Dale Ward has been in the business of creating video content for over a decade. He’s won multiple Emmy awards and his films have appeared in theaters around the globe. His most recent film is My Life is a Movie.
What is your filmmaking education/background?
I began making films in middle school (on my dad’s old Super8 silent film camera) and continues this passion into middle age. I’ve produced various film and video projects including the feature-length biopic Walther; along with short films including Ragman, The 2 Sons and Their Crogzookles, and There’s Something in the Basement. For 7 years I was the Producer and Executive Producer for the national talk show On Main Street produced by Lutheran Hour Ministries, and currently I am responsible for the video content at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. My Bachelor of Arts in Video/Film was earned at Webster University in St. Louis, and I blog about film making (and film reviews) at http://www.daleward1.wordpress.com. Awards include four regional Emmys in the Documentary, Discussion, Public Affairs, and Current Events categories. My latest feature movie is My Life Is a Movie.
What faith-based films have you produced?
Walther, Ragman, My Life Is a Movie, and He Qi: The Peaceful Message .
What do you enjoy most about filmmaking?
I enjoy taking stories/characters and seeing these come to life in front of me. That is a blast! Especially when these stories and characters start taking a life of their own and going into directions I never planned. I like seeing people laugh and enjoy the movies, and I especially like when the stories become thought-provoking and viewers reflect on their own lives. I try to make movies that a secular audience will watch (and enjoy!) and to create an atmosphere where they can consider their own spirituality and what that even means to them.
Ragman has appeared in more than 30 film festivals across the country and even internationally, including the Heartland Film Festival, UK Christian FIlm Festival, The St. Louis International Film Festival, and San Diego Christian FIlm Festival, winning awards at The ATtic Film Festival (TAFFY award), Reno Film Festival (Family Live action) and Cape Fear Film Festival (Best Faith-based). It has been extremely rewarding to see Ragman have successes at many secular festivals – where those who may not otherwise be exposed to the Gospel can have the opportunity to reflect on God’s love and grace. That’s the reason I make moves – my calling. http://dwardmedia.com/film-festivals-awards/
Tell us about your latest movie, My Life Is a Movie.
The movie chronicles siblings Wyatt and Lyndsy as they run away from home. On the dangerous streets they struggle with surviving, finally getting chased into a church by a creepy homeless guy where the kids hide out and live in the basement boiler room. It is here that they discover the Word of God, hear Christian music through the Youth group, and ultimately find that there are better solutions and resources to life’s problems other than running away (a very dangerous endeavor!). This is the message I am hoping viewers will discover for themselves, and it is also designed as a tool that Christian youth can share with their unchurched friends. This movie is an experiment in trying to connect with a younger audience (12 – 18) utilizing visual elements they are most accustomed – namely their mobile phones. The entire movie is shot from the perspective of little brother Wyatt’s cell phone: he escapes from his dysfunctional life by making his own reality TV shows, and it is through these that we see the story unfold, giving it a very authentic feel as the camera almost becomes a character in the movie itself.
What were some of the challenges of making such a unique movie?
Given the fact that we were running around quite a bit, and we used existing light for the most part, the high-definition results were excellent. A few times we added lights, and I did some post production coloring work on some shots, but since the idea was that this was actually Wyatt’s phone, I had to be careful not to make the pictures look too pretty or then the realism would go out the window. Being locked into having the phone in Wyatt’s hand, this was a huge challenge in a storytelling sense, it also made the movie-making process fun: it was a cool challenge. The restrictions that went along with this forced us to really analyze every shot and camera angle, and so it really helped our cinematography: we had to make every angle count. And I think this style really helps with the authenticity of the movie: some viewers have asked “Did this really happen? Is this real?” Exactly what we hoped for!
I see this movie as an outreach tool specifically for youth and youth groups. We are designing Bible studies to go with it, but the movie really shows how an unchurched young lady discovers the Word of God and we see the positive impact of this as it challenges her and becomes a part of her life. I hope viewers who are like her will be able to consider the same resource, and maybe, just maybe, find sanctuary in a church without having to be chased into it by a creepy homeless guy! (And. of course, to realize the dangers of running away and not consider this as an option: there are other resources available…)
Please check out the trailer and other info (and please “like” it) at www.facebook.com/MLIAM. A movie with many “likes” will get noticed and you will be helping get this message out to those who need to hear it. Thank you!