A Smile as Big as the Moon

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A Smile as Big as the Moon
A Smile as Big as the Moon movie poster.jpg
Written by Thomas Rickman
Directed by James Steven Sadwith
Starring John Corbett
Jessy Schram
Cynthia Watros
Logan Huffman
Breezy Eslin
Peter ten Brink
David Lambert
Jimmy Bellinger
Tanner Dow
E. Roger Mitchell
Keith Flippen
Moira Kelly
Mike Pniewski
Louise Linton
Theme music composer Mark Adler
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Pat Chapman
Cameron Johann
Shawn McClaren
Dan Paulson
Brent Shields
Cinematography Roy H. Wagner
Editor(s) Michael D. Ornstein
Production company(s) Hallmark Hall of Fame
Original network ABC
Original release
  • January 29, 2012 (2012-01-29)
Preceded by Have a Little Faith
Followed by Firelight

A Smile as Big as the Moon is a Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie. The film debuted on ABC on January 29, 2012.[1]

John Corbett stars in this film based on the 2002 memoir of the same title by teacher Mike Kersjes and Joe Layden.[2] The movie shows the challenges Kersjes faced as he worked to bring out the best from his special education students by taking them to Space Camp, which had, until that time been perceived as a program best suited to advanced science and math students, well beyond the reach of special education students. Several actors playing students in the film have Down syndrome, autism and/or learning disabilities.[1]


Ben, a student with Down syndrome, in Mike Kersjes's Forest Hills Northern High School, Grand Rapids, Michigan, special education class, dreams of becoming an astronaut. Kersjes, who is also a football coach is inspired to pursue Space Camp for his students. Obstacles mount as school administrators object to the expense and Space Camp officials have no experience with special-ed students. Teacher Robynn McKinney supports Kersjes's efforts.[1]

Eventually the trip is approved by the necessary parties, and Kersjes faces another set of challenges: fundraising, preparing the students for their trip with science and physical education, and battling bullying and belittling from other students. Kersjes engages the football team in these endeavors.[1]


The film was shot primarily in Wilmington, North Carolina and at United States Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.[3] One scene used Sky Theater inside Ingram Planetarium of Sunset Beach, North Carolina, which was adapted to appear as a planetarium would have in 1988. Filming took place there September 28, 2011.[4]



  1. ^ a b c d e Cargill, Sarah (January 8, 2012). "'A Smile As Big As the Moon' Airs ABC January 29th". Retrieved February 2, 2012. 
  2. ^ "A Smile as Big as the Moon". Library of Congress Online Catalog. Library of Congress. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2012. 
  3. ^ http://www.mlive.com/tv/index.ssf/2012/01/a_smile_as_big_as_the_moon_sta.html
  4. ^ Palisin, Steve (2012-01-22). "N.C. planetarium has starring role in upcoming TV movie". The Sun News. Retrieved 2012-01-25. [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "A Smile as Big as the MoonCast & Crew". Reelz.com. Archived from the original on February 2, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Full Cast and Crew for A Smile as Big as the Moon". IMDB. Retrieved February 2, 2012. 

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