Posts By: Cheryl Wicker
Faith-based feature “Flag of My Father,” now available on DVD across the country, was honored with the Best Narrative Feature at the Best of Film Awards ceremony of the just concluded GI Film Festival in Washington DC. One of the film’s stars, William Devane, was presented the Choice Award several days earlier.
As Devane accepted the award for his positive portrayal of a GI character, he told of his own veteran father and how that memory gave his role special significance. “This flag is my father’s flag too,” stated Devane. “Playing a veteran is a humbling experience and being recognized for this role is indeed an honor.”
“Flag of My Father” in its DC premiere on May 13, was one of 31 films showcased at the weeklong festival held May 9-15, 2011 during the Armed Forces Appreciation month, which offers a venue for artists to bring together the best of Hollywood and the military in telling the story of the American soldier.
Producer Cheryl Ariaz Wicker states, “‘Flag of My Father’ is a highly relevant film that exposes the plight of returning war veterans. I am very proud to be a part of a film that brings awareness to their struggles.” She further notes that over 171,400 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are afflicted with PTSD.
To read full story, click here.
I was honored to be invited by Susie Labry to speak along with Angie DeBlieux at the Louisiana Christian Film Industry Meetup on Sunday, April 3, 2011. The meeting was held at the Coco Bamboo Pizzeria and I really must say the pizza was fabulous!
Angie and I drove down from Monroe a bit early that day so that I could audition for a series of short faith-based films to be produced by Mary Ann Sadler. Angie was only along for the ride but she was sort of forced to audition as well. (It’s dangerous hanging around me…you never know what you might end up doing!). It was a lot of fun though.
I spoke at the meeting about how I got started in media. After sharing my own personal story, I shared tips on personal branding and self-promotion. Angie also spoke briefly about her experience in the industry and then took questions about various aspects of filmmaking, particularly in her main area of expertise of finance. It was a very receptive audience and lots of great connections were made.
A special thanks to some of my special friends for coming out to hear me speak: acting coach Veleka Gray, writer/producer Shan DeGruy and actor Chuck Rooney for coming out to hear me speak. Veleka Gray, Angie DeBlieux and I had a late night breakfast at IHOP following the meeting (Veleka’s favorite restaurant…I can’t hardly go to IHOP without thinking of Veleka!!!)
You can view a clip from Cheryl Wicker’s speech by clicking here.
You can view a clip from Angie DeBlieux’s speech by clicking here. (Sorry for all the camera movement…that was my bad!)
Friday, April 8th is the DVD and Blue-ray release of the third in the series of C.S. Lewis–THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Imagination comes to life with stunning special effects that bring the vast oceans and sprawling landscapes to life. The release comes just in time for Easter, making the family favorite a perfect learning and teaching tool that encourages an influential, heartfelt and in-depth dialogue of faith amongst families, schools and churches nationwide.
I was able to interview both Simon Swart, Vice President and General Manager of 20th Century Fox and Micheal Flaherty, President of Walden Media at the 2011 National Religious Broadcasters Convention (NRB) about this much anticipated release. One very enlightening comment by Flaherty is that the next Narnia film will be The Magician’s Nephew. They were both speakers at the NRB Super Session on Sunday, February 27th which featured a presentation titled: “Connecting with Audiences in an Age of Distraction: A Conversation about Movies, Entertainment, and the Future of Media.”
To read full article on Examiner.com, click here.
To view an interview with Simon Swart, click here
To view an interview with Michael Flaherty, click here
Christian Film Industry News Update for March
Things have been very busy trying to catch up from my trip to Nashville for NRB…I stayed over a week in early March. If you’ve seen my previous blogs you know I had a great time. Lots of new and exciting things are going on…I found an editor at NRB for Christian Movie Connect. Her name is Courtney Matz who works for CDC Communications in Virginia. Speaking of podcast, I also found someone to write original music for it—Philip Wade of Shreveport who is a faith-based filmmaker and composer. Things are really coming together for the podcast. More to come soon!!!
I will be speaking in New Orleans at a Christian meet up in April (see below). And I am in the midst of a huge organizational project. I have hired the services of Kelsi Guidry of MyWants to help me get my business and life organized online. He is the best. Not only does he know how to determine what your needs are, he teaches you the
technology and coaches you along the way to make sure you adhere to the plan!!! So I’m very sorry to say that I didn’t spend my Saturday in the sunshine…Nope, Kelsi has appointed it a big organization day for me! MyWants is a service to help people get their wants.
