Coffee Shop – Review and Recommendation

 

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Ever since I heard that the Erwin brothers had a new movie coming out, I’ve been excited to see it. Tonight I finally got to watch Coffee Shop and it was exactly what I was anticipating. I love feelgood romantic comedies, especially Hallmark style and this is even better because it has a wonderful faith theme. While it’s not overtly Christian, it’s got just the right mix of biblical wisdom and a distinctly Christian worldview. 

Coffee Shop is the story of Donavan Turner (Laura Vandervoort), an independent young businesswoman looking for just the right blend of happiness in her life. As she struggles to save her fledgling neighborhood coffee shop, she is torn between her old love real estate guru Patrick (Josh Ventura) and her new love interest playwright Ben Carson (Cory M. Grant). 

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First, let me say that this movie is visually stunning. Everything about it, from the sets, camera work, beauty shots, wardrobe, everything is beautifully done. Fairhope, Alabama ,where most of the movie was shot, is a charming little town, and the filmmakers made the most of an already beautiful location.They also took full advantage of outdoor clear and colored lights which worked especially well with the shallow focus shots.  I also think this is one of the best dressed faith-based movies I’ve ever seen. Anna Redmon did a fabulous job dressing all the actors in fashionable classics that worked perfectly in their environment. There were several times where I had to click the pause button just so I could fully absorb the beauty of the shots. 

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The casting in this movie is perfect. Beverly Holloway did an excellent job of pulling together an ensemble cast with great chemistry together. I loved seeing Jason Burkey and Rachel Hendrix together again. They were perfectly believable as a couple in love and Rachel and Laura were convincing sisters. Both Josh and Cory were great as love interests, and Jason McBeth was hilarious as the blind date gone bad. 

If you enjoy a well told love story with quirky realistic characters, you will absolutely love Coffee Shop. Check it out this Sunday night on Uptv. You’ll be glad you did. 

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The Song – Movie Review

I’ve been following The Song since this past NRB Convention when we interviewed lead actor Alan Powell. Tonight I finally got a chance to watch an early screener. 

The Song is the story of aspiring singer—‐songwriter Jed King who is struggling to catch a break and escape the long shadow of his famous father. While performing at a local festival, he meets and falls in love with Rose. Soon after their wedding, he writes Rose “The Song,” which becomes a breakout hit. Suddenly thrust into a life of stardom and a world of temptation, his life and marriage begin to fall apart. The story is inspired by the life of King Solomon. 

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I wasn’t sure what to expect with this movie. The premise of Solomon’s life is predictably dark, and it was obvious from the trailer that the movie would be on the gritty side. On the other hand, I kept hearing from others who said they liked it better than any of the other faith-based movies released this year.After watching it, I’m still not sure what I think of it.

I really didn’t like the beginning. It was a fast paced montage narrated by Jed (Alan Powell) quoting Solomon’s words from the Bible. Unfortunately, I had a difficult time following who was who and exactly what was going on. Once the movie officially started, it got better and it definitely ended better than it began.

song2The filmmakers did a good job  selecting sets and locations. I loved the beauty of the Kentucky countryside in fall and the chapel on the lake. The acting was good, especially Alan Powell and  the two leading ladies – Ali Faulkner and Caitlin Nicol-Thomas. They were all perfect casting and played their roles beautifully. 

While I felt the musical performances were well done and Caitlin in particular is incredibly talented, I wasn’t crazy about the music. I felt that that the music tended to drag. At 116 minutes, this is a pretty long movie and would have benefitted greatly from cutting down some of the performances. 

A good movie should elicit emotion and this definitely did that. It made me very uncomfortable. I was constantly squirming in my seat as Jed and Rose drifted apart and Shelby seduced him into a life of temptation and addiction. Unfortunately, I’ve known firsthand men and women like Jed who have been sucked into a life that promised them much but brought them nothing but heartache. This is a movie that probably needs to be watched, but is not always a pleasant experience. I’ll be interested to see what other people have to say about it. 

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One final note:Everyone should follow The Song on Facebook for all the wonderful marriage and love related quotes that they share. 

 

Arize Productions – With Audra Murrieta and Arthur Grigoryan

Arize Productions is a new film company entering the world of faith-based films. Their first short film, Roadside Assistance, will soon be featured at the Bedias, Texas Christian Film Festival. Now they’re hard at work on their next project.
 
 
 
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Audra and Arthur, it’s good after all this time to finally settle down for a chance to converse with you about Arize Productions. First, tell us a little about Arize.
 
Audra: First off, thank you so much for taking the time to interview us. We deeply appreciate it. Well Arize Productions is a film ministry and company that aims to make high quality faith based films. And these films are used as an evangelistic tool.
 
What role do each of you play? 
 
Audra: I am the founder of Arize Productions. I also direct, write, produce, and act in these films. I am also the one who takes care of the business side of this company such as promotion and reaching out to other churches concerning our films.
 
