WINTHROP – “The Putt-Putt Syndrome,” filmed on a shoestring budget in and around Winthrop, has made it to the big time and will be out on DVD Sept. 13.

But first there will be a grand finale, a big-screen showing of the indie film at 9 p.m. today at Railroad Square Cinemas in Waterville with an introduction by cast and crew.

“We’re going to have a pre-party and an after-party at the Waterville Grand Hotel,” said filmmaker Allen Cognata, of Winthrop. “It’s the last time it will be on the big screen before it goes to DVD.”

Cognata is writer and director of the 90-minute feature film. The DVD release follows a successful run of the film at festivals across the United States.

“When you make a movie, your only hope is to sell it,” Cognata said. “Only 10 percent of the movies made get distribution and less than that get theatrical release.”

“The Putt-Putt Syndrome,” about a man who believes he’s caught in the doldrums of marriage, is being released by Cinema Epoch and it can be pre-ordered from, Cognata said. The price is $22.

“You find a distributor and you become a partner and see how many units sell,” he said.

The film stars David Chokachi of “Baywatch” fame, Jason London of the 1993 movie “Dazed and Confused,” Thea Gill from the Showtime series “Queer as Folk” and Emmy Award winner Heather Tom. Four of Cognata’s five children — Dominick, Joy, Violet and James — also appear.

In the film, London’s character is a salesman at Dave’s Appliance on Central Street in Winthrop. Scenes were shot at Peppers Garden & Grill on Winthrop’s Main Street and the town beach, as well as locations in Manchester and Lewiston.

Chokachi plays a man who recently went through a bitter divorce after he discovered his wife cheated on him, and his happily married friend begins to have grave doubts about his own wife’s faithfulness.

Producers include Donald Roman Lopez and Rene Veilleux, two Los Angeles-based filmmakers.

Cognata said the film’s success is astounding considering its $250,000 budget.

“We’re up against the lions,” he said. “We just had a pittance.”

The film took second grand prize at the Philadelphia Film Festival, and also played at Tribeca Cinemas in New York and the Majestic in Los Angeles.

“It played in L.A. in June and had a nice run out there,” Cognata said. It was screened during the Connecticut Film Festival, the Flint (Mich.) International Film Festival and KahBang Film Festival in Bangor.

It will also be available through Netflix, at DVD stores and through pay-per-view and video on demand.

Ken Eisen, who teaches film courses in the drama program at the University of Maine at Augusta and runs Shadow Distribution, a Waterville-based company that distributes largely to theaters, said it’s unusual for a feature-length fiction film to have such success.

“It won’t be in every theater or in every DVD store, but they’ve managed to go a very long way,” Eisen said. “Certainly having it widely available is something to aim for, and they have figured out how to do that.”

Eisen is also the programmer for the Maine International Film Festival, which is held at Railroad Square Cinemas.

Cognata, who describes himself as “born in Manhattan but a Mainer at heart,” said he’s planning to shoot a horror film at the beginning of next year.

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

[email protected]