CHRISTIAN INDUSTRY NEWS
Audition for Shorts in New Orleans:
Florida filmmaker MaryAnn Sadler is conducting auditions for non-union Christian short films that could possibly lead to a feature film. Roles are open to men and women ages range from 12 to 80 years old, male and female. U.S. military types are also needed to play active, retired, and medically discharged soldiers. There will be a small stipend and meals. Some housing may be provided.
Auditions are scheduled for Sunday, April 3 from 2:00 PM until no later than 5:00 PM
Home of Raymond Lapino
1622 Roosevelt Boulevard
Kenner, LA 70062
For more information, contact MaryAnn Sadler at (850) 565-4747 or email http://www.maryannsadler.com/index.htmlfor appointment or questions.
For directions email Susie Labry at email@example.com call (225) 235-7879.
Audition for BPCC Feature in Shreveport:
Auditions for feature film to be produced by Bossier Parrish Community College are being held on Thursday March 24 at BPCC, Building D on the Third Floor. Auditions start at 5:30 PM. No appointment is needed. This will be a cold reading. There are lots of parts available. Screenplay by faith-based screenwriter and producer Suzanne M. Smith.
Christian Movie Connect:
Christian Movie Connect podcast coming soon on www.ChristianMovieConnect.com. This video podcast will feature interviews with filmmakers, actors, and those making news in the Christian film industry. Many will be on location from events such as the National Religious Broadcasters Convention (NRB), Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival, International Christian Visual Media Catalyst Conference (ICVM) and other Christian media events. Christian Movie Connect is hosted by by celebrity interviewer Cheryl Ariaz Wicker. An introductory clip to the podcast was shot at NRB. To view, go to www.christianmovieconnect.com. The first full edition with be ready by early April and will feature an interview with actor John Schneider (Dukes of Hazzard, Smallville) about his upcoming roles in “Doonby” and “Flag of My Father.”
Cheryl Wicker and Angie DeBlieux speak at Christian meetup
Cheryl Wicker and Angie DeBlieux will be guest speakers at the Louisiana Motion Picture and Acting Meetup of Jesus Christon April 3 at 7:00 PM at Coco Bamboo Pizzeria – 3741 Jefferson Highway New Orleans, LA.
Angie DeBlieuxis the owner of Production Management Resources. She recently moved back to Northeast Louisiana from Los Angeles to continue working as an executive consultant to assist filmmakers from outside Louisiana who wish to shoot in the state. She
is also working with the NELA Film Commission to promote the region to the film industry and is working with the NELA Economic Alliance in order to bring in video gaming to Northeast Louisiana.
Cheryl Ariaz Wicker is a media and marketing professional. She produced “Flag of My Father” with John Schneider, Gigi Erneta and William Devane. She owns Premier1 Studios, an entertainment media and marketing company specializing in Christian media. She also writes for Examiner.com as the National Christian Movies Examiner and recently launched Christian Movie Connect, a video podcast where she interviews news makers in the Christian film industry.
To RSVP, go to: http://www.meetup.com/christianmin-121/.
“Grace Card” Still in Theaters
Grace Card had over a million dollars on its first weekend on 300 screens. This was the third biggest screen average for the weekend, including the Oscar winning “The King’s Speech.” To find a movie theatre near you, go
Advance Tickets for “Soul Surfer” Available
“Soul Surfer” makes advance tickets available. When “Soul Surfer” opens in theaters everywhere on April 8, you will have an the opportunity to use this film to reach out to friends and neighbors, organized groups and teams, and the youth of your church.
With commercials already running on popular shows like American Idol, “Soul Surfer” is gaining momentum leading up to its opening weekend. But like all faith-filled films, it’s important that you show your support during the first weekend, which will allow the movie to remain in theaters for a longer run.
Tickets are available now. For groups of 25 or more, you can work with the Group Sales team. If you are bringing a smaller group, you can order your tickets through Fandango or other online ticketing sites.
