In time for the holidays, Phil Wurtzel releases ‘A Christmas Hero’

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In time for the holidays, Phil Wurtzel’s “A Christmas Hero”  is now online.

The story, written by Phil Wurtzel and Patti Wittenberg,  involves Nick,  (played by Michael Welch of Twilight fame (2008)), a disillusioned Afghanistan war vet who’s struggling with PTSD. As the story unfolds Nick goes to work at his first job as a civilian at Southwest Michigan’s Air Zoo, the aerospace, and science center. Struggling with depression, and despair, made worse by the break-up of his marriage, he is visited by Michelle, his guardian angel. Borrowing from a classic holiday story, Nick’s guardian angel and other veterans who work at the museum show him his life has meaning.

Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, writer, director, and producer, Phil Wurtzel, has written directed, directed, and produced projects which have included the Oscar-nominated Seymour Cassel, and Oscar-nominated Barkhad Abdi, and actors Cary Elwes, Noah Jupe, Chloe Grace Moretz, Lakeith Stanfield, Tobin Bell, Michael Pare, Penelope Ann Miller, and Shelby Young.

Michael Welch ( as Nick) is a veteran actor of nearly 25 years with over 100 credited roles to his resume. His first feature film experience was as Artim in Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), the ninth installment of the iconic franchise.  In 2008-2010 he appeared in a role for which he is best known, that of Mike Newton in the Twilight film series, a franchise that grossed $3.3 billion worldwide.  In 2014-2015,  he appeared as a series regular on Z Nation, Syfy’s hit original zombie series that ran for five seasons. On television, he was a regular as Luke Girardi in the  Emmy-nominated CBS show, Joan of Arcadia, for which he received his second Young Artist Award.  Welch has also appeared as Roddy in Wurtzel’s 2016 production of A Haunting in Crawdor (2015).

Also starring as “A Christmas Hero” female leads,  Lauren Rys Martin (as Nick’s guardian angel, Michelle), and Kayla Kelly (as Nick’s wife, Lynn). Lauren Rys Martin, a SAG-AFTRA actor, has worked with Wurtzel before as an actor in A Haunting in Crawdor (2016), and Raunch and Roll (2019).  Kayla Kelly,  a  Michigan’s Upper Peninsula native, has appeared in a solid 18 credited roles, best known for her role as Gina in the series Northbound (2017), and Tonya in Agramon’s Gate (2019).  Watch for her in the yet to be released An Intrusion (as Julia Hilt), For Hannah (as Cheryl), and in the yet filming Five Year Plan (as Suzanne Femley). Also appearing in A Christmas Hero are employees of the Air Zoo.

About the Air Zoo
A Christmas Hero was the first feature film shot in the Air Zoo. 
Located at 6151 Portage Rd., Portage, MI 49002, the Air Zoo is a Smithsonian-affiliated aerospace & science experience with over 100 rare air and spacecraft, inspiring interactive exhibits, indoor amusement park rides, full-motion flight simulators, hands-on science-based education programs, and more.  The Air Zoo is a not-for-profit organization and is open 360+ days per year. For hours, tickets, safety policies and procedures as well as temporarily altered experiences due to COVID-19, visit

As of December 8th, you can find A Christmas Hero on Amazon, iTunes, as well as VOD (Video on Demand) release nationwide with Dish, DirectTV Network, and others. DVDs are available at Walmart, Best Buy, and Target.

To connect with Phil Wurtzel on Facebook
Kayla Kelly
Kayla’s IMDb page is
Lauren Rys Martin
Lauren’s IMDb page is

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