Victory Prieto

Brett Prieto stars as MMA fighter Tommy Hendricks in Alan Autry's “Victory by Submission.” / VbS artwork

Actor/director Alan Autry’s latest film, “Victory by Submission,” comes to Ringgold to aid Habitat for Humanity of Catoosa County, Boynton Lions Club of Ringgold and the Share America Foundation Inc.

“We are extremely excited to partner with producers to help provide funds for our next Habitat house,” said Penny Mahon, Habitat for Humanity of Catoosa County executive director.

The organizations will host the Chattanooga premiere on Sept. 15 at 5 p.m. at Ringgold High School Auditorium, 29 Tiger Trail.

“Partnership is the key to this event — all of us our working together to make a difference in the lives of those we serve. For the Lions, we will be able to help Catoosans see better,” said President Tom Rector.

Autry, best known as “Bubba Skinner” on TV’s “In the Heat of the Night” and most recently on “Hart of Dixie,” assembled an amazing cast. Other stars include Brett Prieto, Lee Majors, Eric Roberts, Fred Williamson and actress Rachel Hendrix of “October Baby.”

His former co-star Randall Franks, “Officer Randy Goode” of “In the Heat of the Night,” who is Share America Foundation president, will host the premiere.

“The event will help Share America encourage youth in Appalachian music through scholarships,” he said.

Autry said the film is about love, mercy, redemption and restoration of relationships. He said it touches on real-life struggles, from PTSD to alcoholism.

“There is pain and brokenness in this story, but ultimately it's the story of triumph through faith,” Autry said. “It’s about a young fighter who has a burning desire to be a champion but before he can become a true champion — God’s champion, he has to defeat the toughest opponent of his life — himself. I can relate to that and I know a lot of other folks can too.”

Autry cast actor Brett Prieto in the role as his estranged son who is a new husband and aspiring fighter.

“Blood, sweat and tears went into this thing,” Prieto said.

Prieto, who is also a former police officer, said he's fulfilling a life-long dream.

Rounding out the all-star cast are legendary actors Lee Majors, Fred Williamson and Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts.

“The Six Million Dollar Man” Majors’ character paints the right path for Autry’s character.

“The world today is in a bad place,” Majors said. “There is a lot of darkness out there and a lot of hate. These kinds of pictures need to get out, especially one like this. It involves a sport that a lot of people like and yet to see a faith-based movie set in that genre is really good. If you are longing for something in life, go to it and check it out.”

Though the story follows family relationships between father and son, brothers, a love story between a husband and wife, Autry said it’s the backdrop that is unusual.

“It is based in the world of MMA, Mixed Martial Arts (a metaphor for the dark violent, seductive world that we live in). There is a term in that world where you get an opponent in a leg hold or an arm bar and they tap out,” he said. “Basically, they give up. Therefore, they win a victory by submission. However, we know as Christians, that, has a whole different meaning when we submit ourselves to God’s will.

“That is when we receive our greatest victory,” he said. “When we tap out to our own desires and give control of our lives to God. Allowing Christ to live within us, living a life of submission. That’s the double meaning there.”

Autry said the movie took nearly three years to make, filming throughout Fresno, Clovis and Madera, Calif.

Autry said he was thankful for the stars who believed in the project and came together to create it.

Actor Fred Williamson joked that he has three rules for movies in which he appears.

“You can't kill me. I have to win my fights and I get the girl at the end of the movie if I want. That's in my contract,” he said. Autry told Williamson, with a straight face, “Well Hammer, two out of three ain’t bad. But Brett gets the girl in this one.”

Claude and Deborah Poisson of Church First Films Ministry have taken great joy in using the proceeds from the movie “Victory by Submission” to contribute financially toward everything from new youth centers to local FCAs. More importantly they are blessed to witness God use the film as a beacon of His light. They look forward to attaining the goal of giving $1 million dollars to partnering churches and schools prior to a theatrical release.

Tickets are $10 and may be purchased in advance at Catoosa Habitat (Community Bank), 4914 Battlefield Pkwy. Ringgold. No concessions will be available at the event. For more information, visit events at www.CatoosaHabitat.org or call 706-861-5858.