Stephen Amell

Actor Stephen Amell talks about his new movie project in the tasting room of his Walla Walla winery Nocking Point.

The annual Spring Release weekend party for Nocking Point Wines has morphed this year into a movie premiere, too.

A special sold-out screening of the crowd-funded sci-fi action film “Code 8” takes place tonight at Gesa Power House Theatre.

The film is three years in the making from Stephen Amell, known for his role as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow on the CW’s superhero series “Arrow,” and his cousin Robbie Amell, also known, among other things, for his own turn in superhero series “The Flash” as Ronnie Raymond/Firestorm. Stephen Amell is also the co-owner of Walla Walla’s Nocking Point Wines.

In 2016, the two premiered a 10-minute short film to serve as a crowd-funding enticement for the full-length film they wanted to finance.

Their initial ask of $200,000 on Indiegogo was achieved in less than 48 hours. It became the highest crowd-funded film on any platform when it raised more than $1.7 million from more than 20,000 backers in the 30-day campaign that year. From there, it continued to grow. At 1,000 percent funded, the process raised $2,402,844 by 28,403 backers.

Thus the film’s extra-long credits, Stephen Amell said Thursday. “They’re 14 minutes long because so many people contributed to the campaign.”

Written by Chris Pare, the film takes place in the future, where, according to a description on IMDB, people with “special” abilities live in poverty. Conner Reed, played by Robbie Amell, is one of them. Powerful but poor, he struggles to pay for the medical treatments of his mother. To earn it, he joins a criminal world run by Garrett, played by Stephen Amell, who works for a drug lord.

For Stephen Amell, the completion of the film is an achievement all its own.

“It’s proof of concept to be able to make it in the first place,” he said. “Making a movie is ... hard, and they fall apart all the time.”

The crowd-funding mechanism was a way to ensure creative control to the Amells, who are executive producers in the Jeff Chan-directed feature.

Premiere tickets were among the incentives to investors in the film. A $225 investment gave a premiere movie option, and $625 gave access to VIP premiere tickets.

About 400 people earned tours of the film set or a chance to be extras.

The first premiere came last month in Vancouver, B.C., followed by showings in Los Angeles, the Amells’ native Toronto, New York City and Chicago. Remaining showings are scheduled for Dallas, Miami, London, Sydney and Perth, Australia.

Walla Walla was not on the original date list. But with the sixth annual wine release party this weekend, Amell saw an opportunity to share it with wine club members and other fans.

“I can’t adequately describe how cool it is to be doing this,” he said in the Airport District tasting room of the business he owns with Walla Walla native, friend and business partner Andrew Harding.

“Being here is the next closest thing to Toronto,” Amell said.

Harding’s parents, Larry and Victoria, who also help with the business, are like extended family, he said.

So sharing the film where he launched the wine club membership business that collaborates with winemakers and artists on blends is near and dear to him.

Tonight’s showing will also be the first time Amell watches the movie all the way through in a theater.

The event hearkens back, he said, to the first wine party for Nocking Point. That one, in 2014, included a special viewing party of Episode 20 of “Arrow” at Red Monkey.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at 509-526-8321, vickihillhouse@wwub.com or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/VickiHillhouse.

Vicki covers business and economic development, including tourism, the Port of Walla Walla and the Strictly Business column, as well as features. She has been reporting for the Union-Bulletin since late 2001.

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