ByJerome Maida, writer at
Jerome Maida

Olando Rivera, a five-time world champion super light heavyweight kick boxer recently cast in the coming-of-age tale "The Martial Arts Kid", says it is "awesome" that the film's producers have already exceeded the $150,000 goal of their Kickstarter, which stops taking pledges June 4.

"it's AWESOME! Time to get beach ready", exclaimed Rivera upon hearing the news that "The Martial Arts Kid", which will film in Cocoa Beach, Florida, had exceeded their goal.

The project is co-headlined by legends Cynthia Rothrock and Don "The Dragon" Wilson, who have starred in over 75 action/martial-arts films combined. The duo will play the aunt and uncle of a troubled teen named Robbie, who will be played by Jansen Panettiere.("Tiger Cruise"), who moves to a beach town in Florida after the death of his mother. They both teach him martial arts as a way to heal and to protect those he cares about and himself.

The film is co-produced by James Wilson (Don"s brother) and Cheryl Wheeler-Duncan and will be directed by Michael Baumgarten ("Smitty", who also wrote the script.

Major roles that have been cast include: TJ Storm ("Black Cobra") as the opposing instructor to the "Kid",Matthew Ziff ("Six Gun Savior") as the bully and tormentor of the "Kid" and Kathryn Newton ("Bad Teacher"), who plays Rina, the object of Robbie's affections.

Other roles already confirmed are Natasha Blasick ("Meet The Spartans", Sasha on "Days of our Lives") and Tara Cardinal ("Legend of the Red Reaper"), Inga Van Ardenn ("Crossing Shadows"), comic Graham Elwood ("Cram"), Jeff Behar, Adrienne Camille ("The Devil's Dozen"), Daniel Moncada ("Sabotage"), Sofya Skya ("Assassins Run") and, of course, Vicki Vodar ("Cross Threads") .

Rivera says the fans of martial arts and the general public have responded to the Kickstarter campaign for the film in such an impressive fashion for a very simple reason.

"Because they believe in the cast and want to see a good karate movie", says Rivera. "We haven't had a good one lately."

Rivera is quick to give credit to co-producer James Wilson and the whole "The Martial Arts Kid" team.

"They are doing a great job", says Rivera. "They are doing a good thing for the fans and in return the fans showed their support."


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