Family feature first to donate to charitable cause

Chris Parrish with son Mason Parrish

An indie family adventure feature, “Thrill Ride,” that’s begun shooting in Chicago, has pledged to donate half of its profits to medical research on a rare pediatric disease that took the life of the director’s young son.


Writer/director Chris Parrish has long worked to bring this story to life in honor of his son, Mason,  who died at age 10, remembered by his father as “a naturally gifted storyteller.”

“Thrill Ride” is set in an amusement park rumored to have been built by crime lord Al Capone. Three children sneak into the amusement park in search of the gangster’s hidden loot.


The park attractions come to life and take the kids on a wild and dangerous ride in which they must join forces with a friendly sea witch to defeat an evil mermaid, bloodthirsty pirates, a fire-breathing dragon and an armada of monsters.


Producers are Angie Gaffney and Kevin McGrail of Black Apple Media and Brett Hays of Champaign-Urbana’s Shatterglass Studios executive producer is businessman/philanthropist Vincent Foglia.


It stars LA actress Kristen Johnston  (“3rd Rock From the Sun, The Exes”) as the good sea witch, Tim Kazurinsky (“SNL”)  as the amusement park builder, Helen Sadler (“Contagion”) as the evil mermaid. The kids are Tori Tellschow, 19, Lucas Zumann, Nicole Scimeca, 7; Tim Decker (“Boss”) is their father and John Babbo, 13, their friend.

Pete Biagi is DP, on-set audio, Mario Coletta, production designer Chloe Arbiture. Digital Hydra is supervising the visual effects with the help of Tribeca Flashpoint students.  PR Casting brought in the talent.

Students from DePaul’s Digital Cinema Department, where Parrish is a professor, are helping in production. The budget falls under the SAG modified low-budget contract. 


Film follows fathers promise to his son


“Thrill Ride” is one of the first films created specifically to fund a charitable cause, The Mason Parrish Foundation.

Paul Lang as Al Capone and Tim Kazurinsky as the park builderIt follows a promise Parrish made to his son, “who had an instinct for creating original characters and escalating story conflict on par with some professionals I know.  It was his passion,” Parrish remembers.

Mason left behind dozens of notebooks filled with story ideas which Parrish hopes to adapt into more features.  Parrish also hopes “Thrill Ride” will spread awareness on films for charity.

The Mason Parris Foundation funds pediatric brain tumor research (specifically D.I.P.G. research,  the type of brain tumor Mason was diagnosed with), Mace Cars, providing wheel chair-accessible vans to families with children dealing with catastrophic illnesses and Cartoon Comics, Inc., an after school program teaching children the craft of cartooning.  


“Imagine if Disney said ‘We’re making 20 movies this year and one of them will donate 50% of the profits to charity.’  Imagine how much pediatric cancer research, vans for disabled children and after school programs there could be,” Parrish says