Behind the Scenes of The Saint of Auschwitz: A Feeln Original

The Saint of Auschwitz

This week, we are proud to present the world premiere of the FeelnTM Original short film “The Saint of Auschwitz,” available exclusively at beginning 9/10/14. The film is based on the true story of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, a Catholic priest who sacrificed his life to save a Polish political prisoner at the concentration camp in Auschwitz. “I’m fascinated by people like Father Kolbe who are endowed with extraordinary compassion and extraordinary will,” said director Chris Commons (“Korengal”, “Chivalry in the Sky”). “What compels someone to make such a great sacrifice?”

Billy Gillespie plays Father Kolbe

Billy Gillespie plays Father Kolbe in “The Saint of Auschwitz”

One of Chris’s biggest challenges was finding the right actor to play Father Kolbe. Kolbe is a saint, someone people follow and respect, so he needed an actor with a special aura. Plus, the actor had to do a believable Polish accent! “We lucked out with Billy Gillespie,” Chris said. “He had admiration and reverence for the character he played.”

Writer Peter King and Director Chris Commons

“The Saint of Auschwitz” Writer Peter King and Director Chris Commons

This FeelnTM marks Associate Producer Peter King’s writing debut. Peter was 14 when his mother first told him about the Saint of Auschwitz. “She said, ‘You have to be like this guy, you have to sacrifice,'” Peter said. “This was the first story that came to mind when I started working at Feeln. As I researched for the film, I learned how amazing Father Kolbe’s story really was.”

Father Kolbe’s friary in Poland assisted Peter in his research and provided the footage of Kolbe’s canonization. For more information about Father Kolbe and his friary, please visit


Watch “The Saint of Auschwitz”


Cast and Crew

Directed by Chris Commons

Written by Peter King

Produced by Rob Fried

Produced by Iris Ichishita

Executive Producer Naré Mkrtchyan

Line Producer  Rebecca Stone


Father Kolbe  Billy Gillespie

Commandant Fritzsch  Scott King

Henry  Julian Curi

Franciszek  Travis Dixon

Capo  Skip Pipo

Gestapo #1  Erik MacRay

Gestapo #2  Richie Stephens

Cell Guard  Jeremy Bridger Thimell

Voice on Telephone  Sebastian Konarski


Director of Photography  Jeff Dolen

Editor  Mariana Flores

Original Score  Fabrizio Mancinelli

Production Designer  Frank Bonanno

Costume Designer  Mikael Sharafyan

Casting Director  Tanner Thomason

Visual Effects Supervisor  Alfie Berger

1st Assistant Director  John Dion

2nd Assistant Director  Kaveh Taherian

Script Supervisor  Nicole M. Rivera

Production Coordinator  Hailey Oltman

Make Up & Hair  Christine Choi

Make Up Assistant  Carrie Christine

Wardrobe Assistant Marika Bastrmajian

Wardrobe Assistant  Julie Gerges

Seamstress  Laura Avetisyan

DIT/Behind the Scenes  Dustin Elkin

Production Sound Mixer  Adam Peter Lawrence

1st Assistant Camera  Caitlin Panis

2nd Assistant Camera  Paulina J. Bryant

Gaffer  Jack Alexander

Key Grip  Adam Watson

Best Boy Electric  Sal Mousavi

Best Boy Grip  Brad Carr

Swing  Clayton Rodriguez

Swing  Darshan Kembhavi

Stunt Coordinator  Tripp Pickell

Key Production Assistant  Adrain Rozas

Craft Services PA  Drea Hoffman

Production Assistant  Frank Paulino

Production Assistant  Giancarlo Dîaz

Production Assistant  Saila Reyes

Production Intern  Christine T. Karaoglanian

Color and Additional VFX  David J. Lee

Sound Designer  Brian Bibbo

Re-recording Mixer  Nathan Van Hala


Sound Mixed at ToneMesa


Background Actors

Abraham Alexander

Jack Avetissian

Dontanelle Davis

Dmitry Dergach

Dustin Elkin

Brian Foote

Joe Filippone

Quentin G

Christopher R. Ganiere

Emil Gyulnarov

Jason Holmes

Peter King

Hugh Kinslow

Gary Mandarino

David Katz Manning

Steve Martin

Richard Mathiasen

Mir Waiss Najibi

Christian O’Brien

Robert Patterson

Kenn Schmidt

Ron Schultz

Dallas Smith

Carl Solomon

Barry S. Stem

Gabriel Taylor

Shawn Thomas

Justin Vanden Heuvel

Brian Watson

Evan Weissman


Special Thanks

Our Lady of The Bright Mount, Polish Church

Annamaria Mix

Sean T. Malis

Fort Tejon Rangers

Matthew A. Rubin

Aimeé García-King

Teresa King


Archival Footage Courtesy of Niepokalanow Archives

Introducing Feeln


I am very proud to announce that SpiritClips has changed its name to Feeln.

If you’ve been with us from the start, then you know that this exciting moment has been years in the making.

I founded this company in 2007 to produce films that celebrate character and the strength of the human spirit, films that could be enjoyed by everyone, and that I would be proud to share with my own family.

Feeln is a new identity that represents the current breadth of our services as well as everything we aspire to become. The new identity also embraces fundamental changes within our company. In 2012, our small startup became part of the passionate and creative Hallmark family. For over a century, our parent company has made the world a more caring place by helping people reach out and make meaningful connections. Our subscription service now features hundreds of thoughtfully selected Hollywood favorites, Hallmark Hall of Fame movies, and original short films, available on all major streaming platforms. And behind the scenes, our ranks have swelled, enlisting world-class filmmakers, designers, programmers, and strategists.

Our story is just beginning, but our commitment to offer you the very best family-friendly content remains the same. Our team is bubbling with new ideas, and we share a vision of a future so bright that we needed a new brand to do it justice. With tremendous pride for where we’ve been and great excitement for where we’re going, it is my pleasure to introduce FEELN.

- Rob

Check Out What’s New on SpiritClips in September


Ferris Bueller. Jerry Maguire. Danny Zucko. Jean-Luc Picard. Michael Jordan. What do these famous names have in common? You can find them all on SpiritClips in September.

There are more great movies than ever this month at SpiritClips. We have hand-selected a gigantic new batch of film favorites for you to choose from to make it a family movie night to remember. From box-office blockbusters to critically acclaimed gems, you’re sure to find something to win over everyone in the house.

Here are the new additions you’ll find on SpiritClips starting September 1:

  • The Ant Bully
  • Babe
  • Cats & Dogs
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Dragonheart
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Footloose
  • Free Willy
  • Grease
  • The Iron Giant
  • Jerry Maguire
  • Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
  • Liar, Liar
  • March of the Penguins
  • October Sky
  • Regarding Henry
  • Searching for Bobby Fischer
  • Space Jam
  • Star Trek: First Contact

Watch as many of these huge movies whenever you want on your computer, TV, or mobile device with your SpiritClips subscription, starting at just $2.99 a month.

10 Best Animated Movies for Kids

Hey parents, looking for ways to spend quality time with your kids before they start school again? I’ve compiled a list of the Best Animated Movies for Kids, and you can watch many of them on our website. Not only are these Animated Family Movies incredible works of art, but they also have heartfelt messages that you can share with your children. View the top 10 Best Animated Movies below, and let the movie nights begin!

10. The Incredibles

Bob and his wife Helen used to be among the world’s greatest crime fighters. Fifteen years later, they have been forced to adopt civilian identities and retreat to the suburbs where they live “normal” lives with their three kids, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack. Itching to get back into action, Bob gets his chance when a mysterious communication summons him to a remote island for a top secret assignment. He soon discovers that it will take a super family effort to rescue the world from total destruction. Teaching Moments: Highlights the importance of family and how each member brings a unique and special power to the table.

