This weekend are you wanting spend some time with Dad watching a great movie? Here are eight suggestions he might enjoy. Each one includes links to my review and/or interviews with the filmmakers. Click on the images to order either DVD or VOD from Christian Cinema.
Jeremy Marr Williams is a leading man who plays the role of Victor Clay in Redemption of the Commons. It’s a great movie about a young man who leaves his small time life in a South Carolina trailer park to “find” himself in L.A. Just like his character, Jeremy knows what it’s like to leave his hometown to seek his fortune in L.A. Fortunately for him, he met with better success than his character.
Jeremy, thank you for visiting with us today. I really enjoyed your performance in Redemption of the Commons. Tell us, when did you first discover a love for acting?
As a young boy I would always clown around with my football/baseball buddies telling stories about all sorts of crazy things happening. It kept things light but sometimes it got us in trouble when about ten to twenty people would gather around and things would get out of control. It was never a love or a thought about acting. It was just the guys getting together and having a good time. The first time I really pondered it as a career was on a flight to a wedding when I was 17. My dad, being a former business man and I were talking about occupations, future etc. when we somehow got on the topic of acting. He broke down the business steps needed to make it a reality, and I think from that point on a seed was planted.
What was your first acting role?
I moved to LA with nothing..no headshot, resume, agent, place to live, knew no-one… I had nothing and I loved it. I saw it as a long camping trip, a bi-product of conquest. I set goals to have a place to live in three days, head-shots in hand in ten days, and an agent/agent meetings within two weeks. I found a place on the corner of Crenshaw and Venice Blvd.(reference any rap songs from the 90’s), It wasn’t quite Malibu, but truth be told, I was comfortable considering the location. Ten days later I signed with three agencies. Three weeks after being in LA I booked a role on ESPN’s Monday Night Football with Hank Williams Jr singing “Are you Ready For Some Football”. My character was the NFL sheild. It (the shield) was painted to a T on my face. The camera was close up on the shield and then I opened my eyes to reveal that the shield was a person. It was great fun working with Hank. No one really wanted to talk to him. I guess I was ignorant to it all and just kicked it with him like we were sitting around a fire. Good guy!
How did you transition into film acting?
After being told too many times that I should get into acting, I finally decided that I’d give it a go. I went to a showcase with over 500 people and somehow won the top overall prize for a six week intensive scholarship to a film and TV school in Manhattan. I guess the journey had begun.
Wow! What an honor that must have been. And looks like you’re been busy ever since. So, what faith-based films have you been in?
I’ve been fortunate to have been lead in three faith based features thus far. The Glass Window aired on TV as an Easter Special for three years on various networks to 35% of the country(ABC/CBS/WB etc.) It really is a great movie. The cinematic value and storyline really project well and the crew was top notch. I hope that more people will become aware of this Dove Seal film as it truly is somewhat of an unknown film in the Christian community. However, when people see it for the first time they seem to always recommend it to others. It’s loaded with truth.
Most recently I worked on a film produced by Austin Ridge Bible Church out of Austin, Texas entitled Genesis. Again, an amazing crew and production. The beauty of making faith-based films is that you meet some of the salt of the earth. It’s a humbling honor to work with such God Driven people. I played the role of Jacob in the film, and I feel it was one of the better roles I’ve played. I’m not big on watching any dailies during production, so I haven’t seen the footage, however it felt good. Genesis is having its premiere at one of their two campuses in Austin this November and I’m looking forward to getting back together with some wonderful people who possess such great vision.
Tell us about your role in Redemption of the Commons.
Redemption of The Commons is the last of the faith-based films that I’ve worked on. Great story, Great Cast. Great crew. Great set. There was so much that went into making this project happen, and as an actor who really just comes in last minute, stays for four to six weeks and then is finished, you’re humbled by the months and years that various people have allocated out of there life to make a story a reality. It was certainly a joy and an experiecce I won’t soon forgot. And if I know KT like I think I know KT, it won’t be long until he’s on set again sometime soon, and I hope to collaborate with Windchime Pictures in some capacity in the months ahead.
