A Note From the Director
I'll be right up front with you when I say that in 1999, this was the biggest project I, or KTF Productions had ever undertaken. That's true for the scale of the production and the level of conviction we hoped it will induce. At the onset of this endeavor, I believed that it would be our biggest and best movie we've ever created. We had the tools that I've always hoped for and we'd grown in our abilities. But as time passed, I realized that God had much more in store for this movie than I initially imagined. You see, I have said in the past that the reason we make the videos that we create is more important than the videos themselves. In that, I mean we pray that God will not only use the video to touch lives, but our very effort in the creation of the video to change lives as well. When others understand what we wish to accomplish with the videos, and how God provides for our every need, they can grab hold of the spirit of what God is doing, even before he does it, because God is always at work.
In both of our previous movies ("Keep The Faith" & "The Knight of Daye"), during production, the actors and crew members began to understand that the message we wished to portray in these movies is bigger than ourselves, even bigger than the movie we were creating. That message is Jesus Christ. The lives of the cast and crew were touched during production which helped me know that God is in control.
"Great Awakening" takes us a step beyond the movies we've made in the past. The Lord was challanging KTF Productions to be even bolder with the message of Christ. With this movie, the vision of all that we've been and all that we wish to become as a non-profit video production company was coming to light. The impact that this movie could have on the life of an individual could truly cause the scales to fall from their eyes.
As the director of "Great Awakening", I want you to know my whole heart. I know from experience that videos can do wonderful things. They are immortal, far reaching, able to deeply impact lives, and when broadcast or posted online, they can be free. They're creative, intuitive, thought provoking, and can leave a lasting impression. I had high hopes for "Great Awakening". I believed that God would use it beyond the ability to touch lives, but to change lives. Please pray that this movie will continue to accomplish the goals set out before it, and that God may have complete control over all aspects of it's use. Feel free to share it with your family and friends and join us in the effort to make a difference in the kingdom of Heaven.
Your brother in Christ,
-David M. Evans
There comes a time in each one of our lives when we ask ourselves "what happens when we die?" Eddie Hughes never gave much thought to that question, but soon he would be faced with the answer. "Great Awakening" peers through the eyes of Eddie Hughes, a father and business executive who finds his life falling apart from the pressures of this world. With seemingly no place to turn, he tries to take his own life. But in the midst of his near death experience, he finds that there is more to life than he once knew. Some would call his experience a wake up call, others may refer to it as electrical responses in the recesses of his brain, Eddie would see this whole experience as a "Great Awakening".
KTF Productions takes a closer look at life after death through this powerful, feature-length, Christian movie. "Life and death is one thing that we all, as human-beings, have in common," says director David M. Evans. "I also believe that every human-being, sometime within the span of their life, contemplates what happens after death. Though this may be the case, 'Great Awakening' isn't necessarily designed to focus on the afterlife alone, but rather to take a closer look at our time on this earth as a roadmap to the destination of our afterlife." "Great Awakening" brings thoughts like these to the forefront of the minds of its viewers.
Luke chapter 16:19-31 provided the inspiration for the creation of such a movie. This portion of scripture reveals the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man. Lazarus is a societal outcast, but believes in God, while the Rich Man is a social success, but does not believe in God. When they both die, Lazarus goes to heaven and the Rich Man goes to hell. In amazing detail, the Bible records a glimpse of heaven and hell as the rich man contemplates why he is sentenced to eternity in hell.
The idea for this movie encompasses the deepest concept of every religious belief... life after death; the idea that what we do here in this life determines what happens when we die. "Great Awakening" explains that there is only one way to heaven. There is only one way we are granted life in heaven for eternity; salvation through the belief and acceptance of Jesus Christ, the son of God. The task of this movie is to awaken its viewer to this concept. If it is true that within everyones lifetime, we ask the question 'what happens when we die?', let that question be asked and answered within the viewing of this movie.
About the Production
KTF Productions has produced several videos with the purpose of opening the eyes of those who do not know Christ, through the prompting of the Holy Spirit with these videos as the catalist. The purpose of "Great Awakening" surpasses any project that KTF Productions had previously created. The focus is deeper, the impact is stronger, and it is believed that the power will be long-lasting. It is created simply to awaken viewers to the reality of life after death. Life either in Heaven with the Father or in Hell where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. It is not done in a "preachy" way, however. Movies have the ability to speak volumes without condemning or judging anyone. We see through the life of Eddie Hughes the pitfalls of the lie. We understand through Eddie the light of the truth. And we see through Eddie the direction to be saved. It is said that television is a reflection of life. Let this mirror reflect the Word of God.
