Tulsa native premieres his movie locally

Friday, January 18th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A small, independent movie comes with lots of big dreams for one Tulsa native. Alan Vint and Jimi Petulla teamed up to make the film "Reversal". It's an autobiographical story about Jimi's experience as a high-school wrestler and about his relationship with his father.

News on six reporter Steve Berg says the movie had its Tulsa premiere Friday. These two moviemakers say if you love wrestling, and obviously a lot of people in Oklahoma do, then they say you'll love this movie. But they say it's about a lot more than wrestling. They say it's really about the love of family. For his movie, "Reversal", Jimi Petulla had some role-reversal. He plays the father of a son who'll risk his life by losing weight to win the state wrestling championship.

Petulla also wrote the film and spent half-a-million dollars of his own money to make it. He says studios had an interest. "But I saw this little heartfelt script turn into a 'where's the violence, where's the bombs going off' and it's really just a heartfelt, family kind of film. There's no name actors, there's no sex, no violence, and they don't know what to do with that." Tulsa native Alan Vint directs the film. He made a big name for himself as an actor in the 70's, but walked away from it because he says he didn't like where Hollywood movies were going. "Reversal" he says is a film he's proud of. "What Jimmy and I are doing right has actually been a 20-year dream of mine, I've always wanted to bypass the distributors and go straight to the American people."

Vint and Petulla are marketing the movie one state at a time. They started in Jimi's home state of Pennsylvania where they say they topped the local box office for three weeks straight. Now they've come to Vint's home in Tulsa. They say people here will recognize the authenticity of the wrestling. To cast it they say they had to find a real wrestler, who could also act. "I said, Jimmy, million to one shot, million to one." But they say they've found it. “It’s not like we had 10-million dollars where we could take six months to train an actor. You can fake boxing on camera; I know this I've done it, wrestling, no. Anybody who's wrestled knows it, they look at it and they know those guys are really going at it."

But as proud as they are of the action, they say it's really the bond between father and son that makes the film special. The movie is showing at the Promenade Mall. Friday's premiere featured local wrestling star Olympic gold-medallist Kenny Monday.

The movie will be showing here for about two weeks, maybe longer if it takes off. There are a lot of people who are very enthusiastic about this movie.