News & Politics

This DC Fourth Grader Was in the Hospital With Cancer. His Superhero Movie Comes Out Today.

The Fallen tells the story of an unlikely band of superheroes fighting an evil villain.

Mason on the set of The Fallen. All photographs courtesy of Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Mason Bronner is like most superhero-obsessed fourth graders. He lives with his mom Brooke, his dad Phillip, and his brother and sister in Cleveland Park. The Georgetown Day School student loves Batman, just saw Avengers: Endgame in theaters, and says his favorite super villain is the Joker. (“He always has another trick up his sleeve and always seems to be able to get away.”)

The only difference? The 10-year-old just debuted his own superhero action film.

The Fallen follows the story of an eponymous band of unlikely superheroes who overcomes its differences to stop evil super villain Remos before he conquers Earth. The movie premiered last night at the Uptown Theater, where Bronner celebrated his debut as a filmmaker with over 100 friends and family members. As of today, it’s available to stream online.

Bronner with the cast of The Fallen.

Like many superhero stories, the idea for the film began in an unlikely setting. Bronner was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 7 (he’s now in remission after a bone marrow transplant). During his stays at Children’s National for treatment, he spent a lot of time thinking about superheroes, drawing his own characters, coming up with stories about them, and assigning them specific personalities and powers.

When Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic got in touch with Bronner, he initially asked for several wishes. “The first one, of course, was to make a movie,” he says. (The other ones had to do with meeting the cast of Suicide Squad. “I’m obsessed,” he says.)

He wasn’t sure he’d get his first choice, but to his surprise and excitement, Make-A-Wish was game, and The Fallen started production.

First step? “We had a meeting and they brought Dunkin’ Donuts,” says Bronner. “We talked about how the movie would work and that stuff.”

Then Bronner introduced his characters and their stories to a screenwriter, who worked with him to turn his creations into a script. He watched the audition tapes and helped to pick the actors, and was on set for the two days of filming (he sat in a special executive producer chair, of course).

Bronner supervises filming from the executive producer’s chair.

The movie was filmed between DC and Virginia, and all 150 people involved—from makeup artists to stunt developers to sound engineers—are from the local area. The majority of them donated their time, with an estimated hundreds of thousands of dollars of in-kind donations made throughout production, according to a Make-A-Wish spokesperson.

And there’s one very special cameo: The film opens with a shot of Bronner drawing The Fallen characters before the audience is pulled into the story.

“I’m writing about The Fallen and then it’s like we go into my writing and we see the movie,” says Bronner. “I’m playing myself, so I was perfect for the role.”

And this probably isn’t the last we’ll see from Mason Bronner Productions. He plans to one day become a professional screenwriter creating—what else?—superhero blockbusters.

The Fallen is available to watch online here.

Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Home & Features Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She’s written for The Washington Post, Garden & Gun, Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Del Ray.