Posts By: Cheryl Wicker

From the page to the big screen: Getting to know Richard Paul Evans

Richard Paul Evans, "Michael Vey" author

Richard Paul Evans

Best-selling author Richard Paul Evans is no stranger to Hollywood and is best known for “The Christmas Box” that was also made into a movie of the same title in 1995. The made for TV movie starred Emmy-award winning actor Richard Thomas and Hollywood legend Maureen O’Hara. To date, over 14 million copies of all his books are in print with “The Christmas Box” itself selling 8 million copies.

Evans believes in writing stories from the heart and wrote “The Christmas Box” specifically for his two daughters. “If had known my mother would be the only one to read the story, I would have still written it,” says Evans. “To let someone know that I understand their pain over losing a child is enough for me.”

The Utah-born author eventually wrote 18 novels, four of which have been produced as movies for television. Besides Hallmark’s “The Christmas Box,” the other movies are “The Locket,” starring Vanessa Redgrave and also on airing on Hallmark, as well as “The Timepiece” starring James Earl Jones and Ellen Burstyn; and another Christmas movie, “A Perfect Day” with Rob Lowe and Christopher Lloyd.

Evans’ first teen thriller, “Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25,” is his way of reaching a younger audience as he presents an unlikely teenaged hero who has to overcome his fears and limitations to save his kidnapped mother. The plot seems simple enough but what makes Michael Vey so interesting is, although diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome, he also has special “electrical powers.” The book debuted at No. 1 in August 2011. Book two in the series, “Michael Vey 2: Rise of the Elgen” is due to release in August 2012.

To read the full story, click here.

Christian Women in Media Converge on Nashville: CWIMA National Conference

CWIMA National ConferenceOn Wednesday, February 15, the Christian Women in Media National Conference kicked off in Nashville, Tennessee at the Embassy Suites Hotel. Christian women who work in media comprised the group of attendees who came eager to catch workshops in all areas of media and network with other professionals in their industry.

Suellen Roberts, CWIMA founder and Cheryl Ariaz Wicker

Posing with CWIMA Founder & President Suellen Roberts

After staying the night with my father in Hendersonville, I arrived at 3:00 this afternoon with my assistant Kristen Myers, a professional book illustrator also from Hendersonville who will be working as my Christian Movie Connect (CMC) assistant for the conference. This was the first conference for both of us. I have been attending the Regional Connection Dinners in Dallas and sometimes Nashville so I have come to love this organization and have met some great women during the past year. It was great to arrive and see such fabulously talented women in media all in one place (talk about some powerful energy!!!)


Cheryl Ariaz Wicker enjoys Nashville tour during CWIMA national conference

Gotta have a cowboy hat in Nashville!

The first activity was to join other early arrivers in a tour of downtown Nashville. Of course, being a Nashville native myself, this is not only my old stompin’ ground, but one of my favorite places on earth! We walked down Broadway past the famous Ernest Tubb record shop and took in the novelty shops and restaurants. We had to stop into Boots N More to check out the cowboy hats and boots. After all, you can’t hang out in Nashville without a great pair of boots! I decided this was the perfect place to shoot a video podcast segment for CMC and chatted with CWIMA conference attendees Helen Gibson-Nicholas and Geni Manning.

Erica Lane at CWIMA

Erica Lane performs at Movie Trailer & Music Night

Fatima Eid at CWIMA movie trailer night

Fatima Eid of Crown Videos presents movie trailers

After dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory on Historic Second Avenue with Kristen, we headed back to the hotel for the Movie Trailer and Music Night. I was first on the agenda where the trailer for the movie I produced was shown, “Flag of My Father.” Unfortunately, in my haste to get to Nasvhille, I brought the file in the wrong format and introduced a bit on technical challenges to the AV team of Marcy Grams of Blacksmith Productions and Kyle Saylors of Saylor Brothers Entertainment. Sorry guys! I was such a “bad girl!” Each of the filmmakers had a chance to speak on behalf of their movie. Other presenters include Fatima Eid of Crown Entertainment, Marcy Grams of Blacksmith Productions and Cassandra Hollis of Holy Hill Productions. There was also some great music from Erica Lane, Johanna Mackin and Holly Lynn. Thelma Wells was the emcee for the event.

