I loved Redemption of the Commons, and the story behind the movie is every bit as interesting as the movie itself. Utilizing his film degree and his experience working on Hollywood sets, KT Terry accomplishes the task of making a small town movie with a big budget feel.
When did you first develop an interest in filmmaking?
I think I’ve always had an interest in film ever since I was a young child. I can vividly remember sitting in front of my record player and listening to the movie soundtrack of The Good the Bad and the Ugly. I would listen to that music and just dream up movie scenes. I think ever since then, I’ve been compelled to be in the movie industry in some manner. However, I always wanted to be an actor – until I realized I wasn’t any good at acting. I guess you never know how life is going to turn out.
What impact did your L.A. experiences have on you as a filmmaker?
My time in LA was very pivotal in my pursuits of being in the entertainment industry. However, I don’t think it’s necessary for someone to live in Los Angeles or New York to make a film. We’ve seen lots of examples of people who have lived all around the world and have made great films. Nevertheless, I would say that being in LA gave me a great opportunity to be on movie sets, TV sets, work with actors, work with writers, work with directors and just get a great crash course on what it is like to be on a set. To be honest, those times on the set were actually very humbling. My first few gigs in LA were either being an extra on a movie set or being a production assistant on a television show. All of this happened right after I graduated with a master’s degree and there I was working as an extra and working as a production assistant. There wasn’t anything glamorous about it. However, it was a huge opportunity for me to be able to see firsthand what it’s like to be on a movie or television set. What I learned from those opportunities I took with me in making Redemption of the Commons. I also spent a lot of time just by myself in front of a computer hammering out scripts. That too is a humbling, and many times lonely, job. I say job, but I wasn’t getting paid. I would just work countless hours at my home office or in a coffee shop trying to punch out a script in hopes that someone would want to make it. The first script I wrote, entitled Masada, was optioned by a very popular writer in Hollywood so that gave me a little more drive to keep on writing.
What inspired you to write Redemption of the Commons?
The thing that inspired me to write Redemption of the Commons can be summarized by me just saying that I just felt called to do it. It seemed a little crazy to most people when I moved 2500 miles away from Los Angeles to a small town in South Carolina in order to become a pastor as well as write/direct a film. Nevertheless, I felt that this was what I was supposed to do – so I did it. I spent lots of hours, days, weeks, and months hammering out a script that I felt could be made on a small budget and in a small town – and ultimately we were able to get it done. I also feel like I can connect very well with the main character, Victor, in the movie. I feel like all of us at some point in our lives have gone through a time of failure. I think that’s why this film touches so many people is that they can all identify with Victor and his pursuit of chasing his dream.
What was the greatest challenge with being a pastor making a movie?
The greatest challenge with being a pastor and making a movie is trying to do both of those things well. Both of these callings take a great deal of time and with me being a bit of a perfectionist I feel like I want to do them very well. Nevertheless I never felt that these two callings were in conflict. I think being the one makes me better at doing the other. It also helps that I have a church family that is very supportive of me being a filmmaker.
How did you see the hand of God in helping you make the movie?
I definitely saw God’s hand throughout this whole production. From pre-production all the way to post-production he made ways where there were no ways to be made. I can remember vividly that we had three days left of shooting. I was exhausted and we were still in need of $20,000 for the film to be finished. I heard a knock at the door and I decided not to answer it – thinking that it was just the regular mail delivery. Then I heard a friend’s voice outside, opened the door and invited him inside. He went on to say that he felt that God was prodding him to contribute to the film. I was excited about that however I must be honest I thought that it was just going to be a check for 100 or 200 towards the film. Yet, I was in disbelief when he handed me a check for 20,000 – the exact amount that we needed to finish the film. There are countless other examples of this type of provision that can be found on our website (within the media guide).
How did you select your cast and crew?
When it came to our cast and crew we utilized online casting calls and had some very talented actors submit. With this being a micro budget film, I had to wear many hats. One of those hats was being the casting director. Yet, being the writer and director also allowed me a great understanding of the type of characters that I was looking for. It also helps that I spent a lot of time in Los Angeles doing some acting work so I had a good idea what the actors would need from me and what I would need from then. In the end I feel like we got the perfect cast who really brought the story to life.
