Alumni Blog: Michael Sassano

SVA film ’11, Mike Sassano has worked with classmate, Ben Duffy, to create a truly beautiful — and inspiring —  film about people who do adaptive sports. The trick is they are adapting to extreme physical issues: Multiple amputations, Spina Bifida, paralysis — to name a few. However, when you see what they do, the last word that comes to mind will be disabled. It’s a stunning film which makes you proud to be a human being. When was the last time you felt that way? 


Before embarking on this film, I had zero knowledge of what I was about to document. None of my close friends or family are amputees or paralyzed, and I didn’t even know what cerebral palsy was, let alone Spina Bifida. Aside from a deep knowledge of skateboarding and experience working with people with intellectual disabilities, this was foreign ground for me. I think that’s what made the process of this film so enjoyable. With a very limited budget, 2 DSLR’s, skateboards for dollys, and a Zoom recorder, Ben and I set out on this film a year and a half ago.

Quinn_Web_PriorityTin Soldiers, is a feature length documentary and the latest independent film from Director Ben Duffy and myself, Michael J. Sassano. It’s a film perspective into the amazing talents of a cast of incredibly inspirational people all doing adaptive sports: Power Lifting, WXCM (wheel chair skateboarding), Skateboarding, Wheel Chair Basketball, Alpine Skiing, Surfing, and Triathlon Sports.

TS_Zack_StillWhen Ben and I collaborate on documentaries, we submerge ourselves deep into our subjects lives. We live with them, eat with them, skate with them, and attempt to give what they are giving us in return….something to connect with. After experiencing so much with these people, I’ve come to learn something about our film. What I thought was at first a “sports” documentary was in actuality a character film. The physical skill of these adaptive athletes is evenly met with each of their individual characters, which you often find in most great athletes. Although I may not have known about adaptive sports or physical handicaps before embarking on this film, what I’ve actually learned is that overcoming physical disability isn’t whats most inspirational, it’s the attitude you have about it.

TS_Alana_StillAlthough Tin Soldiers has been fully shot, we’re in the process of campaigning for funds to complete the film. If you would like to donate, you can visit the film’s Indiegogo campaign page at If you can’t donate, but would like to help, you can share the campaign link or trailer on your social media pages.

If you have any questions or would like to collaborate, please contact us though our website: We’re looking for post producers and advertising people to help us get this film out there. Support of any kind is greatly appreciated!

Follow along on social media: Instagram/Facebook – @tinsoldiersfilm

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Filed Under: Alumni Blog