Paging Frank Capra: Filmmaker Howard Klausner Aims to Make Movies for the Family - And Brings His Along to His Latest Film, The Secret Handshake

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The Secret Handshake released to DVD and digital for Fathers' Day, June 21st.

Fathers' Day, June 21st, saw the release of 'The Secret Handshake,' written and directed by Howard Klausner. As a first-time screenwriter Klausner found himself in a trial by fire as he worked on set alongside Clint Eastwood having just co-written the 2000 film "Space Cowboys." He hadn't been expecting Warner Brothers to pick up the script and when they did, Klausner quickly found himself an overnight success. Ten years later, Klausner's good fortune has continued, having recently completed the screenplay for the definitive film on Ronald Reagan, titled "Reagan." But he has also made his directorial debut that has taken the term “family film” to the next level: Klausner not only aims to make films that the entire family can watch together—he managed to convince his wife to allow him to shoot his latest, “The Secret Handshake” starring Kevin Sorbo and Amy Grant, in his own home in Franklin, Tennessee. He also enlisted his three teenager daughters to star alongside them.

“I love Hollywood and I worked there for many years, but with a wife and three daughters I realized that I wanted a different kind of life for them that was less Kardashian and more Capra,” he joked about his love for director Frank Capra who pioneered family films. “Now my two worlds have come together. I get to make the movies that I love but at a more relaxed pace and among the people that I love.”

In 2014, Klausner together with his partner Tim Brown formed Townsquare Pictures and the first fruit of the collaboration has been Handshake, a tale of a fatherless young boy whose exasperated mother played by Grant, turns to a neighbor played by Sorbo, to help her son become a man.

"Father's are important," said Klausner who lost his own father as a teenager. "I think of mine everyday and our relationship is definitely on the big screen with this movie."

Klausner says he was challenged to start his studio by an encounter at a film festival:

“A guy stood up after my speech and asked, ‘Where are the movies I can take my family to, without being bored, insulted or embarrassed?’ Right there, I saw my path.”

For more information or to request an interview with Howard Klausner, contact Bethany Thompson.

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Bethany Thompson
MJM Group
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