Arthur: My role in this film group is the co-founder and pretty much the onstage and backstage work, I not only get the honor of portraying the Lord himself at times but after that I get to edit the whole thing as well as work on the sound both onstage and offstage.
 
 
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What is your filmmaking background?
 
Audra: My film background is really only having been in films, in front of the camera that is. This is really my first time writing film scripts. I have yet to learn about working with cameras but I plan on learning that aspect of film to be more well rounded.
 
Arthur: I started taking film production classes in high school for about 3 years and I took a theatre class in college plus a few other classes outside of school, just local places to learn more about filming.
 
What inspired you to get involved in producing short films?
 
Audra: I have always had a desire to be in films ever since I was a kid. I started out in theatre and my brother and I would make these home movies or comedic skits lol. I was really inspired to step out in faith with Arize a year ago. I was at a place where I was willingly to take risks if the Lord asked me too. I just knew, after much prayer, that this was the time to become a part of the harvest field that is faith based films. Right now, there are films being used as an evangelistic resource to help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
 
Arthur: As far back as I can remember I was always one for shooting little skits with my brothers just for the fun of it. But it wasn’t until at the end of high school when I really was inspired to shoot a few short films, but that kinda died off after graduation. >From that time till now I was just doing minor editing and slideshows for fun but after I met Audra and we both shared out interest in film and possibly one day Shooting a short film ourselves, I was then more inspired to do it. So I prayed on it and God opened doors for us. So in a sense God was my inspiration this whole time, working with me from high school till now and preparing me to do his will.
 
 
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Tell us a little about Roadside Assistance.
 
Audra: I wrote Roadside Assistance after having finished a script that was supposed to be Arize’s first short film. We were planning on filming that script but we could never get out to shoot it. So one day, after watching Touched by an Angel, I was telling my mom how they needed to bring that show back because it was such a great inspirational show. After saying that, I decided to sit down and write a script similar to that except instead of using an angel, I decided to place Jesus as the one who comes to the aid of Rick. The character Rick is someone who has lost all hope and he is at the end of his rope. Really, this encounter he has is either going to go down in two ways: he will either regain the hope he lost or he is just going to go on his way being in the same state he is in at the beginning of the film.
 
Arthur: Roadside is about a man who is lost in the world. Filled with anger and loss, he encounters a man on the road when his car dies, and that man starts bringing up his past and telling him that he’s come to help him and take his pain away. After mentioning his brutal childhood and the loss of his daughter, the stranger urges the man to trust him and it’s then that the man realizes who this stranger is. It’s a short story of how we all have loses in our lives and blame God and wonder where was he at those times. In the end he learns to trust God and God takes away his pain and suffering and he wants to for us all.
 
 
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I understand you’re now working on a new project. Tell us a little about that.
 
Audra: I’m very excited to produce this next project of ours. This time, my partner Arthur wrote the script and will be directing it. I will be assisting directing, casting, and producing it. It’s a great script that sheds light on what’s going on in classrooms today.
 
Arthur: If you have seen Gods Not Dead, than you are gonna love this one, I was inspired to write this a couple years ago and once the script was done I just left it there an hopes I would one day get to it, and now I have! In this project we see a young girl struggling in her class because her professor is an atheist and bashes her for being a Christian, not knowing what to do anymore, she encounters a stranger at school one day and he encourages her to not give up, so she invites him to sit in with her as a guest and so the Epic debate begins between God and an Atheist. In the end the truth always comes out, but as always Love is a key role in it all.
 
What is the greatest challenge you’ve faced as a filmmaker?
 
Audra: The greatest challenge I’ve faced, so far, is learning the do’s and don’ts of filming making. For example, how many certificate of insurances do I need? Lol! And trying to get all these film permits so that we don’t run into any problems. It can get quite confusing at times.
 
Arthur: Me personally, I’ve worked with quite a few people and a lot of equipments to know who’s who and what’s what, but that’s a challenge for every filmmaker, as for the greatest challenge, it would have to be Myself. My own laziness, my discipline, my own time, my comfort, my ambitions, my patience and energy in it all would have to be the greatest challenge because I really would be the only person that stood in my own way.
 
 
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What do you find most rewarding about producing films?
 
Audra: The most rewarding thing about producing films is when you hear that your film made a difference in someone’s life. Arize Productions is all about serving our Lord Jesus Christ and letting this whole world know that there is a God who loves them and who is just waiting to pour out His love and grace upon them. We serve a mighty God who makes a way when there seems to be no way and Arize Productions will do all we can to show the audience that.
 
Arthur: The fact that people could relate to it and encourage us to keep doing what we are doing because we are changing lives through this ministry is probably what I find most rewarding in producing films. Fame isn’t everything, sometimes it’s the small things that really impact peoples heart.
 
What are your goals for Arize Productions?
 