KTF Productions presents the locally produced, feature-length Christian movie, GREAT AWAKENING, starring Mickey Sykes, Valerie Miller, Lysa Ferguson, Mary Kay Allbee and Troy Kilpatrick. By pulling together such a talented cast of local actors, KTF proves that not only the big producers can hunt down good talent. Mickey Sykes, stars as Eddie Hughes, and does a brilliant job reflecting his talent on the screen. Valerie Miller compliments Mickey as the supporting actress by playing Keri Sanders, Eddie's daughter. With a cast of over 30 actors and a hand full of extras, there seems to be no weak link in the depth of talent obtained for this movie. "One of the most difficult obstacles in creating any movie is obtaining a good cast. In 'Great Awakening', we have been blessed with an exceptional cast", explains producer, Jeannene Evans. "Each member of the cast and crew have helped to create the best movie I've ever been privileged to produce."
Producer, Jeannene Evans, with director, David Evans, produced this movie, localizing production within the West Michigan area. Their previous movies, "Keep The Faith" and "The Knight of Daye", were nationally recognized paving the way for this new endeavor. Specialized talents from music artsts Jeremy Morris and Maurilio Rios, along with special effects and make up artists, add to the pool of talent not seen by the camera.
"As I had earlier surmised, this movie is the biggest, most challanging endeavor that we have ever undertaken. With these actors, I felt as if I were working with professionals during the entire production, and in several cases, I was." explains director David M. Evans.
Because of the complexity of the script, the story went through several revisions before production began. It passed through the hands of numerous pastors and Christian leaders for comments and advice. "I really like this story, I believe that it can speak to everyone," says Evans. "After the final revision of the script, co-executive producer, Jeannene and I looked at each other and said 'this is going to be a great movie.'"
The title of the movie speaks for itself. The purpose is to bring the viewer of this movie to an awakening in Christ Jesus. This is the primary purpose of the creation of the feature-length movie, "Great Awakening".
The screenplay was written by David M. Evans, who also wrote the script for the national award winning movies Keep The Faith, and The Knight of Daye, in association with his wife Jeannene Evans. "The Lord inspired the script for this movie," said David. "I had a completely different script in mind, scripts written a long time ago that I wanted to produce for years now, but could never get the chance. I'm happy to produce this script though, I'd much rather produce what the Lord is leading me to produce than what I set before myself. I know that the Lord will use it to change lives. I'm excited about how the script turned out, and I'm very please with how it turned out on the screen."
The screenplay took three months to write and has been reviewed by Christian leaders and friends in the local community. Several books were used to research the issues presented in the script. The main section of Biblical scripture used to formulate the script is found in Luke 16:19-31. The book, Divine Revelation of Hell was also used to build the concept for the script, among others.
"We stretched ourselves with this movie because we ventured into an area of 'filmmaking' that we've never entered." David explains. "Our second movie, The Knight of Daye, had several special effects, but this movie surpasses anything seen in that movie, or any project that KTF Productions has ever undertaken." Some of the special effects software used in "Great Awakening" were used to create the secular movie Starship Troopers. Other software was used in the creation of Pleasantville.
The story surrounds the life of a middle-aged vice-president of an accounting firm, who has a relatively normal life by today's American standards. That all changes, as his life spirals down until he hits "rock bottom". There he has to make a choice, to get his life right, or to end it all. He makes the wrong choice. We find out later how wrong.
The story, "Great Awakening", is a salvation message revealing the simple truth about Jesus Christ, the son of God and how our relationship with Him can give us eternal life. A creative mix of the supernatural world and the tangable world as we know it combine to reveal a truth that is so profound that the movie has already changed many of the lives of its viewers.
About the Cast
The amazing talent of the local actors that have performed in this production is rich with experience and depth. Lead actor, MICKEY SYKES (Eddie Hughes), came aboard with prior experience in acting for the stage and for the camera. His strong talent, camera presence, and striking resemblance to the director's vision of character, landed him the lead role for the movie. Mickey has made several appearances in television roles produced locally as well as a variety of stage plays for the Civic.
"The challenges I had in this movie was that it had a lot of emotional ups and downs. I'm a pretty low-key kind of guy. So meeting those conditions were quite challenging, but I hope we met the challenge".
VALERIE MILLER (Keri Sanders)
Valerie brings a certain flair to the screen. During auditions, the casting director knew right away that she was the perfect person to play the role of Eddie Hughes' daughter. Her fiery performance compliments the mood of the movie from start to finish. Valerie, came to the production, after performing in plays from different areas throughout the country. Her list of accolades include, "Dark Side of the Moon", "Evita", "The Fantasticks", and "The Pied Piper".