On Day 2 Carol M. Swain, Ph.D. was a keynote speaker. It was honored to meet this lady who serves as a strong conservative voice in media…a woman who has overcome poverty and many other obstacles in her life and gone on to obtain five college and post graduate degrees and now serve as a professor at Vanderbilt University! Be looking for an upcoming interview with Dr. Swain on CMC

Another highlight of Day 2 was the Top Media Panel. I learned a lot from listening to these professionals who shared tips and answered questions. Panelists included Kathleen Cooke, Sharon White Skaggs, Ruth Graham, and Thelma Wells. There were lots of great seminars that day. Unfortunately I can’t tell you anything about them since I was busy doing interviews for CMC. We had a lovely dinner, the “President’s Dinner” at the Hillwood Country Club. CWIMA President Suellen Roberts shared her personal story which was very inspiring. Suellen is a very successful business woman who has a new set of priorities because of her relationship with Jesus…that of encouraging women in media to impact the world with their gifts.

Kay Arthur interviewed on Christian Movie Connect

On Friday, Day 3, Kay Arthur was the morning keynote. What a passionate, Godly woman. She loves the Word of God and inspiring others to share in that love. CMC also interviewed Kay so we’ve got a treat in store for you!

We had a nice lunch (the highlight was the chocolate chip cookies. Yum!) and then there were more

CWIMA panelists Cassie Byrum, Cheryl Ariaz Wicker and Jeannette Eng

Panelists Cassie Byrum, Cheryl Ariaz Wicker and Jeanette Eng

workshops. There was something for everyone–online marketing, speaking, event planning, publishing, radio, acting. I was one of the panelist for the “Communicating Your Message On Camera and Off” workshop led by Kathleen Cook, along with my co-panelist Jeanette Eng and Cassie Byrum. Because we didn’t have any aspiring actors in the room, my original topic was not too applicable so I changed my topic impromptu to “Branding Yourself Through Blogging and Podcasting.”

Jennier O’Neill interviewed by Christian Movie Connect

The crowing event to the conference was the Gala Awards Dinner where Jennifer O’Neill was the keynote speaker. I realized once it was too later that the event was “after 5” Thank God for another attendee who was willing to share her wardrobe with me. After all, I had the chance to interview Jennifer O’Neill so I had to look decent. Awards were given to Dr. Carol Swain, Jennifer O’Neill and Kay Arthur. Then it was time to say good bye to all our friends. Cameras were flashing around the room while women tried to create photo memories of this special event.


We had intended to podcast and blog daily from the CWIMA National Convention but had one technical difficulty after another that did not make it possible. Even my blogs have presented challenges until no. I am known for my high level of patience but this was enough to try my spirituality!!!


For more information on Christian Women in Media Association, go to The organization also holds quarterly meetings throughout the year in five cities: Dallas, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York City and Chicago. The next meeting will be held on April 19.

Christian Movie Connect on the “New Hope” red carpet

Ben Davies and Hope Anderson

On Friday, February 10, 2012, I was able to attend the red carpet premiere of the movie “New Hope” in Monroe, Louisiana. This faith-based movie by R-Squared Productions stars Ben Davies, a follow up to his debut role in “Courageous” as the rookie cop. It was quite a spectacular event with the film’s stars arriving by limo to walk the red carpet amid flashing cameras and videographers…and, of course the Christian Movie Connect cameras. (A special shout out to my videographer/editor Rusty Hogue of Gene Ponti Communication Group and stills photographer Eric Lincoln of Eric Lincoln Photography!!!).

One of the exciting things about an event like this is watching all the elegantly dressed men and women…lots of planning, preening and primping went into this evening I’m sure! Personally, I had an easy time with my dress selection but finding the shoes and accessories took about four shopping trips over a period of a week!

