7 Yards: Katie Norris recruits Wildcats for her new inspirational movie

Katie Norris with Chris Norton her team

Lake Highlands High 2003 grad and feel-good documentarian Katie Jenkins Norris is at it again, crafting another inspiring story about people overcoming adversity. 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story is the tale of a young man injured in a 2010 football game while a freshman at Luther College in Iowa and given only a 3 percent chance to ever move again. This year, Norton defied all odds and walked 7 yards down the aisle to marry his bride.

Katie filmed a few scenes at Lake Highlands High with the Wildcat basketball team and their coaches, including Joe Duffield.

“Our kids enjoyed it and had fun,” said Duffield. “The scene that we filmed in the gym was a re-enactment of Chris’ high school years before his accident. Chris was part of the basketball team, and often stayed after practice to get extra shots up and work on his game. Sometimes the coach had to kick Chris out of the gym. We helped re-create that scene in Wildcat gym.”

“We were honored to help a former Wildcat out,” added Duffield, “and tell a great story of inspiration.”

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Duffield hopes the experience will have a lasting impact on his players, on the court next season and throughout their life as they move on to college, career and families of their own.

“Chris Norton spoke to our team about meeting every obstacle with a positive attitude and always moving forward in life one step at a time. He has a remarkable perspective on life. It’s incredible to learn about how much progress he’s made, and to see it in person. Chris is a tremendous example of the power of the human spirit and is a true inspiration.”

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When the film is released in theaters, Duffield figures the team will be ready for a road trip.

“Katie invited us to attend the premiere once they finish the project,” said Duffield. “We hope to go as a team and continue to support this great project from one of Lake Highlands own.”

As always, Katie says, the red carpet premiere will be hosted in Dallas. Her last premiere drew a crowd of 800.

After all her years making movies, Katie is comfortable around a camera, and comfortable telling stories with a Lake Highlands tie.

In 2017, Katie released Shine, the story of special needs 5-year-old Griffin Shaw, who drowned in his family’s backyard pool. In 2016, she created a movie to remember the life of Julian Kampfschulte, the Lake Highlands boy who died of a degenerative brain disease. She also released Howdy, about the ice cream shop in University Park that employs youth and adults with special needs, The Luckiest Man, about Dallas’ John Paine and his battle against ALS, and Travis: A Soldier’s Story about Travis Mills, one of only five quadruple amputees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive. Clips from her other movie projects can be seen here. To watch the entire feature-length documentaries, go to Netflix, iTunes or Amazon.

You can read more about Katie’s work making documentaries here.

Katie is using crowdfunding to complete the Chris Norton Story, and she’s about halfway to her goal. You can contribute here, and anyone who donates $100 or more will be listed in the movie’s credits. You can see a trailer for 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story here.

Chris Norton with Coach Joe Duffield and the Wildcat basketball team
The team receives direction from the film crew
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