ILNews

Indiana company brings Jesse Owens to the big screen

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

An Indiana company had a big role in telling the story of one of the most influential track athletes of all time through a recently released movie.

“Race” tells the story of track athlete Jesse Owens, who overcame racism and hatred and became the first American athlete to win four track-and-field gold medals at a single Olympics. What’s more is he did this in 1936 in Berlin, Germany, as Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich were in power.

race-15col.jpgImage courtesy of Luminary Group

Luminary Group, a licensing, consulting and intellectual property management company, had just about as big a role in the way the film turned out as the director and actors in the movie. The Shelbyville company manages the intellectual property rights of Owens, as well as other famous athletes such as Babe Ruth and Satchel Paige in baseball and Johnny Unitas and Vince Lombardi in football.

It was Luminary Group’s job to make sure Owens’ story was told in a way his three daughters, who are now in their 70s, would be proud of. Jonathan Faber, CEO and general counsel of Luminary Group, said that meant plenty of negotiations and meetings.

Pete Enfield, president of Luminary Group, also worked on the project, and said the entire undertaking took five years.

“The production company wanted the family to be intimately involved in the process, and they wanted the story to be told accurately, not to portray him as something he wasn’t,” Enfield said. “That meant finding the right actors and director, and lot of things have to come into place.”

Faber said Luminary Group needs to be well-versed on copyright and trademark laws to protect the character and reputation of its clients.

faber-jonathan-mug.jpg Faber

“The fulcrum point is knowing what an agreement like this should look like,” Faber said. “What is the value of the Owens family’s involvement and blessing, and what vicinity we should be in.”

Faber said that’s where the skill level of the people involved comes into play.

“We’re in the business of making deals work, and that’s certainly at times unflattering,” Faber said. “It’s not objective. We need to make sure the use of the character isn’t problematic.”

Faber declined to get into specifics about what legal challenges were faced in making the movie, but said generally his work involves a lot of expert witness interviews, determining what a character is worth, and finding and prosecuting people who misuse any of their clients in a number of ways.

“We use a lot of the legal skill-set to determine market value of a character,” Faber said. “If there were no market value, there wouldn’t be a need for our character to be protected.”

Part of protecting the Jesse Owens character was finding the right actor to play him, and both Faber and Enfield felt Stephan James was the man to do that. After that, it was finding the correct director and writing team and the proper funding and distribution throughout the process.

“We have to hit all of those benchmarks, and only at that point can we start exchanging drafts of the script. That’s where the rubber met the road and that’s where the family’s knowledge was crucial in bringing the story to life,” Enfield said.

Faber said the group “was certainly holding its breath” during the first showing of the film, but was very pleased with the outcome, as was the family.

“It hits a lot of nerves and it’s timely on a lot of levels,” Faber said. “It’s great to know we did a very good job and we’re happy with the result.”•

ADVERTISEMENT

  • GREAT!!!!
    Oh, Jonathan...I LOVED this movie...always a fan of uplifting, courageous stories and this was one of the best. Congrats on a great job, seeing this vehicle thru to the finish. It appears things are going very well for Luminary. So happy for you; you are the best! Ro P.S. Somebody doesn't know much about the movie biz or intellectual property...I can see your role in this easily.
  • Congrats!
    Congrats! Great movie
  • This sounds like a fake
    This sounds like a fake statement. The movie from what I read was an independent project brought to the Owens family.. Never would a lawyer have the say in the director or the actors..

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Employers should not have racially discriminating mind set. It has huge impact on the society what the big players do or don't do in the industry. Background check is conducted just to verify whether information provided by the prospective employee is correct or not. It doesn't have any direct combination with the rejection of the employees. If there is rejection, there should be something effective and full-proof things on the table that may keep the company or the people associated with it in jeopardy.

  2. Unlike the federal judge who refused to protect me, the Virginia State Bar gave me a hearing. After the hearing, the Virginia State Bar refused to discipline me. VSB said that attacking me with the court ADA coordinator had, " all the grace and charm of a drive-by shooting." One does wonder why the VSB was able to have a hearing and come to that conclusion, but the federal judge in Indiana slammed the door of the courthouse in my face.

  3. I agree. My husband has almost the exact same situation. Age states and all.

  4. Thanks Jim. We surprised ourselves with the first album, so we did a second one. We are releasing it 6/30/17 at the HiFi. The reviews so far are amazing! www.itsjustcraig.com Skope Mag: It’s Just Craig offers a warm intimacy with the tender folk of “Dark Corners”. Rather lovely in execution, It’s Just Craig opts for a full, rich sound. Quite ornate instrumentally, the songs unfurl with such grace and style. Everything about the album feels real and fully lived. By far the highlight of the album are the soft smooth reassuring vocals whose highly articulate lyrics have a dreamy quality to them. Stories emerge out of these small snapshots of reflective moments.... A wide variety of styles are utilized, with folk anchoring it but allowing for chamber pop, soundtrack work, and found electronics filtering their way into the mix. Without a word, It’s Just Craig sets the tone of the album with the warble of “Intro”. From there things get truly started with the hush of “Go”. Building up into a great structure, “Go” has a kindness to it. Organs glisten in the distance on the fragile textures of “Alone” whose light melody adds to the song’s gorgeousness. A wonderful bloom of color defines the spaciousness of “Captain”. Infectious grooves take hold on the otherworldly origins of “Goodnight” with precise drum work giving the song a jazzy feeling. Hazy to its very core is the tragedy of “Leaving Now”. By far the highlight of the album comes with the closing impassioned “Thirty-Nine” where many layers of sound work together possessing a poetic quality.

  5. Andrew, if what you report is true, then it certainly is newsworthy. If what you report is false, then it certainly is newsworthy. Any journalists reading along??? And that same Coordinator blew me up real good as well, even destroying evidence to get the ordered wetwork done. There is a story here, if any have the moxie to go for it. Search ADA here for just some of my experiences with the court's junk yard dog. https://www.scribd.com/document/299040062/Brown-ind-Bar-memo-Pet-cert Yep, drive by shootings. The lawyers of the Old Dominion got that right. Career executions lacking any real semblance of due process. It is the ISC way ... under the bad shepard's leadership ... and a compliant, silent, boot-licking fifth estate.

ADVERTISEMENT