The Incredibles

9. My Neighbor Totoro

Deep inside a tree trunk, two children discover a fascinating new world inhabited by Totoros, amazing, charming creatures who become their friends. Teaching Moment: The film addresses serious issues: the fear of losing a parent, the loneliness and frustration of childhood—but its touch is gossamer-light and full of wonder.

My Neighbor Totoro

8. Toy Story

Woody the cowboy and Buzz Lightyear, two talking toys, have a fantastic adventure when they go out into the world. Teaching Moment: This is a landmark animated film about growing up and loyalty to one’s friends.

Toy Story

7. The Secret of NIMH (watch now)

In this beloved animated tale, a widowed field mouse journeys to find a secret society of super-intelligent rats in order to save her children and her home. Teaching Moment: Mrs. Brisby’s quest to relocate her family shows that she is just as brave and capable as her husband, and that with a courageous heart, anything is possible.

The Secret of NIMH

6. The Secret of Kells (watch now)

Nominated for the Best Animated Feature Film at the 82nd Academy Awards, this beautiful movie tells the story of how a young Irish boy faces his deepest fears to help complete the illuminated Book of Kells. Contains some mature themes and violence. Common Sense Media recommends it for ages 9 and up. Teaching Moment: A magical film inspired by Irish mythology.

The Secret of Kells

5. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The first feature-length animated film to gain worldwide release, this adaptation of the Grimm fairy tale was the beginning of the Disney empire. Teaching Moment: Snow White became the model for the strong fairy tale heroine, inspiring modern animated films like Frozen.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

4. Short Film: The Price of Miracles (watch now)

A little girl embarks on a quest to save her younger brother. Teaching Moment: This film shows that with love and determination, you can always find the help you need.

The Price of Miracles

3. Short Film: The Cracked Pot (watch now)

When a water-bearing pot slips from a ledge and cracks, it fears it has lost its value. Teaching Moment: This short film teaches us that though we may feel “broken,” we all have a purpose and a place.

The Cracked Pot

2. Short Film: The Little Frog (watch now)

Two frogs fall into a hole and surprise everyone. Teaching Moment: The Little Frog shows us that if you listen to your heart and believe in yourself, you can accomplish the impossible.

The Little Frog

1. Pinocchio

When the gentle woodcarver Geppetto builds a marionette to be his substitute son, a benevolent fairy brings the toy to life. Teaching Moment: Beautifully crafted and emotionally resonant, this is a film about the importance of hopes and dreams.


Teacher Appreciation: 10 Inspirational Films About Real-Life Teachers


We all have favorite teachers. Teachers who make learning exciting and fun, who push us out of our comfort zone, who challenge us to overcome obstacles and realize our dreams, who nurture us, who encourage us to believe in ourselves. To show our appreciation for these teachers, we’ve compiled a list of ten inspirational films that tell the stories of real-life teachers. These teachers are out in the world, and they’ve left their mark on generations of students. These are good movies for kids!


1. “Miss Connie’s Last Day” (short film)

Miss Connie's Last Day

A retiring preschool teacher receives a surprise from her students. “A teacher affects eternity: he can never tell where his influence stops.” – Henry Adams. Starring Peggy Lord Chilton.


2. Beyond the Blackboard

Beyond The Blackboard

Inspired by a true story, when Stacey Bess finally lands her first teaching job, she’s shocked and confused. Stacey is assigned to the “School With No Name”, a barren space in a homeless shelter with a mixture of kids of all ages and skill levels. Although her first instinct is to run like all the other teachers, she knows these children need her. Stacey must first tackle her own fears and insecurities as she works to earn the respect of her young students, ultimately providing them with the education and self-confidence they deserve. Starring Emily VanCamp, Steve Talley, and Treat Williams.


3. Front of the Class

Front of the Class

Front of the Class is the true story of Brad Cohen, a man with Tourette’s Syndrome who despite being ridiculed by teachers throughout his childhood for his inability to control his outbursts, had always dreamed of growing up and becoming a teacher himself. So that’s exactly what he did. After being rejected by twenty-four schools, Brad is finally hired and realizes his dream of becoming the teacher he never had. Starring Jimmy Wolk, Treat Williams and Patricia Heaton.