Audra: When God placed on my heart to develop Arize, I knew the goal would be to share these films with other churches or Bible studies who might want to use them as topics for their sermons or Bible study lessons. That is still the goal. I would also like to see, if the Lord wills it, Arize producing a feature films. And I’d like to eventually do this full time to better focus on the ministry.
 
Arthur: I hope and pray that eventually we will have enough equipment and people and finances to be able to minister and reach out to more people than we are now in order to do the work we are called to do by God. Who knows maybe this will turn into a full time job I hope.
 
 
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Well, thank you for your time. Anything else you wanted to mention?
 
Audra: I just want to thank my God who made all this possible. It’s because of Him that this ministry is around. I’d also like to thank our family and friends who support us financially through donations and of course the many prayers that are said for us. Also, a quick shout out to IFC drama team lead by wonderful friend/mentor, Davina Garcia. Arthur and I are also members of that drama ministry as well. And thank you again for interviewing us!
 
Thank you so much for your time, God bless you and I hope to hear back soon! 
 
Thanks!
 
Here’s a link to the director’s introduction on our Youtube page: Arize Productions – Directors Introduction
 
 
 

The Resurrection Project – With Executive Producer David Wood

If you haven’t yet heard of The Resurrection Project, you will. Set to be the sequel to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ, The Resurrection is not just a movie, but a global movement designed to set the world afire for Christ. I met executive producer David Wood at the Pan Pacific Film Festival last month in L.A. and was introduced to this exciting project that has already been embraced by so many in the film and faith industry. 

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Hello, David! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to Faith Flix about The Resurrection Project. So tell us, what makes this movie project so unique from other films?

This project is unique for a number of reasons. First, it’s the second part of the story of Mel Gibson’s successful Passion of The Christ, but the real power of our faith is The Resurrection. Second is the way we’re releasing it from a web platform where people will buy this film, game and sound track directly from us.

What was the inspiration for the project?

The inspiration was a download from God that He gave me in 2004, a project that would unite the church globally and then allow us to engage the world with this most important story.

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How long have you been working on this?

I have been working on this project for 10 years now. The last few years it has really been coming together.

What has been the response so far? Tell us about some of the supporters who have joined in.

The response has been just overwhelming and exciting for me. We have been meeting with para church groups and churches, parishes, and believers from all over the world.

What has been the greatest challenge?

The greatest challenge has been trying not to do this in the flesh, to let God lead this and stay in the flow of the Holy Spirit daily. At the beginning and the end of the day, this is God’s film not mine. I am just trying to steward it.

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When will you begin filming?

We’re still raising money and marketing and developing the project. We won’t start production or casting until were fully funded.

What is your full vision for the project?

The strategy is driving the world to a web platform to buy and engage with the project, just like Facebook using the college infrastructure to launch and get to where they are now at one billion people online, the third largest nation next to China and India. Our goal is to use the church in the same grass roots manner to get to a few billion.

How can people join in and get involved?

Anyone can get involved by praying for us, joining the social media campaign, making a donation to the crowd funding side of our project – even though most of the funding will come from investors – or just by going up to the website and telling others .

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I’ve seen that you’re partnering with movies like Doonby and Jackson’s Run. Tell us about that.

I am involved with numerous other projects where I am an Executive Producer or people are using our global marketing and distribution model. God has told me that our project is a catalyst but to help other projects as well with our system.

Well, David, thank you again for sharing with us today. Anything else you wanted to mention?

This film is about the love and hope of Jesus Christ that the world so badly needs these days. So please, everyone, let’s make it about the love, as we all have been forgiven of much.

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The Perfect Wave – With Director Bruce MacDonald

 

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The Perfect Wave is an exciting new South African film making its way through the film festival circuit and soon to be released to US Walmart stores as the “Movie of the Month” for September. Film festival accolades include 2nd Place at The International Christian Film Festival, Official Selection at the I Will Tell International Film Festival in the UK, Red Carpet Competition Winner at the Kingdomwood Film Festival, Official selection at the Anglet Surf Film Festival, Official Selection at the 17th Religion Today Film Festival in Italy,  and nominated Best Film at the Pan Pacific Film Festival where it won Best Cinematography.

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Hello, Bruce, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to Faith Flix about your exciting new movie The Perfect Wave.  What inspired you to share Ian McCormack’s story in The Perfect Wave?

I love surfing and I love God, so it was a perfect fit. I’ve always been intrigued much like others across the world, wondering what happens to us when we die, and Ian stood before Jesus, he stood in the inner courts and saw heaven, saw the after-life. This is very comforting,

The other aspect that grabbed me about Ian’s story was when he stood before Jesus, he looked back at earth and saw hundreds and thousands of people, and he asked “who are they?” and Jesus responded, “they’re the ones that won’t set foot in my church. Those are the ones I want you to share this experience with.” This was a huge inspiration, as I knew being part of this testimony meant we would see lives impacted.

