"The Martial Arts Kid" Co-Producer Ryan Westheimer has been involved with Hollywood for two decades - so when he says the coming-of-age film had an "unbelievable" vibe while filming, it's worth noting.
"Once things started being put into action - the vocal support, the response from the entire martial arts community, the fact that everybody's friends...it started to come into fruition", Westheimer said to me. "I think that to actually physically see and..be a part of this mass...presence. Yeah. Presence. I think that's a really good word."
"Whenever we needed anything, whenever we needed anybody, it's like we had as much time as we needed, because there was so much support", Westheimer continued. "There was always someone who was willing to lend a hand - or there was just one more amazing martial artist who was giving their time and their support wholeheartedly."
"I mean, a lot of times on films....it's always challenging with people's egos and attitudes and having it be all about the money", Westheimer stressed. "But it wasn't like that here."
"It was this unbelievable - just amazing - feeling, from everybody that wanted to be a part of it, that was part of it", Westheimer added.
Westheimer also feels the project is special to me - including himself - because it conveys the message that martial arts is about more than cool, kick-ass fights.
"(It was great) just seeing how special this project was for the martial arts community", Westheimer says. "But also representing that community (of) martial arts - and that it means more than just a bunch of people in a ring."
"This film has a lot of heart", Westheimer continues. "It has the other side of the martial arts, which is compassion and control and as a way of life - and that's what (it is) about."
"So I think that a lot of people people recognize (that) instead of it just being an action film, like a lot of other martial arts films, this was more about what martial arts - and the martial arts community - represents", Westheimer concluded.
"That's what initially got people so excited about it - and the experience reflected that."