THE TRUTH ABOUT MAKE-BELIEVE
by André van Heerden
JESSEP You want answers?! KAFFEE I want the truth. JESSEP You can't handle the truth!
(dialogue excerpt from A Few Good Men)
In films, where just about everything is made up, how important is truth? How important is the difference between right and wrong? And if everything else in a film can be created and altered – then can our values be mutated too?
People watch movies to be entertained. Integral to a movie being entertaining is that it also share a deeper truth. For example, a joke without a point, or a meaning, falls flat because no one knows why it’s being told. Screenwriting guru, Robert McKee, notes in his book, Story, that “all fine films, novels and plays, through all shades of the comic and tragic, entertain when they give the audience a fresh model of life empowered with an affective meaning.”
But what is truth? And since every decade’s films reflect the culture in which they’re made, then surely too, values have changed as society has as well? The influential philosopher, Friedrich Nietzche, wrote in his book, The Genealogy that values are relative to every time and culture; that values are “created” by the “masters” in control of society; that Christian morality is nothing more than the weak seeking to make the strong feel guilty and requiring the “sublimation” of natural passions; and that we need to move beyond the notion of good and evil.
Such thoughts are based on moral relativism and on the premise that there are no such things as absolutes. One of my favorite political cartoons shows a lawyer defending his Viking clients to a jury in a courtroom. He eloquently argues, “Raping, pillaging, looting… Yes… but may I remind the court of my client’s UNIQUE cultural value system.”
Clearly, we all have an idea of what is right and wrong, even if we disagree where that knowledge may come from. Also, as author George Forell notes in Ethics of Decision, there is an obvious self-contradiction in the idea that there is no such thing as absolute truth. “On behalf of open-mindedness we are confronted by people with utterly closed minds who dogmatically assert the absolute truth that there is no absolute truth.”
Ironically, in today’s society it seems that the only thing you can actually label as “bad” is the so-called prejudiced belief that there is such a thing as “good and bad.” This makes a story-teller’s task extremely challenging. The role of all artists is to share meaning and insights into of all life. But how can a story share a great truth when the audience is offended by such a thing? Or is too jaded to care? Billy Mernit asked in Writing the Romantic Comedy, “Where’s the tension when sex doesn’t have to mean marriage, and happily ever after lasts until the lawyers get called?”
Truth is certainly under assault – and with it, great story-telling. After the US Supreme Court upheld the right for a woman to kill her unborn child in the Planned Parenthood vs Casey case, the Justices asserted that “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of the meaning of the universe and the mystery of life.”
With such “define your own reality” statements coming from the highest court in the land should we be surprised that traditional family values are now seen as backward; that sexual deviance is on the rise; and that school shootings have become common place? How can we expect order when there’s nothing to base it on? And should we be surprised by the current popularity of gruesome, sadistic horror films which glorify human torture and degradation? How can we expect truth or value from popular culture when society seems to disdain it?
Robert McKee writes: “The final cause for the decline of story runs very deep. Values, the positive/negative charges of life, are at the soul of our art. The writer shapes story around a perception of what’s worth living for, what’s worth dying for, what’s foolish to pursue, the meaning of justice, truth – the essential values. In decades past, writer and society more or less agreed on these questions, but more and more ours has become an age of moral and ethical cynicism, relativism, and subjectivism – a great confusion of values.”
The truth is: we need stories of value more than ever. Despite all the noise, pride and contempt that try to shout it down, truth is not a fad and it is not determined by public opinion. From the earliest Greek plays to Shakespeare to the classics of Hollywood, themes of great truths still hold sway. And if honored, truth still has the ability to entertain and the power to transform. As John 8:32 says, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
André van Heerden is the President of Film and TV production at Cloud Ten Pictures. He has worked in almost every aspect of film and video production for nearly 20 years. His very first documentary, done as a video thesis at Carleton University’s prestigious Journalism school, was sold to the National Film Board of Canada.
Most notably André directed the feature films, REVELATION, TRIBULATION, JUDGMENT and DECEIVED; wrote the features JUDGMENT and LEFT BEHIND: WORLD AT WAR; and produced the extremely popular LEFT BEHIND series of films as well as SAVING GOD with Ving Rhames. Most recently he wrote and directed the documentaries: Shadow Government, Dragons or Dinosaurs? and The 12 Biggest Lies with Kevin Sorbo. He lives in Ontario, Canada with his wife and three children.