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How did you assemble such an impressive cast and crew?

All God!!!!! He opened the doors. It’s a miracle really….

Scott was an obvious choice, as he was an up and coming actor. I knew he surfed and when I shared the story with him, he loved the spiritual aspect, and the opportunity to do his own surfing, – and I knew after numerous Skypes, that he was destined to be a star, and this was really his break-out role, where he plays the lead. He was highly professional and committed, and was a pleasure to work with. So getting Scott was really about timing, and being in the right place at the right time in his life, and offering him something that he wanted to do.

Rachel Hendrix, I was sent her screener (OCTOBER BABY) and watched the film, and although I found the film very slow, I found her to be a great actress – and called her and told her a bit about what we were doing. The story resonated with Rachel, and even though the role was outside her comfort zone, she accepted, and she brought a fabulous performance,

Rachel is really destined for greater things. She is attractive both inside and out, and she is highly dedicated to her craft,

Cheryl’s role is a responsible one. Her anointing was key to the sincerity of the mothers prayers. Her deep understanding of the impact she would play through the role was what inspired her to do the film,

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What was the biggest challenge you faced while filming?

I guess making the decision whether to show Jesus or not. This was a huge debate, something we spent hours deliberating, Eventually I decided, after hearing loads of opinions, that it would be better to do the scene where Ian is in heaven, slightly differently. I thought the power of this scene laid in the camera focussing on SCOTT (ian) and it worked really well. It could have been cheesy for non christians, and I think what we achieved made the film more accessible and acceptable to non believers,

 

What is your favorite scene in the movie?

The humour scene in the Australian outback, where they show the aboriginal woman what surfing is all about,

It’s funny and humour and seeing people laugh is so rewarding, Even Scott Eastwood, who we took the mickey out of in the scene was really peeved. He didn’t enjoy doing the scene, as he knew his friends would rip him off, and this came through in the performance, so its rather real. The aboriginal woman, is a South african actress and she was just perfect. She was funny, and carried the role perfectly,

 

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What is your vision or goal for the movie?

There are several goals from my perspective, the worldly one is that our investors recoup their investments, as these are amazing people who sowed their funds into the film empowering it to happen. These men and woman are the ones who need the praise and accolades. They stood by us and helped financially. They made this possible, and they are the one’s I’d love to see rewarded.

 

Then from a spiritual point of view, its obviously a kINGDOM film with a strong message about Grace and love and forgiveness, and to see people’s lives transformed through media, is such a miracle. Our daily prayers have been that lives are changed, and that we create a tool for change.

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How have you seen God’s hand at work in or through the movie?

Here is our story, we saw God miraculously heal our son. We saw His power. We saw His grace. Watch the link below for insight.  But what’s exciting are the numerous mails we receive from people saying, “we saw your film, and our lives have been changed forever.” That’s a compete WOW!!!!

How can churches or groups bring the movie to their city?

Yes, of coarse they can, and church screenings are so powerful. The churches can use this as an evangelical outreach, and can make an impact in their community. And because our film appeals to a broad audience, we’re seeing many lives impacted,

How can people get their own copy of the DVD?

Another miracle….  Walmart has made us “Movie of the Month” as they love the film. They have thrown their marketing muscle behind the film, and we launch throughout the US on the 16th of September exclusively in their stores. So that’s where folks can go get their copy, We have included some amazing bonus features, (one being my son’s testimony) and Christian surfers have enclosed an amazing sticker, which most youngsters would love – so its a great package,

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Well, thank you so much for sharing with us today, Bruce. Good luck at the upcoming festivals and with the Walmart release of the movie.

 
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The Identical Movie – Review and Recommendation

 

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I’ve been following The Identical almost from the beginning. We met the producers at NRB 2013 plus several of our actors from Flowers for Fannie and The Good Book filmed scenes in The Identical. I also interviewed a number of the cast and crew members at NRB 2014. So I thought I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. I was wrong. Even though I knew the basic storyline and knew it would be well done, the movie was even better than I expected. It’s a quality movie that is sure to become a popular classic. 

The Identical is the story of two twin brothers who are separated at birth and grow up in two worlds. The story focuses on Ryan Wade, the brother who is adopted by a preacher and his wife. He struggles to balance his love for music with his father’s conviction that he is called in ministry. It’s a beautiful message for anyone who has felt conflicted over what they feel called to do and what others tell them is their calling. It shares a message of hope and acceptance and accepting ourselves for who we are, not trying to be something we’re not. It’s not overtly Christian and will definitely appeal to a secular crowd, but it is a story that Christians will easily identify with. 

From the beginning, this movie captured my attention and kept it throughout. While I had a general idea of where the movie was going, I never knew exactly what would happen next. It had just the right amount of twists and turns. The impressive cast did a great job of carrying the story. Blake Rayne was perfect casting for the dual role of the twin brothers. This was his first film role, but with his 6’4″ stature, piercing blue eyes, and a booming bass voice, he has a definite star quality. My favorite character/actor was Joe Pantaliano playing Avi, the service station owner. He was such a fun character especially in the serenade scene. 

