This week, we are proud to present the world premiere of the Feeln Original “Diner Formal,” available exclusively at feeln.com. Rachel had the dress, the shoes, the makeup, and everything she needed to make the scene at her school’s Winter Ball. Then her date didn’t show. Her mother rushes to meet her, and they head inside a little diner to talk. But with a little holiday spirit from a friendly stranger, Rachel still has a night to remember.
“‘Diner Formal‘ really resonated with me because my older daughter’s boyfriend stood her up,” said Director Ken Carlson (“Dating Avi,” “Big Gus“) “They had been going out for 15 months, and she was devastated. I thought writer John Dion told such a sweet, simple story. I felt my experience could bring life to it.”
The film was shot at Rae’s Restaurant in Santa Monica, CA. “All of the Christmas decorations in the diner came from my garage,” Ken said. “My family and I go all out decorating for the holidays. We love creating a winter wonderland that others can enjoy.” This was also the first time Ken’s younger daughter visited one of his film sets. “She got to meet the cast and crew and asked lots of questions,” Ken said. “She thought it was the greatest.”
“I want viewers to come away from this film thinking, ‘Maybe I could be that server. Maybe I could bring unexpected joy to someone’s life,'” Ken said. “There’s a lot of negativity out there, but there are also hints of hope–you just have to look for them. These are everyday moments we don’t think about, but when we film them and breathe life into them and share them, they make this world a better place.”
Get up and dance with “Diner Formal,” free for two weeks on Feeln.
Cast and Crew
DIRECTED BY Ken Carlson
STORY BY John Dion
PRODUCED BY Rob Fried
PRODUCED BY Iris Ichishita
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Naré Mkrtchyan
LINE PRODUCER Rebecca Stone
GRACE Rebecca Tilney
RACHEL Britt Flatmo
BRYAN Conor Linick
CO-WORKER Joe Salling
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Nancy Schreiber
EDITOR James Lee Hernandez
ORIGINAL SCORE Aram Mandossian
PRODUCTION DESIGNER Adriana Serrano
COSTUME DESIGNER June Suepunpuck
CASTING DIRECTOR Tanner Thomason
1st ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Nick Bertelsen
2nd ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Jean Schwartz
2nd 2nd AD John Klymshyn
SCRIPT SUPERVISOR Nicole M. Rivera
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Iliana Guevera
SET DRESSER Yuri Elvin
SET DRESSER Ryan Bartley
MAKE UP & HAIR Heather O’Boyle
ASSISTANT EDITOR/DIT/BTS Dustin Elkin
STEADICAM OPERATOR Rick Drapkin
1st ASSISTANT CAMERA Matt Kelly
2nd ASSISTANT CAMERA Dylan Catherina
GAFFER Vi Dave Han
KEY GRIP Pat Hubbard
BEST BOY ELECTRIC Sam Tybi
BEST BOY GRIP Mike Love
SWING Jeb Alderson
SOUND MIXER Justin Fox
KEY PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Frank Paulino
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT John Kellogg
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Adrian Rozas
PRODUCTION INTERN Matt Hartman
PRODUCTION INTERN Jessica Maroney
PRODUCTION INTERN Delaney Moghanian
CATERING Impeccable Taste
DINER PATRON 1 Danice Page
DINER PATRON 2 Natasha Estrada
DINER PATRON 3 Bobby Javinett
DINER PATRON 4 William Myers
DINER PATRON 5 Elsa Myers
DINER PATRON 6 John Vatunigere
ADDITIONAL CO-WORKER Kaisli Kaprielle
SPECIAL THANKS The Carlson Family
This week, we are proud to present the world premiere of the Feeln Original “Lifeline,” available exclusively at feeln.com. In a busy hospital, a young nurse walks with an injured little girl as she’s rolled on a gurney through the halls. The patient needs a transfusion, so it’s up to the nurse to convince the child’s brother to donate his blood that matches her rare type. But the nurse cannot expect the lengths the boy is willing to go to save his sister when she needs him most.
This moving film about familial love is the first Feeln original directed by Fawaz Al-Matrouk, a filmmaker who came to Los Angeles via Kuwait and Toronto. “I’m inspired by stories of people doing a little bit of right in a world of wrong,” Fawaz said. “We decided to call the film ‘Lifeline‘ because there’s the physical lifeline the boy gives his sister, and there’s also the spiritual lifeline he gives to the nurse. She sees so much human suffering that she needs something, and the boy’s heroism gives her a boost of encouragement and inspiration.”