LYSA FERGUSON (Trina Woodward)
Lysa brings her acting talent to the screen drawing from her long list of stage and television experience. Lysa has appeared in such theater performances as "Grease", "The Sound of Music", and "Anything Goes". She does a wonderful job of pulling off a difficult performance that is far from her personal experience. Her presence, enhances each of her scenes with an authenticity rarely seen in screen acting.
"My favorite part in making this movie was the scene in Ludington. I very much enjoyed the things I had to say and I was very ecstatic that I got the chance to use my talents as an actress to bring forth a gospel message."
MARY KAY ALLBEE (Susan Hughes)
Mary plays the familiar role of the wife of Eddie Hughes. Familiar because Mickey Sykes and Mary Kay Allbee are married in life as they are on the screen. On the screen, it is apparent that Mary Kay has much experience in acting. The passion her character brings to the screen will bring each viewer to the edge of their seat. Mickey and Mary Kay do an excellent job of working off of each other electrifying each scene with a perfection rarely captured on tape.
"I think it is good for people to know that there is hope, you're not expected to be perfect and I think that is so important for people to know. God does not expect you to be perfect. You're not going to be perfect no matter how hard you try. It all comes down to if you ask in your heart of hearts you will be forgiven".
TROY KILPATRICK (Clint)
Troy does a wonderful job of bringing the elements of his stage success to the screen. As supporting actor, playing best friend to Eddie Hughes, Troy does a brilliant job of bringing out pivotal moments in the movie flawlessly. His ability to do this stems from his long list of stage experience as he has appeared in such plays as, "Life With Father", "Death of a Salesman", "Nightwatch", and "The Author's Wife."
"Up to this point, most of my work has been done on the stage, so it was a challenge to work on camera, and I enjoyed it very much. There are a lot of different nuances working on camera as opposed to on stage."
SLOAN DICKMAN (Toby Sanders)
4-year-old child turned actor, Sloan, had his debut on the set of "Great Awakening" lighting up the screen with childhood radiance. For someone who has never been in front of a rolling camera, Sloan's comfortable presence on the screen adds to the believability of each scene he had participated in. The stage actors of this movie can testify to the difficulty of acting for the camera. Sloan did a wonderful job of forgetting that there was a camera in the room, and performing with seeming ease.
DAVID M. EVANS (Eric Sanders)
David brings experience to this project from performing in previous KTF Productions such as, "Keep the Faith", "The Knight of Daye", and "Christian Music Videos."
About the Filmmakers
DAVID M. EVANS (Director)
David found himself wearing the hat of actor and director for this movie. He has directed several projects throughout his career, including the award winning dramas, "Keep The Faith" and "The Knight of Daye". At the time of this movie, David worked for University Video Services at Western Michigan University.
"I really appreciate what God has done. I never thought we'd be able to make Christian videos like we do. I thank God for the talents he's given us and the contacts that we have made. I know that we would not be where we are without Him."
Jeannene Evans (Producer)
JEANNENE EVANS (Producer), has produced several video productions through KTF, including the documentary "I'm Adam: A Look at Prolife", the talk show series, "Campus Generation", and the weekly music video series, "Christian Music Videos". "Great Awakening" is the third Christian movie in which Jeannene has performed as producer. During the creation of the movie, she worked at WWMT-TV as business manager.
"The message and the mission of the movie are linked together in that the message and mission is to let people know that the only way to get to heaven is by accepting Jesus as your savior. But once you accept Him you have to continue to accept Him by continuing to live your life according to the Bible every day".
MAURILIO RIOS (Music Composer)
Maufilio wrote and performed the theme song for the movie, "Great Awakening". His first album, "The Bomb", also contains the song "Great Awakening". During the production of the movie, "Great Awakening", his first music video, of the same name, was produced. Maurilio has his own company, Holy Ghost Bomb Productions, in which he creates music that glorifies the Lord.
"I was inspired to write the song for 'Great Awakening' by reading the script. As I read the script, everything was just coming out. As I thought about the movie, I visualized everything that would be happening."
JEREMY MORRIS (Music Composer)
Jeremy generously allowed the use of four of his songs from his various albums to be used in the movie. He also custom created a few special sound effects for the movie along with his son, Peter. Jeremy is a Christian music artists that has created several albums that have spanned an international outreach. He also teaches music, and has his own company, JAM Records.