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of The Identical is the soundtrack. The film features a dozen original songs created specifically for the movie. While they’re all new songs, they have a very authentic feel and I’m sure the average moviegoer will never realize that the songs aren’t period classics. 

The Identical is coming to theaters September 5. I would highly recommend you check it out. 

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Kimberly Richardson – Actress

I first became aware of Kimberly as a result of her role in Seven Deadly Words. Then we were able to meet in person at Pan Pacific Film Festival last month in Los Angeles. She’s every bit as beautiful in person as she is on camera and just a very sweet person.

Brenda Reutebuch Photography

Brenda Reutebuch Photography

Hi Kimberly. It was so great to finally meet you at the Pan Pacific Film Festival last month.

Thank you Sharon. It was nice to finally meet you as well! Thank you for inviting me to be interviewed.

Tell us a little about yourself:

I live in Connersville, Indiana with my husband Nate. We have 5 children, 4 grandchildren, and 3 very spoiled pomeranians. We are active in our local church Higher Praise Worship Center, where I minister in dance with the Witness Dance and Deliverance Dance Ministry.

From the film GOING ON VOCATION, currently filming.  Photo by Tom Dallis, Ensign Media

From the film GOING ON VOCATION, currently filming. Photo by Tom Dallis, Ensign Media

When did you first develop an interest in acting?

I remember watching Gone With The Wind as a child and watching Vivien Leigh closely as she portrayed Scarlett O’Hara and thinking to myself, “I could do that!” I never watched another movie the same. I was watching the acting more than I was following the story of the film.

As The Honorable Judge Ann Miller in the film VANISHED, premiering next month (September).

As The Honorable Judge Ann Miller in the film VANISHED, premiering next month (September).

What were some of your early acting roles?

I enjoyed being involved in the drama clubs in junior high and high school. During high school I played Cinderella in a stage production presented by the Stage Crafts Class, and played the leading role of Catherine Marshall in A Man Called Peter presented by the Tri-Epsilon Drama Club.

THE INVISIBLE.  I portray Minnie, a homeless woman.

THE INVISIBLE. I portray Minnie, a homeless woman.

When did you discover film acting?

My being in film is totally a “God Thing!” One Sunday in church, our Pastor said in his message that “God wants you to re-visit your old dreams – those dreams you’ve swept under the rug and forgotten about. He wants to use you through those dreams.” The only dream I could remember was that of being an actress, but thought that seemed like a selfish dream. How could God use me in that, right? Then later I saw in the newspaper that a faith-based feature film Seven Deadly Words was going to be filmed in Connersville where I live! Leave it to God to drop a movie right in my neighborhood to get my attention!

Churches Making Movies Film Festival, Rahway, NJ  with SEVEN DEADLY WORDS Director Eric "Doc" Benson (Winner Best Director) and JACKSON'S RUN Producer Chris Robinson (Winner Best Feature Film).  I had the honor of being the only actress at this festival that was in 2 of the films being screened.

Churches Making Movies Film Festival, Rahway, NJ with SEVEN DEADLY WORDS Director Eric “Doc” Benson (Winner Best Director) and JACKSON’S RUN Producer Chris Robinson (Winner Best Feature Film). I had the honor of being the only actress at this festival that was in 2 of the films being screened.

Tell us about your role in Seven Deadly Words.
I play the role of Destiny, a member of Egypt Valley Church. The church is having financial problems and has just hired a new Pastor who’s ideas about making changes in the church are met with strong opposition from some of the church members. It was a fun role and the film is doing very well. It has received several awards.

THE INVISIBLE.  I portray Minnie, a homeless woman.

THE INVISIBLE. I portray Minnie, a homeless woman.

What other faith-based films have you been involved in?

I played Cindy Porter (Kristen’s Mother) in the film Jackson’s Run, and am in the film Going On Vocation as myself. It is a documentary film about people who share their faith through their vocation – mine being acting and dance, and it is currently filming. In a video series about modern day Bible characters’ testimonies, I played Martha.

It’s been a blessing to be a part of 12 film projects, as well as 4 television programs and some video projects. While they are not all “faith-based” projects, I use a high moral standard deciding which films to be a part of. I have turned down film and television roles because of the language in the project.

Looking ahead to 2015, I have 2 roles lined up for feature films. In Losing Breen  I will portray Breen Losslee, a woman suffering from Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease, and in The Text, I will play Angela Carmichael. Both films share a message of hope and forgiveness.

Pan Pacific Film Festival in L.A.

Pan Pacific Film Festival in L.A.

Tell us about your experience at Pan Pacific Film Festival?

