Wishing Well Entertainment is a production company with a focus on projects of social relevance, founded by actor Raphael Sbarge after he got the opportunity to step in as director and executive producer of On Begley Street, a streaming series starring actor and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. The nine-part series was ultimately sold to an online network, and received several nominations and awards.
Inspired by the impact and potential reach of socially conscious film making, Raphael began to combine his production work with his work for his grassroots environmental nonprofit, Green Wish. A five-year Legacy Grant from the California Instituted for Contemporary Art awarded to Green Wish enabled the production of A Concrete River: Reviving the Waters of Los Angeles. The documentary explored the history of the Los Angeles River and the 30-year campaign of Friends of the LA River, a group dedicated to protecting and restoring the river and its habitat. Raphael went on to direct and produce Is There Hope for Planet Earth? in conjunction with Cal-Tech in Pasadena, a documentary short featuring acclaimed climatologist Dr. Jess Adkins discussing climate change. Both films have been acquired and broadcast by KCET.
Wishing Well went on to produce its first narrative short, The Bird Who Could Fly, about an immigrant Korean family’s story of coming to America. The film took home Best Narrative short, Best Director and Best Ensemble awards at several film festivals around the world.
As Wishing Well’s relationship with KCET took a huge leap forward, LA Foodways was born. The six-episode digital series and a one-hour feature chronicled the shift from an agricultural center to a sprawling metropolis during the past 150 years, and the resulting issues of food scarcity, food waste and the effects of food deserts in underserved communities. A strong response to the multi-part project has led to preparations for a second season from KCET.
Wishing Well is currently working on several documentaries that explore how the past has informed the present, with a project about the giant adaptive reuse effort in Atlanta at the Pullman Yard, and the civil rights stories of the porters who worked for the Pullman Train Company. The film is co-produced with PBA (PBS Atlanta). Another film dives into the history of the Laemmle family, reaching back to Carl Laemmle, a co-founder of Universal Pictures, and telling the story of the three successive generations of Laemmles who have run what is considered to be one of the premiere art house theater chains in the U.S. Raphael is also bringing the Obie Award-winning and Drama Desk-nominated Off-Broadway The Tricky Part to film with his co-producer, actor Anthony Edwards. The Tricky Part addresses the subject of male sexual abuse; the project is being done in conjunction with the organization 1 in 6.