top of page


In conversation with Steve Long, Director of the Global Film Exhibition

 Today, we have the privilege of sitting down with Blake Kraft, a filmmaker, actor, and podcast producer, to discuss his remarkable journey and his documentary film, "Kraft Minded." Blake's story is an inspiration to many, as he has achieved significant success despite living with high-functioning autism, or Asperger's syndrome. Welcome, Blake, and thank you for joining us today.

Steve Long: To kick things off, Blake, could you share what inspired you to create "Kraft Minded"?

Blake Kraft: Certainly, Steve. What inspired me to make this documentary was my personal success in the world of filmmaking, acting, and podcast producing despite living with a high-functioning disability like autism/Asperger's. Additionally, watching the Netflix series "Atypical" and witnessing the character Sam Gardner, played by Keir Gilchrist, overcome his challenges and persist in his journey prompted me to turn my experiences into a message. I wanted to help individuals facing disabilities, much like Sam and myself, by making their struggles more visible and empowering.

Steve Long: That's a powerful motivator, Blake. Could you delve into the themes and messages you aimed to convey through "Kraft Minded"?

Blake Kraft: Absolutely, Steve. The central message of "Kraft Minded" is that despite disabilities, be it Down syndrome, autism, dyslexia, or any other, individuals can still achieve success in their careers and lives. My personal journey serves as proof that with dedication and perseverance, one can overcome obstacles and come out on top.

Steve Long: Your journey is indeed a testament to that message, Blake. Can you share some insights into your creative process, particularly any challenges you faced along the way?

Blake Kraft: Certainly, Steve. During my college years from 2014 to 2019, I encountered challenges related to academic performance and emotional control. There were times when I struggled with handling failure, especially when receiving low grades due to lack of preparation or not paying enough attention to project directions. To overcome this, I adopted a more rigorous study approach and sought the support of study buddies. This not only improved my grades but also emphasized the importance of teamwork and attentiveness to project details.

Steve Long: It's commendable how you tackled those challenges, Blake. Can you tell us about the influences that have shaped your creative journey?

Blake Kraft: Of course, Steve. The film "Balto" holds a special place in my heart and has been a significant influence. It symbolizes the idea that despite outward appearances, there's a hero inside me who never gives up and is always ready to face challenges head-on to help others. Additionally, the work of my favorite actors, such as Tom Kenny and Jim Cummings, has motivated me to strive for excellence in my career, much like they have in theirs.

Steve Long: It's clear that your passion and inspirations drive your work, Blake. Can you shed some light on the behind-the-scenes stories and the involvement of your support systems?

Blake Kraft: Certainly, Steve. I wanted to involve my brother, Brian Jacobson, and my best friend, Matthew McKeever, in "Kraft Minded" because they have been strong pillars of support in my life. Matthew, especially, taught me that people with disabilities, even those in wheelchairs, have unique qualities to offer, and there's much to learn from them. Brian's perspective that our disabilities are a part of who we are and that we can use them to inspire others was instrumental in shaping the documentary's narrative.

Steve Long: It's heartwarming to see the role of these support systems in your journey, Blake. How did you approach casting for "Kraft Minded," and what was your vision behind it?

Blake Kraft: Steve, my approach to casting was unique. I wanted people who had played significant roles in my life to portray themselves in the film. This way, they could authentically share their experiences and contributions to my personal and professional growth.

Steve Long: That personal touch in casting must have added a unique dimension to the documentary. Can you elaborate on what makes "Kraft Minded" unique compared to other films?

Blake Kraft: Absolutely, Steve. "Kraft Minded" stands out because it not only aims to inspire individuals with disabilities but also emphasizes that their disabilities make them unique in many ways. It carries a strong message against discrimination and hatred, urging people to embrace love and acceptance. Additionally, I'm about to watch "The Good Doctor," which I believe will provide another source of inspiration for success despite adversity.

Steve Long: Your film certainly promotes a message of positivity and unity. What do you hope audiences will take away from "Kraft Minded"?

Blake Kraft: I hope that viewers will take away the message that, despite having a disability, they can dream big and make those dreams a reality through hard work and dedication. Listening to their support systems is crucial, and if they don't have one, I want them to know they can always reach out to me for support and guidance. Anyone who doubts their abilities or puts them down doesn't deserve their friendship. Love and success should always guide their lives and careers. Even when their work is underestimated, I hope they won't give up but instead learn from failures and keep pushing forward.

Steve Long: That's a powerful message of resilience, Blake. Can you tell us about the locations and settings used in "Kraft Minded"?

Blake Kraft: Certainly, Steve. We shot some scenes in Austin, Texas, including in the clubhouse of an apartment complex and on the road. These scenes featured my friends Carlo and Donald, who also have disabilities and have made remarkable contributions. Scenes with my brother Brian were filmed in Oostburg, Wisconsin, while those with Matthew McKeever and my parents were shot in Springfield, Missouri.

Steve Long: Your documentary seems to have taken you on quite a journey across different states. Could you share what you find most rewarding about filmmaking, especially now that "Kraft Minded" is featured in a global exhibition?

Blake Kraft: The most rewarding aspect of filmmaking, especially having "Kraft Minded" featured globally, is that my work is reaching audiences worldwide. My dream has always been to become a legendary filmmaker and actor, and I aim to be counted among the best in the industry. Despite my challenges, such as my high-functioning disability, hard work and dedication have led to recognition and success for my documentary.

Steve Long: It's clear that your dedication has paid off, Blake. Finally, could you share some advice for aspiring filmmakers based on your own experiences?

Blake Kraft: Certainly, Steve. I would advise aspiring filmmakers to believe that anyone with a great mind will always come out on top and that anyone who never gives up will ultimately find success. When you work hard, share your work with a wider audience, and do whatever it takes to succeed, you can indeed come out on top and be the best version of yourself. I started as a beginner filmmaker with flawed work, but with time and effort, I overcame those flaws, and now my work inspires others. So, don't let anyone underestimate you, prove them wrong, and show the world your worth.

Steve Long: Your journey and advice are both inspiring, Blake. Lastly, can you give us a glimpse into your future projects?

Blake Kraft: Of course, Steve. I have a sequel to "Kraft Minded" in the works, where I'll delve deeper into my success story and possibly explore my childhood and early challenges. Additionally, I'm planning a thrilling TV series titled "Adventures Around The World With Blake Kraft." This series will document my daring escapades in activities like skydiving, hang gliding, scuba diving, snowboarding, and hot air ballooning across various cities, states, and countries.

Steve Long: We'll certainly be looking forward to those exciting projects, Blake. Thank you for sharing your incredible journey and insights with us today. Your story is an inspiration to us all, and we can't wait to see more of your work in the future. 

7 views0 comments


bottom of page