Johnny Depp, Laura Dern, J.K. Simmons, Richard Chamberlain, David Lynch, and Penelope Ann Miller helped make one seriously ill film fan’s dream come true. Anthony Conti is a 16-year-old boy who suffers from Stage 4 adrenal cortical cancer who dreamed of making a Hollywood film.
The actors, working with directors Sam Raimi (Spider-Man), Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), and Ted Melfi (Hidden Figures), created the short film The Black Ghiandola, which Conti co-wrote with Scott Kosar (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and additional writing by Wash Westmoreland (Still Alice). Conti also stars in the film, as a young man risking his life to save the girl he loves after his family has been killed by zombies in a post-apocalyptic world.
The filmmakers and actors donated their time during the five-day shoot, which was made possible through the Make a Film Foundation. The Make a Film Foundation is a nonprofit launched in 2007 by Tamika Lamison that grants film wishes for children with serious or life-threatening medical conditions. Conti’s project is the fourth film to come out of Make a Film Foundation’s short-narrative program, which sees participants write and star in their own short films with notable names joining them in the creative process.
Not only did Conti see his Hollywood dream realized — a screening and reception was held at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the film.
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