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"Becoming Santa" at South by Southwest Film Festival

March 2011

By Allison Nymeyer,ModelPeople Inc.

ModelPeople recently traveled to Austin, TX to attend the highly anticipated premiere of "Becoming Santa" on March 18th, 2011 at the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival. The film was directed by Jeff Myers, who has worked with ModelPeople for seven years shooting and editing consumer videos. Claire Brooks was an Executive Producer.

An instant hit at South by Southwest, the film received the Audience Choice Award against all other films in all of the film categories. As winners, the documentary was awarded the final screening of the festival held at the Paramount Theater, seating 1,000 viewers. Having received the Audience Choice Award and such great reviews, the film has already been accepted at the Toronto Film Festival and requested at a number of upcoming film festivals around the country.

"Becoming Santa" is a must see film--witty and heartwarming, it explores the hope and joy that being Santa can bring, and offers a deeper look into to the origin of Saint Nicholas and Santa culture today.

In this film, we follow the journey of Jack Sanderson, who decides to become Santa for one holiday season. Beginning his journey at a hair salon for an eye-searing experience, Jack bleaches his hair and beard to develop his likeness to Santa. He has a custom Santa suit made and attends Santa school in Denver, Colorado to learn the art of being Santa. Receiving high praise from Susan, the strange and intriguing school instructor, Jack develops into a very convincing Santa. The film continues by following Jack on his journey as Santa in a number of holiday festivities, including volunteering as Santa on the Polar Express.

Following the film screening, a Q&A session was conducted by Jeff Myers and Jack Sanderson. Jeff and Jack wanted to produce a documentary that was positive, different and fresh. Speaking to the film, Sanderson said, “I love documentaries, but there are so many documentaries that you walk out of feeling we have three weeks left on the planet, what are we going to do now? So, I thought it would be fun to have a documentary that you leave the theater feeling good.”

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