Norton Reenacts Accident that Altered His Life, Shares Full Journey From Football Field to Family Life in 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story
(JANUARY 26, 2021 – DALLAS, TX): 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story, a feature-length documentary that chronicles the journey of once-paralyzed college football player Chris Norton, will be released on February 23, 2021. Produced by nonprofit Fotolanthropy Films and distributed by Virgil Films and Entertainment, the documentary will be available for purchase and rent on Apple TV, Prime Video and other on-demand platforms.
At age 18, Norton suffered a debilitating spinal cord injury during a football game at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Despite doctors giving him just a 3 percent chance to ever move again, Norton defied medical odds. After years of intense physical therapy and training, Norton’s story went viral in 2015 when he successfully walked across the college graduation stage with the help of his fiancée Emily. Soon after, the couple set an ambitious new goal: walk seven yards side-by-side down their wedding aisle.
“We don’t get to control what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond,” says Norton, who is now an author, motivational speaker and founder of The Chris Norton Foundation which helps those with spinal cord and neuromuscular disabilities live better lives. “No one ever volunteers to struggle, but it can be one of our greatest teachers. My story is hard, but it is full of hope, and I think that is relevant to everyone right now.”
Production on 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story started in 2017 and filming took place at various locations including Luther College and the renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where Norton spent seven months in recovery. The film crew also accompanied Norton and his fiancée to their 2018 wedding and gathered real footage of the momentous 7-yard walk for which they trained. The documentary features powerful interviews, never-been-told stories and emotional reenactments, many of which Norton did himself. Most notably, he reenacted the football tackle that changed his life.
“This is a comeback story that will inspire you to overcome,” says Katie Norris founder of Fotolanthropy Films and producer of the documentary. “When I first heard about Chris Norton, I was completely moved by his courage and willpower. His story is raw, real and one that will bring renewed perspective.”
The documentary also provides an intimate look at the Norton’s decision to become parents through foster care and adoption. The couple has had 18 foster placements and they have adopted five children. They are honored to currently have six children in their home.
7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story is currently available for pre-order on Apple TV and Prime Video. For more information, visit 7YardsFilm.com or follow @7YardsFilm on Instagram and 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story on Facebook.
Producer: Katie Norris, Fotolanthropy Films
Distribution: Virgil Films and Entertainment
Director: Jonathon Link
Cinematographer: David White
Behind the Scenes Producer: Ryan Wermich
Composer and Sound Design: Bradford Knyght
Wedding Design: Nathan Johnson
Photography: Sean Berry and Sarah Kate Aull
About Chris Norton
As an 18-year-old freshman at Luther College, Chris Norton suffered a devastating spinal cord injury during a college football game. Told by doctors that he had only a 3 percent chance of regaining movement below the neck, Chris defied medical odds and, in 2015, successfully accomplished his goal of walking his college graduation stage with the help of his fiancée, Emily. Video from the event went viral and has been viewed more than 300 million times on social media. At age 20, Chris founded The Chris Norton Foundation to help fund research and bring tools, camps and support to those with spinal cord and neurological disorders. Chris is the author of The Seven Longest Yards, a professional speaker and has shared his message of hope across the nation.
Fotolanthropy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to producing and distributing documentaries that celebrate the hope of those who have defied great odds. Founded by Katie Norris in 2011, Fotolanthropy has produced 17 short films and two award-winning documentaries, Travis: A Soldier’s Story and The Luckiest Man. Travis: A Soldier’s Story shares a look into the life of quadruple amputee SSG Travis Mills and it received a standing ovation at every screening. The film inspired the New York Times bestseller, Tough As They Come, and has been seen by millions via iTunes, Amazon and Netflix. Based in Dallas, Fotolanthropy aspires to be a source of positive content. For more information, visit fotolanthropy.com.