Christian Movie Connect interviews "New Hope" actors

Cheryl Ariaz Wicker interviews “New Hope” cast

It was great meeting the cast during my on-camera interviews. I came to appreciate the talent of Ben Davies after seeing him in “Courageous” as the young rookie cop. My first meeting with him was in a phone interview for Sonoma Christian Home as he was driving from Birmingham to Monroe for the premiere. It was great to meet him in person. Although the movie is about basketball, he doesn’t really play the sport but he is very athletic. He is a student at Samford University where he is studying Broadcast Journalism. I met Samuel Davis and Perry Frost for the first time at their interviews. I already knew Perry’s family, having worked with her sister, Taylor Frost, at R-Squared Productions during the production of “Flag of My Father” and knowing her father from the ministerial staff of

"New Hope" cast with Rodney and Jill Ray at red carpet premiere

“New Hope” main cast with filmmakers Rodney and Jill Ray

my church, First West. This was Perry’s first film acting role, but you would never have known by her performance. Also, may I say that she plays her role of the “bad girl” surprisingly well for a preacher’s daughter! Samuel Davis impressed me with his humble spirit and courteous ways…and his incredible talent! He is a Texan and a student at the University of Texas.

New Hope cast and director Rodney Ray

Q&A with “New Hope” director and cast

The movie was very well done. The theme of suicide, depression, and other teen issues gave the movie a serious tone at times, but there was also lots of humor and romance, giving it a lighter feel at times. The main characters were very likeable…well, except for Lucas Green, the angry, bullying high school student played by Ben Davies. The characters helped to pull me into the story. “New Hope” is the follow up to R-Squared Production’s “Flag of My Father,” both written and directed by Rodney Ray.

Christian Movie Connect interview by Cheryl Ariaz Wicker with Ben Davies

Christian Movie Connect host Cheryl Ariaz Wicker interviews Ben Davies

The screening of the movie was followed by an after party with lots of great food and a chance to mingle with fellow attendees. I only got half way through my plate of food until it was time to start interviewing again. Oh well, such is the life of the press!

After the premiere, Christian rapper Big Al gave a concert for a late night audience of teens followed by a second screening of New Hope. I caught a few minutes of Big Al and then met a friend for a late night breakfast at the 50’s Diner. Typically after a dress-up affair like this, I never want the night to end…to I stretch it out to the nth degree! Buttermilk pancakes, hash browns and country ham at 2:00 a.m. was a perfect way to end a perfect night!

Christian Movie Connect is produced and hosted by Cheryl Ariaz Wicker. To see the Christian Movie Connect video coverage of the premiere, go to:

To see the trailer of “New Hope, go to:

To learn more about New Hope, go to



Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25

Michael Vey appears to be an ordinary fourteen-year-old. He has Tourette’s syndrome, but that is not the only thing that is different. Michael has an electrifying secret. Only his mom and his best friend, Ostin, know about his special ability until he finds out that popular cheerleader, Taylor, has a similar secret. In an attempt to discover how this happened, they unwittingly allow a powerful group to find them.

Michael Vey: The Prisoner Of Cell 25 is the first book in a series of seven by Richard Paul Evans. Co-published by Simon & Schuster and Mercury Ink (TV and radio host Glenn Beck’s imprint), the book has been praised as a clean adventure story. Richard Paul Evans, author of the bestselling novella The Christmas Box, uses many themes that teens can identify with, yet gives an interesting twist to the story and how situations are handled.

Although I haven’t read teen fiction in awhile, I have perused bookstore and library shelves and was appalled at the darkness and negative content in what I saw. Combined with the majority of other media available, it does not surprise me at the demise of values and the absence of hope in American society. I was prepared for a refreshing twist on teen fiction in Michael Vey because I understand the values of Richard Paul Evans, but I was not prepared for the level of entertainment it provided for me as an adult reader as well. I lost myself in the story and could not wait until the next spare minute I could find to pick the book up again and see what was happening to Michael and the other “glows.” The story was intriguing and suspenseful, and the values were truly refreshing. I appreciated the fact that the hero had a disability instead of embodying perfection since many teens struggle with self-image. The fact that the bully was more than just the bad guy, but also shown as a hurting kid who had some important lessons to learn also struck a chord with me. I highly recommend this book to both young adults and older adults as well. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!

Michael Vey website

Michael Vey Official Fan Page

Make sure to enter the drawing for a FREE copy of “Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25” before January 30, 2012.

