Alpharetta filmmakers spread anti-bullying message

Next project to be filmed in North Fulton

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Alpharetta residents Jason Winn and Michael Buchanan know the power of movies.

Their inspiring movie, “The Fat Boy Chronicles,” released through Tin Roof Films, has brought hope to teens across the nation.

The story is that of an obese and bullied ninth- grader’s journey to lose weight and win the girl of his dreams.

Winn directed the award-winning feature and Buchanan co-wrote the novel and screenplay with Diane Lang.

Since the film’s release to DVD this past January (Phase 4 Films), the impact of Jimmy Winterpock’s story has been retold in true stories of teens who have lost weight, the bystanders who now speak up for bullied victims and through the support of schools across the nation.

“Over a year ago, we learned of an overweight 13-year-old who became inspired after he read the book and then watched the movie at a special event,” Buchanan said. “He’s now lost over 150 pounds. We are so proud of him.”

SPREADING INSPIRATION

The authors toured the country this past school year speaking about the book to schools who have read its message to never give up.

Many communities and schools have shown the film in an effort to generate discussion about solutions to both bullying and childhood obesity, including schools in Forsyth County.

Lang and Buchanan will visit more schools this year as well, including several in Georgia.

Dr. John Barge, the state superintendent of schools, is an enthusiastic supporter of the book and movie.

“‘The Fat Boy Chronicles’ will save lives,” Barge has said. “I have no doubt of that.”

Now streaming on Netflix, the movie has received about 125,000 ratings and has been seen by a million people worldwide.

The response from students and parents has been very gratifying for Winn.

“Being part of this movie has changed my life for the better,” Winn said. “It’s opened my eyes to the real power of cinema.”

This past May, in Charlotte, N.C., the book and movie were featured at an all-day middle school event focused on teen issues.

Lead actor Christopher Rivera and the authors were surprise guests at the school. Fulton County Superintendent Dr. Robert Avossa said he hopes to duplicate the success here.

NEXT PROJECT

The team of Winn and Buchanan are now involved in a short film called “BOXES,” an emotional story examining homelessness through the eyes of a young boy. The movie will be produced in North Fulton later this year. After its completion, Buchanan said it will be made available for nonprofit groups to use as a fundraiser.

To be involved in that project, look for the film on www.IndieGoGo.com. To contact Winn, email Jason@tinrooffilms.com or contact Buchanan at mike@tinrooffilms.com.

Buchanan will be speaking about the book, movie, obesity and solutions to bullying at the Decatur Book Festival at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 1.

FH 08-15-12