Fawaz credits the film’s success to his actors and the production team. “Teri Reeves (Chicago Fire), who plays the nurse Shelley, is someone I’ve worked with before, and I wanted to work with her again. She’s really internalized her craft, so when I give her direction, she gives me what I want and more. Casey Pope, who played the boy, is an astounding and precocious actor. Usually with young kids, you have to come up with games or tricks to get a performance out of them. But I talk to Casey like any grown-up actor. The moment he gets his blood drawn, when he thinks he’s going to die, I told him, ‘Look out the window, look at the sky, and wonder what heaven looks like.’ In that moment, he has such a deep and distant look, it really feels like he’s preparing to die.”
“I want viewers to take away from ‘Lifeline‘ what the nurse Shelly took away from it,” Fawaz said. “You can find heroism and bravery in the smallest of places. Life has a lot of challenges, and we do our best to face those challenges and transcend them. The boy’s heroism helps us transcend them.”
This week, we are proud to present the world premiere of the Feeln Original “TAPS,” available exclusively at feeln.com. For over 150 years, military funerals in the United States have historically concluded with the playing of “Taps,” a musical piece sounded at funerals and flag ceremonies, usually on bugle or trumpet. At Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego, California, a lone bugler continues this tradition as he honors a departed serviceman at a Navy funeral.
This film is the directorial debut of Darshan Kembhavi, who has edited documentaries like “Vietnam: A Lifelong Journey” and “Team Long.” “When I’m editing, I have to work with the footage I’m given, and I don’t always get the footage I need,” Darshan said. “Documentary films are written in the editing room, so I filmed ‘TAPS’ in a way that gave the editor a direction to start out in. I tried to give the editor what I thought I’d want. Lots of different shots, compositions, cutaways, wide shots, and transitions so that the editor has a lot of choices. It’s always better to have too much footage than too little.”
In preparation for this film, Darshan watched short documentary portraits like “Portrait of my grandfather : 80 and still cycling” and “Lessons from a Tailor” that follow a single subject. “There are real people out there whose stories are never told,” Darshan said. “These documentaries pay tribute to them. It’s really moving. No one would know their stories if the docs had not been released.” The opening credits of the PBS documentary The Fall of Fujimori also influenced Darshan. He was particularly intrigued by the way the scene of Fujimori getting dressed in his hotel room humanized the fallen president. He filmed bugler Marv Steinman’s preparation rituals to similar effect in the opening of “TAPS.”
Marv Steinman is one of the few buglers in Southern California. He’s a retired serviceman, and two to four times a month, he volunteers to play “Taps” at the funerals of service members as a way to honor them and pay his respects. “These are the values Marv was taught in military service,” Darshan said. “He sees it as his duty. The serviceman gave his life for this country, so he feels that this is the least he can do. I’m so grateful that we have selfless people like him in the world.”
Cast and Crew
DIRECTED BY Darshan Kembhavi
PRODUCED BY Rob Fried
PRODUCED BY Iris Ichishita
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Peter King
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER Iliana Guevara
LINE PRODUCER Rebecca Stone
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Jeff Dolen
EDITOR Dustin Elkin
ORIGINAL SCORE Fabrizio Mancinelli
PRODUCTION SOUND MIXER Justin Fox
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR & ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY Iliana Guevara
SOUND DESIGNER Brian Bibbo
APPRENTICE EDITOR Delaney Moghanian
Marv Steinman, Bugler
Sandra Baldwin White
Jeremy J. White
Donald W. White
Cynthia White Hohmann
Shannon White Scruggs
Deborah White Donchess
Samuel J. Donchess
Commander Robert Thoms, U.S. Navy
Tom Day, Bugles Across America
Rainbow Brite is back and brighter than ever! That’s right, FEELN has officially rebooted the famous 80s cartoon series. The new Rainbow Brite is an action-packed, glittering, color explosion that we are certain you and your family are going to love!
Our creative and animation team has been hard at work bringing Rainbow back to life. And we’d love to give you an insider’s peek at all the magic that has taken place behind the scenes.
Meet our creative team!
Iris – Executive Producer
“This new cartoon series is focused on adventure, positivity, cooperation, and friendship”.
If you could be a character from Rainbow Brite, who would you be and why? “I’d be Rainbow Brite, of course. She’s positive, full of energy and a great leader — all characteristics I aspire to possess”.
Evan – Co-Director / Animator
Evan is excited about the re-make. He says, “[The new] Rainbow Brite stays true to the original series, but is brought to more of a contemporary place”.
