Posted on Apr 21, 2014
Marshall, the Miracle Dog
Twelve-year-old Finn endures daily torment from the bullies at his school. But his life begins to change the day that he encounters a Labrador retriever named Marshall. He finds the dog being held in deplorable conditions, at the mercy of an animal hoarder who keeps 60 dogs penned up on her isolated ranch. The boy sees something of himself in Marshall: both are bullied, but both are brave. Finn pulls off a daring rescue, saving Marshall from the dogs that are attacking him.
That’s only the beginning.
In an E.T.-like game of cat and mouse, Finn must hide Marshall from his stressed-out single mother, Cynthia. It’s truly a race against time as Finn and his sassy 16-year-old cousin, Grace, try to find help for Marshall before his wounds fester and he dies of an infection.
Along the way, however, Marshall gets spooked and runs away from Finn. The dog embarks on a series of scary, funny, and heartwarming adventures, while everyone, including Cynthia and her love interest (the handsome veterinarian Doc Henry), desperately look for him. Finn faces his own challenges, too, as he continues to encounter the local bully and his mother – the hoarder who wants her dog back.
In the end, Finn and his family are able to get Marshall to the vet hospital, and it is the special bond between a boy and his dog that will ultimately save the brave Lab. Marshall has to have his front leg removed, but he is a fierce survivor and can outrun most four-legged dogs, while teaching everyone an important lesson:
Don’t give up five minutes before the miracle.
Marshall the Miracle Dog – Our Muse and Real-Life Inspiration
A crew discovered Marshall in September 2010 while filming by Animal Planet’s Confessions: Animal Hoarding. More than 60 dogs were found living in the abandoned property. At the time of the rescue, Marshall was in the worst shape of all the dogs. He had obviously been attacked by other dogs, probably over food (or lack thereof), and he had bite marks all over his body, a broken front leg, and a hole the size of a tennis ball on the side of his face. The Humane Society of Missouri was immediately called in for the rescue efforts, and all dogs were rescued, cared for, and eventually adopted to forever homes.
After dying on the operating table and being resuscitated by Dr. Schwartz and his medical team, Marshall had his face sewn up, but his badly infected front leg had to be amputated. After a few months, Marshall was ready to be adopted. Now, Marshall knows he has a job to do – to give back, and share his courage and his strong will to overcome his abuse and neglect. In addition to this feature film, Marshall has also inspired an educational curriculum and Girl Scout patch.
Jay Kanzler – Director/Executive Producer
Jay Kanzler has written, produced, and directed award-winning feature films, documentaries, and short films. His most recent film, 23 Minutes to Sunrise (writer, producer, director), starring Eric Roberts and Nia Peeples, was released nationwide in March 2013 by MTI Home Video.
He has produced and directed four feature-length documentaries: A Magical Life Circus Flora; River Boat Dreams; St. Benedict’s Rule; and Bob Zany: Close But No Cigar.
As an attorney, Jay is a named partner in the law firm Witzel Kanzler Dimmitt & Kanzler, LLC, where he splits his time evenly between transactional, litigation, and entertainment law. Prior to 2004, Jay was a partner with the law firm Bryan Cave LLP.
Chris Benson – Director of Photography
Over the past fifteen years, Chris Benson has served as director of photography on a multitude of films, commercials, music videos, and documentaries. Chris graduated with departmental honors from Webster University in St. Louis.
In 1999, Chris’ first 35mm feature film, Hairdo U, brought him attention from producers in Los Angeles, allowing him to shoot such feature films as The Family Mancuso, Showdown at Area 51 (for the Sci-Fi Channel), Ghost Image (for Showtime), and 23 Minutes To Sunrise.
Chris has also shot 2nd Unit for such films as Alice Upside Down, Saving Grace, Saving Shiloh, and Killshot. The success of his music videos has led him to shoot such iconic performers as Nelly, Chingy, Richard Marx, Murphy Lee, Lil’ Wil, and Yo Gotti.
Cyndi Willenbrock – Producer and Marshall’s Mom
Cyndi Willenbrock lives in St. Louis with her two dogs, Marshall and Mooshy. Marshall, the Miracle Dog, is her first children’s book, and the film was inspired by Marshall’s own true story and how his spirit and resiliency affect those around him.
Cyndi started The Marshall Movement in order to give voice to the importance of teaching children to be anti-bullying and anti-animal cruelty, as well as promoting education about numerous other social issues facing our children today. Giving back has always been essential in Cyndi’s own life, and she has passed that on to Marshall, who has been trained as a Certified Therapy Dog. Cyndi and Marshall visit classrooms and children’s hospitals carrying Marshall’s life-changing messages.
Ira DeWitt – Music Supervisor
As a mother of two and a huge lover of dogs, Ira understands the importance of the soundtrack in emphasizing the film’s heart-touching messages. Ira is CEO and founder of Notifi Records, an urban-music label based in St. Louis that is home to R&B stars Ginuwine, Johnny Gill, Ron Isley, and the trio Bos. Ira is responsible for five top Billboard hits, and Notifi has recording studios in both St. Louis and Los Angeles.