For more information about Cloud Ten Pictures, call 1-888-684-5561 or visit www.cloudtenpictures.com
February 9, 2010. Well-reviewed and with a passionate fan base, Cloud Ten Pictures’ latest release, DANGEROUS CALLING, is bound to stir up controversy.
“DANGEROUS CALLING is going to shake things up,” declares Cloud Ten’s CEO, André van Heerden. Cloud Ten Pictures Inc., has made a name for itself with its end-times dramas, the Left Behind movies and theApocalypse Series.
DANGEROUS CALLING, debuting on February 8, 2010, marks the indie production/distribution house’s first foray into the Suspense/Thriller genre. “It’s not everyday you come across a truly scary Christian film,” notes Paul Lalonde, the company’s owner and chairman.
“DANGEROUS CALLING may raise some eyebrows, but we’re proud to be distributing it.”
Initially unsure how audiences might respond to the thriller, van Heerden waited for reactions from its premiere screening at the 2008 Rome (Georgia) International Film Festival, before approaching the producers about distributing the title. The audience loved it, awarding it the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature. Since acquiring the film, Cloud Ten Pictures has received a full spectrum of responses; and is warning that the film is definitely not for children or for the faint of heart.
With a nod to films like PSYCHO and MISERY, DANGEROUS CALLING is not your typical ‘church movie.’ A new pastor in a small-town church stands up to a few controlling church members who oppose his new ideas for reaching the youth of the community, and he and his wife face dire consequences. Despite being set in a small-town church community, DANGEROUS CALLING doesn’t hold back on the chills, with genuinely ‘watch-through-your-fingers’ suspense.
DANGEROUS CALLING is the first feature film from writers/directors brother Josh and Jeremiah Daws. The Daws brothers drew on influences from their own lives in creating this intense thriller that addresses the issue of small-town church politics from a modern perspective. “Our primary goal was to tell an entertaining story, but the movie has an important message for the church,” explains Jeremiah. In order to see the message, however, you have to be brave enough to watch the film.
DANGEROUS CALLING releases on DVD nationwide February 8, 2010 and is available for church exhibition through Cloud Ten’s Church Cinema (although recommended only for older teens and adults). DANGEROUS CALLING will be distributed domestically on DVD to the secular and Christian markets through E1 Entertainment (www.e1distribution.com), and to all other markets directly by Cloud Ten Pictures.
From our friends at Cloud 10 who are looking for votes for their SAVING GOD trailer:
Please visit the site below and VOTE FOR THE SAVING GOD TRAILER. It’s pretty prestigious to be selected for this contest and we’d love to have a good showing. And PLEASE pass on the link and tell your friends and family to vote as well.
The SAVING GOD film trailer has been selected by HOBOKEN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (“HIFF”) to be part of the NYPOST.com film trailer contest. Here is information on this very exciting, exclusive contest–through one of the United States leading daily newspapers.
Film fans can get an immediate insider’s look at some of today’s hottest films by going HERE and they can vote for the winner! The New York Post is hosting an exclusive contest where its website viewers can watch 10 edgy HIFF movie trailers, many of which will be worldwide premieres, seen for the first time by anyone who clicks onto the site! The contest, underway on April 20, will run through the festival’s May 29 start date. The winner will receive a special award at HIFF’s Oscar-like Gala Awards Ceremony.
So, send all of your fans, cast and crew to the link below to VOTE for your movie on NYPOST.com.
Move over Michael Bay. Step aside Bruckheimer. There’s another action thriller filmmaker who is blowing stuff up and getting things done over at Cloud Ten Pictures. Andre Van Heerden has Directed 5 films and Produced 3 more under the Cloud Ten shingle. Wired4Film caught him between movies to ask him about his Directorial methods, what he does in his off time and Cloud Ten’s up-coming production slate.
Cloud Ten Pictures has built a reputation and small empire on End-times thrillers (not one, but two franchises: “Left Behind” and “Apocalypse”) but we’re very excited to hear that they’re delving into new cinematic territory with an up-coming Horror film and a Teen Comedy. In fact, in their latest release, “Saving God” the only second coming is Ving Rhames returning to his old neighborhood to take over his father’s old church.
Like I said, it’s a whole new day on Cloud 10.
