By BROOKE WANSER
Local fans of actress Amy Jo Johnson lobbied for Franklin to be among the list of cities in which Johnson would make her directorial debut with her first feature-length film at the Franklin Theatre.
“The Space Between,” which Johnson describes as a “heartfelt comedy,” is about a man who discovers his wife’s son is not his biological child. It stars Johnson, Michael Cram, Sonya Salomaa and David Paetkau.
Johnson began her career in the 1993 series the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” as the pink power ranger, before transitioning to major roles in the television series “Felicity” and “Flashpoint”. Though she has directed two other short films, Johnson said this is her first full-length project.
Johnson said half of funding for the project came from Indiegogo, a crowdfunding platform. She decided to do something called a “Super Host tour” for the release; “We pick six different cities and towns. People sent in videos, pitching why they wanted the film to come to their hometown,” Johnson said of the film tour, which will debut in Evansville, Ind., and Montgomery, Ala., before coming to Franklin. “We had a ton of submissions.”
One of those submissions came from 29-year-old Franklin resident Connie Jones, who sent in a video asking Johnson to screen the film in Franklin. As a Power Rangers fan while growing up, Jones said she was looking for something to watch of Johnson’s when she stumbled across her latest project.
“On a whim, I was like ‘I wonder if she’s got a Facebook page?’ And I started following her, and I saw that they were having a contest,” said Jones. Her mother passed away two years ago, and Jones said that led her to enter a video into the contest. “I thought this would be something good for me to step out of my comfort zone.”
Jones was eventually selected as the super host of the Franklin screening, and has helped spread the word about the screening, in addition to other duties.
Jones said focusing on preparing for the event has helped her cope with her mother’s death. “I think it came into my life when I really needed it, and it’s helped me keep focused and keep my head up,” said Jones. “It’s kind of a Godsend.”
Danielle and Joseph Powell are also acting as super hosts after they met Johnson at the Fanboy’s Expo Knoxville Comic Con in June.
The couple, dressed as their childhood heroes, the pink and green Power Rangers, went to meet Johnson and Jason David Frank. “It was very nostalgic and people we’d both looked up to for a very long time,” Danielle Powell said.
“We saw her movie in Knoxville and fell in love with it,” said Powell. “We knew it was coming, and we wanted to help.”
And Johnson recognizes her fans as a buttress for the entirety of the project.
“Because I was an actress for 20 years, I’ve had some amazing support from people who followed my career,” Johnson said. “I’m just really appreciative of that support.”
The red carpet premiere for the screening of “The Space Between” will be 7 p.m. at the Franklin Theatre on Wednesday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15, and can be purchased at the door, and online beforehand.