4. The Water Is Wide

The Water Is Wide

Set during the 1960s, this Emmy® nominated movie is about an idealistic, novice schoolteacher who comes to a small island off the coast of South Carolina with the hope of bringing literacy and self-respect to the undereducated, African-American children that reside there. With determination and an unconventional style, the new teacher strives to inspire the children and involve the entire community in their education. Starring Alfre Woodard,Frank Langella, and Jeff Hephner.


5. A Smile as Big as the Moon

A Smile as Big as the Moon (Behind the Scenes)

Mike Kersjes (John Corbett) is a high school special education teacher whose students have disabilities such as Tourette’s syndrome, Downs Syndrome, dyslexia and a variety of emotional problems. But that doesn’t stop Mike from believing that his students would benefit from going to NASA Space Camp, which had been specifically designed only for gifted and talented students; the best and the brightest from America’s most privileged high schools. With remarkable persistence, Mike breaks down one barrier after another, from his own principal’s office to the inner sanctum of NASA, until Space Camp finally opens its doors, on an experimental basis, to special ed students. After nine months of rigorous preparation, during which the class molded itself into a working team, they arrive at Space Camp, and turn in a performance so surprising that it will leave you breathless. Starring John Corbett, Jessy Schram, and Logan Huffman.


6. Music of the Heart

Music of the Heart

A music teacher (Meryl Streep) fights the schoolboard for a chance to teach violin to inner-city kids. Also starring Gloria Estefan, Aidan Quinn, Angela Bassett, and Cloris Leachman.


7. Freedom Writers

inspiring English teacher film

Based on the true story of idealistic teacher Erin Gruwell, Freedom Writers is about a young English teacher who inspires her class of at-risk students to learn tolerance, apply themselves, and pursue education beyond high school.


8. The Great Debaters

inspiring debate teacher

Denzel Washington’s second directorial outing is a drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, Tolson inspired students to form the school’s first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.


9. Lean on Me

inspiring principal

Starring Morgan Freeman, this film is based on the true story of the dedicated but tyrannical Joe Clark, who is appointed the principal of a decaying inner-city school that he is determined to improve.


10. Coach Carter

inspiring basketball coach

Ken Carter was a high school basketball coach whose belief that players should be held accountable for poor academic performance outweighed his desire for team wins. In 1999, controversy surrounded Carter after he benched his entire team for breaking their academic contract with him.

Hallmark Hall of Fame Movies – A History


For more than 60 years, the Hallmark Hall of Fame has presented original films that entertain, enlighten, and inspire. Many of Hallmark Hall of Fame’s groundbreaking presentations have made television history. The Hallmark Hall of Fame has often tackled tough subjects, and those presentations have been widely honored. The Hallmark Hall of Fame has received countless awards, including a record 81 Emmys and dozens of Golden Globes, Peabody and Christopher Awards and Humanitas Prizes. One out of every four Academy Award winners in acting categories has appeared in a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation.

Hallmark Cards Chairman Donald J. Hall says the Hallmark Hall of Fame remains an integral and vibrant part of the company’s culture. “We are in the business of helping people communicate,” says Hall, “a key part of that mandate has been the Hallmark Hall of Fame.”

Don Hall Receives Emmy

In 1982 Don Hall accepted an Emmy for Hallmark Hall of Fame and its “dedication to standards of quality and excellence.”

Here is a timeline of groundbreaking Hallmark Hall of Fame moments. You can watch over sixty Hallmark Hall of Fame movies as a SpiritClips member.


1951 - The first Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation is the world premiere of Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors. The first original opera ever commissioned for television, Amahl enjoyed several encore presentations over the years.

Amahl and the Night Visitors

Amahl and the Night Visitors was the first Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation

1953 - Hallmark Hall of Fame becomes the first sponsored program ever presented in color.