My character is down and out, broke, a bit jaded, a bit lonely, downcast due to the lack of the successes he’d envisioned, and most importantly he’s searching to find his identity and place in this world. He attempts everything mortally possible to ‘make it’ in Los Angeles, but the fact of the matter is he’s not only broke, but he’s over 90k in debt, To Victor, he’s a failure. He went from wanting to keep up with the Joneses to hoping to keep gas in his van. He’s faced with returning to a land that he couldn’t wait to leave as a boy, and decides through a friend/father figure Pop that he should head back home to the trailer park in good ole’ South Carolina, Pops’ relationship gives Vic a new hope, a new vigor for life and instills within him the leadership skills that ultimately form his identity as a genuine man of God.
What would be your dream role?
I wouldn’t say I have a dream acting role. My focus truly is Matthew 6:33 with every moment, that I may somehow fulfill, each day. I’d rather live as a humanitarian, evangelist, one who lived truth and loved others and life than to chase a specific project/role etc. I see film in particular, and media in general, as a powerful tool which can lead people in the way of righteousness where they can fully garner and attain “True Life and Freedom”. There isn’t much on TV with genuine substance, thus blazing a trail to provide more products which have the consumers best interest, inspire & give hope is my passion. Whatever roles I might need to play within these principles are my ‘dream roles’.
What do you do when you’re not acting in films?
When not filming I stay very active. I enjoy heading out to the beach at sunrise with my Bible, a pen & paper and just ‘being’. Sometimes I’ll read two chapters, sometimes two verses. It’s not homework or a ‘have to’, its a ‘get-to’, and I’m truly there to be filled that I may become better than I was yesterday. Mornings are my fuel, I can’t be used if I don’t wake up daily and seek and be filled with that which is greater than myself. Nature is my sanctuary. The woods, swamps, lakes, mountains, and oceans provide sustenance for the belly as well as the soul. One of my favorite activities is going to nature in a place I’ve never explored, regardless of where I am on planet earth and getting a great run and full body workout in amongst the endless life and adventure that God Himself Created. I’m humbled as well as grateful for God’s mercies that I may run to Him daily. I like to get out with my dad and brother to the woods for some bow hunting or hit a trout stream in WV fishing. Coming from a large family there’s always a big time happening somewhere and with my all my nieces and nephews we’re sure to wear each other out one way or another. In the end, it’s all about how I can be used to bring Glory to God and the beautiful truth of His Son Jesus Christ.
Thank you again, Jeremy, and good luck on the upcoming release of Redemption of the Commons.
Congratulations to Jeremy Marr Williams on his “Best Actor” win at this weekend’s Churches Making Movies Film Festival for his role in Redemption of the Commons.
I loved Redemption of the Commons, and the story behind the movie is every bit as interesting as the movie itself. Utilizing his film degree and his experience working on Hollywood sets, KT Terry accomplishes the task of making a small town movie with a big budget feel.
When did you first develop an interest in filmmaking?
I think I’ve always had an interest in film ever since I was a young child. I can vividly remember sitting in front of my record player and listening to the movie soundtrack of The Good the Bad and the Ugly. I would listen to that music and just dream up movie scenes. I think ever since then, I’ve been compelled to be in the movie industry in some manner. However, I always wanted to be an actor – until I realized I wasn’t any good at acting. I guess you never know how life is going to turn out.
What impact did your L.A. experiences have on you as a filmmaker?
My time in LA was very pivotal in my pursuits of being in the entertainment industry. However, I don’t think it’s necessary for someone to live in Los Angeles or New York to make a film. We’ve seen lots of examples of people who have lived all around the world and have made great films. Nevertheless, I would say that being in LA gave me a great opportunity to be on movie sets, TV sets, work with actors, work with writers, work with directors and just get a great crash course on what it is like to be on a set. To be honest, those times on the set were actually very humbling. My first few gigs in LA were either being an extra on a movie set or being a production assistant on a television show. All of this happened right after I graduated with a master’s degree and there I was working as an extra and working as a production assistant. There wasn’t anything glamorous about it. However, it was a huge opportunity for me to be able to see firsthand what it’s like to be on a movie or television set. What I learned from those opportunities I took with me in making Redemption of the Commons. I also spent a lot of time just by myself in front of a computer hammering out scripts. That too is a humbling, and many times lonely, job. I say job, but I wasn’t getting paid. I would just work countless hours at my home office or in a coffee shop trying to punch out a script in hopes that someone would want to make it. The first script I wrote, entitled Masada, was optioned by a very popular writer in Hollywood so that gave me a little more drive to keep on writing.
