Community. It’s the buzzword heard in many a church congregation or self-help group these days. And it seems like it shouldn’t be too hard to find.

But with the infiltration of “virtual community” (thanks a lot, technology), the truth is it’s getting harder and harder to find the real thing. Those in the tiny town of Utopia, Texas, though, know it’s not as hard as it sounds. It’s just choosing to reach out, make a difference and walk through this life together.

It’s a powerful theme that runs through Seven Days in Utopia, a new film releasing September 2, 2011 in select cities, that is based on the best-selling, inspirational novel, Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia, by top Peak Performance coach David L. Cook.

First-time director and screenwriter Matthew Russell, who co-wrote the screenplay with Cook, found it an opportunity to explore something seen less often on-screen: the impact people can have in one another’s lives when they come together through mentoring relationships.

“Life is about what’s in your heart, your personal satisfaction and your personal relationship with God. It’s about people who are around you, your friends, your family, your loved ones. It’s not about the 500 followers you have on Twitter or the 3,000 Facebook friends you have.”

When Russell, who for the last decade has worked in Hollywood’s visual effects world (Live Free or Die Hard, Night at the Museum), first read Cook’s novel, he was attracted by the responsibility of carrying such an important faith-based message from page to screen that would “glorify the Lord.”

Lost and Found

Set in the real-life town of Utopia, Seven Days in Utopia tells the fictional story of an aspiring golfer who’s burned out in his game and has stormed off of the course in the middle of a tournament. After throwing his clubs in the trunk of his car, Luke Chisholm speeds off down the Texas back roads and eventually finds himself in Utopia.

Literally. He doesn’t know it then, but he will find himself in just a week’s time after an initial meeting with an eccentric rancher who owns a tiny, dilapidated golf course in the middle of nowhere.

“Spend seven days in Utopia,” Johnny Crawford says in his unusual offer. “And you’ll find your game.”