Carol of the Bells (2019) 1h 40min | Drama | 19 October 2019 (USA) A young man with a troubled past seeks out his biological mother. His world is turned upside down upon discovering that she is developmentally disabled.
A crew of 70% individuals with developmental disabilities recently produced Inclusion Films’ first feature length film, Carol of the Bells, directed by Joey Travolta. Fresh from earning the Audience Favorite Feature award at the San Diego International Film Festival in October - Carol of the Bells will release in multiple cities in December. Travolta teaches filmmaking to individuals with developmental disabilities at 6 partner studios across California via Inclusion Films. Carol of the Bells was produced in association with Futures Explored, Inc. and Options for All.
“Carol of the Bells” was the world's first feature film production, where up to 70% of the crew had a developmental disability. Under the network and resources of Inclusion Films, this film was made within two weeks in Bakersfield, California.
Synopsis: A young father battles his past to find peace with his wife and son. Scott Johnson has always struggled with his secret adoption, and his life-changing moment as a child at Christmas time. Now, Scott has the answer to his greatest fear. Can he take the final step to bridge the truth about his first family and heal his wounds?
Director/Producer Joey Travolta shared “Carol of the Bells is a beautiful story by itself, but the way it was made is even more beautiful. Working with a crew where 70% are developmentally different offers insight into just how much they bring to the table when offered the opportunity. Having the opportunity is the key. Inclusion Films has a mission of inclusion - to train people with different abilities in the art of filmmaking. The soft skills learned in the training program can then be applied to other jobs and all aspects of their life.”
When asked what drives his passion for inclusion, Travolta shared “My father raised us in an environment of inclusivity. Family was important, kindness was important, everyone was equal and everyone was welcome. That’s what first led me to being a special education educator. Partnering that passion for equality with filmmaking has become my life’s work. I want everyone to have that sense of belonging when they are trained by us, come to our camps or work with us on a film. That sense of belonging brought out the best in everyone - and allowed for an environment for this talented diverse team to create an award winning feature film. No small feat. I’m looking forward to sharing their work on Carol of the Bells and helping to create a shift in employment opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities.”
Director: Joey Travolta
Writer: JC Peterson
Producer: Dale J Oprandy
Editor: Chris Duguay
Cinematographer: Andy Ryan
Production Designer: Jo O'Meara
Cast: RJ Mitte (Breaking Bad), Yuly Mireles, Lee Purcell (Television and movies), Andrea F. Friedman, Elijah Maximus and Donna Pescow (Saturday Night Fever), Donna Mills (Television and movies)