The character that most intrigues Evan is Rainbow Brite. He can relate to her with her zany personality. “She’s warm hearted, always looking to have a good time, even if things seem dire. Her deep inner self-confidence is important for strong female lead to have, or any lead”.
Jaime – Co-Director / Animator
Growing up in the 80s, Jaime remembers Rainbow Brite being in coloring books, plush toys, and backpacks. He likes the idea that Rainbow Brite brings a mixture of humorous and uplifting messages to children.
Jaime would consider himself similar to Red Butler. “He is more behind-the-scenes, but he still has an impact on the team, and has a lot of friends.”
Raymond – Animator and Character Designer
Raymond mentioned that he loves working with the creative team, since it feels more like a family rather than a job. He saw a vision for Rainbow Brite and how she truly should have looked from the beginning.
If Raymond could be a character on Rainbow Brite, he would be Starlite, since he’s “very observant, always has a plan and thinks ahead”.
Nick – Animator and Motion Designer
“If Rainbow Brite’s fans watch the new version and think about bringing back 80s designs it wouldn’t work. Style in animation has changed dramatically since the 80s”.
Nick’s favorite Rainbow Brite character is Murky, since he’s funny and so irrationally angry. He gets to build crazy gadgets from his mad scientist laboratory, set up traps, and all that fun stuff that audiences think will never work.
Stanton – Animator and Motion Designer
The show has a real action element, especially to those who were custom to action movies like the Matrix, X-men- action sequence, and the Avengers.
Stanton would enjoy being Brian, since he’s a sincere human being. He could relate to him more than of the other characters. At the end of day Brian just wants to do great work and be a good friend.
Renae – Animator and Motion Designer
Renae is excited to be part of the production team. She mentions – “My focus is to bring Rainbow Brite to a higher quality level with awesome visual effects and action shots. I also like that we have the creative freedom to do it, and so far it has been a lot of fun”.
She would love to be Rainbow Brite since she has all the super powers, she can kick-butt, and her personality is awesome.
This week, we are proud to present the world premiere of the Feeln Original “Journey of Dreams,” available exclusively at feeln.com. Journey of Dreams is a reflective documentary about 10-time world salsa dance champion Liz Lira. In the film, Liz looks back to her beginnings as a 7-year-old Bolivian immigrant who pursued her dream to dance and never gave up. “I feel like I’m telling my story through Liz’s story,” said director Naré Mkrtchyan (“Jill“). “Watching her dance is an inspiration. She loves it so much, and I can see how happy and how free it makes her. She’s found her passion and made it her strength.”
Naré learned salsa dancing in an amateur team that Liz taught. “Even though we were a beginner team, she made us do things that were really difficult,” Naré said. “Our very first performance began with a cartwheel. I’d never done a cartwheel, but she told me, ‘I don’t have a Plan B. You have to do this.’ She pushed me beyond my limits and had faith that I could do it. She’s not just a dance teacher. She’s a life coach.”
“This beautiful swan was an insecure little duckling when she was a girl,” Naré said. “She had low self-esteem. She thought she was ugly. Then I realized that every woman has these insecurities. None of us feels secure in her own skin. That was my inspiration to tell this story. Don’t let fear stop you. I believe that the dream you’re most scared of is the dream you should pursue.”
You can watch Liz Lira pursue her childhood dream in “Journey of Dreams,” free for two weeks on Feeln.
