Capturing courage: Couple's documentary headed to Hollywood film festival

-A A +A
By Joe Vaccarelli

South Jeffco residents Cortni and Jeff Mullin are getting ready to send their baby off to California.

At least, that’s the way it feels.

The married couple worked as producers of the short documentary “Teresa,” which will be part of the Feel Good Film Festival Aug. 22-24 in Hollywood.

For the Mullinses, having their film shown at the festival is a pleasant surprise after two years of pouring blood, sweat and tears into the project.

“It’s like sending a baby out to college,” Cortni said. “We just did the best we could and hoped it came out well.”

The couple got their first taste of an audience response at the premiere July 10 at the Starz Theater in Denver. About 135 were in attendance, mostly family and friends of the film crew.

“It was so nerve-racking, but after the film we were elated at the feedback we received,” Cortni said.

The star of the film was also in attendance. Teresa Nguyen suffers from the rare disease osteogenesis imperfecta, which the causes bones to be very brittle and thus break easily.

Teresa, now 18, said she has broken more than 100 bones in her life and must use a motorized chair. But, according to the Mullinses, Theresa’s resolve is an inspiration to everyone around her.

“She’s an amazing person; I learned a lot from her in a great way,” Cortni said.

“When I am having problems,” Jeff said, “I sometimes think of Teresa, and my problems don’t seem so bad. It puts things in perspective.”

The Mullins have spent the past two years, along with director Matt Bowler and the rest of the crew, filming Teresa in her daily life. They followed her to prom and to her graduation from Broomfield High School.

When all was said and done, they had more than 12 hours of footage that needed to be cut down to 28 minutes, a grueling task for all involved.

A great deal changed for the Mullinses during the two-year process of making the film. They had a house built in Littleton and welcomed their first child, Kane, now 16 months.

Jeff currently makes his living producing commercials and videos for corporate events, as well as assisting with Cortni’s film projects. One of his commercials is for Phoenix Apparel, a clothing company that makes suits for race-car drivers.

Cortni works out of her home office, trying to further the development of her production company, Myridian Productions, which she co-founded with Bowler. She also still looks for outlets to act, a passion that has driven her since as far back as she can remember.

“I had to beg my parents starting at about 3 years old to give me dance lessons,” Cortni said. “It’s rare you see a 6-year-old at a commercial audition without their parents making them be there, but that was me.”

Cortni said she found her niche in the production side of filmmaking but recently acted in a McDonald’s commercial with former Denver Bronco Ed McCaffrey, as well as in the 2005 movie “Shadow Walkers,” filmed at the old Gates Rubber Co. factory in south Denver.

Cortni also teaches the Bradley Method — a form of natural childbirth — to expectant mothers in her spare time.

“It’s something I believe in and went through, and it was a great experience for me,” she said.

The next project for Cortni is to follow up on Myridian Production’s first project, a pilot for a travel show that takes viewers to movie locations, a show she co-hosted.

But first comes a trip down the red carpet in Hollywood. It may not be the Oscars, but that’s just fine with the Mullinses.