DAN CHACE, Producer and Co-Director
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Dan Chace moved to Ann Arbor as a child in 1967. His father, then a doctoral student, took the family to Michigan Stadium for the first time in 1968. Witnessing the early days of Bo Schembechler’s era as head coach, Chace became captivated by Michigan football, and idolized the dynamic Michigan running back, Billy Taylor. Chace ushered and worked concessions at the stadium, and participated in summer youth football clinics, led by Michigan coaches including Schembechler, Jerry Hanlon, Gary Moeller, Chuck Stobart and others.
In January 1975, Chace and Michigan fans nationwide were stunned by headlines announcing Billy Taylor’s arrest and incarceration for participating in an attempted robbery. Disillusioned, Chace, then 14, forgot about his hero entirely.
Chace attended Ann Arbor Huron High School, and competed on varsity soccer and track teams while developing creative writing and acting skills. A student production of Tartuffe, in which he performed, won first place in a statewide drama competition.
Graduating in 1978, Chace enrolled at the University of Michigan’s Department of Theatre and Drama, and acted in several main stage productions, most notably as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, at the Power Center. Mentors at U of M included Richard Burgwin, Irene Connors and Claribel Baird. Chace also acted in several graduate student film and television projects, where he met PERSEVERANCE Co-Director, Bob Hercules.
While a student at Michigan, Chace was amongst the emotional stadium crowd that watched beloved, terminally ill radio announcer Bob Ufer address fans for the last time, leading the stadium in a final chorus of “The Victors” through the open window of the old stadium press box, nine days prior to his passing in October 1981.
U of M’s strong theatre program helped Chace win admittance to the Yale School of Drama in 1984. His love for Shakespeare was furthered at Yale, through leading roles in The Tempest and Midsummer Night’s Dream. Chace was influenced by several fine theater artists at Yale, such as Lloyd Richards, Earle Gister, James Earl Jones, Athol Fugard, August Wilson, Dario Fo, Wesley Fata, Zoe Alexander and Deborah Hecht.
Graduating from Yale in 1987, Chace worked briefly in New York, then moved to Los Angeles where he is currently based. He has appeared in a variety of independent films, including Who Shot Pat? (with Sandra Bullock), and a vampire feature entitled The Serpent’s Tale, shot in Istanbul, Turkey. Chace has enjoyed several collaborations with actor/director Tim Russ, and has directed, taught and coached actors professionally.
In 2010, a question came up for Chace: What ever happened to Billy Taylor? A web search quickly revealed that Taylor was alive and well, having recently formed a residential substance recovery center in Detroit, called Get Back Up, Incorporated. Chace was inspired by Taylor’s story of struggle and recovery and contacted the former Michigan star. A growing friendship led Taylor to entrust Chace with his life story rights. Filming for PERSEVERANCE began in Ann Arbor in November of 2011 and was presented publicly at Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theatre on November 16, 2013.
The film has been licensed by the Big Ten Network, and will be presented nationally beginning in late September 2013.
For Dan Chace, PERSEVERANCE: The Story of Billy Taylor, is the product of a childhood dream come true…one that an 8 year old boy walking into Michigan Stadium for the first time could not have imagined.
BOB HERCULES – Co-Director
Bob Hercules’ seasoned experience and various professional contributions as Co-Director, were essential in bringing PERSEVERANCE: The Story of Dr. Billy Taylor to reality. A veteran television producer/director and a co-founder of owner of Media Process Group of Chicago, Hercules received his Master of Arts in Communications from the University of Michigan in 1984. Hercules met Chace at Michigan while making student films.
Hercules’ work has been seen widely on PBS, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel and the Independent Film Channel. He has directed corporate programs and commercials for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Alzheimer’s Association, McDonalds, Gap Clothing Stores, Easter Seals, Children’s Memorial Hospital, University of Iowa Hospitals and the Obama for President Campaign.
Hercules most recent documentary, “A Good Man” (co-produced with Kartemquin Films), chronicles acclaimed choreographer Bill T. Jones over two years as he creates a work about the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. The film premiered at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and will air on PBS’ American Masters program November, 2011. He also recently completed “The Joffrey Ballet: Mavericks of American Dance” (narrated by Mandy Patinkin).
Hercules’ 2009 documentary, “Radical Disciple: The Story of Father Pfleger,” chronicles the controversial priest and how his political activism has brought him into conflict with Catholic hierarchy. The film premiered at the 2009 Black Harvest Film Festival in Chicago and won Best Documentary at the 2010 Big Muddy Film Festival.
In 2006 Hercules and MPG co-owner Keith Walker made the film “Senator Obama Goes to Africa,”—a chronicle of the then-Senator’s momentous 2006 diplomatic trip to Africa including an emotional visit to his late father’s homeland near Kisumu, Kenya. The film also includes stops at the infamous Robben Island prison in Capetown, South Africa and a Darfur refugee camp in Eastern Chad. It is now in home video release from First Run Features.
“Forgiving Dr. Mengele” is a 2006 documentary co-produced with Cheri Pugh. The film is a portrait of Auschwitz survivor and former ‘Mengele twin’ Eva Mozes Kor, the transformation that led her to forgive the Nazi perpetrators to heal herself, and the controversy it sparked. The film won the Special Jury Prize at the 2006 Slamdance Film Festival.