“The Lamp” Actor Engaged
Congratulations to actor Jason London who plays the dynamic character of Stanley Walters in the upcoming faith-based film, The Lamp, by Trost Moving Pictures. He has recently become engaged to Sofia Karstens, his girlfriend of more than two years, when he proposed with a ring passed down by her grandmother. The wedding is set to take place in July of 2011. For more information, visit: http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/2010/11/jason-london-and-sofia-karstens-engaged/
Left Behind Remake
Cloud Ten Pictures plans on producing a big-budget, wide theatrical release based on the ground-breaking original “Left Behind” novel.
Cloud Ten has already begun developing a script and compiling the team for this high-profile film.
Cloud Ten Pictures is currently in the process of assembling financing and distribution for a new “Left Behind” movie, and aims to be in production in late 2011. To stay up-to-date on the “Left Behind” film series as well as other exciting projects from Cloud Ten, visit www.cloudtenpictures.com. For media inquiries, call 1-888-684-5561 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beyond the Farthest Star
Bring It vote allows you to tell your local theatre owners that there is an audience for this faith-based film in their city and that this genre of movie is essential in the on-going competition for screens at your local cinema. If you haven’t yet, please vote and then tell others to go to beyondthefartheststar.com and vote to bring this uniquely-inspired, faith-based movie to a theatre near you! http://beyondthefartheststar.com/bring-it/
On Saturday, March 26, I attended the CMA Dallas meeting (Christian Media Association). The keynote speaker was Peter Spencer executive producer and director of “Return to the Hiding Place.” Peter has many other titles to his name besides filmmaker, including writer, actor, musician, film composer, minister, researcher, speaker…he is truly an amazing person. I had the opportunity to chat with Peter about his project last year before production began and realized at that time what a promising project he has on his hands. On Saturday, Peter showed the trailer and 6 scenes from the movie, some still rough cuts. The cinematography was spectacular with an equally incredible score. Just from this brief preview, it an obviously compelling story that will inspire viewers…and move them to tears! To view trailer, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTZtGgk-EqI
With a budget of only $1 million, Peter and his team were able to achieve a movie that looks like it was in the $30-40 million range. It was 15 years ago that the idea was birthed in him to do a sequel to the popular 1975 Billy Graham film, “The Hiding Place,” which tells the story of Nazi prison camp survivor, Corrie ten Boom. He related this as an instance of God’s perfect timing since in the 15 year period, all of his children were able to learn and become very accomplished in different aspects of filmmaking—producing, marketing & advertising, acting, etc. His daughter Petra Spencer Pearce, who was in attendance on Saturday, produced the film. “I have gotten something better than what I thought I had,” said Spencer.
Peter is very passionate about his craft and gave some very good advice to filmmakers. He said that since only 30% of movies are made in Hollywood, believers have been empowered to make an impact in this arena. He urged them that it must be done with excellence and that much study and research is needed in order to do so. Just as “The Passion of the Christ” was made for $30 million with a production value of $100 million, filmmakers can maximize their budget if they know the tricks of the trade. He also emphasized the need to plan. Even though it is tempting to opt for reshooting if needed, Spencer said, “No, do it right the first time!”
He also suggested that filmmakers choose stories that have success built into them. He gave these as the top story options: (1) sequels to successful films, (2) family films with faith themes, (3) action adventure, (4) teen oriented or (5) true stories.
Some of the other speakers were Skyped in, including CMA president, Tim Shields. He talked about the new CMA website that offers networking and resources for Christian media professionals. There is also a searchable media directory. For more information, go to http://www.christianmedia.org/.
Tommy and Mindy Thomas, producers of a movie entitled “God’s Man” also spoke by Skype. For more information, go to http://www.godsmanthemovie.com/. Student filmmaker Matthew Laughlin was present giving an update on his project, “Paradox,” a contemporary musical film which tells a story that resembles a modern day “Christmas Carol.” He is working with producer Chad Gundersen (“Secrets of Jonathan Sperry,” “The Trial”). For more information, go to http://www.paradoxmovie.tumblr.com/ or www.indiegogo.com/paradox. Suellen Roberts, president of Women in Christian media was also present and spoke briefly.
After the event, I enjoyed lunch with the Spencer family, Bob Higley, Michael Williams, Clark Ortiz, Jurgen Beck, Donnie McBride, and many others.
To stay up to date on upcoming CMA meetings, go to http://www.christianmedia.org/ or join the CMA Dallas Chapter on Facebook. For anyone interested in forming a CMA chapter in their region, contact Tim Shields through the CMA website.
