Leap of faith: Pandemic-delayed ‘Walking With Herb’ released on DVD, digital platforms

Edward James Olmos and director Ross Marks on the set of “Walking With Herb” in Las Cruces. (Courtesy of Optimism Entertainment )

Ross Marks had planned a screening of “Walking With Herb” on March 14, 2020.

That didn’t happen because of the pandemic.

“We had 130 people coming by, but we could only have 30 people,” he says. “We literally had to spend the afternoon canceling with people to not come see the movie.”

From that day forward, it was an uphill battle.

Yet Marks, who is based in Las Cruces and teaches at New Mexico State University’s Creative Media Institute, has seen the film get distribution rights and have a theatrical run.

As of July 27, “Walking With Herb” is available on digital and DVD.

“I have to give credit to Brian Espinosa for fighting day in and day out,” Marks says. “He really moved the movie along after it was complete. Brian is the one that sold it. He fought against all odds to see a movie during COVID.”

The film follows 65-five-year-old Joe, played by Edward James Olmos, who is struggling with his faith as his 3-year-old granddaughter and her father have just died.

While at work, he receives a message from God on his computer screen that tells him he has been chosen to deliver an inspirational message to the world that the seemingly impossible is possible.

God tells Joe, a former amateur golfer, that he is going to play in the World Golf Championship tournament, and that if his faith is strong enough, he will win.

Joe embarks on this spiritual journey along with God’s personal messenger and motorcyclist, Herb, played by George Lopez. On the way, he learns that to make a difference he must have confidence in his abilities and commit to God before he can succeed.

Edward James Olmos, Kathleen Quinlan and George Lopez on the set of “Walking With Herb” in Las Cruces. (Courtesy of Optimism Entertainment)

Marks directed the film, which is based on the novel of the same name by Las Cruces resident Joe S. Bullock. The screenplay was written by the late Mark Medoff.

Marks says the DVD will be available at COAS Books, 317 N. Main St., Las Cruces. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 31, Bullock and Marks will be signing the DVDs.

The movie was in production in September 2018 for about 30 days, filming in Artesia and Las Cruces.

Marks is proud that the film has New Mexicans at the helm.

“I wanted to do this project because, at the time, I was looking more into my faith,” Marks said. “Then I came across Joe’s book and asked who wrote the script for it. I gave it to Mark just for notes, and he wanted to write the screenplay for it. It’s taken about three years to get it to release.”

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ABQjournal.com. Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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