Brown’s life and testimony featured in documentary

| September 27, 2018

COSHOCTON – Cordell Brown was born with cerebral palsy in a time when not much was known about the condition and not a lot of expectations were given to people born with disabilities. But that didn’t stop Brown from overcoming his physical obstacles and defying all odds by not only learning to walk, but becoming the founder of Echoing Hills, a summer camp in Warsaw specifically designed for people with special needs.

Now, for the first time, Brown’s life and testimony is being featured in a documentary by Coshocton High School graduate Tina Johns.

“When I thought about what I wanted to do a documentary about, Cordell floated to the surface,” said Johns.

Johns was inspired in 2012 to make a documentary while attending the Sedona Film Festival in Arizona. She had read Brown’s autobiography that year and knew she wanted to bring his life to the big screen. Having never met Brown, Johns received that chance in November of that year. Interviews began in 2013 and over a six-month period of time, more than 35 people from Brown’s life were interviewed. When the interviews were completed, the documentary was 100 minutes in length. That’s when Johns teamed up with editor Jason Morillo of Tru Color Productions to edit the film to its 42-minute final length.

“I know I could sit there and watch a 100-minute film about Cordell, but we cut it down to 42 minutes,” said Johns. “It had to be tightened up.”

The film, entitled “Thriving with Cerebral Palsy: The Cordell Brown Story” took four years to make and has already been featured in five film festivals across the nation. The film debuted at the Newport Beach Film Festival in California and won an award for best short film documentary at the Westfield International Film Festival in New Jersey. It has also been featured at the International Christian Film Festival in Florida and the Awareness Film Festival in California. The film’s Ohio debut will be at the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival in Chagrin Fall, Ohio on Oct. 3. The film will make its Coshocton County debut on Monday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. at River View High School.

“I think he [Cordell] was delighted and surprised,” said Johns. “It’s not just about Cordell, it’s about accepting people for who they are. It’s about accepting people no matter how they look, walk, or talk. It’s a film about inspiration and about inclusiveness.”

After about a year of being shown at film festivals across the nation, the documentary will be available for purchase.

To view the trailer of Johns’ documentary, visit

Tags: ,

Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

Comments are closed.