1953 - Hamlet is the first play by William Shakespeare ever presented on television. More people watched that broadcast than had seen the classic play on stage during the 350 years since it was written.

1961 - Hallmark Cards received the first Emmy ever presented to a sponsor.

Hallmark Hall of Fame awards

Hallmark Hall of Fame productions have won many industry awards and the hearts of many viewers.

1969 - Teacher, Teacher tells of a mentally challenged boy who emerged from his isolation thanks to encouragement from his teacher. The film receives an Award of Merit from the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation.

1977 – Emily, Emily, the sequel to Teacher, Teacher, receives an Award of Merit from the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation.

1982 - The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presents its prestigious Governors’ Award to Hallmark for the series’ unparalleled contribution to the television medium.

1985 - Love Is Never Silent (1985) features deaf actors and explores issues of particular relevance to the deaf community.

Love Is Never Silent

Love Is Never Silent DVD

1986 - Promise, a remarkable exploration of schizophrenia, is the most honored single program in the history of television. It received five Emmy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor (James Woods), two Golden Globes, a Christopher Award and Humanitas Prize. The production is still widely used as a teaching tool in medical schools throughout the country.

1989 - My Name Is Bill W. dramatized the genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous.

My Name is Bill W

My Name is Bill W. DVD

1992 - Miss Rose White examined assimilation of ethnic and religious minorities in American society.

1997 - Ellen Foster was a hard-hitting portrait of an essentially parentless girl coping with a harrowing childhood.

1998 - Grace & Glorie was a touching portrait of an elderly woman dealing with both isolation and illness.

Grace & Glorie

Hallmark Hall of Fame film Grace and Glorie

2008 - Sweet Nothing in My Ear features deaf actors and explores issues of particular relevance to the deaf community.

2009 - Hallmark Hall of Fame presents The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler, the story of one of the most remarkable World War II heroes who saved 2500 Jewish children during the German occupation of Poland, and Front of the Class, the triumphant story of Brad Cohen, a man with Tourette’s Syndrome who overcame incredible obstacles to become a gifted teacher. The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler receives 3 Emmy nominations and Front of the Class receives the prestigious Voice Award given by the Department of Health & Human Services.

The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler

The Ultimate Guide to Family Movies

'The Wizard Of Oz' Film - 1939

Hey Mom and Dad, looking for the best family movies to watch with your kids? With help from our friends at The Guardian, Rotten Tomatoes, Parents, and Time Out, we’ve compiled a family movie guide of the top 25 family movies. How many of these films has your family seen? Do your kids have any favorites that aren’t on this list?

We’ve provided links to the movies that you can watch on SpiritClips, where we have hundreds more family movies that you can watch online as well!

25. Ratatouille


24. Ella Enchanted (Watch Now)

Ella Enchanted

23. The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride

22. Star Wars

Star Wars Trilogy

21. The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid

20. Aladdin


19. The Black Stallion (Watch Now)

Black Stallion

18. The Lion King

The Lion King

17. Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo

16. Spirited Away

Spirited Away

15. March of the Penguins

March of the Penguins

14. Up


13. Harry Potter

Harry Potter

12. Jumanji (Watch Now)


11. The Muppets Take Manhattan (Watch Now)

The Muppets Take Manhattan

10. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

9. Namu, the Killer Whale (Watch Now)Namu, the Killer Whale

8. It’s a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life

7. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Watch Now)

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

6. Hook (Watch Now)


5. The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music

4. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

3. ET – The Extra Terrestrial

ET - The Extra Terrestrial

2. Toy Story

Toy Story

1. The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz

Hallmark Hall of Fame Movies – Watch Free Online for 1 Week!

What are you up to this summer? Now is the perfect time for you and your family to kick back, relax, and enjoy Hallmark Hall of Fame’s signature movie collection–on us! Activate a one-week free trial of SpiritClips today and you can watch our entire collection of Hallmark Hall of Fame Movies for free. There are no limits–you can watch as many of these award-winning films as you like, completely free, for one week.

