Visalia native Kevin Downes produces ‘Woodlawn’

“Woodlawn” was produced by Visalia native Kevin Downes.
“Woodlawn” was produced by Visalia native Kevin Downes.

Visalia native Kevin Downes is the producer of “Woodlawn,” a film about racial unrest in a Birmingham, Alabama, high school in the early 1970s. The film was written and directed by Jon and Andy Erwin. It opens Friday, Oct. 16, in Fresno.

In 1973, the Woodlawn High School football team, including its coach, Tandy Gerelds, make a stand for love and unity in a school filled with racism and hate. Their actions lead to the largest high school football game ever played in the torn city.

Starring in the film are C. Thomas Howell, Jon Voight, Sean Astin, Sherri Shepherd and Caleb Castille.

Downes went to College of the Sequoias and California State University, Northridge, where he studied theater and geography. At the same time, he was landing acting jobs, appearing in numerous commercials, television shows and feature films.

Earlier this year, Downes starred in a faith-based film, “Faith of Our Fathers,” but he said he gets more pleasure out of producing movies. “Woodlawn” and “Faith of Our Fathers” are being released in the same year. He also has a small acting role in “Woodlawn.”

During an interview to talk about “Faith,” Downes said having two movies open in the same year is proof that dreams can become reality.

“I love producing content and empowering filmmakers. That’s fun. The acting is fun, but you only worry about yourself. Directing and producing means worrying about the entire project,” Downes says.

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355, @RickBentley1