Cast and Crew
Director: Naré Mkrtchyan
Producer: Rob Fried
Producer: Iris Ichishita
Executive Producer: Naré Mkrtchyan
Line Producer: Rebecca Stone
Liz Lira Herself
Michael Zazarino Classical Partner
Mandeep Sahota Salsa Partner
Kristina Balyan “Little Liz”
Director of Photography: Alice Brooks
Editor: Cristina Malavenda
Original Score: Michael Bahnmiller
Production Coordinator: Iliana Guevara
Production Assistant: Matt Hartman
Production Assistant: Anahit Muradyan
Production Assistant: Annie Sakellar
Production Assistant: Jessica Maroney
1st Assistant Camera: Caitlin Panis
Still Photographer: Dianna He
Gaffer: Jack Alexander
Key Grip: Emanuel Negrila
Swing Grip / Electric: Darshan Kembhavi
Additional Swing Grip / Electric: Bayan Hedayaty
Production Sound Mixer: Justin Fox
Hair & Make-Up Artist: Yovana Gutierrez Production
Assistant Editor: Dustin Elkin
Post Production Sound Designer: Brian Bibbo
Main & End Titles: Delaney Moghanian
Color By: Handcrafted
Colorist: Mitch Anderson
Colorist: Christopher Guerrero
Dancers in Archival footage:
Prelude No.1 in C Major from “The Well Tempered Clavier”
Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by: David Hamilton
Juan Blas Caballero
“Suena Mi Tambor”
Composer: Jesus A. Perez
Performed by Johnny Polanco y su Conjunto Amistad
Vocals: Ray De Lapaz
License By JP AMISTAD MUSIC INC., (BMI)
World Latin Dance Cup
Mi Salsa Familia
This week, in the spirit of Halloween, we are proud to present the world premiere of the Feeln Original “Phantom,” available exclusively at feeln.com. Fear: it makes your heart beat faster, your muscles tense, and your face contort. It becomes physically impossible to keep your cool. To see what real people look like when they’re given a fright, we hid a super-high-speed camera inside a haunted maze to capture the hilarious slow-motion reactions of unsuspecting guests as masked monsters jumped out at them. This laugh-out-loud film gives new meaning to the phrase “scared silly.”
“My parents love Halloween and haunted houses, so every year, we’d find the scariest haunted house and go as a family,” said Phantom’s writer, director, and editor James Lee Hernandez (“Stick Together,” “Four Chaplains“). “When I was in high school, my parents took my friends and me to a haunted house. We were all on the basketball team, 6’5″, 6’6″, and we thought we were pretty tough. But at the very end of the maze, a guy came out of nowhere with a real chainsaw. You could smell the gas and feel the vibrations as he revved it up. We didn’t realize that there was no chain on it at the time. We ran out of that place hugging and screaming!”
Every Halloween, Feeln director Ken Carlson (“Big Gus,” “Dating Avi“) turns his home into a haunted house. The maze is free, and people from all over Los Angeles come to Santa Monica to get scared out of their wits. “We didn’t know what a big deal it would be until we arrived,” James said. “There were thousands of people. They closed the street in front of Ken’s house.” When shooting with such a high-speed camera, you need a ton of light. James and director of photography Sean-Michael Smith used a strobe light and a hand-cranked floodlight to capture their victims’ terrified faces.
“For me, it was really important to show people laughing and smiling after being scared,” James said. “Why do we enjoy being scared as entertainment? It’s such an adrenaline rush. It awakens something primal, and afterwards you just start laughing out of relief. Halloween is all about fun and excitement, and when you and your friends are scared silly, it can be a bonding experience. When I watched our footage, I could totally relate. After I’ve been scared, I often wonder, what did my face just do? And now I know!”
You can watch others lose their cool and die laughing in “Phantom,” free for two weeks on Feeln.
Cast and Crew
Director James Lee Hernandez
Written by James Lee Hernandez & Iris Ichishita
Producer Rob Fried
Producer Iris Ichishita
Executive Producer Naré Mkrtchyan
Line Producer Rebecca Stone
Director of Photography Sean-Michael Smith
Editor James Lee Hernandez
Phantom Operator Sean Zaccheo
Assistant Camera Gabriel Diniz
Additional Camera by Dustin Elkin
The Carlson Family
Competitive Sheet Metal
And all the wonderful people whom we scared!
This week, we are proud to present the world premiere of the Feeln Original “Stick Together,” available exclusively at feeln.com. In a hand-drawn world, an imaginative young boy is best friends with a neighbor girl. Then her family moves away, and he has to grow up, go to school, and get a job. But he eventually finds that there’s more to life than just staying inside the lines. This imaginative film about connection and personal growth was written, directed, and edited by James Lee Hernandez (“Four Chaplains“).
“The idea for this story came to me while I was driving home, stuck in traffic.” James said. “I started thinking about how, when you meet people, life either seems to get in the way or bring you together. I know people who I met when I was younger, then ran into and became friends with later. We took two different paths to the same moment. The connection that you have with people doesn’t necessarily go away. When you care about someone and have a true, genuine connection, you can pick up right where you left off.”
While animating this film, James and his crew faced an interesting challenge: how do you make a stick figure emote? With fully animated cartoon characters, you can use the nuances of facial structure to convey emotion. Since the stick figures had much less detail, James and animator Andrea Gerstmann worked in degrees, communicating happiness, sadness, or surprise mostly with the eyes and mouth. “Like the cartoons in the John Cusack film One Crazy Summer, the fantasy on the pirate ship helped us give these characters an emotional depth and cue us in to their feelings,” James said.