Photo #1: Peter Spencer speaks at CMA
Photo#2: Cheryl Wicker and Peter Spencer
Photo #3: Peter Spencer interviewed by podcaster Jeff L. Vogt
Photo #4: CMA President Tim Shields speaks by Skype
Photo #5: Michael Williams, Cheryl Wicker and Bob Higley
This is a short Christian film industry news update along with an update on the life of Cheryl Wicker. News includes updates on Christian movies The Grace Card, A Christmas Snow, Heaven’s Rain and Snitched.
Happy new year and greetings to my friends and fellow media professionals. I hope 2011 has been going well for you. The past month has been an interesting one. Neill and I spent Christmas with my family in the Nashville area. He was able to stay for about five days before returning home for work. I stayed for almost two weeks. We had a wonderful time, which included snow on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and lots of play time with my nieces and nephew, shopping, eating and visiting. Unfortunately, I developed a severe sore throat on December 28th, which has plagued me for over two weeks now. But when I also got an infection in my eye as well, I decided it was time to visit a doctor (A vain person as myself might be willing to go in public hacking and snorting with a cold, but not a red, watery eye!!!). Hopefully the antibiotics will do their trick and I’ll be back in the “land of the living” very soon!!!
The Christmas play that I co-wrote, co-directed and performed in, “A Christmas to Remember” was a great success. We received coverage in The News Star the day before the performance. To check out the story, go to: http://bit.ly/ChristmasToRemember.
CHRISTIAN INDUSTRY NEWS:
If you have not checked my Examiner.com column recently, I just posted a new article about Christian filmmaker Brooks Douglas and his sister Lesli, who were featured on Dateline recently. The true life story of “Heaven’s Rain” will premiere in mid-March. You can read the story at: http://exm.nr/HeavensRain.
Faith friendly production company Cross Shadow Productions is currently casting for a Sci-Fi action thriller feature entitled “Snitched.” If interested, you may submit head shot, resume and/or acting reel. Must be available to shoot in the Raleigh area in spring or summer of 2011. Non-union talent only. For more information, visit their website at: www.crossshadowproductions.com.
Trost Moving Pictures debut film “A Christmas Snow” receive great exposure during the Christmas season, with airings on many major TV networks and release on DVD. Their most recent announcement is “A Christmas Snow LIVE” to be hosted at the Starlite Theatre in Branson, Missouri for the Christmas 2011 season. Actors Muse Watson and Catherine Mary Stewart from the film version have already committed to be a part of this live stage production. For more information, visit their website: www.achristmassnow.com.
“The Grace Card” opens in theatres on February 25. For a listing of theaters, visit TheGraceCardMovie.com—this list will be continually updated periodically so make sure to check back periodically. For my friends in
Northeast Louisiana, the film will be shown at Tinseltown in West Monroe and also in Ruston at a theater TBD. This story on the power of forgiveness is getting good reviews, including an endorsement from Dr. Tony Evans. To learn more about the movie see my Examiner.com article: http://exm.nr/GraceCard.
If you have Christian news of national interest, please submit press releases or news tips to me at: email@example.com.
Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? (Gal. 3: 2, 3a)
Everything in my life is by grace—God working in me, blessing me, enabling me. That is where everything begins—the first breath when I entered the world as well as the day of my salvation. I was not able to simply will myself to be born any more than was I able to do anything to earn my salvation. If this is the basis of my being, why do I daily try to achieve on my own power? It is futile. However, I catch myself doing this very thing, only to grow more and more frustrated every day when I can’t achieve on my own. Let me give it all to the Lord who is the one who gives me life and breath, the one who holds the purpose for my life. He who first conceived the plan for my life is able to empower me to achieve it. If it is not of God, I do not want it. If it is of him, I will accomplish it if I trust in him. This is my prayer for the new year.
Photo #1: Visit to The Gaylord Opryland Hotel over holidays
Photo #2: Green-screened videotaped scene from “A Christmas to Remember”
G-rated romantic comedy “Three Times a Lady” is raising funds on Kickstarter.com. The film stars Kevin Sorbo, Nancy Stafford and Muse Watson. They have until March 4 to raise $50,000. For those who are supporters of Christian film who would like to get involved, this is a great way to do so. A minimum $1 donation is required.
For more information on the film, check out the article I wrote on Examiner.com: http://exm.nr/3TimesALady