« We showed the film to Santa Claus with kind permission, » revealed Nachman. “And he loved it. ”
Many families outside of the North Pole are likely to feel the same way about the film, which debuts in December. 4 on various streaming sites and selected theaters.
The documentary shows how Nachman and his crew immerse themselves in the inner workings of the U.. S.. . Postal Service’s 107-year-old Operation Santa program, which brings letters from Dear Santa together with customers who want to help children make Christmas dreams come true – everything from wheelchairs to mattresses to violins. The program receives hundreds of thousands of letters and tries to answer the majority of them.
Nachman’s interest in the documentary has been dancing like sugar plums in her head for at least eight years. The idea of a family-oriented holiday story was inspired by her mother’s gift of a picture book for children, which she then read to her children at any time of the year.
« Every year around Christmas I thought about it (making a documentary) and then I thought, » Oh, I can’t reach the U.. S.. . Postal service because they are so busy. ’”
Then, in 2018, when she and Alameda filmmaker Don Hardy were diving into their Disney series « Pick of the Litter, » the offspring of their 2018 documentary about the San Rafael-based guide dogs, she said she did made up my mind I think this is the time. ”
« I had shot Batkid and Pick of the Litter and I was ready, » she recalls.
She is perhaps best known for “Batkid Begins,” the moving 2015 documentary that shows how San Francisco was transformed into Gotham City in November. Sep. 15, 2013 so that a young cancer survivor who loves the Crusader can fulfill his Make-A-Wish Foundation request.
Previously, Nachman worked for NBC Bay Area, covering more impactful topics like chemicals in products that will affect the 11th century. September and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
« Essentially, Batkid was a sick child and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. If this film were a profile from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, it would feel very different from the viewer and audience’s point of view. ”
Instead, the film focuses on the project, but also how it inspired the community as a whole. « Pick of the Litter » achieved the same goal. “The first step in this film are the cute dogs, and we watch how dogs are born in the first few seconds. It’s the cutest thing on the planet, right? At its core, however, it is about the disabled community and how brave they are and how they use those resources to lead this full life. ”
« It’s a glimpse of poverty in America, but no need to harp on it, » she said. « You see it and it’s very obvious. But it’s also about children, magic and childhood. I really like this type of storytelling. ”
Even if it’s under the gun. « Dear Santa Claus » had a short period of time to prepare and shoot. Filming started just before Thanksgiving in 2019 and ended in about five weeks, Christmas Day.
« It was very tight and the letters only come in serious between Thanksgiving and Christmas, » she says.
With that limited amount of time, the Dear Santa crew developed an efficient system to locate the writers and volunteers known as Elves. The team dipped their hands in the “Special Request” mailbox and waited for the postal service to notify those requested by Express Mail to see if they would attend.
One of Nachman’s favorite cases did not make the film because the letter writer was under care and had concerns about how another young person in this family might feel. Even so, the off-camera application was approved and the Bronx boy was given a violin.
With so many stories like this left to be told, the producers hope to turn “Dear Santa” into a series, a la “Pick of the Litter”. “The pandemic has put these plans on hold for the time being. .
« However, I think the program (Operation Santa) will be great this year, » said Nachman. « Hopefully, because of the movie, it’ll be the best program they’ve ever had. Unfortunately, I think there will be more needs this year than ever before. But there is always so much need that it doesn’t matter. ”
United States Postal Service, Operation Santa Claus, Christmas Day
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