WIRED4FILM: Andre, thank you so much for taking some time out with Wired4Film. Being an integral part of Cloud Ten Pictures, you’ve also been a very important part of shaping the Christian Film industry over the last 10 years. How has the industry evolved and what would you like to see it become?
ANDRE VAN HEERDEN: I have been with Cloud Ten for over a dozen years and still to read that I’m an “integral part” of it is a thrill. It continues to feel new and exciting to me and I think the same can be said about the Christian Film industry. Looking back at the early Billy Graham World Wide Pictures’ films, to where we are now might feel like a long journey but the intent and process is still much the same. Like the rest of the production world, the Christian film industry is being affected by advances in technology that allow films to be produced at a higher quality for less of an investment. But still it comes down to individuals with a heart and passion and persistence to actually produce something and try to have it make a difference.
Big successes like the Left Behind films or The Passion or Fireproof certainly prove that films with Christian themes can reach wide audiences but just like in the past, for every successful film there are a number of films that fail to reach outside of Christian circles or fail to reach hardly anyone. So, much like in the past with the advent of video, there’s an easier ability to create Christian-themed films, and more hype surrounding the successes, but just like in the past, the ability to shoot a film does not guarantee the quality or need for it.
I firmly believe that one film is not going to work for everyone. Some people are naturally drawn to thrillers, or love stories, or comedies. Or some people like the hard-sell evangelism while others like the softer and more general approach. Because of this I think we will continue to see lots of movies produced and many find small unique audiences that enjoy that particular film. I think this is great and worthwhile but in the long run may eventually stagnate as audiences look for ‘bigger and better.’ I think big successes, measured by general market awareness, social impact and relevance, are going to continue to be rare.
I’d like to see this change. I know there are some great, powerful, entertaining stories just waiting to be told that can challenge and compete where they’re most needed – in the general market. But to be able to do this these movies have to be produced and marketed better than anything else in the marketplace and have to be initially supported by a dedicated audience while the film finds its natural legs. That all takes time and money and effort and unless enough smart business and production people get together – each with a calling to make a difference for Christ – we’ll continue to see about the same number of big significant successes as we currently are.
W4F: There’s talk from San Antonio of Christians building a “God-honouring replacement film industry”. Does that rally cry mean anything to you? Perhaps the idea of a Christian Hollywood somewhere?
ANDRE: I both like and dislike the idea of a Christian Hollywood. On the one hand I love the idea of Christian filmmakers working diligently and prayerfully to create quality productions that honor Christ. On the other hand I don’t like the idea of those films being stigmatized as Christian and meant only for the Christian market. I really don’t like the term: “Christian film.” I believe that being a Christian means that you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. A film can’t do that. And by calling a film “Christian” it immediately has the audience watching the movie with that as their context. So as soon as a character is introduced the audience will be judging them on their expectations (good or bad) of how a Christian should act rather than just following the story and seeing that character as a person on a journey. This sort of prejudiced context (both for Christian and non-Christian audiences) hurts the ability of the film to reach and touch an audience. If the movie “Ghandi” had been promoted as a witnessing tool for Hindus I doubt it would have gone very far critically or commercially.
Also, while Christians may line-up to watch films from the new Christian Hollywood, it would in a way exclude the very audiences these films should most want to reach. Entertaining and uplifting Christians is a wonderful and worthwhile endeavor, but reaching those without faith, I believe, should also be part of the goal.
W4F: Has Cloud Ten Pictures always self-financed its films or has it been dependant on partners/investors? Do you feel like you’ve been able to maintain creative control of your projects along the way?
ANDRE: Most of Cloud Ten’s films have been self-financed and distributed. This has meant a great deal of creative control. In the instances where we’ve had outside investors or partners, like with “Left Behind: World at War” and “Saving God” we’ve still been able to produce the films we were hoping for. Knowing how essential it is for us to tell the story we want, to ensure that we please the fans of the Left Behind book series or reach an urban audience with “Saving God”, we made sure up front that any elements that dealt with faith or the character’s internal journey, we would have control over.
W4F: How is distribution changing? With Cable TV and the Internet and Pay-per-view and iTunes downloading movies straight to your iPhone….is a Theatrical release still the gold standard? Is digital projection changing the rules still?
