Laid-off Disney cast members rally around upcoming documentary
The show must go on! Walt Disney World cast members from currently-shuttered shows including “Festival of the Lion King,” Beauty and the Beast – Live On Stage,” and “Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue” are showing their support for the upcoming 12th Angel Productions’ feature-length documentary about one of their own, titled “Billy Flanigan: The Happiest Man on Earth.”
By Emily Ryan
At 39 years of employment with Disney, Billy Flanigan is the longest continually-contracted performer in Walt Disney World history. Following the temporary closure of the Disney Parks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Flanigan embarked on a 6000-mile cross-country trek, bringing a smile, song and dance—or “Flanigrams”—to over 525 families. His inspiring story has been featured on “The Doctors,” “Dr. Laura,” “Good Morning America,” and People Magazine.
12th Angel Productions recently stepped in to produce a documentary about Flanigan. The film is being directed by former Disney entertainer, Cullen Douglas, of “Twin Peaks,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” fame.
“Billy is a living legend. He’s always been about making a positive difference, using his own special brand of magic and pixie dust – something we could all use more of these days,” says Douglas.
The documentary, being produced entirely during the COVID-19 pandemic, features never-before-seen archival footage and Zoom interviews with Flanigan’s friends and castmates. One of the film’s producers and former Disney performer, Andrea Canney, shared the film’s progress on social media, leading to an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign.
“The pandemic has decimated live theatre as we know it, and Disney Performers are hurting right now both emotionally and financially,” says Canney. “But Billy has always been a bright spot in all of our lives, it’s our turn to pay it forward and share him with the world.”
“Besides celebrating Billy, our film will bring to light a wide range of issues, including bullying, diabetes, and LGBTQ awareness. Billy’s story is truly inspiring, and aligns perfectly with our slate of films. We’re humbled by the outpouring of support from Disney cast members, and folks looking to help spread a little joy,” says Randy Goodwin, founder of 12th Angel Productions.
You can donate to the IndieGoGo here!
Other ways you can help include spreading the word about the film and campaign by inviting people to their Facebook group, following their page on Instagram, and emailing [email protected] to receive their newsletter – your name will even be included in the credits as a backer!
Check out the teaser trailer below: