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Met Cinema to debut MMA film

At 7 p.m. on April 3, the Met Cinema will debut a film about a broken man lost in his obsession for mixed martial arts fame, who attempts to rebuild his career, and his family, by turning to God for strength.

“Victory by Submission,” directed and written by former Fresno Mayor Alan Autry, has a cast comprised of both well-known actors and Valley talent.

Among them are “Six Million Dollar Man” Lee Majors, Madera police officer Brett Prieto as the lead character Tommy Hendricks, an MMA fighter, as well as Autry playing Hank Hendricks, Tommy’s father.

Autry, with a long career in show business including continuous roles on “In the Heat of the Night” (1988-1995) and “Grace Under Fire,” (1995-1996), said he was driven to create the story of Tommy Hendricks to show everyday struggles that can apply to everyone, not only those who have religious faith.

“With sports right now, it’s a win at all costs mentality,” said Autry, a backup quarterback for the Green Bay Packers in 1976, after playing at University of the Pacific in Stockton. “It’s great to be competitive, and strive to win. There’s nothing wrong with being passionate about the things you pursue. But the problem is when that passion morphs into obsession, which can destroy you, as you’ll do anything, even the wrong things, to reach that goal.”

Prieto said he felt the role was designed for him to play, as a lot of Tommy’s struggles paralleled things in his own life, such as balancing three years of shooting the film and finding time for his wife, two young daughters, and a full-time job as an officer for the Madera Police Department.

“My wife was amazing at being so accommodating in this schedule,” Prieto said. “I went one month straight with no days off. Not to use a cliche, but there was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that went into this film and it’s going to show on screen.”

For the Met Cinema in Oakhurst, being the first to show “Victory by Submission” is a victory itself, as the film has scheduled runs at Maya Cinemas in Fresno and other national locations in the future.

Matt Sconce, co-owner of the Met and an associate producer for the film, said he was excited for the opportunity.

“There’s a lot of Central Valley love in this movie,” Sconce said, adding the film was shot in Fresno, Madera, and Clovis. “It hasn’t released nationally, so we’re the first place where it’s going to be shown to the public.”

Autry added he picked the Met because he really liked the theater, and had worked with Sconce for some time.

“The best way I can describe this showing is it’s going to be an epic night at an epic theater, in an epic city,” Autry laughed. “We’re looking for an epic good time.”

Sconce said less than 100 tickets are left for the showing, which will be attended by several actors as well as Autry.

Tickets are $12 per person, with VIP tickets, which includes line-free seating as well as priority seats with cast and crew for $22.

A membership to Movie Heroes, which is used at Met Cinema, does not apply, Sconce said, as it’s a special event being hosted by the Met.

And though the film is about a man’s journey to find God, Sconce felt even those who don’t follow religion could enjoy the “hero’s journey” about common struggles of loss, relationships, and balancing family life with personal motivations.

“This movie will cater to people of the faith-based community, as well as people who aren’t part of that community or who love MMA,” Sconce said. “There’s great fighting in this movie. They don’t pull any punches, pun intended. I think it’s going to be quite the show for anyone to come enjoy.”

Details: victorybysubmission.com, metcinemaeventtickets.com, Met Cinema, (559) 683-3456.

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