Jon Graham – Radio Host, Screenwriter, Video Producer

This week I had the privilege of being a guest on “The Culture Connection” segment of the Life With Purpose radio show. As host Jon Graham and I were chatting after the interview, I discovered that not does he interview film folks, but he’s a screenwriter getting ready to produce his own faith-based film.

First, introduce yourself and your role in faith-based films.
My name is Jon Graham. I’m from the Atlanta area.  For the past 11 years, I’ve been the video producer for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.  In that role, I have produced thousands of videos for our over 3600 Georgia Baptist churches.  Before that, I managed a small AM radio station and was a church planter/pastor and worship leader. I have been wanting to produce a faith-based film for about 4 years and came on as a producer for one project that fizzled out and then have recently co-written a screenplay and will be producing Kind Katie soon.

Tell us about your segment on the Life With Purpose Radio show.
Life With Purpose Radio has been on the air for over 9 years.  We started on Sirius XM’s Family Net channel, and then when that was sold and went off the air, we moved our show to terrestrial FM stations.  We’re currently on about 100 FM stations.  The show is 30 minutes long and is a weekly magazine-style program.  It moves fast and has five segment producers.  My segment is called “The Culture Connection” and features filmmakers, actors, politicians, athletes, authors, and anybody who is making their mark for Christ in the mainstream media somehow.

Who are some of the film industry individuals that you’ve interviewed?
I’ve had the privilege of interviewing Jon and Andy Erwin (I Can Only Image), Stephen and Alex Kendrick (War Room), Dallas Jenkins (The Resurrection of Gavin Stone), SNL veteran Victoria Jackson, Mark Burnett (Survivor) Roma Downey, Terry Benedict (Hacksaw Ridge); Ralph Winter (X-Men); Scott Derrickson (Dr. Strange); Lou Gosset Jr., … honestly, with over 450 shows, it’s hard to remember them all.  They have all been wonderful interviews and I’ve developed several friendships through my interviews.  I’d say it was the interview process over the past nine years that got me ready to produce a faith-based film myself.

Tell us a little about your own faith-based film that you’re working on.
Kind Katie is the true story of high school senior, Katie Beth Carter.  She was known for her kindness and remarkable love for people.  Her dream was to dance for the Jacksonville State University Marching Ballerinas – she graduated, and made the team and then was tragically killed four days after her first (and only) university game.  Her community was so overwhelmed by her loss, eleven football players were baptized, three scholarships were placed in her honor, and $60,000 was raised to build a school in Nicaragua in her honor.  I am personal friends with the family and honestly believe God laid it on my heart to tell her story.

Where are you at with it? Have you already cast or lined up crew?
We’ve only cast two of the roles.  We’ve raised just under $100,000 in development money as the first faith-based film to utilize REG-CF investment (more on that later), we produced an eighteen-minute documentary (at www.kindkatie.com) where folks can learn of her story.  We have some potential investors praying over funding our $1MM production budget.  If all goes as hoped, we’ll begin filming late fall this year.

How can cast and crew connect with you?
Our Facebook page, @KindKatieMovie is probably the best place to connect.  We’ll be posting there when we’re ready to crew/cast up.

Tell us about your new funding venture that you’re working on?
In 2016, Congress approved legislation that made it possible for anyone to invest in start-up companies for as little as $100.  To the best of my knowledge at the time, there was only one other feature film that had used this mechanism to raise investment dollars – and we were the first faith-based film to do so.  This is different than crowdfunding because instead of a “thank you” and a T-shirt, folks actually become INVESTORS and share in the financial profits of the film. To keep fraud to a minimum, the SEC requires these campaigns take place on approved, licensed portals (websites).  One such portal reached out to me recently and asked if I’d like to develop a faith-based entertainment ONLY portal and invite producers to raise funds there.  This made a lot of sense to me because most portals market to “investor types” who don’t understand the film industry or the faith community.  With my (soon-to-be) website, FaithFilm.Fund – we’ll be able to market to the faith community and invite folks to “invest in the future of faith-based film”.  I really believe it could be a game-changer over time. I imagine a day when a group of 10,000 or more believers are choosing a different film to invest $100 in every month.  That would be $12,000,000 going to faith-based films every year and we could completely flood theaters with great faith-based content.

 

How can filmmakers learn more?
If I can bring four projects that need to raise $50,000 to $1M in funds, I can get the website active.  I will help producers with the on-boarding process.  To learn more, folks can go to FaithFilm.Fund and watch my vision video, send me their contact info, or ask to join our Facebook group @faithfilm.fund

Anything else?
I also run a Roku channel called PeachFlicks.  It was launched as a platform for Georgia-based independent film, but we’ve branched out from there.  We have over 14,000 subscribers on Roku and we also have a mobile platform.  If filmmakers want to get their content on PeachFlicks simply visit the website peachflicks.com and start the submission process there.  PeachFlicks is not exclusively faith-based content – but we’d love to have more faith-based content on there!

In summary, I think we all benefit when we learn from one another.  I’m forever grateful to producers who have been generous with their knowledge and patient with my learning process.  Chad Gundersen, Andy Erwin, and many others have been an immense help to me.  My goal is to pay it forward and build a network of folks who can learn from each other.  Let’s connect!

Social Corner:
@jonggraham (twitter)
@thejongraham (facebook)
@peachflicks (f/t/i)
@faithfilm.fund (f/t)
@kindkatiemovie (f/t/i)
jon@peachflicks.com

Author: Sharon Wilharm

Sharon Wilharm is a female filmmaker, blogger, and speaker with over a decade of industry experience. She and her husband, Fred, just released SUMMER OF '67, their seventh feature film. Their movies have screened in theaters, festivals, and churches around the globe as well as multiple television networks. They've accumulated dozens of festival accolades including many Best of Fest awards and 4 ICVM Crown Awards. Sharon is passionate about visual storytelling, branding, and marketing and would love to speak at your upcoming event.

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