A great evening of connection and camaraderie at the CWIMA Dallas meet

Cheryl Ariaz Wicker with author Mary Hollingsworth at the CWIMA Dalla meetOnce again, I had a fantastic time at the Christian Women in Media Association (CWIMA) Dallas Regional Connection Dinner. This is a professional enrichment evening and dinner organized by CWIMA for all Christian women who impact culture in media and leadership. The Regional Connection Dinner is one of five regional meetings held simultaneously around the country, including Los Angeles, Nashville, New York and Chicago.

The speakers were fantastic. The bonus media seminar was led by Mary Hollingsworth, a bestselling author who has published over a hundred books. A media veteran, Mary is the managing director of the writing and publishing services group, Creative Enterprises Studio. I was late but got there in time to hear her talk about self-publishing, e-books, the new QR codes, and social media. It was very informative. I knew Mary back in the days when I worked for Howard Publishing, now Howard Books with Simon & Schuster. She was one of the authors of the publishing house’s popular Hugs Series. It was great to catch up with her again. Mary is a very warm and personable lady. And with all of her years in the industry, I felt smarter just by being in the same room as her! I was particularly interested to learn about her new resource website: This is a website with thousands of Christian publishing resources in one place. I will be writing a review of this site in an upcoming blog so be on the lookout for this coming soon!

Read the rest of this exciting and fun event here.

Christian Women in Media connects women in purpose and vision

Christian Women in Media Association founder and president Suellen RobertsMore and more Christian women working in the field of media and entertainment are discovering the Christian Women in Media Association (CWIMA) as a venue to share their experiences and insights with other kindred souls. The rapidly growing organization provides networking, professional enrichment and spiritual encouragement for all Christian women involved in media. Formerly known as Women in Christian Media, CWIMA is headed by president and founder Suellen Roberts, who is herself a TV producer, TV station general manager and senior vice president of a 25-station broadcasting corporation.

“Christian Women in Media brings women in television, radio, film, the Internet, publishing, arts and entertainment together and gives them a place to connect in purpose and vision,” says Roberts, a former Gucci executive who founded CWIMA in 2002. Bringing to mind the strength and courage of Esther in the Bible, CWIMA’s theme is “For Such a Time as This,” an apt description of the constantly changing and oftentimes challenging situations Christian women find themselves in.

“We are in the culture of media and we are making an impact in so many levels. We want to bring spiritual refreshment to Christian women in media and help each other through seminars, educational seminars, mentoring and more. We’d like to give to those women who are coming up in their respective fields,” explains Roberts
Click here to read the full story. To view an interview with CWIMA founder and president Suellen Roberts on Christian Movie Connect by Cheryl Ariaz Wicker, click here.

“Courageous” beat big-budget films with impressive weekend premiere

"Courageous," starring Alex Kendrick, is a film about faith and fatherhood.Sherwood Pictures has done it again! Its fourth offering, “Courageous” blew my mind for its markedly improved production values, with remarkable acting and great storyline yet again. No wonder it opened this weekend at No. 4 in the box-office nationwide, and the No. 1 new movie of the weekend. ”Courageous” topped other big-budget films over the weekend by earning $7,806 in per-theater ticket sales though it was shown on fewer screens as its competitors.

There most useful tip I could give those who intend to attend “Courageous” is — bring a box of tissues. Though this movie has lots of action and the typical Sherwood Pictures humor, there’s lots of drama too. In fact, I cried through about three-fourths of the movie. And I was not alone in the tears!!!

“Courageous” tells the inspiring story of four men who are struggling with the challenges of Sherwood Pictures' "Courageous"fatherhood while trying to make sense of their fears, as well as hopes. It stars Alex Kendrick (who also directed the film), Ken Bevel and Kevin Downes. As of this writing, “Courageous” has been seen by over a million viewers and has earned $9 million in the box-office on opening weekend.

As any kind of movie that creates a stir in the box-office, “Courageous” attracted a whole slew of feedback both negative and positive. Some critics from the mainstream media described the film as “preachy.” I agree it may be somewhat preachy; but the movie, if internalized, is a beautiful, inspiring and touching sermon that can change individual lives and culture as a whole.

