‘War Room’ Filmmaker Coming to Grand Rapids

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Stephen KendrickFilmmaker Stephen Kendrick and his brother, Alex, learned a sobering truth in 2002 when they read a national poll from George Barna's Ventura, Calif.-based evangelical polling firm, The Barna Group.

"The poll talked about how the church was no longer considered, in the culture, as one of the top 10 influences," Stephen Kendrick recently told West Michigan Christian News. "Movies, music and the Internet were like the top three."

It was hard-hitting news for two men who made their living as pastors at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga.

No hand wringing

But rather than wring their hands feeling powerless, the Kendrick brothers decided they would understand the times they lived in and determine what to do.

First film released in 2003

With a $20,000 budget and a willing cadre of volunteers, they released in 2003 their first of five films titled, "Flywheel" about a used car dealer who suddenly goes honest.

Stephen Kendrick will make an appearance in Grand Rapids Monday, May 2 as the featured speaker for the 2016 LIFE International Banquet. He'll discuss how the power of prayer shapes his films and his commitment to his life's work. For more information, visit http://www.lifeinternational.com/2016-banquet.

Since their first film, Kendrick Brothers Productions have produced four additional films: "War Room," "Courageous," "Fire Proof," and "Facing the Giants."

"We have been making the kind of movies that we want to see ourselves," said Kendrick, who lives in Albany, Ga. "We want them to be emotionally stirring, family friendly and communicating truths that transform lives and are entertaining at the same time."

Untapped audience

Kendrick said he is making films that reach an untapped market.

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"It's rare that you will see a movie that is fun to watch but will honor faith and family," he said. "And so we have been making our films so people will laugh and cry and be inspired but have a message that not only will encourage them but will change their lives."

Kendrick pauses, and then adds another big tent goal for his movies.

"We know that truth can transform lives and we try to communicate truth in every film that can not only open the eyes of an atheist but encourage and inspire a pastor or a missionary," he said.

Besides movie theaters, churches, DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs, Kendrick said his movies are going in the world's highways and byways.

"We distribute our films into over 60 countries," he said. "So we hear stories from places that we will never go to, whether it be a maximum security prison in Texas to marriage ministries in Brazil to people in China. They're all radically affected by our films."

Yikes!

Knowing this is a gratifying truth, Kendrick said, given that he and Alex never went to film school to hone their craft, although they did shoot Super 8 mm films when they were kids that, to their parents' dismay, included filming fireworks and shots of dodging cars.

Staying true to God's calling is a prime motivator in their movie making.

"It was a trial by fire kind of thing," Kendrick said. "We had to figure out how to use the equipment. We didn't know what a production schedule was, a call sheet, or a gaffer. We were just trying to survive. It's interesting though of the five films we made, we often hear 'Fly Wheel' is audience's favorite because the story is so sincere and heartwarming."

What's next?

At the moment, Kendrick is on a speaking tour and is discerning the difference between a "good idea" and a "God idea" for his next film.

"We both want to work on more feature films," Kendrick said. "I have a lot of ideas but we're praying for the God idea because there's a big difference between a good idea and a God idea. Everybody has a good idea for a film. We're spending the rest of this year resting and then getting ready, hopefully, to go into production with our next project in 2017 but we don't know what our next project is."

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http://www.lifeinternational.com/
Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
About:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

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