Cinedigm has acquired U.S. rights to Sgt. Will Gardner. Actor Max Martini (Redbelt, 13 Hours, Captain Phillips) takes on multiple facets this time starring, as well as directing from his own script. He produces as well with Michael Hagerty, under their Mona Vista Productions banner.
Sgt. Will Gardner sees Martini in the title role, an Iraq War veteran who suffers from PTSD and the lingering effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which he sustained years earlier when he and his platoon, led by his fellow soldier and best friend, Tops, came under attack. Enduring painful flashbacks to his harrowing combat days and humiliating setbacks in the present, Will sets out on a spirited motorcycle journey across America in hopes of reconciling with his young son and former wife. Along the way, he encounters other veterans and a young woman who will push him to confront some of his most painful memories in hopes of finally finding some peace and closure.
“With unwavering honesty and a keen eye for detail, Sgt. Will Gardner navigates powerful emotional terrain and bravely addresses the complicated issues faced by veterans once they return home,” said Yolanda Macias, Cinedigm’s Executive Vice-President of Acquisitions. “Buoyed by stand-out performances and Max’s compelling direction, the picture delivers a timely, important message which we are proud to support.”
“My hope with Sgt. Will Gardner is to raise awareness for the on-going battles which returning soldiers encounter,” said Martini. “In partnering with Cinedigm for distribution, I am excited about the opportunity to reach a wide audience, including veterans and military families and friends, in hopes of lifting some of the stigma associated with TBI and PTSD and encourage those struggling to seek help.”
“Having witnessed firsthand the emotional impact and lingering effects on soldiers wounded in battle, we really appreciate the filmmakers’ commitment to not only empathize and inspire with their storytelling, but also contribute in a meaningful way to the Gary Sinise Foundation’s mission supporting the brave men and women who continue to put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedom,” said Retired Four Star General and Gary Sinise Foundation CEO Robin Rand.
Martini is joined by Omari Hardwick (Starz’s Power, Sorry To Bother You), Lily Rabe (F/X’s American Horror Story), Dermot Mulroney (Insidious: Chapter 3), Robert Patrick (CBS’s Scorpion, Terminator 2), Elisabeth Röhm (Law & Order), JoBeth Williams (Poltergeist), Luis Bordonada (Barracuda), Leo Martini (Edge) and Gary Sinise (CBS’s CSI: NY, Forrest Gump).
Sgt. Will Gardner will have a limited theatrical, digital and VOD release in Jamuary from Cinedigm preceding home releases. A portion of the film’s proceeds will be donated by way of Mona Vista toward three charities which support veterans suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), PTSD and veteran homelessness: Higher Ground, Warriors Heart and the Gary Sinise Foundation.
Executive Producers are Mary Vernieu, Tanya Hill and Matthew Hanson. The deal was negotiated by Melody Fowler, Vice-President of Acquisitions for Cinedigm, and ICM on behalf of the filmmakers.
Deadline was the first to report the news on Wednesday prior to the release of the press announcement from Cinedigm.