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"Prolific” is one word that best describes Joel Kauffmann’s thirty-year career as a screenwriter. Twelve of Joel’s screenplays were commissioned or purchased. Of those, five were produced for theatrical or television release. Following Joel’s death in 2015, over 70 screenplays or treatments were found in his computer files!

A tribute published by The Mennonite magazine following Joel’s death described his screenwriting career:
“Kauffmann started writing screenplays young… which he would read as his five siblings silently acted themout for their parents….

“Kauffmann, with Darryl Wimberley, wrote the screenplay and was one of the producers of The Radicals, a
feature-length film about Michael and Margaretha Sattler, two leaders of the 16th-century Anabaptist

“According to the website, Kauffmann took the dialogue for the courtroom scene, where Michael Sattler is sentenced to death, ‘pretty much verbatim’ from the [historic Anabaptist text] Martyrs Mirror.

“Burton Buller, the former director of Third Way Media, said Kauffmann was one of the great Mennonite communicators, and his screenplays demonstrate his rare ability to combine humor with insight.

“’The Radicals rode the crest of Mennonite interest in making their story known both to their own people as well as the broader public,’ he said. ‘At the time of its production, Mennonite youth were discovering not only the power of the media, they were intent on harnessing that power for the church.’

“Kauffmann and his collaborators made a compelling film while telling an inspiring story still relevant today, Buller said.

“In 2000, Kauffmann wrote Miracle in Lane 2, an award-winning Disney Channel movie, with Don Jost. It told the story of Justin Yoder, who has spina bifida and was the first child with a disability to compete in the All-American Soap Box derby. His family attended College Mennonite Church with Kauffmann and Jost.”

Produced screenplays:

• The Weight (Sisters and Brothers, 1982) [Watch:]
• Jesus Bicycle (Cathedral Films and Video, 1986) [Watch: ]
• The Radicals (Sisters and Brothers/MCEG Manson International, 1989)
• Miracle in Lane 2 (Disney Channel, 2000) [Watch:]
• Full-Court Miracle (Disney Channel, 2004) [Watch:]

Commissioned or sold screenplays:

• Dr. Dazzle (Jones Entertainment Group, 1994)
• This Side of Heaven (CBS/The Polson Company, 2000)
Digging In (Disney Channel/Longbow Productions, 2001)
The Boy With No Name (CBS/The Polson Company, 2001)
Lamont’s Maccabees (Disney Channel/DLP Productions, 2002)
Back to Africa (Terra Firma Films/Universal Pictures, 2005)
One Lousy Angel (One Angel, LLC, 2012)


• Austin Heart of Film Festival
1997, Semi-finalist Outstanding Screenplay, Family Division, Miracle in Lane 2
• Writers Guild of America 2000, Nomination for Outstanding Childrens' Script, Miracle in Lane 2
• Humanitas Prize 2001, Writer, Miracle in Lane Two
• Writers Guild of America
2003, Nomination for Outstanding Childrens' Script, Full-Court Miracle
• Humanitas Prize 2004, Writer, Full-Court Miracle



Joel Kauffmann’s first produced commercial film, The Weight is based on Joel’s autobiographic novel of
1980. It’s a coming-of-age story that explores the struggle surrounding mandatory draft registration and
Christian beliefs about peace-making.
[Making Of:]

The Radicals tells the dramatic story of the early Anabaptist movement and two of its first leaders,
Michael and Margaretha Sattler.
Producer: Robert Nowotny
Director: Paul V. Carrera
Screenplay: Joel Kauffmann, Darryl Wimberley

The award-winning Miracle in Lane 2, is a 2000 Disney Channel Original Movie starring Frankie
Muniz, Rick Rossovich, Molly Hagan, and Patrick Levis. The film is based on the life of Justin
Yoder (portrayed by Muniz), who was the first person with a disability to compete in the All American
Soapbox Derby.
Director: Greg Beeman
Screenplay: Joel Kauffmann, Donald C. Yost

Full-Court Miracle is a 2003 Disney Channel Original Hanukkah Movie. It premiered on November 21,
2003. Inspired by the true story of University of Virginia Cavaliers basketball star Lamont Carr, the film
centers on a group of young Jewish basketball players who search for a coach to help them out of a
slump during the Hanukkah season. It was filmed in Toronto.
Director: Stuart Gillard
Screenplay: Joel Kauffmann, Joel Silverman, Donald C. Yost

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