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CROSS ROAD: Running "The Perfect Race" for Faith-Based Films

"The Perfect Race" is the new faith-based film from Dave Christiano and Five & Two Pictures, starring Allee-Sutton Hethcoat.

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In 2016, Dave Christiano released the feature film Remember the Goal, an inspirational drama about a "fresh out of college" female coach at an all-girls Christian high school. Her unique techniques and goals for her new cross country team are called into question by both the students and their parents.

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Allee-Sutton Hethcoat reprises her role as Coach Courtney Smith-Donnelly in The Perfect Race, as she takes her coaching wisdom to the track for a small Christian college’s female athlete who tries to overcome long odds and win a national title in the 800 meter run. Coach Donnelly's training methods and teachings about life both line up with the concept that in order to first have to lose.

This new film from Five & Two Pictures will show at select theaters. Tickets are available online at the company’s website.

 Dave Christiano

Dave Christiano

Dave Christiano has been a long-standing fixture in the faith-based film world for more than twenty years. Working as screenwriter, director, producer, and editor, his feature films include A Matter of Faith, Amazing Love (starring Sean Astin), The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry, and Power of the Air (starring Oscar winner Patty Duke and Obie winner Michael Gross), as well as the long running television series 7th Street Theater.

Script Magazine’s Dan Goforth followed up with Screenwriter/Director/Producer Dave Christiano on his new film now being released..

Script: At what point did you decide to do a sequel to REMEMBER THE GOAL?

Dave Christiano: I have always wanted to take a character we created and do another film with that character. There was a section of script that I pulled from the first film that became the story for the second film. About 6 months after the first movie came out, I started to work with the idea and develop it.

Script: What did you want to say in this film that's different / a follow up from Remember The Goal?

Dave Christiano:I have the same character in a new story but in different situations. This allowed me as a writer to address different topics. It was fun for me to do this and a challenge as well.

Script: How did you approach creating the storyline for the sequel?

 Clarence Gilyard

Clarence Gilyard

Dave Christiano: This is not a sequel. It's a whole new story with the same Coach character from the first film. A person does not have to see the first film to follow the second one. They are stand alone stories but both with the same lead character. I had the idea first, and then when I came up with the ending, the rest of it flowed from there.

Script: What is your writing process like?

Dave Christiano: My mind seems to be always turning so when an idea comes to mind, I will sit down at my computer and write it out. I don't ever sit at the computer staring at a blank screen. I get an idea first. The Perfect Race was written mostly between midnight and 2am. It just seemed to be the time I was working on that script. For many nights over six months.

Script: Are there ever times when the director/producer side of you looks at what you've written and say, "That just won't work"?

Dave Christiano: No, and it's because I write what I feel we, as a crew and team, can pull off. I have to keep in mind budget - which is limited on the projects. I have to work within our means and write with that in mind.

Script: Was there any difficulty getting Allee for a return in her role as coach Smith-Donnelly?

 Allee-Sutton Hethcoat

Allee-Sutton Hethcoat

Dave Christiano: Allee-Sutton Hethcoat was on board from the moment I talked to her about doing the second film. She is a wonderful young lady, very intelligent, and a talented actress. She had a lot more input on the second film as we worked the scenes to get them the best we could.

There is going to be a 3rd film in the series. It's the next project I plan to do. Allee-Sutton in on board once again.

Script: Once again, you are distributing this film yourself. Has there been any change in your strategy to reach audiences with this film, as opposed to Remember The Goal?

Dave Christiano: Streaming has basically killed DVD sales, which kept the independent producer like us alive. We are now doing single night theater showings and church rentals with our new films in hopes to keep it all going. Streaming is good for the consumer but not the producer. The music industry has the same problem.

 Allee-Sutton Hethcoat and Bethany Davenport

Allee-Sutton Hethcoat and Bethany Davenport

See The Perfect Race at select theaters throughout the nation. Tickets for this film and other releases are available online at the website

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More articles and interviews by Dan Goforth

Get tips on the faith genre in Brad Wise’s on-demand webinar,
Writing the Faith-Based Screenplay