ANDRE: When TV first was invented all the experts predicted that it meant the end of radio and movies. This failed to be the case. Then with the advent of VHS tapes, the experts again predicted that it would mean the end of theatrical releases. This too proved to be false. People will always like to go out for an evening. It’s a social event and compared to almost any other social night out – it’s still the cheapest form of entertainment. I personally have no desire to watch a movie on my phone but I recognize that many people may. However, if a person watches a film over the internet or on their phone it doesn’t mean that they’ll never step foot inside a theater again. And I’d be willing to bet that the most watched movies on phones and over the internet are movies that have been theatrically released.
Does a theatrical release mean that the film is better than other direct to video films? No. But it does mean that it has significant marketing dollars behind it (so awareness will be high) and that enough people believe in it to take a chance on it – which at least counts for something.
Digital projection is wonderful for film makers (makes screenings at festivals and promotional events far easier and cheaper) and I think eventually all theaters will be going that route. But whether the film is being projected from a 35mm film print or from a digital file – if it’s being projected to an audience in a theater, that still carries a lot of weight.
W4F: What filmmaker do you most admire (dead or alive)? Would you consider yourself the Jerry Bruchheimer or Michael Bay of Christian Films?
ANDRE: It’s always nice when an interview question can make you smile. Thanks. I have a number of favorite directors and just like with my favorite actors – I like most of their work but not necessarily all. Peter Weir (“Witness”, “Gallipoli”) Ridley Scott (“Gladiator”, “Alien”), Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”, “28 Days Later”), Stephen Spielberg (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “Schindler’s List”), Robert Zemeckis (“Romancing the Stone”, “Back to the Future”), Clint Eastwood (“Unforgiven”), Sam Mendes (“Road to Perdition”), Ron Howard (“Cinderella Man”) and Hitchcock of course as well. As you can see I have a lot of favorites and tend to admire those who can connect on a simple emotional level rather than being overly artsy. The story has to be king. I’d say I’m more of a Bruchheimer fan but I do like Bay’s audacity and ability to create huge spectacles. I’d also say that while all of these directors have incredible gifts and talents and their own styles, you can’t make a good film, (no matter who is directing) without a good script.
W4F: You wear a lot of filmmaking hats: Writer, Director, Producer, Editor, etc…which one is your favorite? Do you have a preference? In other words, Eric Liddell said that when he ran, he felt God’s pleasure. When do you feel God smiling down on you?
ANDRE: Two questions in a row that made me smile! I like producing and enjoy supervising edits but I love to write and I love to direct. When is God smiling down on me? When I’m following His will and putting Him ahead of my own desires and ego and pride. This sometimes comes when I’m letting the characters take over when I’m writing a script or when I’m able to take all the great ideas floating around on a movie set and make them come together for one special scene when directing. But I feel that smile the most when I’m taking risks – often nothing to do with filmmaking – for His sake.
W4F: How do you decide which film project you’d like to work on? To spend a year or two of your life bringing one idea to completion…what are you looking for in a story? How do you weed out the bad ideas and mediocre ideas to get to the great stuff?
ANDRE: In deciding what to write it often feels like the project is choosing me rather than the other way around. I’m the father of 3 younger children and so there’s not a lot of extra time in the day for writing outside of work. So if I’m going write something it’s usually because it’s a concept that excites me enough to demand to be put on paper. Within my producer role at Cloud Ten though, which usually greatly affects which project we’ll dive in to next, it’s usually about which story and package appeals to those I’m talking to. I love telling stories and pitching movies and often it’s the reaction of others – whether through financing or partnerships or just advice – that spurs me to push harder on one story rather than another. Thankfully though, we’re in a position now where we don’t have to shelve that many stories while developing and trying to get others to camera. We have a good top 3 of films ready to go and while we try to finalize financing on those we can try to get others ready as well.
Trying to weed out the good ideas from the mediocre ones usually comes down to whether it’s high-concept or not. That’s a term that’s overused in the film industry but it’s certainly one that has great bearing on whether the film will capture the audience’s imagination or not. ”Left Behind” has the high concept of what would happen if millions of people disappeared off the face of the earth during the rapture of the church. People hear that and immediately they can imagine what that might be like and want to see more. Of course theme also plays a part, as we’re committed to producing faith-affirming films, but beyond that initial concept, the idea has to still excite us and make us want to take the risk of time, effort and money on it.
