Providence Filming – By Actress Juli Tapken

A film is so much more than what you see on screen in the finished product. For the individuals involved in the making of a movie, the behind the scenes experience can be a time of spiritual revival or of spiritual drought, depending on the focus and attitude of the filmmakers. I have found that God often speaks to cast and crew through the filmmaking process and provides hand picked spiritual nuggets for each person involved. With that in mind, for the next few weeks I’ll be sharing testimonies from Providence cast and crew members, sharing their experience on set and what God taught them through the process.

We begin with Juli Tapken who played the leading role of Adult Rachel. Juli is an incredibly talented actress who put her heart and soul into her character. What really impressed me, though, is that the compassion and kindness the comes across on screen is the real thing. When the cameras weren’t rolling, Juli made it a point to get to know each person on set and to reach out especially to the newcomers who were feeling nervous and insecure and to help them feel a part of the cast. 

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From the first moment reading about this “silent” film I was hooked! I had to be a part of this and reading that adult Rachel was in my age range really got my prayers focused upon Providence.

I had never taken part in a no-dialogue type project and at first thought it would seem that it would not be as difficult, then as I really began to think on this, I realized that it would actually be more challenging to emote and bring about empathy and a relationship to Rachel for the viewer without words. Add to that the long history I have had in theater and Providence became a perfect challenge for me. Perfect, in that as an actress I love to push myself in directions and experiences that I have not yet faced.

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This unfamiliar, scary place is where we can, and have to totally, lean on The Lord! You see, this dependent place, is where we thrive. “We” being me and The Holy Spirit. This way, there is no question who deserves the credit, even to me. There is absolutely nothing better to me than to actually live in and experience miracles right in the moment. It is as scary as anything you will ever experience but the most rewarding thing I have ever known.

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Providence was quite different in the preparation aspect, no dialogue means no script memorization. I loved this, as actors we were very fresh and “in the moment” and it was quite incredible how it played out in the scenes. God worked over and over again in us and through us to bring “real” emotions, visually felt, not heard. I also loved that, although it is a silent film, we were still talking and living the scenes and we often would be discussing the scene with Sharon right there in the midst of the scene. I recall once saying, “Sharon, Is it okay if I stand up right now?” To which she was able to respond “Yes”. Funny things like that often happened on Providence and we had such an incredible fun time while creating this project for The Lord!

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Fred and Sharon Wilharm are incredible film makers, but even more, they are incredible people, Christians and now great friends! I will always cherish this film! Providence will always be such a special movie to me and I just can’t express how thankful I am to get to be a part of this incredible family!
I so hope you enjoy watching Providence, but I especially PRAY that you are touched by it in a way that strongly compels you to give it all to The Lord!

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