Tell us about the process of preparing the trailer park set.
Constructing the trailer park was a huge task. Many people are surprised to discover that the trailer park where we filmed was actually a movie set that we constructed. We knew that we would need a secluded spot to shoot and so we decided to make one on our own. It was a grueling task of preparing the field moving in the trailers that we found on Craigslist as well as doing set decoration for all of the trailers. We had several people and family members who chipped in to help decorate all of the trailers. Everything that you see on the screen was either donated or picked up at a thrift shop in order to create the realism needed for the film.
What is your favorite scene in the movie?
Trying to determine which scene is my favorite is similar to trying to determine which of my children is my favorite. They all are important to me as I spent a great deal of time thinking through them as a writer as well as a director. However if push came to shove and I had to say which was my favorite part of the film, it would be the concluding montage. I love how all of the stories come together in a way that none of the characters would have expected. They come to a place where they see that God was in control and had a good plan for their lives. I also love the music that was done by Carol Strickland who wrote the song “Praying for Sunshine”. It seems like the most perfect song to have during the montage.
What are your goals for Redemption of the Commons?
Our goals for the film are to have the film shown in regional theaters in the Southeast, and it looks like we will have some success in doing that in early November. We’re also excited that the film will be released worldwide on DVD on November 20th of this year. The film will also be available for rent and for download on online sites like Google Play, Vudu, xbox, iTunes and Amazon. The plan is also to allow Redemption of the Commons to be a stepping stone for the next film that Windchime Pictures will produce. We are currently in development on our next project and hope to announce the shooting dates for that sometime next year.
We all say we want to change the world, but are we more in love with the idea of changing the world than actually doing what it takes to truly make a difference? Overrated by Eugene Cho is a very personal look at our society and where we fall short. Eugene exposes to us his own shortcomings and failures so that we might see how we, too, are guilty of falling short.
I was intrigued by the book’s concept as I spend a lot of my time saying I want to change the world, to truly make a difference. But this book changed my view of what that actually means. I was inspired by the Cho family’s sacrifices and commitment to planting a church and starting a new ministry. It made me uncomfortable, however, because I’m not sure if I have the same level of devotion. I loved the stories, though, of both his failures as well as other people’s misguided efforts. I’m afraid I’ve been guilty of some of the same mistakes in the past, but hopefully I won’t make the same mistakes again.
Overrated is focused on justice, but the principles apply just as well to filmmaking. His advice when trying to decide what we’re supposed to be doing is to pray, research, and act wisely. Rather than just rushing in and doing something because it feels like the right thing to do, we must take our time. First, we pray to make sure this is God calling us to do this and not just our selfish pride or ego. Next, we need to research so that we know what we’re doing. And if we do both of those, we won’t end up doing something that could cause more harm than good. I see so many filmmakers jumping in and making films without taking the time to do it right. It’s easy to assume that because we’re making a faith-based film, that it must be God’s will. But just because it sounds like a good idea does not mean it’s what God has planned. Or it may be the right idea, but not be the right time or approach. Then, what happens so often is that filmmakers fail to study screenwriting and filmmaking or do the proper research on the subject matter, location, wardrobe, or all the many other details of a well made movie. So we end up producing a second rate product that may have good potential and may even reach a few people. but it falls short of what could have been. When that happens, we can do as Eugene and his family did when they started their community coffee shop. They jumped in with good intentions but soon realized that they had rushed in without proper planning and as a result, the coffee shop was not thriving. So they stopped what they were doing, reevaluated, studied what it took to have a successful coffee shop, then tried again. As filmmakers we should constantly be evaluating, studying, and improving the way we approach filmmaking.
If you would like to receive your own copy of Overrated, comment below. Drawing will be next Monday, Oct. 6.
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I first learned of Redemption of the Commons from Churches Making Movies Film Festival. It’s an official selection this year and our movie The Good Book is a special presentation. I was impressed by the trailer, so I was excited when writer/director KT Terry contacted me to review it.
