Santa's Boot Camp - Movie Review
by Kevin Galione
When you watch the new movie Santa's Boot Camp you're viewing much more than a typical Christmas movie. It's a labor of love from the mind of actor/director Ken Feinberg and the sweat of nearly 50 acting students.
Who is Ken Feinberg? He's an accomplished character actor who spent more than decade in the Hollywood rat race. He was frustrated being typecast as the thug and the villain so he packed his bags and headed back to his hometown in Atlanta searching for something more." I was getting anything positive only roles where I had to beat people up" he said solemnly..
One day a friend of asked if he ever thought about teaching acting to kids. "NO..he replied. " I was all for helpin
g kids that were interested in pursuing a career in acting. But, I wasn’t interested in becoming a babysitter."
Reluctantly he began working with kids and before he knew it the Creative Studios of Atlanta Film Academy was born. It’s now an elite acting school that focuses on the teaching the craft of acting as well as how to audition and other skills to survive in the hyper-competitive world of acting. The students must audition to be accepted to the year long program and commit with the same energy as they would but into a sports team. From August to May children as young as 5 get comfortable in front the camera
The school became a success and after years of filming commercials and shorts with his pupils he the decided to swing for the fences an attempt a full length movie. They had a finished script and the student we ready but it quickly became a daunting task. " There were many time when this film could have fallen completely apart and not been finished.
Like many movie financing became an issue as well a the fact that kids don’t stay the same. "A couple children started out as elves and had to end up playing something else because the grew too much." After many stops and starts the movie gods gave them the break they needed when Oscar nominated actor Eric Roberts agreed to sign on as one of the Santas.
"Eric loves kids. He and his wife have a children’s foundation and it was a chance for him to do something different." Similar to Feinberg, Roberts was typically cast as the heavy in film like Runaway train and Star 80.
After his attachment the movie received the money it needed to complete the 200+ visual effects for the feature. The hard work work show up on screen where the student hold their own with veteran actor
Many of the academy graduates have gone on to get work in major TV and movie roles including The Walking Dead, The Hunger games, The Blind side, 12 years a slaves and the recent hit Tom Hanks film Sully.
The movie itself is a high energy and comedic look into of the world of Santa Claus. When the Elves go on strike, the big man in the red suit decides to recruit some unsuspecting, entitled kids to help him save Christmas. It's a good family film suitable for all ages. Adults will appreciate a nod to the classic 80s movie the breakfast club.
And possibly for the first time in movie history Santa Claus recognizes children of all religions. "I see Santa Claus as Universal symbol of unconditional love and caring for others. He wouldn’t be doing what he was doing if he didn't care about people" Feinberg says proudly.
Watching the movie children will learn the importance of working as a team and being unselfish. And If you tell your kids the story of how this film came to life in will only reinforce the movies positive message.
Sony pictures will release Santas boot camp on DVD and digital download November 15th.