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Frank Shankwitz answers questions, meets wish kid following ‘Wish Man’ screening
Audience members praise film

Prescott Film Festival Founder and Executive Director Helen Stephenson moderates questions answered by Frank Shankwitz after the screening of “Wish Man” at the Prescott Film Festival Friday, June 7. (Jason Wheeler/Courier)

Prescott Film Festival Founder and Executive Director Helen Stephenson moderates questions answered by Frank Shankwitz after the screening of “Wish Man” at the Prescott Film Festival Friday, June 7. (Jason Wheeler/Courier)

Friday night was an emotional moment for Meghan Tisdale, a Make-A-Wish recipient who came face to face with Frank Shankwitz, the man who founded the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“…he’s the person that provided me with my wish and was the person that kept me going,” Tisdale said. “I had just given up. Without being provided with my wish, I probably would have stopped fighting and I probably would have died at some point.”

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Frank Shankwitz, creator of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, meets wish kid Meghan Tisdale after the screening of “Wish Man” at the Prescott Film Festival Friday, June 7. (Jason Wheeler/Courier)

A recent Prescott High School graduate and pre-engineering student at Yavapai College, she said it is amazing that he has caused her and other children to want to continue living and fighting for their lives.

Their meeting closed out a question-and-answer session with Shankwitz that followed a screening of “Wish Man” that kicked off the week-long Prescott Film Festival on Friday night, June 7. A biographical drama, the film tells the story behind Shankwitz, a Prescott resident and Prescott High School graduate, and the events that led to the creation of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Its message is about how people helped him as a child develop integrity and character, teaching to give back, Shankwitz said.

It took 2-1/2 years to write the screenplay and he had script approval, he said. He lobbied hard to have it filmed locally because he wanted to give back, Shankwitz said.

“It’s so important to me because my coaches, my teachers in Prescott High School helped me so much. My employer … he made sure that I could attend football practices, made sure I could go to the dances,” he said. “That’s why I wanted to give back to this town that helped give back to me so much.”

There are only three real names in the film: his, his wife Kitty Shankwitz and Juan Delgadillo, his father figure and the patriarch of a family that built Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-in, a historic restaurant and tourist attraction in Seligman. Shankwitz said he insisted on having Delgadillo’s name in the film and got the family’s permission to do so.

Walking out after the film was over, Susan Drake said she thought the film was terrific. Drake said she heard Shankwitz give an interview earlier that afternoon telling his story and found the film to be accurate and touching. Lisa Santana also said she thought it was amazing.

“It was moving, real and I didn’t know the story,” Santana said. “I learned a lot.”

Anyone who missed the screening of “Wish Man” can catch it at Harkins Theatres in Prescott Valley.

FESTIVAL MOVES INTO THIRD DAY

Sunday, June 9, marks the third day of the week-long film festival.

The schedule starts with a free program of student shorts at 10 a.m. in Building Three, Room 119. Day two of the Filmmaker Bootcamp will continue at noon, also in Building Three, Room 119.

At 1 p.m. is a screening of “Unlikely,” followed by “Old Boys and “Stag” at 4 p.m. and “Skid Row Marathon” and “Fallen Feathers” at 7 p.m.

All screenings are in the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center.

Admission is $13 for general admission, $7 for students, $110 for a 10-pack of general admission tickets, $280 for a Platinum Pass, and $175 for the all-film pass.

Yavapai College is located at 1100 E. Sheldon St. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.prescottfilmfestival.com.

The Prescott Film Festival continues daily through Saturday, June 15. For a full schedule or to purchase tickets, visit www.prescottfilmfestival.com.

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