I had a wonderful time working with producer David Wood and his staff at the PPFF. It was great to meet so many Christians who are involved in the film industry. One thing that blessed me was when two Los Angeles based actresses at different times had questions for me about my acting. They couldn’t understand how my resume was comparable to theirs, when I live in a small town in Indiana and they live in LA, right in the heart of the entertainment world. I explained that my acting is a ministry to me. God is the one who has been opening these incredible doors for me to so many projects. When I am cast in a film, I know it is God’s will I be on that movie set for His purpose-whether it be to encourage or minister to someone, or to just be an example of His love. Whatever it is, I pray for His guidance and all glory goes to Him.

As Reporter Beth Cummings in the film SMOKE & MIRRORS with actress Brenda Jo Reutebuch.

As Reporter Beth Cummings in the film SMOKE & MIRRORS with actress Brenda Jo Reutebuch.

What would be your dream role?

I guess I really never thought about it before! :) I like to do drama with a message that speaks to people. Stories that truly change lives.

Thank you for your time.
Anything else you’d like to mention?

I’d like to encourage every person reading this to DREAM BIG and LIVE YOUR FAITH OUT LOUD! I’ve been told many times in my life that I “can’t” do something. By doctors, by family, by abusive relationships, by strangers and even by some “friends”. If you are seeking God and living your life in a way that is pleasing to Him, there are no limits! Love and Blessings! Kimberly

Brenda Reutebuch Photography

Brenda Reutebuch Photography

The Other One – With Executive Producer and Leading Lady Grace McPhillips

The Other One is a unique film that is currently making the rounds in the film festival circuit.  The film deals with several key issues including school violence and dealing with dementia. Executive producer Grace McPhillips explains the process that went into the making of the movie.

 

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First, introduce yourself and your role with The Other One.

Born and raised in the Bible belt of Montgomery, Alabama, my first acting experience was playing the role of Mary in my pre-school Christmas Pageant. Perhaps that’s what spurred me into acting, but I have always known I wanted to perform and be a part of storytelling. My Parents helped co-found an Episcopal Church called Christ the Redeemer, and literally signed official paperwork, the day my mother gave birth to me, so as one can imagine, there were many more performance opportunities in the church ahead of me.

Naturally loving singing and dancing from a very early age, I followed the path of a musical theater performer, graduating from Elon University, but quickly realizing I loved putting the shows together more than performing them night after night. I wasn’t sure how to make a career out of that, but after a few years in Chicago I realized that filmmaking was essentially that- putting a show together. At the time I was coming to this realization, I was also feeling more inclined to take my career into my own hands and find or create roles of worth to play. I wanted to create “media that matters” and not be limited to the stereotypical stories and roles that, I think, people feel they need to write, create, or play in order to succeed and get noticed in Hollywood, or to sell their films. I believe faith, critical thinking, and positive messages can be woven into secular stories and music, and it’s up to the audience member to be open to the many levels a story can embody.

This is how I came to start Sterling Rock Productions, create films, and ultimately be the Lead Actress, Co-Creator, and Executive Producer of The Other One.

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What is your film background?

I didn’t go to film school, but I did work with lots of film students when I began to explore acting for the camera in 2005. Through those projects I came to know professors and found myself acting in their projects as well. By 2008 I had networked with enough people to call in favors and assemble my first short film project, a silent love story your ears will love called The Miss.

I conceived the screenplay, starred in, and produced this film, serving in that wonderful capacity of almost every production role on a tiny budget and even tinier crew shooting the freezing weekend of the Superbowl. The Miss was a terrific learning experience and probably the most valuable lesson in shooting this twelve page script was cutting eight pages of it in the editing room. What I hadn’t realized until I saw it on screen was that I had repeated the story in the script!

My husband and I write and sing music together under the band name Mysteriam, and we felt we had a the perfect song for the film called “Everywhere.” When we played it with the first edit, the end of the story lined up perfectly with the song and the whole team, agreed, that was it. As an actress, it was tough to cut the performance of myself and the other actors in the film, but at the end of the day, it didn’t serve in the story telling. The goal was to leave the audience satisfied, with an anticipation of more to come, rather than a feeling of “didn’t that just happen, but now we’re seeing it with words?”

So this continued to be my film education, working as an actress in other people’s films and producing my own along the way. In 2010, I created another short film called Fitting, available on Indieflix (please note sexual conversation occurs) and then after trying to raise private equity for a larger passion project of mine, entitled Beautiful Little Fools, I realized I needed to produce and star in a feature of my own on a smaller scale first, as a career stepping stone. And while that was the intent, it has grown to be so much more.

At Sundance 2013 I was inspired by a few things, namely the HP Z820 RED Edition Workstation and the concept of Fiscal Sponsorship and when I returned to Chicago I pitched the concept of expanding a short I had been cast in years earlier. That film hadn’t been made, but the Director Joseph Steiff, who is also a professor at Columbia College, liked the idea and that is how The Other One came to be in conceived in February of 2013. By March HP had jumped on board and we had raised enough funding through a crowd fund and Angel Donor to film by April.