"To be able to collaborate with him (David Evans) and provide some soundtrack music is definitely my pleasure. Instrumental music has universal appeal and it creates a lot of moods and feelings and it passes language barriers."
SKIPPY SEUFERER (Makeup/Costume Artist)
Skippy used to work in Hollywood as a make-up artist, applying make-up for such well known actors as James Earl Jones. She is one of a few participants who came to the project from outside of the Kalamazoo/Portage area. Skippy lives in Ludington, and helped with all of the difficult make-up jobs on location. Skippy's light hearted nature, and knowlegable expertise was a necessary asset in the creation of the movie.
DARI CRAVEN (Audio Operator)
Dari came on board with a variety of behind the scenes talent. At the time of production, Dari was due to graduate from Western Michigan University with a broadcast/cable production major and was working part-time at University Video Services.
"At the first meeting I really wondered, being that this is a non-profit organization, how people would perform. And everyone performed very well in every single task. I thought that would be a challenge, but even though this was a volunteer experience for all involved, it wasn't a challenge at all".
STEVEN EVANS (Audio Operator)
Steven has helped with a number of KTF Productions' video projects. With this movie, Steven has displayed a level of encouragement and dedication that would be difficult for most to model. At the time of production, he worked at WWMT-TV in the accounting department.
"Everybody faces death sooner or later, and I think that it is very important for people to think about where they are going when they die or whats going to happen when they die and this movie addresses that."
SHERRI EVANS (Script Supervisor)
Sherri has also helped on the set of a number of KTF Productions. In this production, she took on the role of the much overlooked responsibility of script supervisor. During the making of this movie, Sherri was the coordinator of a youth outreach called the L.O.F.T., an acronym for "Living Our Faith Together".
"I'm a believer in Jesus Christ so I am behind this production 100%. My hope is that it can get out in the community so that others can see and believe the truth about Jesus."
About the Local Locations
GREAT AWAKENING was produced in several areas of West Michigan. The cast and crew traveled to Kepco on Sprinkle road when shooting the video of the Judgement seat. Kepco is an acronym for Kalamazoo Electropolishing Company and operates in a warehouse. Owner, Bill Hochstetler, was kind enough to let a portion of production take place there. Employee, Joe Mitchel, helped and supervised the use of the facilities.
The Sindacuse Health Center on Western Michigan University's campus provided a location for the hospital ER scenes. Debra Kimball, R.N., M.S.N. and Marcia Ellis, PA-C of the health center supervised the use of the facilities and aided in creating the ER scenes. With the help of these two individuals, the hospital operations captured on tape were assured to be authentic practices within a hospital setting.
Local resident, Julie Sloan of Portage, opened her doors to KTF Productions, providing a location for the character, Keri Sanders to live. Two weekends of shooting and rearranging the house for production purposes were well received by Julie and her husband, even with short notice as to our needs of their home.
West Lake Nature Preserve, in Portage, provided the perfect backdrop for the concluding scene to take place. William Demming was most gracious in allowing our cameras to roll on city property, resulting in a beautifully tranquil setting.
Holiday Inn Express, in Ludington, provided space for a hotel scene. With kind service and helpful employees, this location was not only adaquate for production, but pleasant as the cast and crew stayed at this location for almost a full week while production at the Ludington State Park took place. The cast and crew of "Great Awakening" were refered to as "the movie people", when the Ludington Daily News, local paper, covered portions of the production.
The highlight of the production of "Great Awakening" took place at the Ludington State Park Dunes. Mike Mullens, of the state park, gave permission for KTF Productions to shoot on state property. This week long shoot provided an excellent scenic backdrop for about 1/4th of the movie. Although cast and crew alike were used to tote equipment up and down the dunes, weather was cool enough to make the transport less of an unpleasant experience.
Vice President/General Manager, Dick Appleton, allowed KTF Productions the use of a portion of Kalamazoo's local CBS affiliate, WWMT-TV to shoot the accounting scenes. This authentic accounting area needed no adjustments for production. WWMT employees as well as Dick Appleton were very understanding in allowing KTF to shoot during off hours.
Dansey's lake in Jones, Michigan provided a perfect location for the woods scenes. Beautiful trees and plant overgrowth revealed nature in its truest form. This local location along with several others not mentioned, provided authentic, asthetically pleasing, and well appreciated location for KTF Productions.
KTF Productions would like to extend their sincere thanks to each individual involved in providing the wonderful locations during the production of the movie, "Great Awakening". We know that any movie is only as good as its weakest link. With the help of everyone involved, there is no weak link in area locations used in the creation of this movie.