Redemption of the Commons is the story of Victor Clay, a young man who seems to have it all together – good looks, his own brand and marketing company, and life in L.A. But appearances can be deceiving, because in reality, he’s broke, living out of his van, $93,000 in debt and still looking for the ever-elusive purpose of his life.
Pop, an elderly friend from the past, offers Victor his only choice – to come back home. Yet, home is a tattered trailer park in the Deep South, which is full of bad memories and broken relationships.
Once home, Victor discovers that he must deal with his volatile past before he can move toward his promising future. Through the story’s inspiring ending of reconciled relationships and realized dreams, we are reminded that no life is “common” – and that everyone has a God-given purpose.
I don’t know what it is, but I love small town Southern movies, especially when the characters are poor. The only problem is that it takes a lot of work to pull off a convincing trailer park movie. This one succeeds beautifully. It includes a wonderfully eclectic cast of characters, each played believably by relative newcomers to the screen. The costuming, hair, sets, accents, everything is correct and adds to the believabilty.
Ed Silvera makes a particularly strong performance as Pop, the wise old owner of The Commons trailer park. Anthony Garner is the most convincing drunk I think I’ve ever seen. And Storm Smith was such a sweet touch. The casting of each actor was perfect. I felt like these were all people who knew each other well, who had grown up together, who were family.
Right now there are a lot of intense dark and gritty dramas being released in the faith-based film world. Redemption of the Commons is a refreshing change. It’s a feel good movie with a great message of hope. Everyone has felt like a failure at some point in their lives. Redemption of the Commons reminds us that God has a plan for each of us. It may not be what we had in mind, but it’s even better than what we could have planned.
Redemption of the Commons will be released in November of this year, so be sure to look for it and get a copy. It’s a great movie to cheer you up when you’re feeling like life is pulling you down.
Wow! This has been a great week for viewing top notch movies. I was kind of afraid to watch The War Within because I’d seen nothing but positive about it and I thought surely it wouldn’t be able to live up to all the praise. Well, it did. And more. It is in a word – BRILLIANT!
The War Within explores the battle in the soul of Michael Sinclair, a young syndicated cartoonist whose faith is tested when his whole world falls apart. This unique portrayal reveals his soul as represented by six members; Mind, Emotion, Heart, Will, Memory and Conscience. This film examines the reality of faith in the midst of testing.
Filmmaking books talk about big movies vs. small movies, and I’ve always wondered exactly what it was that distinguished the two. I’m still not sure I could explain it to someone, but I do know that The War Within is a big movie. It’s an action packed high tech fantasy battle between the various forces within our souls. It alternates between emotional scenes with Michael (Brett Varvel), his wife Amy ((Rebecca Reid), and their daughter Ellie (Ellen Henry) and action-packed battles between Michael’s Heart (Brett Varvel), Mind (Terry Varvel), Memory (Bruce Crum), Emotion (Drew Varvel), Will (Gary Varvel), and Conscience (Daron Day). On their own, the family scenes would be a well done chick flick and the battle scenes would be a high impact male movie. Combined, they are the perfect mix of raw emotion and action.
Everything about this movie is first rate. The story is beyond original and brilliantly executed. The acting is top notch, not a single weak moment. The cinematography is visually stunning. The soundtrack is perhaps the best of any Christian movie. The message of love and forgiveness is one we all can relate to. The War Within is a movie that should be seen by as many people as possible.<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/96639084″>The War Within Trailer 3</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/hgfilms”>House of Grace Films</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
The War Within is available at their website, at Christian Cinema, Amazon, or Family Christian stores. Get your copy today!
I love keeping up with all the latest faith-based films, checking out their websites, watching their trailers, following them on Facebook, then finally watching the completed movies. The only problem is that so many films don’t live up to their hype. The trailers may look good, other reviewers may even like them, but then I watch, and I’m disappointed. They’re usually ok, but not great. Or else they’re watered down or have a weak worldview. Or they’re dark and depressing or way too gritty for my personal taste. I’m so excited, however, when a movie not only lives up to its reputation, but even exceeds my expectations. Such is the case with Love Covers All.