This, by the way, is super unusual and films typically are never made at that speed. I have since gone on to present on this unusual factor at both Sundance 2014 and Cannes 2014 International Film Festivals with Hewlett Packard. I must give a special thanks to HP for taking a chance on this film and helping share the message of it as well as innovative filmmaking.

Tea

Tell us about Eclipse and The Other One and how they’re related.
Eclipse is a short film that is meant to act as a prequel to The Other One however, the footage from the short was incorporated into the feature. Both, however, are stand alone works serving different entertainment, as well as, educational purposes.

In the 98 minute feature length film, a teacher survives a school shooting and returns to her remote childhood home to care for her mother. As her mother’s dementia deepens and secrets come tumbling out, she discovers her entire life is a lie. Ultimately a story of acceptance and redemption, The Other One is a beautiful and serene film haunted like each of us is- by the pasts that we embrace, hide from, lie about, and make peace with.

The film World Premiered at the Palm Beach International Film Festival in April 2014, and since then it has also won 4 awards from the Indie Fest, and Honorable Mention from The Indie Gathering, plus screened at The Dubuque International Film Festival and was a special screening at the Peace on Earth Film Festival. We are crossing our fingers for many more festival screenings throughout the rest of the year, too.

One powerful and unexpected feedback we kept receiving from audience members was how therapeutic they felt the film to be. With this audience encouragement and opportunity to help people heal, this summer we are lining up a fall exhibition through churches, synagogues, temples, and other community centers in a tour we are calling “The Forgiveness Tour.” While the film isn’t overtly Christian, Jewish, or any particular religious affiliation, it does focus on the faith testing tenant of forgiveness and the film has been certified by the DOVE Foundation for families 12 and up.

Eclipse is a 6 minute short film and World Premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival Short Film Corner. This film follows the moments before the tragic incident of a School Shooting occurs. Centered around the two teachers, who have the immediate responsibility of protecting their students as well as working to prevent the violence, the short not only serves as a prequel because the feature picks up three years later and follows the surviving school teacher, but has a great potential to be an educational conversation starter about such a difficult topic of discussion. Also certified by the DOVE Foundation, we received their highest rating of five Doves for the film.

As violence in schools continues to grow at an alarming rate, we will also be touring this short and licensing it to education institutions to promote the non-violence movement and stress the importance of forgiveness. Many organizations are actively pushing for gun legislation and mental health awareness, but we strongly feel many people are still suffering, sometimes even subconsciously, and we hope that both of these films can help foster more peace inside ourselves and in the world around us.

River

What was the greatest challenge you faced while filming?

The easy answer would be money, but that seems to be a problem for every independent film producer. A quick note to anyone interested in funding films, do check out Slated.com which is like a sophisticated platform for independent filmmakers and financiers.

So back to your question, while filming, our biggest challenge was learning to work with what we had because we filmed three and a half hours outside of Chicago, in Galena, IL, and thus were limited in some aspects. We probably could have a had a few more producers. There were three of us, but during filming, I was also playing the lead role, which really left all the many questions, finances, and around the clock details up to Elizabeth Theiss and Erica Lynn Schmeck, who undaunted, handled the tasks well, but were certainly over tasked. We also had many recent grads who had worked on many shorts, but the intensity of a feature was a bit more than a few of crew was really equipped to handle. Again being so far away it wasn’t really possible to bring in more crew, and with housing and finances already stretched we simply had to adapt and learn to work with what we had available.

OTS Grace_Vera

What are your goals for The Other One?

As mentioned above, we hope The Other One will help open the doors for Sterling Rock Productions, and serve as a catalyst for other filmmakers to not be discouraged by “Hollywood story ideals” but courageously create more media that matters. If we can take these films to heartland to find audiences who can relate and have a medium to continue the conversation after the credits role.

Cemetery_no text

What has been the reaction so far?

Here are a few direct quotes from current reviews at our early pre-screeners:

“I am still digesting the introspective, haunting, brooding aura I carry with me. Grace did a memorable performance, focused, intense, and credible; above all persuasive and convincing. Much to savor about the cinematography, performances, and minimalist music.”

“Most surprising was how much I could relate to it on a personal level. I was tuned into it entirely- music perfectly matched to scenes.”
“I was surprised that even though I figured out what happened, the whole movie kept me guessing.”
“Favorite moments were all the details captured in the film, great art shots!”

“I admit the layers of the film frustrated me, but the more I think about the film, the more I like it and want to see it again. I did however find it to be therapeutic, and the more I reflect on the layers of grief and anxiety, I find myself dealing with emotional baggage I wasn’t even aware of.”

Farmhouse

How can people get a copy?