W4F: Now your last film DECEIVED came out in 2002, correct? So where have you been? Taking a break? Early retirement? Haha, maybe you’ve been testing 3D camera technology with James Cameron? Or shifting into a higher gear? Fill us in a little.
ANDRE: James wanted to hang out and get my thoughts on the 3D cameras and his next mega-project but unfortunately I missed his calls. Actually, we did release LEFT BEHIND: WORLD AT WAR (I was a writer and producer on it) in 2005 and then SAVING GOD (as a producer), which was just released in 2008. During that time we also tried to set up a TV series, developed a few scripts and projects which we’re currently trying to close financing on now, and also recently acquired a few independent productions for distribution. SMUGGLER’S RANSOM (a short adventure drama with a strong evangelical message) and THE GENIUS CLUB (political thriller with Stephen Baldwin, Tom Sizemore and Tricia Helfer) were released in 2008 and TREASURE BLIND (a family drama, treasure hunt story) was released in 2009.
One of the things we realized during these years was how much we love being in production and how important it was that we keep trying to reach new audiences and keep producing films that mean something. The world continues on regardless of what we do but if we want to affect someone we have to be part of the game.
W4F: Where has life taken you and what projects have you got coming up? I’m particularly interested in CAMP EDEN because it seems a departure from your sci-fi thrillers as you forray into the romantic teen comedy realm. Tell us about it.
ANDRE: I’m the proud father of 3 children with a loving wife and a job that challenges and inspires me. Life is grand. As for projects coming up: we have lots. There’s a shocking horror picture (yes, a full-out horror/thriller), a very high-concept dramatic comedy, two touching true life stories with deep emotional impact, a sequel to the very popular Apocalypse Series and yes, a full-out teen comedy. CAMP EDEN is one of those concepts that just wanted life on a page and it’s been growing and changing and getting funnier for over two years. The script has always been met with laughter but the earlier drafts felt a little shallow. It’s amazing how time can give you distance on a script and suddenly what you thought was working you suddenly can see how it falls short. One of the main characters became a supporting role to make room for a much deeper and conflict-driven lead which improved the story immensely. I know that when my wife and I are looking for a care-free night of entertainment we’re usually looking for comedies – so to write and produce one is very exciting.
W4F: Of course we’ve all heard the Alfred Hitchcock line that “Actors are cattle”, but for you what is your relationship to your actors on set? Do you have a pretty tight vision of what you want to see or is it more collaborative than that?
ANDRE: My standard line on set while directing is: “that’s a great idea. I’ll have to steal it.” This applies for any production department and also for the actors. I plan everything out and know exactly what I want and how to get it but actively encourage anyone to make it better. Often I’ll find myself jotting notes during the rehearsal process because I’ll love a particular reading that an actor will give and I’ll want to take a character or scene in a new direction based on that random “take”. Or a set designer will bring something inventive to a set and an actor will want to use that during rehearsal and suddenly you have a scene that might have felt staged become something that feels alive and organic. Often times because we’re on a tight budget and schedule we can’t allow for too much playing but as long as everyone comes prepared and ready to go, there’s usually a way to make room for some extra inspired magic to happen.
W4F: Can you give us an example of how your build a scene during production? You obviously start with the script, next do you turn your actors loose in the space first or do you block the actors or are you a storyboarder? What is your process?
ANDRE: I always arrive very early on set before almost anyone else. I arrive with a full shot-list and goals and notes for each scene we’re shooting that day. I’ll go over that list with my first AD and cinematographer and they’ll share that with the other keys. But I don’t share this with the actors. It’s basically a structure for us to build upon and also acts as a check-list to make sure we get everything we need. Once the actors arrive we’ll quickly go over the scene in general terms of what’s happening and who’s doing what. Usually the actors will get into it, which is great, and we’ll do a loose run-through. This gives us an idea if our set-ups and plans will work. The actors then go into processing (wardrobe, hair, make-up) and the crew will do final preparations on the set so that we can grab our next shot. When the actors return we’ll do a full rehearsal and tweak whatever needs to be tweaked and then hopefully roll camera.
W4F: With your budgets, does that give you the luxury of 10 or 15 or 20 takes of a thing or are you a two or three take kind of person? Are you using multiple cameras to cover crucial dramatic scenes.
