How It Started

After reading a September story in USA Today about the financial difficulties of the Akron-based All American Soap Box Derby, actor, director and producer Corbin Bernsen decided he could do something to save the nearly 75-year-old youth racing league – and keep it in Akron. Despite a record number of racers (ages 8-17), the Derby has lost money three out of the past five years. It even risks foreclosure if it does not pay its lender the $623,000 it now owes.

The USA Today story inspired Bernsen to write a screenplay about an 12-year-old boy whose Derby dreams are threatened first when his father is killed fighting in Afghanistan and then when the Derby is shut down because of money troubles. The Derby is ultimately saved, but that heroic role has been left open --purposely -- to be filled by the real-life rescuers – the new title sponsor - who comes to the Derby’s aid.


Writer/Director Corbin Bernsen (Psych, Major League) leads an all-star cast in 25 Hill, a testament to those who find the courage to confront their pain and the faith to stay committed to values they hold dear.

12 year-old Trey Caldwell (Nathan Gamble of Dolphin Tale) is shattered when his soldier father is killed in Afghanistan, leaving a hole in the boy’s life – and an unfinished Soap Box Derby car in the garage. A final gift from his dad, the car is a constant reminder of all that could have been. But when Trey meets Roy Gibbs, a grizzled Fire Chief devastated by the loss of his firefighter son on 9/11, a new relationship forms and old wounds finally begin to heal. As the unlikely team works to complete the Soap Box car and train for the upcoming Derby, they’ll learn that life isn’t about the starting line or checkered flag – it’s about having the courage to make the incredible journey of faith in between. Also starring Ralph Waite (The Waltons), Maureen Flannigan (7th Heaven), and Bailee Madison (Bridge to Terabithia), featuring music by Grammy award-winners Third Day and Brandon Heath.