"Courageous" follows the lives of four fathers trying to cope with their roles in their respective families and in the community.Despite a few criticisms, “Courageous” surprised a lot of movie buffs and critics. “Box Office Mojo” said the film managed “to fly under most radars” until very recently. It cited Sherwood Pictures as having impressively found a way to mobilize a huge number of church-going Americans who trooped to the theaters and even snapped up tickets for special screenings. “Time” was quite impressed by the fact that, while it only opened in a little over a thousand theaters nationwide, “Courageous” still earned the distinction of having “the top per-screen average of any movie belonging to the top 25.” The film also earned an A+ rating from CinemaScore, quite a rare feat really.

The weekend is coming up and what better way to spend it than to purchase those tickets, prepare that box of tissues and head to the nearest theater that’s screening this inspiring movie. Better yet, bring a friend. Not only will you be thoroughly entertained but you’ll be sending a message to Hollywood that there really is a place for these kinds of films. For more about the movie, visit

Sherwood Pictures’ “Courageous” reaches more than $2M in pre-sales

TriStar Pictures and Sherwood Pictures are pleased to announce that “Courageous,” the latest installment from Sherwood Pictures, has reached more than $2 million in pre-sales ticketing in anticipation of its Sept. 30, 2011 national release.

Pre-sales numbers for “Courageous” more than double that of Sherwood Pictures’ most recent film, “Fireproof,” which opened at $6.8 million and went on to gross more than $33.4 million at the box office.

“Courageous” is the fourth release from the moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia.  The first release was “Flywheel” (2003), followed by “Facing The Giants” (2006) and “Fireproof” (2008).  With each release, Sherwood Pictures continues to entertain moviegoers with films that affect lives through heartfelt stories of faith and hope.

To read the full article, click here. For online ticket purchases, visit

DreamVision CEO Rick Silanskas Shares News Breaking Announcement at CMA Dallas

Rick Silanskas speaks at Christian Media Association of Dallas

Rick Silanskas speaks at CMA Dallas

I hit the road again on Thursday, September 22, this time headed to Dallas, Texas, to attend the Christian Media Association meeting (known as CMA Dallas) at North Church where Rick Silanskas, CEO of DreamVision, was scheduled to speak. Actually I had not heard of DreamVision or Rick Silanskas before attending this meeting but I knew that CMA always brings in the best speakers from across the nation, so Rick certainly must have something special to share.  And I was not disappointed.

"Hooked" Animated short by DreamVision

DreamVision’s Award-winning “Hooked”

DreamVison is a film and animation production company, which has developed a proprietary CGI creative process, an “emotionally-driven” animation that has been in the making for the past 10 years. At the helm of DreamVision is Disney legend Ron Logan who serves as the executive vice president of entertainment. DreamVision recently previewed their proprietary CGI process in an animated short, “Hooked,” which has been garnering international awards and attracting much attention. This film, for instance, has won the “Imbongi” (South Africa’s version of the Oscars) for “Excellence in VFX and Animation” in 2009. The question now being raised is, “Is this the new Disney or the new Pixar?” This is only the beginning of the fascinating news and stories that Rick shared, including an announcement that was shared first at CMA. Keep reading!

Cheryl Wicker at CMA Dallas

Christian Movie Connect’s Cheryl Wicker, credit: Joan Higley

A very exciting element of the meeting was the fact that it was streamed live with people watching from all over the U.S. and abroad, including England, South Africa, Norway and Sweden. Considering that I was one of the speakers before the keynote, that was a little intimidating, but I was glad to know that this month’s meeting and Rick’s message was not limited to people in the Dallas area!

The meeting was hosted by Bob Higley, VP of Marketing at TBN who serves as one of the leaders of the Dallas Chapter (along with Michael Williams, who was noticeably absent on stage as Bob’s sidekick for the announcements!). Pastor Lawrence Kennedy, president of Church on the Rock International, led the opening prayer. Producer, director, actor and CMA member Shelly McLeroy spoke about the CMA organization. And yours truly, Cheryl Wicker, had a few minutes to share about Christian Movie Connect and play the podcast site’s new promo video. I was very excited to share with an international audience about this new interview podcast specifically about Christian, positive and family-friendly movies!!!

