BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - t was a big night for a local couple after a film they wrote, directed and produced hit the big screen.
Thomas and Courtney Russell spent one month and nearly $200,000 to make "Redemption: For Robbing the Dead."
"It's fun," said Thomas Russell. "This is our favorite screening. This is so many of our friends, family and loved ones, and in a community that we know and love. We've lived here for years, so this is our favorite screening because we get to watch it with them."
It was a packed house Wednesday night for the Bakersfield premiere of the movie.
The film was written and directed by local Highland High School graduate Thomas, and produced by his wife and Garces High School graduate, Courtney.
"It's a fascinating story," said actor John Freeman. "It was all a tremendous gift to me in a lot of ways -- as an actor, as a person, to meet someone like tom (and) to be involved in a project like this."
The movie is set in 1862. It tells the story of a lawman who finds himself responsible for the well-being of a prisoner who was caught robbing graves..
Those involved with the movie said while it sounds like an unforgivable crime, they hope the story makes people think twice.
"I hope they just have a little bit more sympathy, understanding, compassion," said Russell. "I hope they come out with a little bit more of humanity toward those who may not deserve a whole lot of humanity and compassion."
"Things aren't as black and white as you might think," Freeman said. "I want them to think (and) be more thoughtful ."
The premiere was at the Reading Cinema at the Valley Plaza Mall.
The entire cast and crew were in attendance on Wednesday night.