ANDRE: Regardless of budget I think it’s wasteful and counterproductive to continue shooting something if you feel you’ve “got it”. If it’s a one-take wonder then great – move on. (Although sometimes I’ll get a safety take just to keep the insurers and editor happy.) I’m never really aware of how many takes we’ll do on something but in the edit suite I’ll discover it’s usually less than 3 or 4. I hear Eastwood likes to work this way too and while some may think that the extra takes may heighten a moment – I think there could be a tendency for it to become melodramatic or overdone. I know for myself that if I’ve memorized something I speak far too quickly and feel stiff when delivering it. But if I know what I’m supposed to say and let it come naturally I’ll slow down and be much more present within the moment. Too many takes of something could rob the life out of not only that take but also any extra coverage that may be necessary following that.
Which leads to how many cameras I like to work with. It really depends on the set-up and what I’m hoping to grab. Working with one camera is nice because you can concentrate on that one shot and one set-up and sit right next to the lens and feel the scene unfold for that one perspective. But if there’s the ability to get more coverage of the same scene with another camera at the same time – while not constricting the actor’s movements or the lighting or set up time – then it’s wonderful to get into the editing room and play around with the extra footage. For me it’s all about balancing what you want with what you have and what other’s need.
W4F: In another interview, you talked about a 16 hour day being a short day during production…if that’s the case, how do you survive the shooting process?
ANDRE: On my very first job as a director a seasoned producer gave me this good advice: “get into shape and get a good pair of shoes.” Shooting a feature is very demanding. Thankfully I have a good background in long-distance running and playing soccer so at least I have that going for me! Usually one of my challenges during production is keeping weight on as I’ll be losing a few pounds a week. Which means that by the end of production, even when I may not realize it because of adrenaline and focus, I’m pretty drained. Others may not need to put in as many hours but I certainly felt I needed to.
W4F: The creative process is always improved by stretching yourself into other non-film industries. Some directors really get into Architecture or Racing or Cooking or Breeding Gerbils…what sort of interests or hobbies have you got that stretch you outside the film world?
ANDRE: And now you’ve made me smile for a third time. Who do you know that breeds gerbils? My interests outside of directing stretch from writing (non-feature materials), to playing and coaching soccer, to being active within my church and playing around with my children. Nothing quite equals playing “make believe” with kids who really honestly believe you’re careening down a raging river being chased by crocodiles and only magic fairy monkeys can save you – all while rolling around on a couch. I find that I’m usually enjoying this and laughing more than the kids!
W4F: Sometimes you hear about Directors like Tony Scott who use Commercials as a play space to try out new material and looks for their films. Do you have an Research & Development play space like that (commercials, short films, etc) where you test out ideas or work to improve your game, so to speak?
ANDRE: I’ve been lucky to have been able to play and experiment with behind-the-scenes materials and promo spots and trailers and infomercials for the various features we’ve produced. I’ve been able to learn first hand from watching other directors direct (which is an invaluable objective experience) as well. But I think most of my broadest experimentation happens inside my head. This could be with improvised characters and dialog and scenes in my mind or thinking of something I’d like to create and figuring out how to get there.
W4F: What advice do you give to the high school or college student who wants to make movies for a living when they “grow up”? Where do they start?
ANDRE: Almost all education is worthwhile in some way. It improves your life in many ways beyond just fulfilling required reading for a particular job. However, there are no set rules for getting jobs in the filmmaking world. Theoretical and practical schooling are certainly bonuses but most people on a film set come from many different backgrounds, education and up-bringing. The best producer I’ve worked with was an accountant who got bored with what he was doing and thought filmmaking looked cool. He began as an accountant on film and moved up to become a line-producer and now runs his own production company. Education helps, so does experience, so does connections, so does creativity and so does a problem-solving work ethic. You never know what skills or experience you may have that will work well with a particular production.
I’d suggest trying to volunteer on, or visit a film set. Before I began working at Cloud Ten I watched the whole filmmaking process as an extra. What a great place to learn exactly what goes into on-set production. Not only did I get to see how everything ran (or didn’t at times) but also assess which positions most suited what I wanted to do. Many, many people say: “I want to direct” without maybe considering that there are literally hundreds of other important and exciting jobs in the filmmaking process. And as an extra you just get to see one-third of the process. The worlds of pre-production and post-production are also essential and fascinating places to work. Film is very collaborative process. If one person doesn’t do their job out of hundreds, the film will suffer. All those names you see at the end of movies in the credit lists do important things. Make sure you have a passion for the position you want to land in.
