I was blown away last year by Bernsen’s decidedly indie drama Rust. Now he’s back this year with 25 Hill, a story centered around one of the great American childhood traditions: Soap Box Derby. The film is big news not because of its home video release (it debuted yesterday) but because it helped save the annual event, which was $600,000 in debt when Bernsen started promoting the cause.
According to a new press release, the Derby has “landed a new national sponsor (First Energy) and is rolling toward financial stability—marking its 75th anniversary on July 21, 2012, with Bernsen in attendance.”
25 HILL tells the story of 12-year-old Trey Caldwell (Nathan Gamble) whose life is shattered when his father is killed in combat in Afghanistan. His dad’s final gift, an unfinished Soap Box Derby car in the garage, is a constant reminder of what could have been, leaving Trey with a hole in his life. When Trey is introduced to Roy Gibbs (Bernsen), a grizzled Fire Chief devastated by the loss of his firefighter son on 9/11, a new friendship forms and old wounds finally begin to heal. As the unlikely team works to complete the Soap Box car and train for the upcoming Derby, they’ll learn that life isn’t about the starting line or checkered flag—it’s about the journey of faith and courage in between.
Emmy-nominated actor Corbin Bernsen takes his career behind the camera, writing, producing, directing—and often starring in—films for targeted fan bases. The innovative film development strategy often brings entire communities on board to support his productions.
I like the way Bernsen approaches film production a great deal, and expect to screen 25 Hill soon.