After Eden Productions' Jaco Booyens

Jaco Booyens introduces Rick Silanskas, credit: Gina Scheer

Jaco Booyens, After Eden Pictures president, introduced the keynote speaker. Jaco is also an actor, model and former professional athlete. I had a chance to interview Jaco after the meeting for Christian Movie Connect and for my column. I was particularly interested in the fact that Jaco is a talent scout for Actors, Models & Talent for Christ (AMTC), a Christ-centered talent preparation company, as well as the music director for the award-winning Advantage Models & Talent, with connections in Christian film, including casting several of their actors in the upcoming Sherwood Pictures movie “Courageous.” So for actors with a specific desire to act in Christian movies, there’s a good lead for you!

DreamVision's Rick Silanskas at CMA Dallas

DreamVision CEO Rick Silanskas at CMA

Rick Silanskas is an incredible speaker — he is passionate and very animated in his delivery. I also must mention that he is extremely multi-talented, being a producer, author, musician and award-winning composer, who began his entertainment career in his teens with his own radio show. He turned down his “dream job” at Disney to pursue his own dreams and has not stopped since. As a true self-made man, Rick, known as the “Ambassador of Romance” for his music, has plowed his way to much fame and success in the industry, including being a contender for an Oscar nomination for “Best Original Score” for the movie “Hoover.” However, following 9-11 he unexpectedly lost the ability to create music. God miraculously restored his gift and allowed him to compose a piece of music that is being used by the Bereavement Program of the Pentagon to bring healing to those who have lost a family member in the war. It was then when he quit trying to manipulate his life and learned that “it’s not about you.”

Unshakable by Rick Silanskas and Paula PhelpsRick’s story of success cannot be told without telling the account of a little Russian girl who reached out to him from a run-down basement in his dreams one night. He awoke from the dream determined to find and rescue the little girl. In his own dramatic style, Rick related to the CMA audience this quest, which involved engaging a police sketch artist to draw the face of the little girl in his dream and then searching all over Eastern Europe until he found her… and adopted her. This is told in the touching documentary, “Nadia’s Story,” which Rick showed at the meeting, and in the book “Unshakable.”

The dream that launched a search for a scared little girl will also launch DreamVision with a full length animated musical motion picture, “Anna” telling the true story of Nadia and featuring DreamVision’s “emotionally-driven” CGI animation.  Also in the works is a mystery/thriller drama “Unshakable” based on Rick’s book, and a syndicated animated TV series, “Anna and Friends,”

Former Disney executive Ron Logan

DreamVision’s Ron Logan

which will introduce the character of Anna to audiences. Also, the true life story will be told on the Broadway stage as an original live children’s musical, “Anna ,” a production created by the same man who produced “Beauty and the Beast — a New Musical” on Broadway, Disney’s Ron Logan.

What is even more amazing about Rick’s story is the fact that not only is Ron Logan a part of his “Dream Team” but the entire original Disney team is being reunited under the umbrella of DreamVision with the intent to redefine the family film market. Rick didn’t seek them out but they came to him! This team says they are “Disney under another name.” Rick is determined to get outside the walls of the church with a new kind entertainment. He sees himself as a “stealth fighter, coming in under the radar but with guns blazing to take back what was stolen from our children.”

Rick Silanskas and Cheryl Wicker at CMA Dallas

Rick Silanskas poses with Cheryl Wicker after CMC interview, credit: Gina Scheer

And now for the most exciting news of all… Rick is in the works to move the global headquarters of DreamVision from South Africa to Dallas, Texas.  There will also be a theme park built around this new family-based entertainment empire but a location has not yet been officially announced. I was able to interview Rick after his speech…coming soon on Christian Movie Connect. And be looking for DreamVision’s exciting announcement, which will break officially in the next couple of months. But just remember, you heard it first here!!!

I felt honored to have met Rick Silanskas and hear him speak his heart, realizing that I was listening in on the birth of something truly great and revolutionary in entertainment.

North Church's David Nickel shoots CMC interview of Bob Higley

David Nickel shoots Bob Higley’s Christian Movie Connect interview, credit: Gina Scheer

Before I sign off, I have a few special shout outs… I had to borrow equipment and gather an impromptu crew on the spot for my Christian Movie Connect interviews, with the help of Bob Higley. Special thanks to David Nickel who ran camera, to North Church for loaning camera equipment, to Rob Skiba for contributing a light and mic, and to Gina Scheer and Joan Higley, who took photos for my blog, Special thanks, as well, to my friend Sharon White who drove me to Dallas from Monroe since my car was having “issues”… a true friend.