As for what school to go to… choose what you think is the best and make the most of it – Christian or not. Same with working on a production. If not a Christian directed school or production make sure you pray everyday for guidance and let your light shine.
W4F: Again, thank you so much for your time and your thought-provoking answers. We look forward to seeing your next film!
For More Info on SAVING GOD movie, please visit www.savinggodmovie.com
For more information about Cloud Ten Pictures, call 1-888-684-5561 or visit www.cloudtenpictures.com
ProdCo: Cloud Ten Pictures
Title: Saving God
For More Info on SAVING GOD movie, please visit www.savinggodmovie.com
(March 19, 2009) SAVING GOD, the recent DVD release by Cloud Ten Pictures and Clear Entertainment starring Ving Rhames, has been inspiring audiences and winning film festival awards across the nation. Now distributor Cloud Ten Pictures, best known as producers of the popular LEFT BEHIND series of films, is hosting the “Be Inspired SAVING GOD Song Contest,” which allows individuals the opportunity to have their original songs inspired by the film released nationwide on a compilation CD, “Songs Inspired by SAVING GOD.”
“Be Inspired: The SAVING GOD Song Contest ” seeks submissions of original songs inspired by viewers’ experiences watching the film SAVING GOD. “We were hearing so many stories of how SAVING GOD was affecting viewers, and inspiring their lives and faith. The idea of collecting songs inspired by the film and releasing them on a compilation CD, was itself inspired by the film,” explains Cloud Ten CEO AndrŽ van Heerden.
SAVING GOD tells the story of Armstrong Cane (played by Ving Rhames) a reformed ex-con, who returns from prison to preach at his father’s former church, to find the neighborhood overtaken by drug dealers and the congregation in crisis. As Cane works to save the community he left behind, to save his young parishioners from the dangerous draw of the streets and to save himself from the demons of his violent past, he faces the ultimate question: Who will save God for the souls who have lost Him?
SAVING GOD is an emotionally charged film, that wows audiences with its contemporary message and moving performances. The film has also been turning heads at film festivals across the United States, and was recently awarded “Best Drama” at the Int’l Family Film Festival in Hollywood, California.
The film has also received international recognition, being nominated for the “Time For Peace” humanitarian film awards.
Contest submissions must be submitted by June 15, 2009. Finalists will be posted on the contest website and winners will be selected by voting. Winning songs will be released on a compilation CD entitled “Songs Inspired by SAVING GOD” through E1 Entertainment Distribution. Details of the contest rules and prizes can be found at www.cloudtenentertainment.com.
For more information about the SAVING GOD Song Contest, please visit www.cloudtenentertainment.com
For more information about Cloud Ten Pictures call 1-888-684-5561 or visitwww.cloudtenentertainment.com
For more information about Clear Entertainment, call 1-416-907-0101 or visitwww.clearentertainment.com
(March 3, 2009) Hollywood, CA - SAVING GOD, a new DVD release by Canadians Cloud Ten Pictures and Clear Entertainment, has been selected as the best Foreign Feature Film – Drama in the International Family Film Festival, held annually in Hollywood, California.
SAVING GOD tells the story of Armstrong Cane (played by Ving Rhames) a reformed ex-con, who returns from prison to preach at his father’s former church, only to find the neighborhood overtaken by drug dealers and the congregation in crisis. As Cane works to save the community he left behind, to save his young parishioners from the dangerous draw of the streets and to save himself from the demons of his violent past, he faces the ultimate question: Who will save God for the souls who have lost Him?
In its fourteenth year, IFFF promotes socially responsible films which express a fundamental respect for the positive values of life. “SAVING GOD is an inspiring film that we wish there were more of. Its powerful themes are heightened by a remarkable cast and some surprising twists,” says Chris Shoemaker, IFFF Executive Director. IFFF 2009 “World Peace through Filmmaking” took place February 26 through March 1, at the historic Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, California.
The IFFF award is the first festival award for SAVING GOD. “We are thrilled that SAVING GOD is receiving such positive recognition. We love the film, and it’s wonderful to see that audiences love it also,” says Cloud Ten Pictures CEO Andre van Heerden. SAVING GOD is slated to screen at several upcoming US film festivals including the Foursite Film Festival, in Ogden, Utah, March 4-7, the Lake Arrowhead Film Festival, in Lake Arrowhead, California, April 2-5, the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, in Buffalo, New York, May 1-10 and the FirstGlance Film Festival in Hollywood, May 1-3. The film is currently available on DVD at major retail outlets and via the Cloud Ten Pictures website, www.cloudtenpictures.com.