What inspired you to write Redemption of the Commons?
The thing that inspired me to write Redemption of the Commons can be summarized by me just saying that I just felt called to do it. It seemed a little crazy to most people when I moved 2500 miles away from Los Angeles to a small town in South Carolina in order to become a pastor as well as write/direct a film. Nevertheless, I felt that this was what I was supposed to do – so I did it. I spent lots of hours, days, weeks, and months hammering out a script that I felt could be made on a small budget and in a small town – and ultimately we were able to get it done. I also feel like I can connect very well with the main character, Victor, in the movie. I feel like all of us at some point in our lives have gone through a time of failure. I think that’s why this film touches so many people is that they can all identify with Victor and his pursuit of chasing his dream.
What was the greatest challenge with being a pastor making a movie?
The greatest challenge with being a pastor and making a movie is trying to do both of those things well. Both of these callings take a great deal of time and with me being a bit of a perfectionist I feel like I want to do them very well. Nevertheless I never felt that these two callings were in conflict. I think being the one makes me better at doing the other. It also helps that I have a church family that is very supportive of me being a filmmaker.
How did you see the hand of God in helping you make the movie?
I definitely saw God’s hand throughout this whole production. From pre-production all the way to post-production he made ways where there were no ways to be made. I can remember vividly that we had three days left of shooting. I was exhausted and we were still in need of $20,000 for the film to be finished. I heard a knock at the door and I decided not to answer it – thinking that it was just the regular mail delivery. Then I heard a friend’s voice outside, opened the door and invited him inside. He went on to say that he felt that God was prodding him to contribute to the film. I was excited about that however I must be honest I thought that it was just going to be a check for 100 or 200 towards the film. Yet, I was in disbelief when he handed me a check for 20,000 – the exact amount that we needed to finish the film. There are countless other examples of this type of provision that can be found on our website (within the media guide).
How did you select your cast and crew?
When it came to our cast and crew we utilized online casting calls and had some very talented actors submit. With this being a micro budget film, I had to wear many hats. One of those hats was being the casting director. Yet, being the writer and director also allowed me a great understanding of the type of characters that I was looking for. It also helps that I spent a lot of time in Los Angeles doing some acting work so I had a good idea what the actors would need from me and what I would need from then. In the end I feel like we got the perfect cast who really brought the story to life.
Tell us about the process of preparing the trailer park set.
Constructing the trailer park was a huge task. Many people are surprised to discover that the trailer park where we filmed was actually a movie set that we constructed. We knew that we would need a secluded spot to shoot and so we decided to make one on our own. It was a grueling task of preparing the field moving in the trailers that we found on Craigslist as well as doing set decoration for all of the trailers. We had several people and family members who chipped in to help decorate all of the trailers. Everything that you see on the screen was either donated or picked up at a thrift shop in order to create the realism needed for the film.
What is your favorite scene in the movie?
Trying to determine which scene is my favorite is similar to trying to determine which of my children is my favorite. They all are important to me as I spent a great deal of time thinking through them as a writer as well as a director. However if push came to shove and I had to say which was my favorite part of the film, it would be the concluding montage. I love how all of the stories come together in a way that none of the characters would have expected. They come to a place where they see that God was in control and had a good plan for their lives. I also love the music that was done by Carol Strickland who wrote the song “Praying for Sunshine”. It seems like the most perfect song to have during the montage.
What are your goals for Redemption of the Commons?
Our goals for the film are to have the film shown in regional theaters in the Southeast, and it looks like we will have some success in doing that in early November. We’re also excited that the film will be released worldwide on DVD on November 20th of this year. The film will also be available for rent and for download on online sites like Google Play, Vudu, xbox, iTunes and Amazon. The plan is also to allow Redemption of the Commons to be a stepping stone for the next film that Windchime Pictures will produce. We are currently in development on our next project and hope to announce the shooting dates for that sometime next year.