Production for the indie film "Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey" puttered along until Dave Paterson and his brother John, owners of Arcady Bay Entertainment, dipped into their pockets to help its completion.
The documentary, which opens tonight at the Naro Expanded Cinema in Norfolk, chronicles the story of Arnel Pineda, the new lead singer for rock supergroup Journey.
"It's just a great story about a homeless drug addict from the Philippines who's the lead singer for one of the most famous bands in the world," said Dave Paterson, calling from New York City. "And everyone loves an underdog story. I thought this was right up that alley."
With its crisp and splashy cinematography, "Everyman's Journey" is a Cinderella-like tale of a despondent Pineda, who was discovered via a last-minute click on YouTube. The film, a favorite at last year's Tribeca Film Festival, details the singer's transition from living on the streets of Manila to living on the road with one of rock's biggest classic rock acts.
"The independent film world seems to have a kind of tarnished concept as something not for families, something not for kids," said Paterson, who grew up in Norfolk in the 1980s. "This documentary is something for everyone, something you can take your kids to. It's a great, uplifting story, and nowadays we need some great, uplifting stories."
Paterson said the film's producers didn't dwell too much on Pineda's former life with drugs.
"He shows where he slept in Manila when he didn't have a home," Paterson said. "We don't discuss what he did. He admits to it. But again, we're not trying to find the dirty edge of rock 'n' roll. We're showing a man who's changed for the better."
The brothers will return to Norfolk for the film's Naro premiere, their first visit in years. In 1979 when the Patersons were preteens, their father moved the family from Washington, D.C., to Norfolk to become the minister at Lafayette Presbyterian Church. The family moved again in 1986, to Vermont, barely two years after Paterson graduated from Maury High School.
During his teen years in Norfolk, Dave Paterson nurtured his interest in acting and production, appearing in plays at the Riverview Playhouse, Old Dominion University and the Virginia Stage Company. Paterson eventually became a screenwriter. His adaptation of "Bridge to Terabithia," the award-winning book written by his mother, Katherine, into the 2007 Disney film brought him some recognition. Two decades after acting in small productions around Norfolk, Paterson combined his screenwriting background with his brother's media and marketing expertise and formed Arcady Bay Entertainment.
" 'Everyman's Journey' is a story for everybody," Paterson said. "I'm happy to bring it to Norfolk. The last time I was there, I think, was for my 25th high school reunion. I miss the place. It's time to go back."
Want to go?
What "Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey" screening with producers Dave and John Paterson
When 9:05 tonight and Saturday
Where Naro Expanded Cinema, 1507 Colley Ave., Norfolk
More info www.narocinema.com
Rashod Ollison, 757-446-2732, firstname.lastname@example.org