On the eve of his baby’s due date, Michael, a new father to be, gets stranded out of state with his wife in labor back home! In a panic with the birth drawing near, Michael seeks help from an old gas station owner named Bob, a mysterious man with a past who puts Michael’s faith to the test in a way he’ll never forget.
At a time when filmmakers are whipping out feature length scripts in a matter of weeks, then spending the same amount of time to film and edit, Kyle Prohaska demonstrates the difference time and effort can make in a finished product. The script is an inspiration with it’s perfect blend of dramatic action and dialogue, plot points at just the right spots, and twists and turns that are reasonable but not necessarily expected. It includes a solid Christian message and yet is in no way preachy. It’s a powerful drama that had me constantly on edge until the end when I started bawling.
They say that the measure of a good script is if the audience is engaged and has an emotional reaction. Love Covers All definitely met that criteria for me. My heart broke for Michael when he lost his job and when he struggled to get back home to Sarah, his wife. I also felt for Sarah, Michael’s parents, and Bob, the gas station owner.
Love Covers All has a great cast of familiar actors as well as a few new faces. Jared Young does a stellar performance as Michael, the young father-to-be. I also liked Rhoda Griffis as Judy, Michael’s mom. My favorite character/actor was Rusty Whitener as Bob. One minute he’s creepy, then curious, then kind, then confused and angry, all equally believable. The dynamics and chemistry between all of the characters was great. I felt like these people really could be family.
I love that while the film is definitely dramatic, it’s not gritty, dark, or depressing. I love that it’s not preaching a sermon; it’s telling a story. Yet, the story speaks to the audience in a way that a sermon never could. It reminds me a lot of Taken By Grace, another favorite film. It can be appreciated equally by Christians and secular audiences alike. I can see it as a great conversation starter for families who are estranged and struggling to rebuild their relationships.
Love Covers All is a powerful story that is sure to reach the hearts of all who watch it. The release date is Oct. 7, but you can order it early from the official website. Be sure to get your copy today. You’ll be glad you did!
The Perfect Wave, a full length, dramatic, theatrical feature film based on the true story of a 24-year old, New Zealander, Ian McCormack is now available in Wal-mart stores. In fact, it’s one of their featured “Movie of the Month” selections. The film was shot exquisitely in South Africa, Bali and Java under the direction of internationally renowned television commercial director Bruce MacDonald. Pick up your copy today.
I try to keep up with all the new faith-based films coming out. I’ve found I generally have a love/hate relationship with movies. Either I love them or hate them.
Earlier this weekend, we watched (or started to watch) two different movies that are available right now in Christian bookstores. But we couldn’t get past the glaring plot holes, on-the-nose dialogue, and shoddy lighting and sound. Not to mention,the stories themselves were just not that interesting, or deep, or relevant.
Then tonight we popped in Seven Deadly Words. I’ve actually seen it twice before, first at International Christian Film Festival, then at GloryReelz Christian Film Festival. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting director Doc Benson and actress Kimberly Richardson. I knew I’d liked it, but I wanted to watch it again because a family member is going through a similar situation as the one Pastor Evan goes through in the movie.
Wow! It could have been based on what’s happening right now in their church. The details are slightly different, but the church politics and relationships are the same. Doc has done an amazing job of capturing both sides of the disagreement and the impact that the fighting has on the church and the community. He also did a fantastic job of directing a cast of relative newcomers and drawing out very believable performances from all the actors. He is definitely deserving of the “Best Director” award he received at GloryReelz and the film itself is worthy of the many, many film festival accolades it has received.
Seven Deadly Words is a story for the church. It’s a situation that many church members, especially those in the ministry, can relate to. What I like the best, is that while the protagonist and antagonist roles are clearly defined, Doc allows us to connect with the antagonists, the Hamon family, and see them as well intentioned albeit completely misguided church members. The script for this movie is several notches above most of the independent faith-based films I’ve seen, providing a wonderful depth of emotion for the audience..
Seven Deadly Words is available in Christian bookstores across the country. I highly recommend this to anyone in the ministry, anyone who knows someone in the ministry, or anyone who’s ever gone to a church that had issues.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
One final note:Everyone should follow The Song on Facebook for all the wonderful marriage and love related quotes that they share.