished from the retail landscape, it has gotten extremely difficult for independent filmmakers to find distribution.

Adams said the distributors he reached out to felt he had a good film, but one with no-name actors that would be difficult to market. For a couple of years, he was in limbo.

But a chance meeting at a reunion at West Point military academy between Adams’ father and an old classmate got “Inventing Adam” into the hands of Legacy Retail, an Arkansas company with a working relationship with Wal-Mart.

That got the movie in front of Wal-Mart officials, who reviewed it and the promotional materials. They felt it deserved a place on its shelves and on its website, Adams said.

Richie said another Wal-Mart merchandiser told
him getting Wal-Mart to carry his otherwise-undistributed film constituted a “minor miracle.”

And it’s big news for Adams and River Road, because it means the film can begin to recoup the costs of making it — costs incurred by Adams and his investors, which included friends, family and Raising Cane’s.

“This is the beginning of what looks like the road to making a profit,” he said. “Until you have a distributor of any kind, there’s no money coming in.”

The deal essentially created Highland Road Distributors, and Adams said it certainly can’t hurt that he is now a Wal-Mart vendor.

Adams said Amazon.com will sell the DVD and sell a digital copy, but the deal with Wal-Mart will help him pursue a Video On Demand deal and a deal with Netflix.

Adams is also editing a documentary called “Dog Man” about Dick Russell, the renowned Baton Rouge dog trainer. Adams first met Russell when searching for the three dogs featured in “Inventing Adam.”

His next work is called “Una Vida: A Fable of Music and The Mind” based on the novel by Nicolas Bazan, director of the Neuroscience Center for Excellence at LSU.

River Road Creative designs and produces title sequences for films including “Babel,” “Water For Elephants,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” “Hope Springs” and the upcoming “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.”