The Bright family boasts legendary Texas success, having solidified their place in the top tiers of the business world through oil and banking. They own eight companies in six different industries, and were the previous owners of the Dallas Cowboys from 1984-1989. Perhaps the hottest company fanning the flame of the Bright family fortune today is Bright Realty.
In 2009, businessman and visionary Chris Bright, son of Harvey "Bum" Bright, had a unique idea to showcase Bright Realty's upscale, 2,500-acre Castle Hills development in north Dallas. Rather than investing in glossy brochures and billboards, Bright's vision was to sell Castle Hills through a 60-minute, family-focused film.
Shot entirely within Castle Hills (CH), "Cooper & the Castle Hills Gang" follows the adventure of 11-year-old Cooper Callaghan (played by Kyle Kirk) on a typical summer day. A clever and mischievous boy, Cooper spends his time playing with neighborhood children and devising pranks to play on his sister Penny. When CH’s favorite senior citizen Mr. Wilson loses his wedding ring, Cooper and his pals begin their quest to find the missing ring before Mrs. Wilson returns home.
What makes Bright's marketing approach unique is that the actual star of the film is the Castle Hills Community. In the film, Cooper and his gang explore all 2,500 acres of CH, showcasing the development’s 2,500 houses, scenic hike and bike trails, sports fields, community pools and parks. Their whimsical adventures paint Castle Hills as a wholesome, family-friendly haven in which children can run and play safely. The film also features Castle Hills' community shopping and restaurant center, golf course, island lake and teaching academy.
When the idea first came, Bright Realty turned to Winstead PC as their most trusted law-firm to transform their vision into reality. Winstead's Chairman Emeritus Mike Baggett, who had represented Bright and his family for several years, referred him to Winstead Shareholder Cathryn Berryman, an IP attorney with extensive experience helping clients with television production and content distribution. Berryman took the Bright Realty project by the horns.
Bright Realty hired the production company Ditore Mayo Entertainment to develop a script and handle casting for the film, which was originally intended for a limited distribution. Once the script and casting were completed, it was Berryman’s responsibility to attain writer production agreements, talent releases, production contracts, letters of intent, actor release contracts, script approval, and several other signed contracts necessary to make the movie a reality.
Cooper & the Castle Hills Gang was filmed in 12 days during October 2010, with a 90-person crew and a 30-person cast. Nearly 1,000 Castle Hills residents were involved in the production - some families offered their homes and yards, but most of the residents were extras in the Fourth of July celebration scene.
When the executives of Bright Realty saw the finished product, they realized the potential of the film and decided to point the venture in a bigger and broader direction. Since Bright Realty was asked to be a sponsor of the 2011 Dallas International Film Festival, they saw the sponsorship as a perfect opportunity to release Cooper & the Castle Hills Gang as a feature film. While the idea was ideal, it also reconfigured how the film was to be distributed, which meant that the bulk of Berryman’s work was still ahead of her.
Berryman went back to work, contacting the long list of agents, production contacts, and other stakeholders involved in Cooper & the Castle Hills Gang. The good news was that the film was going to get much more visibility. The bad news was that every agreement Berryman worked on had to be renegotiated. Through persistence, she was able to successfully complete all legal requirements for the movie in an extremely impressive 10 days.
Cooper & the Castle Hills Gang was released on April 2, 2011 at the North Park Center Mall in Dallas. Viewers of the film believe it is a clever and unique production that tells a charming and wholesome story and helps sell a charming and wholesome community in North Dallas.
Bright foresees the film helping his company market Castle Hills’ commercial parcels. One third of CH's potential 1 million square feet of shops is built. An office-and-residential complex of more than 2 million square feet is in the planning.
Through Berryman’s skillful work, the reputation and awareness of the Castle Hills Community continues to expand, and Winstead PC remains loyal to Bright Realty. The film is available on the Castle Hill's website. To view Cooper & The Castle Hills Gang, go to: http://www.castlehills.com/
For more information about Winstead's Intellctual Property Practice Group, visit winstead.com/IntellectualProperty.