'McFarland, USA' makes its way to Hollywood

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The small Valley town of McFarland hit the big time Monday night. (KFSN)

The small Valley town of McFarland hit the big time Monday night. Media from all over the world was in Hollywood for the red carpet premiere of the new Disney film, "McFarland, USA." The movie is based on a true story of the 1987 cross-country state champs from McFarland High School and their coach Jim White.

"They captured the true essence of our Mexican boys working in the fields and our true love that we had for the town," said White.

"People can just relate to our story someway or somehow, that champions can come from anywhere. If they can come from McFarland, they definitely can come from Fresno," said David Diaz, a 1987 McFarland High School athlete.

A big portion of the film was shot in McFarland. Director Nikki Carro said keeping that realness was crucial.

"It was very, very important to me that we shot in McFarland itself, in the Central Valley," said Carro. "And I'm so proud of the movie. The way it's shot, it looks so beautiful, but it looks so real. That is McFarland."

Kevin Costner played the role of Coach White and says he felt a special connection to the story. He believes the movie of a group of hardworking boys who trained in the same fields where they worked will resonate with people all over the country.

"This is an essential Valley story. It's not a story about running; it's really a story about America the dream. That if you put a dream in front of somebody, it's unbelievable what kids can do if they have a goal," said Costner.

That inspirational message rang true for one group of Valley kids who were special guests at Monday's premiere.

"We all feel like some of the backgrounds that the youth have in the 'McFarland, USA' movie are very similar to those of the youth in Fresno, California," said Manuel Rodriguez Paredes with Building Healthy Communities.

Disney is the parent company of ABC30.

VIDEO: Red carpet rolls out for opening night of 'McFarland, USA'
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