She shoots, she SCORES! Dana Nachman’s Masterful Slamdance Documentary, Bat Kid Begins: The Wish Heard Around The World

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By: Vernon Nickerson

Or, as that legendary South American soccer commentator shouts, GOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!  In “Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around The World”, Emmy Award-winning writer/director Dana Nachman has powerfully brought the story of one boy’s Make-A-Wish fulfillment to the big screen.  Miles Scott ( AKA “Batkid” ), a young leukemia survivor who wished to be Batman, is introduced to the audience via his parents, Nick and Natalie Scott, who also serve as the primary narrators of Miles’ story.  Using a combination of family photos, film footage of the Wish as it unfolded one fine day in Gotham (AKA San Francisco, California) and some well-positioned graphic illustration ,(e.g., Nick and Miles strapped to the same gurney for their flight to the hospital to begin his treatments) the audience gets an up-close-and-personal view of the Scott family’s journey from Miles’ diagnosis and treatment through his crime-fighting exploits as Batkid on the day his wish was granted.

Miles, Nick and Natalie are the central figures in a strong ensemble cast of players in Miles’ story which begins in their hometown of Tule Lake, California, 361 miles northeast of San Francisco.  The reflections of Make-A-Wish Executive Director Patricia Wilson, mastermind of the Batkid wish, EJ Johnston, inventor and acrobat, who also becomes The Batman and serves as the Batkid’s acting coach and stunt trainer, Mike Jutan, Industrial Light and Magic R&D guy who plays Batman’s arch enemy, The Penguin, and Sue Graham Johnson,  technology company executive (AKA, “Damsel in Distress”) are a stellar supporting cast of characters who flesh out the details of Miles Scott’s story.  To his credit, it helps that Miles is photogenic and something of a ham.  Once he dons his custom-made Batkid costume, Miles does not break character as Batkid throughout the long day of getting his wish.

Miles Scott is what my ancestors would recognize as an “old soul”. The camera looks deep into his soulful eyes to reveal a life experience far beyond his chronological age of 5 (at the time of the Batkid Wish).  His story casts a magic spell over the millions of people who watch his wish unfold in person and online that is priceless.  Miles’ story allows us to imagine what it might be like to live in a world that rewards people who move heaven, earth, and the San Fransisco Police Department to do nice things for total strangers.

At some level, most of us want to be and do good in life-affirming ways.  We need this video chronicle of our best selves at work and play.  Perhaps watching Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around the World can serve as an antidote from the glut of “news as a tool of consumerism and mass distraction” we seemed plagued by in the early 21st Century.  Set to premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival on Saturday, January 24, 2015. If you are able to see this wonderful documentary; you will truly enjoy every minute of this 90-minute joyous funhouse ride.

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