In the short film Hero, 12-year-old Gina (Aimee Wood) is caught in the middle. Her one friend, Chip (Brandon Klopot), believes in heroes – in fact, he believes in Super Heroes. He wishes he could be one. Gina’s other friend, Sam (Dominique Grund), says there is no such thing as heroes, “and none stupid enough to come to our neighborhood.” Gina wants to believe in heroes – she is still hopeful. And with good reason: Gina needs a hero of her own.
As the film opens, Gina’s mother (Alice Bowden) is being rushed to the hospital and her diagnosis is not good. Gina’s father has flown the coop long ago, and her only other family member is her grandmother – estranged and alienated – and miles away. Gina is worried, afraid, and alone, and surely headed into the Foster Care system.
At the hospital, Gina meets Dr. Tom Bennett (Steve Brio), and he sees her silent cry for help – for a hero – and it brings back painful memories from his own childhood. Despite having struggles at home with his teenage daughter (Bailey Huff), Dr. Bennett convinces his wife (Shawn Huff) that they should step in and allow Gina to stay with them. This act of kindness spreads, and the rippling effect has a positive influence on everyone in the home, proof that a small act can have a major impact in someone’s life.
Steve Brio, who also wrote the screenplay, plays Dr. Bennett. For him, the film is autobiographical on more than one level. From the child’s point of view, he recalls his own childhood living in a single-parent home, where his mother had struggles of her own. The heroes for him were the emergency personnel – firefighters and paramedics – that came to his rescue on more than one occasion. These heroes had such an impact on him that he decided on a career in firefighting himself, which he does to this day (as well as writing screenplays). He sees the adult’s (Dr. Bennett’s) point of view on a daily basis.
The production value of Hero is top-notch – no cutting corners on this film. The opening scene with the ambulance, paramedics, and emergency room are riveting and highly impressive: great selections of shots and angles, and great use of audio, handheld shots, and editing. (Hero’s director of photography is Gonzalo Amat, and the film editor is Eugene Baldovino.) Energy, fear, and despair are brought to the screen in full force.
Having the fire department come on-board for the film was a great help, and Care Ambulance was a main sponsor. Brio says, “We had the support of the fire department. In fact, my crew volunteered as the on-screen crew in the movie. And we discovered and were able to shoot in a hospital that was in the middle of renovations. There was a whole vacant floor that we had access to.”
As for the acting, this is a great cast. Aimee Wood gives a wonderful performance as Gina. She gets great support from Alice Bowden as her mother, and there is nice turn by Tabitha Brown in the supporting role of hospital staff member Tammie. Dominique Grund has a demanding role as Gina’s hopeless friend Sam, and she is up to the challenge and turns in a very convincing performance. Sam’s flashback scene is a highlight of the film, and John Carrol is effectively menacing as the true “anti-hero.”
As you can see, a lot goes on in this 20-minute faith-based film. Director Brent Huff and Producer Zac Titus have a winner here, and their efforts should be applauded. Hero has appeared at more than a dozen film festivals, and was awarded Best Short Narrative in three of these festivals, Best Short Film in another, and Audience Award Best Film in yet another.
In the end, Hero leaves you wanting more – the mark of a good short film. Perhaps they will consider expanding this film into a feature. Until then, Hero can be purchased for only $5 by sending your request to Steve Brio at this email address: email@example.com. Hero is well worth the effort, dollars, and time. Looking for a hero? You’ll find one here.
Hero has a strong underlying Christian basis, although the religion is not heavy-handed at all. There is a brief discussion about Jesus, and could that be an angel in the one scene? The violence, deaths, and alcoholism are implied and talked about, but not shown outright. Younger audience might not understand what some of the visuals mean, but the film is fine for those 10 and older, although be prepared for questions (which should be expected from a quality film). This is a great film for a youth group or Bible study, although no written materials are currently available with it.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Hero explores the theme found in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Helping others puts you in line to be a hero, but as Dr. Bennett in Hero shows, you help others because you have been helped in a similar way in your own past. Random acts of kindness could and should be contagious.
When Jesus was asked in Luke 10: 29 “Who is my neighbor?” He replied with the parable of the Good Samaritan. (Read Luke 10: 25 – 37) Jesus says in Matthew 19 to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Who is your neighbor? How can you be a hero to you neighbor?
Romans Chapter 13, verses 9 and 10 says, “Whatever other commandments there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” How do we best exemplify love to others?
Jesus is the ultimate example of being a hero your life for someone else. In John 15, he says this: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” But as seen in Hero, even smaller things can make a difference. Be a hero today.
Click here to watch the Official movie trailer for Hero
Learn more about the movie critic and filmmaker Dale Ward
To get more details about Hero visit Christian FIlm Database
Leave a Reply