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Person 2 Person: Mitch Davis

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Person 2 Person: Mitch Davis (Photo provided by Mitch Davis)

(KUTV) Mitch Davis is an independent filmmaker. You may recognize some of his films, including "The Other Side of Heaven" and "Christmas Eve."

His next project, "The Stray," opens in theaters nationwide on October 6th.

This project is unique, because "The Stray" is all about his family and their pet dog, Pluto.

Davis started his career working as a junior executive at Disney, working alongside people like Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michael Eisner. He had attended Brigham Young University and USC Film School.

"I was straight out of film school--I was at a low level. But, I got to work on some really cool projects," Davis said.

Some of those projects included "White Fang," "Dead Poets Society," and "Newsies."

Working at Disney was a "dream path" for Davis, but it meant working very long hours away from his family.

Katzenberg was known for coming into the office very early and staying late, and Davis felt the need to do the same to keep up.

"Unlike every other executive there, I had a wife and children that I valued and that I wanted to spend time with," he said.

Many of the other executives were single.

"I just wasn't around," Davis said.

His attentions to his work caused some problems at home. One day Davis suggested to his wife that they get a dog.

But she would only allow a pet if a stray dog showed up at their door.

"A week or two later, a stray dog followed our oldest son home from the school bus stop," Davis said. "He ended up being a bit of angel in our family's life."

They named him Pluto, and Davis credits him with helping save his life when he was struck by lightning a few years later.

When the incident happened, the Davis family had moved to Colorado to take a break from Los Angeles and the grueling movie business.

Davis invited a few neighbor boys to go on a backpacking trip in order to help his son make friends.

They were hiking in the late afternoon of a July day and it started snowing.

"So I put the boys inside the tent, started to fix some hot chocolate, and kaboom," described Davis.

He describes the lightning striking his chest first, then going through his armpit and hitting the dog, who was next to him.

"I flew back, and whatever lightning was left inside me shot out of this hand into the kid next to me, and it went from kid to kid to kid and danced around inside the tent," he said.

The lightning strike left Davis unable to move his body for a night.

"I had a very lonely, long night to just sit there--lie there--and think about God, man and the universe, and me," he said. "I made some decisions, I made some choices that hopefully have informed the rest of my life since then."

Eventually, Davis returned to the movie business as an independent filmmaker. His faith in God is a big influence on his films.

"Every movie I've ever made has a faith component to it," he said. "I choose light. I mean, why go all to the trouble and expense of doing a great job at producing a bad thing. Why choose darkness?"

For more about "The Stray," you can visit the film's website.

Web Exclusives:

Mitch Davis on why he makes inspiring films, what's next for him

Mitch Davis talks about being an independent filmmaker

Mitch Davis explains how 'The Stray' came to be


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