Podtalk: Director Dana Nachman Puts Her Stamp on ‘Dear Santa’

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CHICAGO – Now that the socially distanced Thanksgiving is past us, it’s time to turn to Christmas and the films that are associated with that holiday. Documentary director Dana Nachman has a series of emotional and true stories in her latest film “Dear Santa,” an overview of a gift-giving charity that starts with a child’s letter.

“Dear Santa” highlights the 100-year-old Operation Santa program of the United States Postal Service (USPS). Each year, of course, hundreds of thousand of kid’s letters to Santa Claus end up at the Post Office. Through Operation Santa, the USPS makes it possible for the public to safely adopt these letters and make a child’s holiday dreams come true. The documentary travels around the country, and focuses on select Operation Santa stories and people … some in massive programs like New York City and others in small towns where the post office is the heart of the community. In this challenging year of 2020, “Dear Santa” is a reminder of what is possible in continuing to give, and how we can look beyond our circumstances toward others.

‘Dear Santa,’ Directed by Dana Nachman (inset)
Photo credit: IFC Films

Dana Nachman is no stranger to uplifting documentary films. Recently, her film “Pick of the Litter” (2018) – about puppies who are selected to be trained as guide dogs for the blind – was picked up by Disney+ and made into a miniseries. Her award-winning “Batkid Begins” (2015) followed the Make-a-Wish dream of Miles Scott, a five-year-old childhood cancer survivor, as the city of San Francisco partnered with the foundation to allow him to become Batkid, the crime fighting partner to the Caped Crusader. “Dear Santa” is Dana’s sixth feature length documentary as director, and emotionally she considers it a sister film to “Batkid Begins.”

In a Podtalk with Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com, Dana Nachman of “Dear Santa” talks about the origin of the film and the magic joy of Operation Santa and the heart of its giving.

In Part Two, Dana observes her Holiday Past, a bit about “Batkid Begins” and the tradition of holidays films that uplift the spirit.

“Dear Santa” will open in limited theaters and will be available through Video-On-Demand beginning December 4th. Click here for screening details. For information about Operation Santa, click here. Written and directed by Dana Nachman. Not rated.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2020 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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