Friday, September 28, 2012

Cinderella at the Ball

Today I continue to work on and strive to complete something that I started, at times only being able to put one foot in front of the other.But as I try to check off items on my to do list I find myself reflecting and comparing myself to Cinderella .I have a film that is in final stages of editing and is a great tribute to a very humble and silent unsung hero Mike Glenn.He is only silent because he does not toot his own horn unlike so many of today's professional athletes.This man should be in the Georgia hall of fame yet he is not.He should be in the NBA players association hall of fame yet he is not.Why?Well because he never tooted his own horn.He still owns a NBA record which has not been broken.He has contributed so much to the deaf community and various other communities.Not to mention his contributions to the community through the game of basketball through his camp of 33 yrs.All which like this movie has been funded by advertisers or in kind donors.

This is why I feel like Cinderella.I have numerous invitations to screen the film from various people all around the world and across the country,but I like Cinderella do not have a ball gown.Cinderella was only able to obtain her goal of attending the ball with the help of her fairy godmother.At this point even a fairy godfather or god business czar would be welcomed.We still have needs for finishing funds and our indiegogo campaign only has 6 days left.This is where individuals can make contributions for as little as $1.

I have received letters and calls from people saying "well you have so many sponsors names listed on the movie website surely you have raised tons of dollars". Not the case.Many times sponsors are listed because they built and maintained a website,or lodged talent while they were here filming or maybe they provided meals for cast & crew or a much needed service that we needed.

We are in need of $11890 in order to go to the ball.All of the teens involved worked really long and hard to bring this story of purpose,passion,and perseverance to life on the big screen so others would see that as a deaf or hard of hearing teen you do have options.Our other unsung heroes in our story prove regardless of your age and limitations placed on you by society you do have purpose,and your life has meaning.
Through this film we crush stereotypes and shatter silence.Deaf,HOH,and hearing  all working together to attend the Ball and ultimately bring others to the ball.

Businesses can advertise with the film in various capacities which are outside the indiegogo campaign guidelines.Funds for this film have come from individuals and businesses all around the world but since the film was done in Colorado with all local talent we are hoping for a fairy Godmother with Colorado roots,who loves sports,and loves crushing stereotypes.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Volunteers brought me a diamond in the rough

Spirit of Love actually began three years ago when volunteer coach  Stu Klugler  brought me the story. Stu has been a volunteer coach for 25yrs for the Mike Glenn camp for the deaf and hard of hearing in Georgia.When he walked into my office he presented me with a couple of newspaper clippings and a bunch of stats.
 Stu  was familiar with my other films and thought I should know the story.I admit I thought there may be a story for a film , but I really wasnt sure what it was.Not to mention that I wasnt sure I wanted to make another film with a disabilty as the central focus.I had already completed a film,
 "The Goal" ,about wheelchair rugby with athletes who have suffered spinal cord or tramatic brain injuries.I also had completed a medical documentary called "Dandy Kids" about children and their families who receive a diagnosis of Dandy Walker Syndrome.Both films did very well and we received several awards.The films continue to impact and change peoples lives.
But at the end of the day I wanted to prove I had the ability to do something outside of a film with a known disability.Which I since have completed two other films including a short called Faces about victims of Domestic Violence.

But Stuart never let up and he joined forces with another longtime volunteer coach Phil Merlino and they eventually convinced me to write the screenplay.But truthfully it wasn't until  I recognized how close the subject matter was to my own family.(More about this in my next blog)

I did hours and months of countless research by conducting interviews with many people who have either played with Mike,went to College with him or volunteered at his camps.
This also included past campers.But even after interviewing Mike himself he agreed that the story should be about the kids and so it is.Mike is the catalyst for the story much like Robin Williams character in Dead Poets Society. I will tell you later about why I agreed to make this film and why I am so grateful to play a part in bringing this story to others.
The film is not 100% reality but it is inspired by the work that Mike and his volunteers have been doing for 33yrs.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Unique and interesting Casting choices

Originally I had ideas of making Spirit of Love a SAG film.Which means a union film.The reason initially was so I could hire name talent for one or two key roles in the film.Specifically that of the main character,the catalyst in this case,which happened to be the role of Mike Glenn.
I researched and put in calls and sent letters,and I couldn't find exactly what I needed.What I needed was a 50 something African American male who could play basketball,knew teens,and was fluent in ASL sign language.

Then it dawned on me,why not cast Mike Glenn as himself? I mean after all it was his story. Inspired by his life and his camp of 33 yrs for the deaf and hard of hearing.So I made a call to Mike.
I said "Mike I have an idea.Would you consider playing yourself in the film".First there was an awkward moment of silence, and then he said "Well I do know the story", and that he did.

I mean it wasn't too far off since he had played in the NBA for 10 seasons and he has been a color commentator,and sports analyst live on TV for years.He's warm,personable,and knows the game.
As a director/producer I felt like it made sense.Not sure if anyone has done this before.You know cast the person who the film is about as themselves in a narrative feature film.Oh well nothing ventured nothing gained.

I will say this.Mike showed up on set and was amazing to work with.He was natural and the teens fell in love with him.Which is all great.But it wasn't until my composer was in the room watching the rough cut discussing music cues when he asked the interesting question."Is that lead actor from LA?Where did you find someone who can act,play basketball,and sign?"Well I definitely felt good about my decision.

The other choice I made just seemed practical.Since I would be working with deaf and hard of hearing teens and various interpreters who would be rotating based on their other work load schedule
I thought it made sense to name all of the teen characters in the script with the first name of the teen who would be playing the role.This actually made it very simple since I had to learn their sign names.

The last casting choice was not really my first choice.The role of coach Robyn I really had in mind for a name actress however the person I wanted wasn't available.But after basketball auditions
and watching a few actresses who couldn't dribble or play basketball,members of my teen executive team felt I should play the role and so I did.I always like to make a small cameo in my films,but this role is much bigger than I usually commit to while directing and producing. I certainly enjoyed the experience but soon realized I had NO down time on set at all.I think I knew this but had to be reminded.Maybe if you have a longer shoot schedule it's OK to tackle a larger role,but not in 105 degree heat in 14 days.All in all I am very happy and thrilled with our casting decisions.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Teen Cast Members Give Thanks

I never know what  or how a specific film project will impact others.That is the beauty of filmmaking.
I've  never felt as much personal impact as I have while filming Spirit of Love.I've never felt it with any other film that I have been involved in.
Or at least not before the film was finished prior to being released. I hope that people will enjoy Spirit of Love movie and the behind the scenes stories which have been incredible. The opportunity to share the stories  before the film is released is really an honor,and we have never felt so much love and appreciation.

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be in a film for my culture.we all became a family.You made everyone a better person by making a movie that's about our culture.It made me proud to be hard of hearing.Thank you  for making this movie and thank you SO much for your hard work,you gave everyone an opportunity that not many people get in a lifetime which is AWESOME.
Elijah Ruck-Hard of Hearing  age 16

I will never forget the experience of acting in this film.i actually sent in an audition tape for
the ABC Family Television series "Switched at Birth", but didn't get a call.So I wasn't sure about
auditioning for "Spirit of Love",but when I heard about the character,I was excited to help tell her story.If it wasn't for this movie I would never have had the opportunity to try the advanced Bionics Neptune.I had never heard people laughing or having fun in the water before.
I don't like to even try to watch a movie without captioning.Without captions,I feel left out and bored especially if someone has a mask or an accent (think Dark Knight). i want to be able to see all movies along with all my friends,whether they are deaf or hearing.

There are no films about deaf or hard of hearing kids.I hope that people will see the Spirit of Love movie and know that deaf and hard of hearing kids can do anything they set their minds to do.Wouldn't it be great to educate the whole world?We are NOT different from anyone else.Don't miss out on a chance to see this movie.
Maddie Burkholder age 14

We will share more of these stories of  ongoing Thanks on the blog,so be sure to return and see where these stories of Thanks take you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Spirit of Love proves sunshine comes in all types of packages

Sometimes filmmakers have very specific ideas of exactly
what they want when casting a film.This was no different for me
back in early April  this year.
I knew I had a challenge.After all I was asking deaf and hard of hearing teens 
who had never acted to show up and show off their basketball skills and acting was secondary.
Much to my surprise a group of very interesting teens showed up.
They were all very shy at first,which is definitely different from any other casting call
I've ever done.Most actors show up with a great deal of confidence
and ready to try different approaches and all are ready to show off their skills.
Since the film is inspired by the life of retired NBA player Mike "Stinger" Glenn
and his real life basketball camps for the deaf & hard of hearing I had preconceived ideas.
The real life camps are very competitive and specifically the selection of the Allstar teams.
However as someone who has coached and played various sports I have found that
sometimes its about the SPIRIT and HEART,and in this case a Smile.
All of the kids showed up with dreams,hopes,and anticipation,all wondering is this real?Will someone really give me an opportunity or chance?Then the least likely person entered the room
a young man named Brad.He had the most infectious smile inside that gymnasium.I knew right then and there that the film like the camps would be built with a Spirit of Love.
I went home that night and rewrote characters in the screenplay to fit these amazing teens that I had the opportunity to meet and play basketball with,some were playing for the first time ever.Thats when I realized that the hearing world must have the chance to get to know the deaf and hard of hearing community in a new way.At the same time the DHH world must experience the hearing world as well.And now were all FAMILY.
The cast is made up of teens across Colorado from Colorado Springs up to Wyoming,with the majority from the Denver Metro area.At times we had 50 teens on set all with different types of
hearing loss mixed with hearing teens who found ways of communicating.Just like one message in the film."we don't care how you communicate ,but that you communicate".Some have cochlear implants, hearing aids, others who are profoundly deaf,and others that have no hearing loss at all.What is remarkable is that with all their differences they found a way to work,play,and communicate together and now have made friends for life who are totally different from themselves.
Become of fan by clicking the FACEBOOK FAN PAGE LINK AT THE MOVIE WEBSITE AND FOLLOW OUR STORY HTTP://SPIRITOFLOVEMOVIE.COM     or direct fan page at!/Deaf.HOH.Basketball.Camp.Sports
Please meet one of our stars Brad Hughes

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Spirit of Love makes history with deaf actress & New technology

We had no idea at first when we contacted Advanced Bionics regarding product placement for our film Spirit of Love with Deaf & HOH teens that we would be making history.
Not only did Advanced Bionics agree to help us to make the film through their Product Placement dollars they agreed to let us use a brand new device called a NEPTUNE which is waterproof and allows a person with cochlear implants to be able to hear while in the water.

14 yr old deaf actress Maddie Burkholder who uses both an implant and a hearing aid got to experience a major first in her life, while diving into a pond for a fun scene while on location in Littleton Colorado.Check out her reaction on this video which we were able to capture.
As an Indie filmmaker it was a great honor for all of us to witness this experince first hand,and you'll see Maddie was thrilled.

Friday, September 14, 2012

"Spirit of Love" Production in Colorado Told by Channel 7's Jenny Castor

Channel 7, The Denver News Channel , tells story of Colorado produced film , "Spirit of Love" , Shares the story of NBA great Mike "Stinger" Glenn

Channel 7 News in Denver will broadcast a full interview with local filmmaker Darla Rae and NBA great Mike "Stinger" Glenn in their collaboration about his creation and hosting of the country's longest running Basketball camp for kids who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Jenny Castor interviews and tells the story of how this movie got made with Colorado roots.

The story is talked about prior to being aired after the Emmy's on Sep. 23rd approx 9PM Mountain time at

Denver Business Journal Picks up story about Rural Georgia movie produced in Denver

Denver Business Journal Recognizes Spirit of Love movie as the setting of Rural Georgia Story about Mike Glenn, Former NBA star

See the story on the Denver Business Journal at

The story was originally posted on the Denver Channel , Channel 7 the Denver ABC affiliate about the story that will be aired on Sep. 23rd following the Emmys sometime after 9PM Mountain time.

Follow us there with the interviews by Jennie Castor.

"Spirit of Love" movie completes filming in Denver

"Spirit of Love - The Mike "Stinger" Glenn" movie shooting has been completed!

The movie , written by and Directed by Colorado filmmaker Darla Rae is currently in post-production.

We plan to backfill some of the highlights of the production of this groundbreaking movie and then keep everyone informed of the ongoing progress and events surrounding the movie.

Please visit our website for the movie at  and even more important please go and click on "LIKE" for our movie fan page on Facebook at!/pages/Spirit-of-LoveThe-MikeStinger-Glenn-story/261390840602585 
Then tell your friends about how a movie made with kids, in collaboration with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities, was able to be filmed in 14 days of production.

It will be because of everyones votes (and the more the better) for us to be able to have a successful and wide distribution of the film at theaters across the country.  Remember, your vote helps let theaters and others know that movies with captioning, open for everyone to enjoy together at any theater , is an important aspect to entertainment available for everyone.