Gino Cafarelli is a man of many talents. He acts, writes, produces, and directs. His career has spanned 30 years and he’s worked with some of Hollywood’s elite like Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, and Al Pacino. Now fresh off the release of his latest movie Capone, Cafarelli is finishing another project that’s been near and dear to his heart, a book inspired by his daughter, Athena, who was born with hearing loss.

The story, Athena Visits the Marina, is about a little girl, with hearing loss, who meets sea animal friends, via her hearing aids.

“My daughter Athena was born with hearing loss. She’s seven now and she’s adapted so beautifully, but I just wanted to do something in the hearing loss and deaf community.”

You can feel the love Cafarelli has for his daughter as he talks about her journey. Though the diagnosis was a shock at first, he’s never let Athena be held back by her hearing loss.

“Some may see it as a disability, but it’s also become kind of like a superpower.”

Years before Athena’s birth, Cafarelli had created and pictured an animated show on completely different concept. He had never done anything in the cartoon industry before, but he gave it a shot. Cafarelli believes if a person is passionate about an idea they just need to have the follow-through to make it a reality.

“You don’t have to know how to do it, you just have to believe in your heart that you can do it and it will work itself out.”

The series didn’t pan out, and Cafarelli refocused his energy back on his TV and film work. Then, a few years later, when Athena was born the book idea came to mind.

“We were either driving to or from the airport in Greece, I can’t remember, but we passed by the marina and I just thought oh Athena, Marina that’s cool and it just stuck.”

As Athena grew, Cafarelli noted the lack of content available for children with hearing loss. One day, during a weekly visit to the book store, the two ideas came together in perfect harmony.

“Suddenly I was like BINGO! I’ll walk before I run and do a children’s book about a girl who has a hearing loss.”

He dove into the research and eventually found a publisher who was as excited about the project as he was. Cafarelli has high hopes for the book’s debut and is looking forward to the role it will play in his legacy for Athena.

“It’s a beautiful story and if you do something from the heart and with authenticity it’s always going to catch on because you put the time, passion, and love into it.”

If you’re looking for more Cafarelli content, check out his movie Cruise, available on Hulu, and Capone, available on all VOD platforms. You can also follow him on Instagram @ginocafarelli.