“A Smile As Big As the Moon”

One group of movie-goers left the theatre with “a smile as big as the moon.”

That’s also the name of the inspiring film they watched, which shares the true story of a special education class that beats all odds and goes to Space Camp, which was traditionally for gifted students.

“I’ll be honest. It brought tears to my eyes at the end,” said Joel Spenadel, a Glen Ellyn resident and father of a Down Syndrome child. “It’s just very emotional and you can imagine as a parent, if that were your kid, how special that’d be.”

Families came to see the made-for-TV movie at the Comedy Shrine as part of an event for Gigi’s Playhouse.

The not-for-profit provides awareness and support for individuals with Down Syndrome and their families.

Fans also got to meet and take a picture with one of the film’s stars and his acting coach. Before the movie’s screening, both discussed how to pursue a career in acting and the making of “A Smile As Big As the Moon.”

“I enjoyed it a lot. I enjoyed the cast, including the crew,” said Peter Ten Brink, one of the film’s actors.

“It’s about inspiring special needs communities to really reach for their dreams and not be stopped by what they don’t think they can do,” said Sarah Rose Graber, actress and acting coach.

Because of the events that took place in the movie, the U.S. Space Camp started offering programs catered towards special needs students.


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