Inspired by the True story
Written, produced, and Directed by Eddie Zajdel
"A tribute to my father and everyone who helped make my childhood dream come true." -Zajdel
Eddie Zajdel Born (March 13, 1998) is an American film director and producer. Zajdel has been creating films since he was ten years old. The 23-year-old born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, set out to create a career for himself that involves bringing other people joy with a camera. "I find it fascinating how through the power of the lens, you can inflict emotion, put a smile on someone's face, freak them out, take them away from the world for a couple of minutes." Over his filmmaking career, Zajdel has written, produced, and directed over 15 short films and documentaries touching every genre. His recent work includes directing and producing Inpersonfied, a horror film streaming on Prime Video.
Zajdel has built a fan base of 22,000 on Instagram and is the author of the book Filmmaking 101 which is available on Amazon.com.
Director Eddie Zajdel filming actor Landon Kane, who plays young Eddie Zajdel at Detroit Tigers Comerica Park. Photo credit: Eric Le
Director Eddie Zajdel at Detroit Tigers Comerica Park.
Photo credit: Eric Le
Production Type......................... Short Film
Runtime...................................... 5 min
Completion Date........................ August 19, 2021
Country of Origin....................... United States
Country of Filming..................... United States
Rating........................................ Not Rated
Credit for any materials used is Eddie Zajdel
Actor Landon Kane, who plays young Eddie Zajdel, and Corey Ryter, who plays Zajdel's father Ed, hug at Zajdel Park.
Synopsis: After attending a Detroit Tigers game, Eddie Zajdel (played by actor Landon Kane) becomes inspired to create his own baseball field in his overgrown backyard. After pitching the idea to his father, Ed Zajdel (Played by actor Corey Ryter), the two embark on a father and son bonding project creating a backyard Wiffle ball field which was later named Zajdel Park.
Background: (Based on a true story) When the director Eddie Zajdel was 14 years old, he attended a Detroit Tigers game with his father. Inspired by the look and feel of the Detroit Tigers ballpark, he proposed an idea to his father to transform the family's overgrown backyard into a baseball field. His father initially rejected the idea. It was not until Eddie dumped a mound of dirt in the family backyard and crafted it into a pitcher's mound that his father jumped on board and shared his inspiration for creation. The backyard baseball field, later named Zajdel Park, took four years to complete and has since gained national attention, being featured in USA Today, Yahoo Finance, Fox Sports, MLive, and Detroit Tigers Weekly, among others. Eddie Zajdel, now 23 years old and an accomplished filmmaker, found himself back in his childhood yard this summer, this time to create a short film which he would name Heavenly Grounds, showcasing the story of the father and son bonding project that made his childhood dreams come true.
Story of Production: Creating a film around his backyard baseball field has always been on Eddie Zajdel's mind. "I always kept the idea in the back of my head about creating a feature film on the field. I kept thinking, how can we turn this story into a 90-minute production. It wasn't until someone mentioned doing a short that I realized that might work better. Some of the best stories are meant to remain short." Although the film's running time is only around five minutes long, Zajdel mentions there were many obstacles encountered that you usually do not run into while producing short films. The first being a large amount of CGI that was required in the first half of the film. "The field was already built in the yard; I didn't want to tear it down and reconstruct it. Instead, we resorted to CGI. All the scenes in the overgrown yard before the field was built, all of that is CGI." The second obstacle was licensing. Zajdel mentions he was dead set on renting out Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers. "If I was going to produce this, it was going to be authentic; when I was younger, it all started at Comerica Park, and that was what I was going to show." In order to film at Comerica Park, Zajdel originally reached out to his close contact at the Detroit Tigers, the head groundskeeper Heather Nabozny. "I sent her an email, and she didn't get back to me on my film idea. I sent her another email, and she didn't get back the second time. I then went to the MLB." Zajdel contacted the head licensing coordinator for the MLB, and two weeks later, had the whole stadium available to him for the film. "It's funny because we only ended using like five clips from the stadium, but as I said, my childhood story began at Comerica Park; I was going for authentic footage, so I was going to do whatever I had to do to capture it!"
Now that the film is out, Zajdel wants to share it with the world in hopes to inspire other kids to follow their childhood dreams. "Anything is possible in life; if you have a dream, go chase it. If you get told no once, go ask again the next day."
As well as making the film available to accredited media, Zajdel is also making the film available to the general public free of charge.
The film is available for download to the left.
(Young Eddie Zajdel)
(Zajdel's Father Ed)
Director Eddie Zajdel filming at Detroit Tigers Comerica Park. Photo credit: Eric Le
Actors Corey Ryter, who plays Zajdel's father Ed, and Landon Kane, who plays young Eddie Zajdel holding a photo of "Zajdel Park" on site of Detroit Tigers Comerica Park. Photo credit: Eric Le
Director Eddie Zajdel filming at Detroit Tigers Comerica Park.
Photo credit: Eric Le
Director Eddie Zajdel filming actor Landon Kane, who plays young Eddie Zajdel at "Zajdel Park." Photo credit: Eric Le
Eddie Zajdel directing Landon Kane, who plays young Eddie Zajdel at Detroit Tigers Comerica Park. Photo credit: Eric Le
Director Eddie Zajdel and actor Landon Kane who plays young Eddie zajdel, standing on "Zajdel park."
Photo credit: Eric Le
Actors Corey Ryter, who plays Zajdel's father Ed, and Landon Kane, who plays young Eddie Zajdel, standing on the field at Detroit Tigers Comerica Park. Photo credit: Eric Le
Director Eddie Zajdel and actor Landon Kane, who plays young Eddie zajdel, looking out over Detroit Tigers Comerica Park. Photo credit: Eric Le
Director Eddie Zajdel and Actor Corey Ryter, who plays Zajdel's father Ed, standing on "Zajdel' park." Photo credit: Eric Le
Director Eddie Zajdel shooting at Detroit Tigers Comerica Park.
Photo credit: Eric Le
Director Eddie Zajdel filming actor Landon Kane, who plays young Eddie Zajdel on "Zajdel Park." Photo credit: Eric Le