Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX


February 6, 2014

Carthage native raising funds for documentary on ‘Rocky’ director

EAST TEXAS — Carthage native Derek Wayne Johnson is soon hoping to tell the story of a Hollywood director known to many - whether they recognize his name or not.

Johnson has officially launched a Kickstarter campaign for his documentary "John G. Avildsen: King of the Underdogs" with a goal of $20,000.

If Johnson does not reach this goal, he will not receive any of the pledged donations. Therefore, he is pulling out all stops to ensure success for the campaign.

On Wednesday morning, Johnson appeared on KSLA in Shreveport to promote the film, and he has also sent press releases to various news entities.            

"I want to make this documentary to tell the story of a filmmaker whose movies have changed the world and have inspired millions, yet most people don't even know his name," Johnson said.

"It's a chance to rediscover the legendary director responsible for some of the most beloved films of all time."

The documentary is about Avildsen, the Oscar-winning director of Rocky

(1976) and The Karate Kid (1984). It is produced by AJ16 Entertainment and Circa Film and is currently in pre-production.

John G. Avildsen: King of the Underdogs will examine the life, career and films of the

accomplished director who brought to the screen some of cinema’s

most beloved motion pictures.

The Avildsen-authorized documentary, directed and produced by

Johnson, will continue to raise funds until Feb. 14. Donations begin as low as $10 with gifts in exchange for each donation, including a chance to be in the film's credits.

Johnson, a 2001 graduate of Carthage High School and 2006 graduate

of Stephen F. Austin State University, is an award-winning filmmaker

and friend of Avildsen who, like most directors his age, grew up

watching Avildsen’s films.

Next week, Johnson will be officially moving to L.A. He has produced feature films in Shreveport the past few years, and he hopes to continue his career in the city where film magic happens.

To help make Johnson's documentary successful, visit www.kickstarter.com and search for either ‘Derek Wayne Johnson’, or ‘John G. Avildsen: King of the Underdogs.’

For more information, you may find Johnson on Facebook at

www.facebook.com/JohnGAvildsenUnderdog, or by email at


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