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Aug 17, 2015

Priest Addresses Kindness, Bullying in New Family Film

Marshall the Miracle Dog inspires children to be kind to themselves and others, and to act with courage to stop bullying. The film Marshall’s Miracle, written and directed by the Rev. Jay Kanzler,will open August 28 in selected theaters, including Houston.


In advance of the film’s opening, Marshall, his owner, Cyndi Willenbrock, and Kanzler, will visit cities across America to share Marshall’s miraculous story, and to reinforce his message of empathy, kindness, forgiveness and courage. In each city, Marshall will be joined by local churches and groups who share his mission of bullying prevention and animal rescue. Kanzler encourages parishes to come out and share the story, and even use the available written discussion materials for a deeper experience for both children and adults alike.


Marshall’s Miracle, based on a true story, shares the adventure of Finn, a 13-year-old boy, who is the target of bullies at his new school.  Hopeless, Finn finds Marshall caged by a local dog hoarder and the race against the bullies, the dog hoarder, and against time, is on. Eventually, Marshall leads everyone to a place of change, forgiveness and friendship.


The film stars Shannon Elizabeth (American Pie), Lauren Holly (NCIS, Dumb and Dumber), Matthew Settle (Gossip Girl, Band of Brothers), and award-winning comedian Bill Chott, as well as Lucas Carroll (The Informant).


Marshall’s story is nothing short of miraculous. Now, he has a greater purpose to serve following his rescue from an animal hoarder, who kept him with other dogs in deplorable, life-threatening conditions. After being rescued by the Humane Society, Marshall was rushed into surgery, where he actually died three times on the operating table before successfully surviving. Now, as a three-legged, scar-faced, but loveable dog, Marshall is on a mission. Marshall carries his life-changing story and message to students, children adults and families across the country. He has visited over 370 schools (120,000 students) since the launch of his award winning children’s book, “Marshall The Miracle Dog” in 2012.


Marshall’s message is sustained through the Marshall Mentor Program, an anti-bullying program based on Marshall’s cornerstone messages. Because real change takes collaboration, Marshall works with many national organizations including the Girl Scouts of America, 4-H, Pet Shelters Across America and PACERs National Bullying Prevention Center. The same curriculum has also been adopted for use in Sunday schools, VBS, congregational movie nights and confirmation classes.


Marshall’s Miracle won the “Audience Choice Award for Best Film” at the St. Louis International Film Festival. During Pre-release, the film was also awarded “Best Family Film” at the Wild Rose Film Festival, and the St. Louis Post Dispatch and Belleville News Democrat hailed it as the “Best Family Film” of 2014.  The Dove Foundation awarded the film "4 out of 5 Doves", and approved it for “all ages". 


To view film trailer:


Kanzler is assistant priest at St. Martin’s, Ellisville, Missouri. Email him at .