Simply sign up, and in less than five minutes, you can be streaming Hallmark movies like The Lost Valentine, The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler, and Mitch Albom’s Have a Little Faith to your computer, mobile device, media player, or gaming console.

Let the summer movie binging begin! Watch Hallmark Movies Free

5 Things You Never Knew About ‘Men in Black’

Watch 'Men in Black' Now

“Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.” – Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) When Men in Black landed in theaters for the July 4th weekend in 1997, it brought a new sense of cool to the sci-fi comedy genre. From the dark suits and shades to Will Smith’s #1 rap single, the big-budget adventure had a style all its own, and it quickly became a smash hit drawing in audiences of all ages. The original film was so huge it spawned two sequels, an animated TV show, video games, and even a theme park ride. But even 17 years after it became a Hollywood sensation, there are plenty of behind-the-scenes stories that you might not know.

  1. The Original ‘Men’ Were Mean

The movie is based on a little-known comic book series, The Men in Black, created by Lowell Cunningham. Originally, only six issues were published in the early ‘90s, it was about black-suited secret agents who kept the public in the dark about aliens on Earth. But unlike the movie, the agents in the book also dealt with other supernatural beings like werewolves, zombies, and demons. And the characters weren’t nearly as nice, resorting to blatant destruction and even murder to keep their secrets.

  1. Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith Weren’t the First Choices

It’s impossible to imagine anyone other than Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in the lead roles of Agents K and J. Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood was reportedly approached to play K originally, but he turned it down. Eastwood and Jones would later venture into outer space together in 2000’s Space Cowboys. And Chris O’Donnell was originally considered to play Agent J, but he also passed. It was director Barry Sonnefeld’s wife who spotted Smith on an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air who first suggested him for the role.

Original MIB - Eastwood and ODonnell

Original MIB – Eastwood and ODonnell

  1. It Was Much More Complicated

The screenplay had a detailed backstory about two warring alien races who were battling over the missing galaxy that ends up in the hands of the Men in Black. When test audiences watched an early cut, though, they found the multiple aliens confusing. So the filmmakers decided to change it to just one type of alien threatening the planet. Luckily for them, most of the dialogue explaining the story was spoken by aliens, so the filmmakers were able to replace dialogue and rewrite subtitles to simplify everything.



  1. A Last-Minute Change Cost Big Bucks

Originally, the crew filmed an ending where Agent J and the villainous alien bug had more of a philosophical discussion than a big fight. But the filmmakers decided it didn’t live up to the action-packed tone of the rest of the film. So they had to scrap the full-size, robotic alien created by the film’s Oscar-winning makeup designer, Rick Baker, and replace it with a fully computer-generated version at the cost of $4.5 million dollars. They did save money on one effect, though: when J angers the bug by squishing cockroaches, Will Smith was actually stomping on mustard packets.



  1. Steven Spielberg Is an Alien

Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg produced the film, but he also makes a very brief cameo appearance. When Agent K is showing J all of the Earth’s “known aliens” on a view screen, Spielberg shows up as one of the extraterrestrials in disguise. Other famous faces on the screen include Star Wars creator George Lucas, Danny DeVito, Dionne Warwick, Al Roker, designer Isaac Mizrahi, Newt Gingrich, Sylvester Stallone, and the movie’s director, Barry Sonnenfeld.


Today, Men in Black is one of the rare blockbuster hits that is just as entertaining today as when it first hit the big screen, and it has laughs and thrills that can be enjoyed by kids and adults. That’s why it’s a featured film selection at SpiritClips, the only streaming service that handpicks high-quality movies that are appropriate for all ages. You can try out SpiritClips for free for one week, and subscribe for as little as $2.99 a month. See it all at

Behind the Scenes of Superhero: A SpiritClips Original


This Father’s Day, we are proud to present the world premiere of the SpiritClips Original Short Film “Superhero,” available exclusively at In the film, a boy’s love protects his father from a raging firestorm.

Tommy Nash and Jake Vaughn

Tommy Nash and Jake Vaughn play father and son.


Inspired by the Arizona Hotshots who died fighting the Yarnell Hill fire, writer and director John Dion (“Collision“, “Camaro“) wrote a SpiritClip about these everyday heroes. “I was interested in the idea of heroic duty. Duty to one’s family and duty to one’s job,” John said. “While fathers are often seen as heroes, they are enriched and strengthened by their families, particularly by their children. A child shapes a parent’s life as much as a parent shapes a child’s life.”

Writer and director John Dion with cast

Writer and director John Dion with cast

Filming the Wildfire Scenes

In order to make the wildfire scenes in “Superhero” look realistic, the production team combined on-set special effects with on-computer visual effects. On the day of the shoot, we used flame bars, which are metal hoses like gas lines that shoot fire. Then, in post-production, we used visual effects to add background fire, smoke, and embers. The burning log that falls on the father’s fire shelter was a real log as thick as a person’s torso. When Tommy Nash kicks away the burning log, his shelter really is on fire!

Firefighters on set

Firefighters on location in Thousand Oaks, CA

Creating Superhero‘s Action Figure

To create the action figure featured in the film, our production staffer Iliana Guevara found an existing toy, then modified and repainted it. She chose the blue and red “Superman” colors, then added yellow to symbolize the fireman. The action figure represents the bond between father and son.

Josh's superhero

Josh’s superhero


  • Jake: Tommy Nash
  • Annie: Sarah McElligot
  • Josh: Jake Vaughn
  • Firefighter: Tim Scanlon
  • Firefighter: David Hill
  • Firefighter: Brian Hoffman


  • Director and Writer: John Dion
  • Produced by: Rob Fried
  • Executive Producer: Iris Ichishita
  • Co-Producer: Nare Mkrtchyan
  • Line Producer: Rebecca Stone
  • Director of Photography: Jeff Dolen
  • Production Designer: Adriana Serrano
  • Costume Designer: June Suepunpuck
  • Casting Director: Tanner Thomason
  • Original Score: Chris Thomas
  • Editor: James Lee Hernandez
  • 1st Assistant Director: Daniel Ringey
  • 2nd Assistant Director: John Klymshyn
  • Script Supervisor: Nicole M. Rivera
  • 1st Assistant Camera: Alicia Pharris
  • 2nd Assistant Camera: Paulina Bryant
  • 2nd Assistant Camera: Matt LaRoche
  • DIT/BTS: Dustin Elkin
  • Gaffer: Gabriel Lewis
  • Key Grip: Rocky Romines
  • Grip and Electric: Blake R. Farnham
  • Grip and Electric: Jake Koenig
  • Grip and Electric: Blake Gaytan
  • Grip and Electric: David M. Adams
  • Grip and Electric: Chris Commons
  • Grip and Electric: David Lee
  • Production Sound Mixer: Ellie Bootorich
  • Make-Up and Hair: Cat Elrod
  • Set Dresser: Yuri Elvin
  • Set Dresser: Zak Dunn
  • Production Coordinator: Iliana Guevara
  • Stunt Coordinator: Tripp Pickell
  • Key Production Assistant: Bayan Hedayaty
  • Production Assistant: Frank Paulino
  • Production Assistant: Jack Avetissian
  • Production Assistant: DuJuan Johnson
  • Craft Services PA: Antonia Navarra
  • Special Effects Coordinator: Albert Lannutti
  • Special Effects Technician: Nick Danischewsky
  • Special Effects Technician: Richard Miranda
  • Special Effects Technician: Jason Rogin
  • Fire Safety Officer: Michael Proett
  • Visual Effects Supervisor: James Lee Hernandez
  • Post Production Sound Mixer and : Eric Marks
  • Teacher: Stella Pacific
  • Catering: Impeccable Taste Catering
  • Special Thanks: Sarah McElligot and Hannah Mae
  • Special Thanks: Peter King

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