Tanya Schroeder 11:48 a.m., Dec. 12
Tomorrow morning, Vista’s Krikorian Theater will play host to the sold-out, red-carpet premiere of The Super Dentists Strike Back, the latest project from the pediatric dentistry and orthodontics practice of Drs. Nazli Keri and Kami Hoss. (Your humble correspondent will be in attendance and hopes to bring back video of the event.)
Made in collaboration with San Diego-based companies Breadtruck Films and the 3D Film Factory, the 30-minute feature tells the story of how dental-school dropout Cavitar and his sidekick Molar attempt to foil the Super Dentists’ ongoing mission to “fight cavities and crooked teeth.” It follows the wildly popular (over 200,000 DVDs in distribution) 12-minute film that first introduced the Tooth Keri and Dr. HaveOne SuperSmile to the world in 2004 and the 2008 animated sequel, The Terrible Tooth.
Wait, what? “Fifteen years ago,” says Hoss, “my wife came up with the idea of a character called the Tooth Keri” — which, of course, rhymes with “Fairy.” “My last name is Hoss, and we figured that could stand for Have One Super Smile. We developed a story behind them — the Tooth Keri lives in Fairy Land and Dr. HaveOne SuperSmile comes from the Tooth Star. They meet and go on a date and form the Super Dentists team.”
In reality, Keri and Hoss met in high school, then attended UCLA and dental school together before opening the side-by-side offices that eventually combined to form the Super Dentists. Currently, the practice has locations in Chula Vista, Eastlake, and Oceanside, and gives in-school presentations all over San Diego County. “We give the movies to our new patients as an introduction to the practice, and we give them to kids after the school presentations so that they can continue to enjoy it and so they can follow through” on the practices advocated in the films.
Hoss and Keri
The response, says Hoss, has been unbelievable. "I think part of it is the fact that they see the movie and then they come and see us in person. It’s like we’re celebrities, superheroes. Yesterday, I walked into a room to examine a patient, a ten-year-old girl. She started shaking and screaming in excitement. I looked at her mom and she said, ‘She’s a fan. She’s been watching your movie, and she’s been looking forward to seeing you.’ I signed her movie poster. And my wife hears kids talk to each other when she walks by — ‘There goes the Super Dentist!’ Parents tell me that it’s their kids’ favorite movie. They’ll ask me, ‘Will you please make another? My kids have watched it 50, 60 times. When we go on a trip, we have to pack it.’”
Replay-weary parents are not the biggest reason for the third installment to the series, however. “A lot has changed in the dental industry since our first movie,” explains Hoss. “We thought it was time for kids to see the new ways that they can fight cavities and crooked teeth. We put our heads together with Steve Godwin, who is a very talented writer, and figured out how to cast new dental-procedure technologies as super powers. So, the Super Dentists will have X-ray vision for the X-rays, or invisibility powers so that we can talk about invisible braces. One of the things we highlight in this movie is that now we can actually put braces behind teeth with a product called Incognito. The braces are custom-fitted to the back of the teeth, and the procedure makes them really straight really quickly.”
(However disastrous the prospect of crooked teeth, when it comes time to personify a dental difficulty, you can’t beat sugar, the cavity king. Hence, the creation of Cavitar and his candy-coated lair. “We try to make it fun. We know that most kids are, at some point, going to eat sugar. So we say, ‘Okay, then limit it, and brush your teeth afterwards.’ But in this movie, we are linking sugar with something really bad — in this movie, sugar is our Kryptonite. One of the messages of this movie is that every kid has a special power; they just have to find out what it is. But if you eat too much sugar, you’re going to lose a lot of your special powers.”)
Technological developments also drove the decision to make the leap into 3D. “Most of the new movies geared at kids are in 3D, we needed to be able to compete with those if kids were going to watch our film. This is not a 2D movie turned into 3D” in post-production, stresses Hoss. “We had one of the best 3D companies in the world right there setting the shots up for actual filming in 3D. Putting something like that together required a team of very talented people. I had no idea what it would take to do all this” — Keri and Hoss financed the film themselves — “and we put in a lot of resources as far as time, manpower, and heart. But I’m very, very proud of what we’ve accomplished. We plan to have a DVD out by the end of the year, and it will offer a 2D version of the film, a ‘blue and red 3D’ version so that people can get a 3D effect with a 2D television, and a full 3D version patients can watch on a 3D TV. We think people will keep it for years to come.”
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