“I also wanted this film to show that it’s never too late to make a change in your life,” James said. “Sometimes it might seem like years are passing and you’re stuck in a rut, running on a conveyer belt through your life. That’s what I wanted to illustrate with the boy’s growing up, going to college, and then the assembly line at his design job. It was something that I did for a while until I decided to move to LA to make movies. It’s never too late to try new opportunities.”
You can watch “Stick Together” free for two weeks on Feeln.
This week, we are proud to introduce InspireWire 2.0, our exclusive original series. Feeln producers Jeffrey Allen and Iris Ichishita return to bring you the web’s most inspiring videos, but this season, InspireWire is bigger and better. For starters, the show is now a half-hour long, so you get more Feeln packed into every episode. “We always wanted to do a longer show because we wanted to go out in the world to cover inspiring stories,” Jeff said. “We tested the format last season with the ‘Fitness’ episode and had so much fun that it seemed only natural to do more.”
Each episode is divided into multiple segments, including a few segments that recur every month. “Inspiral Videos” is the traditional part of the show, where Jeff and Iris bring you the most heartwarming and smile-inducing videos the Internet has to offer. This season, InspireWire will also profile a new artist every month, and their artwork will be featured on the set in each episode. The segment “You’re Doing It Wrong” is about a practical tip or hack that will help you improve the quality of your life. Episode 1 also includes a few other segments like the field segment “First Class Commute” and a feature on centenarian Fred Fox.
This season, we’re also happy to welcome Emmy-nominated producer and show runner Caleb Nelson, who will be directing each episode. “Caleb shares our sensibility and really loves working on a show that ‘celebrates the good stuff.'” Jeff said. “We’re really excited to have him with us.”
Do you have an inspiring video you’d like to share with Iris and Jeff? Tweet your videos and inspiring moments to @inspirewire with the hashtag #inspiralvideos. You can watch all previous episodes of InspireWire on Feeln. A new episode of InspireWire airs every month.
This week, we are proud to present the world premiere of the Feeln Original “Team Long Brothers,” available exclusively at feeln.com. “Team Long Brothers” is a documentary about triathletes Connor and Cayden Long, Sports Illustrated Kids 2012 SportsKids of the Year. Although Cayden has hypertonic cerebral palsy, a condition that prevents him from walking or talking, he and his older brother Conner participate in sports competitions across the country. “They compete as a way to build their bond, to connect, to enjoy time together, and to overcome the barriers between them,” said director Cristina Malavenda (“Hanz,” “Flight of Honor“). The Long brothers’ spirit and determination has inspired countless other athletes.
Cayden’s condition is so difficult because he can’t communicate with his family. He can’t tell them why he feels the way he does. “On the day of the race, it was a huge surprise that Cayden didn’t want to compete,” Cristina said. “We didn’t know whether it was all the loud noise in the stadium, his medicine, or that he’d been waiting in the raft for too long. We were stunned, but we kept shooting.” Times of adversity are the true test of one’s character, and Conner stepped up. Even though his brother wasn’t able to participate this time, he competed for them both. “In the end, being with Team Long for this race was much more real and inspiring,” Cristina said. “Conner and Cayden are a team. They’re with each other through thick and thin. Their insights about sports and life are really mature for their age.”
The film was written by Chris Commons (The Saint of Auschwitz, Indivisible) and John Dion (Superhero, Help on the Highway) and directed by Chris Commons. Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird was one of Chris’s main inspirations in writing the film. “Claude is a lot like Boo Radley,” he said. “He keeps to himself, and the blacksmith’s son is afraid of him, but he ends up saving the day.”
How did Chris and John write a Feeln film that still has all the features of a western? “We found that Feeln films can be darker, but we just draw the line when it comes to language or violence,” Chris said. “The darker the place you can take your characters, the more rewarding it is when they see the light. Essentially, this a story about compassion. A small act of kindness goes a long way. If you show kindness to someone, what goes around comes around.”
“Claude” was shot at the Paramount Ranch in Agora Hills, where studios have shot Westerns and other period pieces like Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. To avoid the cliches present in many Westerns, Chris made sure that the wardrobe and gun technology used in the film existed in 1867, the year the film was set. For example, the guns used by Steps and his crony were both historically accurate. Blue jeans with belt loops had not yet been invented–men wore suspenders to keep their pants up. And the brims of hats were not bent, otherwise they would fly off your head when you rode a horse.