Friday, February 17th, 2012 by

Deadline, the new movie based on Mark Ethridge’s novel Grievances (NewSouth, 2005), premiered yesterday in Nashville to a crowd of over 1,000. The premiere kicks off a 42-city tour for director Curt Hahn and some of the cast, before the movie opens across the country on April 13.

Premiere attendance had been projected at only 200-300 viewers; the attendance instead ended up selling out three movie theaters, the Tennessean newspaper reported. Deadline follows two journalists trying to solve a decades old civil rights-related murder.

Ethridge, dapper in his hand-tied blue bowtie on the red carpet, praised the Tennessean for co-sponsoring the premiere. Tennessean publisher Carol Hudler told the Associated Press that the newspaper is “a fan of creativity, and we’re also a fan of telling the tough story. Sometimes you really have to dig deep to tell the truth, and we’re all the better for it.”

Hahn, speaking with the Tennessean, noted that the increased attendance will raise more money for Nashville’s Family and Children Services, which benefits from the premiere. Showings along the tour will be sponsored by local newspapers and equally benefit local charities.

Also on the red carpet, actress Jackie Welsh, who plays the victim’s mother in the movie, spoke with the Tennessean‘s Brad Schmitt about filming Deadline in Tennessee, especially in Pulaski, birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan. “The history of this area, juxtaposed to the themes of the movie, it’s kind of fitting, even though it can feel uncomfortable,” she said, “but that’s the beauty of this art that you can highlight these things.”

Deadline received a glowing review from Art Now Nashville, coinciding with the premiere. “The picture ably notes Southern faults and uniqueness while also acknowledging our strengths and shared humanity,” wrote Evans Donnell. “Perhaps that’s because the film and the novel Grievances that inspired it come from the minds and efforts of people who’ve lived in the South, or because those involved know how to tell a cinematic story; most likely it’s a combination of both.”

The Deadline tour will include showings in North Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, and other locations. See the full list at the Deadline website.

Read the Associated Press and Art Now Nashville coverage of Deadline. You can also see a video from the red carpet premiere from the Tennessean.

Grievances is available in print and ebook editions from NewSouth Books, Amazon, or your favorite bookstore or ebookstore. Mark Ethridge’s new novel Fallout is also available in print and ebook formats.