Gregory Allen Howard, who wrote Remember the Titans, called the screenplay the most rejected project in recent years.
"It was rejected by every studio in town, sometimes twice," Howard said with a smile. "The fact that it got rejected so many times makes me feel even better about it. It validates me."
Howard discussed Remember the Titans on Saturday night at the University of Virginia's Newcomb Hall movie theater. The event was part of the 14th annual Virginia Film Festival, which concludes today.
Released last year, Remember the Titans is the true story of an Alexandria high school football team that was integrated in 1971. The main character in the movie is Denzel Washington, who plays the Titans' head coach Herman Boone.
The movie, which was eventually picked up by Walt Disney, grossed $115 million in the U.S. and $45 million internationally.
"It's probably the second highest grossing sports movie in history, second only to 'Rocky II,' said Howard, who previously wrote for several TV sitcoms. "It's also the number five selling DVD from the year 2000."
The theme of this year's Virginia Film Festival is Masquerades, which Howard says is characteristic of the Titans.
"I certainly think that we put on masks," Howard said. "The kids in the movie put on masks. They carry on saying, 'I hate black people, I hate white people.' That's what Titans is really about, peeling away the masks and finding the true human being."