If you would like to see the complete stream of the CMA Dallas meeting, click here. (Cheryl Wicker’s Christian Movie Connect segment begins at 8:45; Rick Silanskas’ keynote address begins at 18:30)

You can see “Nadia’s Story” here:

YouTube Preview Image

You can see “Hooked” here:


Media Missionary School acquires new space for media training center

The new location of Media Missionary School will be located at the old Lunkenheimer building.

Media Missionary School, a faith-based organization that equips and trains future media missionaries, has acquired new space to launch their future media training center. The site, located at 1530 Tremont Street, Cincinnati, Ohio, in the old Lunkenheimer building currently under renovation, will be open some time in the first quarter of 2012. The first phase of the project calls for office space, classrooms, a production studio, a kitchen, and future student housing.

Initially, production workshops and film camps will be offered in 2012. Also, Media Missionary School will launch a new program designed to help churches become visual storytellers and communicators. The Church Media 101 workshop will be designed to introduce both the technical and artisitic techniques, which are needed to create media for both internal and outreach purposes.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

“The Lamp” lights up the way for charity screenings

The success of “The Lamp” charity movie premiere on Sept. 15, 2011, to raise funds and awareness for the Make a Wish Foundation in Oklahoma effectively started the ball rolling for the movie’s special charity screenings, scheduled to take place in 13 states within a month’s time. Directed by award-winning director Tracy J Trost and based on bestselling author Jim Stovall‘s “The Ultimate Gift,” “The Lamp” not only is an inspiring film of faith and love, but is also a way for people and organizations to help their favorite charities.

The Judge’s Choice Award winner at the 2011 New Media Film Festival in August, “The Lamp” is about a father’s struggles following the death of his son that could very well destroy his marriage, as well as the power of believing. Jason London (“Man in the Moon,” “Dazed and Confused“) plays Stanley Walters who, along with his wife Lisa (Meredith Salenger of “Lake Placid“) are gifted with an old oil lamp that plays a pivotal part in the resolution of their problems. Academy Award-winner Louis Gossett Jr. (“An Officer and a Gentleman,” “Roots“) is the mysterious messenger that challenged the couple to look deeply into their hearts to find an ultimate truth.

Read the complete story here.

Up close and personal with ‘Courageous’ producer Stephen Kendrick

Stephen Kendrick shares his views about his upcoming movie “Courageous” and the challenges of fatherhood

Courageous,” the much-awaited follow-up to the highly successful Sherwood Pictures‘ produced film “Fireproof,” is set to premiere on September 30, 2011. The film, produced by Stephen Kendrick, tells the story of five fathers who discover the true meaning of fatherhood as they go through life’s most difficult challenges. Starring and directed by Alex Kendrick, “Courageous” is distributed by TriStar Pictures and marketed by Provident Films and AFFIRM Films.‘s Cheryl Wicker talks to Stephen Kendrick to learn more about the valuable lessons the movie offers and Kendrick’s deep faith and dedication in pushing Christian films out into the mainstream.

Cheryl Wicker: Could you give a quick summary of the movie, ‘Courageous’?

Stephen Kendrick: ‘Courageous’ follows the lives of five different fathers and their families, and their discoveries about what fatherhood is about. As they interact with the gangs in the local community, they realize that most of the kids that get involved in gangs don’t have their dads involved in their lives at all. Then, through a personal tragedy, one of the fathers comes to realize how important his role as a father is. So he begins to work with the other men in trying to figure out how to be a great dad. There’s more action in this movie than anything we’ve done before. You’re going to laugh, cry and be challenged.

Wicker: Why did you choose a story about fatherhood?

Kendrick: We spent about a year praying [about this]. We had a lot of storyline ideas ourselves [and] other people were sending us their story ideas. But after about a year praying, there was just this clear direction. The leadership team believed that God was leading us to focus on fatherhood. If God is leading, then God will provide. So we begin to get storyline ideas that lined up with the subject of fatherhood that we’re working on and fitting, and we were thinking, okay this is good. At the same time, as we are studying scriptures and we’re on our journey as fathers, we are learning about fatherhood every day.

To read the rest of the interview, click here.