LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "The Lightkeepers" is a dark-horse candidate for awards season attention, offering up Richard Dreyfuss in his showiest lead performance since his Oscar-nominated turn in 1995's "Mr. Holland's Opus."
Opening on Friday in Los Angeles for an Oscar-qualifying run, writer-director Daniel Adams' period drama also features strong performances by Blythe Danner, Tom Wisdom and Mamie Gummer (Meryl Streep's daughter) in an old-fashioned love story set on Cape Cod in 1912.
It was shot in the spring on location in Massachusetts, where it benefited from tax incentives that offset the $3 million cost, all privately financed.
The film is being distributed by New Films International, which acquired the rights during the summer and provided finishing funds for post-production. Company founder Nesim Hason already has committed to spend about $450,000 to advertise the picture and send DVDs of "Lightkeepers" to Golden Globe and Academy voters. He expects to spend several million more if it gets any awards-season traction.
New Films plans to expand the movie in March in five to 15 markets, focusing on places with older-skewing populations, including Boca Raton, Fla., Scottsdale, Ariz., and Palm Springs.
"This is for an older audience who we believe can be bundled together by not going into the big cities," said executive producer Judith James, Dreyfuss' longtime producing partner. "Richard always says, 'My audience walks to the theater, they don't run to the theater.' That doesn't make the movie unworthy. It just makes the usual wide release approach to marketing wrong."