Pass the Remote: Filmmaker delivers again with ‘Dear Santa’

Martina Sifuentes of Berkeley is featured in "Dear Santa, the Series," available Friday on Hulu. (Courtesy Sweet World Films)

We can always count on Palo Alto filmmaker Dana Nachman to make us feel better about the world and the compassionate actions of those who inhabit it. 

The former NBC Bay Area journalist, director of “Batkid Begins” and co-director of “Pick of the Litter,” consistently makes documentaries about kindness that are stuffed with good cheer; they also may prompt a tear or two to spill down a cheek. 

Filmmaker Dana Nachman is known for her heartwarming documentaries. (Courtesy Dana Nachman)

This holiday season, Nachman follows up and expands upon her 2020 heart-warmer “Dear Santa” with a new series based on the original that debuts Friday on Hulu. (It’s also available on KGO and ABC Localish.) 

Like the feature-length film, “Dear Santa, the Series” showcases the 110-year-old U.S. Postal Service’s Operation Santa, which matches letters addressed to Santa with volunteer “elves” who scurry about to help kids realize their Christmas wishes. Under the program, hundreds of thousands of letters are sorted; many contain heartbreaking requests, some seeking essential items including wheelchairs. Others are from people who want to help individuals who are in need.  

The delightful six-episode “Dear Santa, the Series” includes a few stops in the Bay Area, highlighting postal workers who double as Santa’s helpers as well as the givers, deliverers and recipients. 

They include: Berkeley’s Martina Sifuentes, 10, who requested that a donation be made in her name to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Hayden Orellana, 12, of Hayward, sought a computer. Michael Lema, an Afghan war veteran living in Hayward and others from the American Legion assisted in fulfilling that request.  

Sadaat Samadi, a member of a Muslim Afghan family living in the East Bay, asked for English language and writing courses. His wish was granted by seniors from Moldaw Residences in Palo Alto who felt a connection to the family, either being refugees themselves or knowing people who fled to the United States during World War II. 

Jane Flower, a San Rafael resident who is blind, helped facilitate a Florida girl’s request for inspirational books that will make the world a better place.   

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