The best way to be the first to know about a screening, when the DVD’s go on sale (winter 2015), or The Other One hits VOD, is to subscribe to our mailing list and indicate what you would like to know more about. We’re a small shop, so we actually write people back, answer the phone and enjoy staying in touch with our supporters! The sign up is on our movie’s website www.TheOtherOneMovie.com

Eclipse_Student and Teacher

 

Anything else?
Another interesting project that has developed from the films message of forgiveness and promotion of the Non violence movement is our Declare Non-Violence Video Project. On our YouTube Channel you can see all ages and all kinds of people declare their world’s non-violent and discuss little ways that each of them individually can commit to those statements. https://www.youtube.com/user/theotheronemovie

DNVs, as we like to call them, are super easy to make, since everyone has their own videocameras thanks to smart phones! When someone signs-up on our website they can also indicate if they would like to make a DNV. If so, we will send an easy 1,2,3 step guide on how to join the movement and make a DNV. They are a fun and active way to declare your world non violent and show others you are being a part of the solution.

I will say we are out to Distributors and while we are getting strong feedback on the content, the fact that I, nor are any of the actors, “A-Listers,” and because we didn’t open at one of these five festivals: Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, Cannes, or Toronto, it has caused many companies to pass. I feared this could be the case, but if this trend continues I think it will have serious repercussions for both the film going audience and the independent filmmaker.

How many times can filmmakers go back to their friends and families for a little money here and there, and match it with their own credit cards, to end up being locked out of mainstream distribution? There are some people trying to do something about it and you can certainly self distribute, by making your own DVDs, but if you can’t get your film into faith and family bookstores, Walmarts, and Netflix, which you typically need a distributor to help make this happen, you stand little chance of making any money.

Trust me, NO Independent filmmaker does it for the money, but we do need money to make more movies, to grow our companies, and create worthy content. I certainly feel my faith (in the industry) being tested by these factors. But this is also why our film is a not for profit sponsored project. Anyone reading this can click on the donate link on our website http://www.TheOtherOneMovie.com and make a tax deductible donation to the film. We also hope The Forgiveness Tour can be our theatrical distribution. Today many places have superior projection capabilities, not just the theaters.

Indie filmmakers are thinking outside the box out of necessity, but we must be met by equally creative and excited outside the box audiences to make it work. If you like indie film and already have a habit of watching Netflix, then spend a little bit more or alternate for a while, and subscribe to IndieFlix or Fandor, there are lots of interesting new tactics to see indie films, but for us to see any profits, these platforms must get more support. If you are interested in films focusing on topics of faith or are DOVE approved, ask these platforms to create that selection opportunity, just like searching for documentaries. We always have more say that we realize, and perhaps can just be too distracted by life sometimes, but I urge your readers to become more active film audiences.

Eclipse_Classroom
Thank you Sharon for giving me the opportunity to share about our films and for supporting filmmakers who believe in making media that matters!

TOO-Poster-FINAL-BIG

Back to Work

wedding

For the past month the focus at our house has been on preparing for the wedding of our daughter. Everything else, including writing/reviewing for Faith Flix and  marketing of our movie, The Good Book, has been put on temporary hold.

Well, Saturday was the wedding, and Brittany and Clay are now enjoying their honeymoon. The flowers are drying. The decorations have been packed away. The leftover food has been shared with neighbors. And now it’s time to return to work.

wedding 2

If you contacted me this past month and either I didn’t respond or I put you on hold, please touch base with me again. I look forward to reviewing new movies and interviewing new filmmakers and actors.

 

wedding 3

Wherever the River Runs – Book Review and Recommendation

WTRR__003

What perfect timing that I should receive a copy of Wherever the River Runs right before leaving for a cross country trip from Nashville to Los Angeles. I figured I’d be bored silly and have tons of time to read. Then I tucked it in my bag and forgot about it until our last day of the journey. I think it worked out best that way.Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. It completely captivated my attention.

In Wherever the River Runs, Kelly Minter shares how her trips to the Amazon rain forest provided spiritual insights and forced her to reevaluate her priorities and life. She shares about the people she met and the contrast between her world and the Brazilian world. In the Amazon she found herself surrounded by people in dire poverty going through unbelievable hardships and yet they exhibited a peace and joy unknown in her upscale American culture.Her yearly mission trips drew her closer to God in a way she never imagined.

I began reading this book totally unprepared for what it was. I thought it was just going to be a missionary story, which would be interesting enough. But this was so much more. Wherever the River Runs has some of the best descriptive writing I can remember reading. Ms. Minter brings the people and places of the Amazon to life with her colorful word pictures that capture not just the physical appearance, but all the emotions and sensations she experienced as well. I found myself laughing and crying as I read and often had to read aloud to my husband so that he, too, could appreciate the beauty of the words and the experiences portrayed.

This a book that everyone should read. I can’t wait to share it with everyone I know. If you’d like to be entered in a drawing for your own copy of Wherever the River Runs, comment below. Drawing will be held Saturday, August 8, 2014.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

 

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