SAVING GOD is a co-production by Canadian-based Cloud Ten Pictures and Clear Entertainment. The picture has also been endorsed by the family-focused film review boards at the Dove Foundation and the American Family Association.
For more information about Cloud Ten Pictures, or to schedule a screening of SAVING GOD, call 1-888-684-5561 or visit www.cloudtenentertainment.com
For more information about Clear Entertainment call 1-416-907-0101, or visit www.clearentertainment.com
(February 1, 2009) SAVING GOD, the latest DVD release from Cloud Ten Pictures and Clear Entertainment has been chosen as the Opening Night selection for the Foursite Film festival, March 4-7 in Ogden, Utah.
The Foursite Film Festival is the second largest film festival in Utah (behind Sundance), and will boast dozens of features and shorts at four venues in and around Ogden. SAVING GOD exemplifies the Foursite Film Institute’s focus on movies that ‘inspire, motivate, uplift and entertain,’” raves Foursite’s founder, Scott C. Halford.
SAVING GOD is the latest release from Cloud Ten Pictures, best known for its Christian thrillers THE LEFT BEHIND SERIES and THE APOCALYPSE SERIES. SAVING GOD tells the story of Armstrong Cane (Ving Rhames, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE) a reformed ex-con, who returns from prison to preach at his father’s former church, only to find the neighborhood overtaken by a ruthless drug dealer (Dean McDermott, “Tori and Dean Home Sweet Hollywood”) and the congregation in crisis. As Cane works to save the community he left behind, he faces the ultimate question: Who will save God for the souls who have lost Him?
“To get such recognition from the festivals and hear how the organizers reacted to our film is a real thrill,” says Clear Entertainment CEO Domenic Serafino. Cloud Ten Pictures CEO, Andre van Heerden adds, “From the start this has been a special project. It’s wonderful to see how SAVING GOD is touching others – especially those who literally screen hundreds of other films.”
SAVING GOD has also been selected to the International Family Film Festival and First Glance Film Festival, both in Hollywood, California, and was nominated for the prestigious international Time for Peace Film Awards. The picture has also been endorsed by the film review boards at the Dove
Foundation and the American Family Association, and has received critical acclaim for its realistic depiction of inner-city life and the positive influence faith can bring to even the most desperate situation.
SAVING GOD is a co-production by Canadian-based Cloud Ten Pictures and Clear Entertainment and written by Michael Jackson. SAVING GOD is distributed by Cloud Ten Pictures through Echo Bridge Entertainment and E1 Entertainment Distribution f/k/a Koch Entertainment Distribution.
To view the SAVING GOD trailer, please visit www.savinggodmovie.com
For more information about the FourSite Film Festival, please visit www.foursitefilmfest.com
For more information about Cloud Ten Pictures, call 1-888-684-5561 or visit www.cloudtenpictures.com
For more information about Clear Entertainment, call 1-416-907-0101 or visit www.clearentertainment.com
(APR 05, 2007) Kevin Jackson of the Christian Post Reporter covers a Variety Magazine story:
(EXCERPT) Six of the film industry’s “most dynamic” independent Christian movie firms were featured in the faith-based section of Variety, a popular daily newspaper for the entertainment industry.
Among other things, the featured piece explained how these movie companies have remained independent from the studio system in the past to keep true to religious themes, but also how many are beginning to partner with Hollywood to gain more exposure for their productions.
(FEB 7, 2007) Randee Dawn of the Hollywood Reporter writes about the growing effects that Faith-Based films are having on Hollywood as Studios begin to ramp up their new production slates to include more “Christian” films.
(EXCERPT) “Hollywood does not understand the people who live between New York and California,” says [casting director Reuben] Cannon, who was the first to describe [Tyler] Perry’s oeuvre as ‘gospel cinema’. Now that I live in the South, religion is probably the biggest activity here. The Bible Belt is not just a name. It is real. Hollywood just hasn’t catered to the Christian faith-based market because it hasn’t been necessary.”
READ the Full Article by Randee Dawn on www.BackStage.com: