Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday film "The Child King" slowly gaining some recognition

From Scituate Mariner in Massachusetts:

SCITUATE, Mass. - Hull native Jeff Kerr’s film “The Child King” and the nonprofit foundation King started have brought him both rewards and frustration.

The film, starring Peter Johnson, (pictured) a young man from Scituate with Down syndrome, has brought a flurry of e-mails and heartfelt thanks from the developmental disabilities community. But the Child King Foundation has been slow to get off the ground.

“The e-mails I get from across the country and the world are unbelievable,” Kerr said. “I have yet to have a single person write and say anything other than ‘thank you.’ But as rewarding as it is, it’s very frustrating, because we see the great potential for the foundation.”

The story is about two brothers, the oldest with Down syndrome, who go on a search for Santa Claus after their mother dies. Their journey is filled with obstacles that revive the younger boy’s faith and restore the older boy’s confidence in his own abilities. Will Kellem of Hingham plays the younger brother (pictured).

Despite having sold the film in every state and in seven countries since its release last year, The Child King Foundation, which is funded entirely by movie sales, hasn’t taken off as quickly as Kerr expected it to.

Once the foundation has a funding base, it will provide grants and help for smaller organizations that don’t bring in much revenue, and for individuals dealing with developmental disabilities.

Kerr hopes the movie’s first theater screening, Dec. 17, will help raise awareness of the film and the foundation.

“(The movie) has old-fashioned family values; it teaches kindness and tolerance and adventure,” Kerr said. “You lose sight that (Johnson) has a disability within about a minute, and it’s just a story about two brothers on a quest.”