EXCLUSIVE: Virgil Films has acquired the worldwide rights to 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story, which tells the true, viral tale of a college football player who rebuilds his life in spectacular fashion after a devastating on-field injury.
The film will be released through on-demand platforms in February.
Norton was 18 when he suffered a spinal cord injury during a football game at Luther College in Decorah, IA. Doctors gave him almost zero chance of ever moving again, and he began years of intense medical therapy and physical training. Norton’s triumph over his injury became a viral sensation in 2015 after he successfully walked across the college graduation stage with the help of his fiancée, Emily. (Check out a video clip above.)
The couple then set the ambitious goal of walking seven yards, side by side, down the aisle at their 2018 wedding. Video of Norton’s graduation walk has been viewed more than 300 million times on social media, drawing coverage on major news outlets like People, Today, Good Morning America and CNN. Norton has gone on to become an author, motivational speaker and adoptive father.
Virgil President Joe Amodei struck the acquisition deal with the film’s producer, Fotolanthropy Films founder Katie Norris. In announcing the agreement, Virgil described the film as a “comeback story” that “will inspire you to overcome.”
Dallas-based Fotolanthropy, founded in 2011, is a non-profit organization dedicated to producing and distributing documentaries centered on people who have defied great odds. One of the company’s best-known films is Travis: A Soldier’s Story. The portrait of quadruple amputee SSG Travis Mills has inspired the best-selling book Tough As They Come and been viewed millions of times across iTunes, Amazon and Netflix, according to Fotolanthropy.
Virgil has backed a wide array of projects, including acclaimed documentaries like Restrepo, the Oscar-nominated Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me; and, more recently, We Are Columbine. In 2019, it produced Clarence Clemons, Who Do I Think I Am? After a festival run and specialty release, the film began streaming on Netflix.