Excel to distribute ‘Stalking Santa’; you can see it this weekend

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Chris Clark stars in “Stalking Santa.” Barely visible in the passenger seat is Daryn Tufts, who wrote the film and also appears in it.

Two months ago I mentioned a movie called “Stalking Santa,” a mockumentary about a man seeking to prove the existence of Kris Kringle. It was made by some friends of mine (and some people I don’t know) in Utah, and it’s gotten rave reviews at the film festivals it’s played at. But it still had no firm release date, nor even a distributor — tragic, when you consider “Wild Hogs” had a release date and a distributor before it was even made.

Now I bring you two bits of information:

1) The film has been picked up by Excel Entertainment and will be released in theaters in time for the holiday season. Excel has almost exclusively done Mormon-themed movies so far, so this will be a departure for them, as “Stalking Santa” has no Utah or Mormon content. Hopefully they don’t chicken out and only market the film in Utah just because that’s what they’re used to.

2) You can see the movie this weekend at the Utah Family Film Festival, being held at University Mall Cinemas in Orem. It’s screening Thursday at 5 p.m., Friday at 7:10 p.m., and Saturday at 6:10 p.m. Cast members will be in attendance each time to answer questions and stuff. Tickets are $5 if you buy them online ($6 at the door), which means it’s cheaper to see it now than it will be when it’s released in theaters later this year.

I don’t know much about the rest of the fledgling festival. The lineup of films looks reasonable, with more than just Utah-made films on the list. The schedule includes special screenings of “The Goonies” and “Napoleon Dynamite,” too, so that’s cool. If you find yourself in Utah Valley this weekend, maybe you should check it out.