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Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Widow's Might: Opening Sequence


Preview from John Moore on Vimeo.

Here's the opening sequence of The Widow's Might. We suggest that you view it fullscreen. The cinematography is amazing! Enjoy!

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

John Moore: A True Rebelutionary

May 2008, we posted about a coming film production entitled The Widow's Might. Little did we know then that it's going to bag the Audience Choice and Best of Festival Award seven months later in the 2009 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.

As a requirement for a writing subject sometime last October, I had to make my own magazine. In it are some rebelutionaries including John Moore. I had the honor and opportunity to "interview" him and make an article about him. Upon making the article, I knew then that John is one of the truest rebelutionaries one can know. His passion to use his gifts for advancing God's kingdom will inspire not just aspiring filmmakers but anybody who is passionate in honoring and glorifying Him. Below is the article I made with some rough additions and editions to effect timeliness.

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John Moore is like any other teen guy you would meet on a block down the street. Tall and blonde. Just the typical American you’d probably see. But there’s more than meets the eye. At 19, he is an actor, writer, director and producer of a feature film, The Widow’s Might.

The Beginnings

John began his interest in filmmaking back in 2003 through an old HI-8 camera his dad bought for family videos. Together with his friend David Heustis they made silly movies for pure childish fun. They did not have prearranged stories or editing. Just plain fun.

In 2004, however, John attended the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (SAICFF) in Texas which changed his whole perspective in filmmaking. He and David launched into filmmaking without so much focus or priority on the messages and philosophies of their project but now, “I can’t even tell you why we’re so driven to make films,” John says. “Without a purpose, it seems like it would be a dismal craft. But with the real reason for outreach—that’s the most blessed experience I’ve ever had the honor of being a part.

With a new focus on priorities, John bought a semi-pro level camera worth $2400—his pride and joy at a very young age. With partner David on board and siblings as cast he produced What A Blast, Bubble Trouble, and A Lifetime of Childlike Faith. They were not film quality but it was good enough for television and DVD release.

Film Education

Many would probably think that John has been formally educated in filmmaking. Well, the answer is no. John was never educated formally in filmmaking. He read all he can to educate himself; from online articles to occasional buying of books with tips and tricks. But as the cliché goes, nothing beats hands on experience. “The best [education] is getting out there and having fun with a video camera. Feeling it out. Nothing beats hands on experience!”

In 2006, John attended a three-day filmmaking workshop by the SAICFF. He returned in 2007 and January 2009. All in all he had a ‘formal education’ that consists of 9 days to date. “I’ve learned so much from the lectures and I recommend them more than any tool, book, and gear I’ve purchased for filmmaking.”

The faculty of the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Academy believe in the principle, “faithful with the pen, faithful with the camera.” Through that they teach aspiring filmmakers to be faithful in the smallest details of crafting a God-honoring story—something John has learned to put into action.

The Widow's Might



The Widow’s Might is a huge project compared to HeuMoore’s previous film ventures. Beginning with twosome friends in 2003, today HeuMoore has professionals on board the team. John admits that it’s daunting to work with professionals but he trusts that the team was hand selected by God.

The inspiration to do The Widow’s Might began in a local thrift store in his county when the owner of the store told him about an old widow actually losing her home due to tax foreclosure. John was angered by such injustice but it gave him an opportunity to make a film that deals with a local political issue—the real deal for an outreach.

John loves musicals and is intrigued by the Westerns, so we are likely to expect some aria and some ‘wild, wild, West’ action come to life in The Widow’s Might while not losing the focus on the outcry of widows.

On Production Costs

Some photos on the set

John like any other teen is unemployed but he shares where HeuMoore gets its funding in the films they make. “Keeping money rolling in to fund the next project is very important, but we try to tackle important issues and make that our focus, rather than what will bring in the cash. Our philosophy is that excellent filmmaking will not go unrewarded today, so if we prioritize ourselves with principles and quality at the forefront, the money will take care of itself.”

Heartstrings was funded by his parents, and a good friend who donated to the project. Heartstrings then became the stepping stone to show investors what kinds of stories HeuMoore wanted to tell. The Widow's Might has a growing team of private investors who believe in the message first, and if the film makes some money back, that's just icing on the cake.

In HeuMoore, they are all about the message than the profit. Their mission is not just to make films to get profits as many in Hollywood do. John states that HeuMoore’s mission is to create family entertainment that will raise the next generation of kids to be educated, mature thinkers. “Not grunge or action films; think more like Old Yeller, Mary Poppins, The Black Stallion. Real people, some adventure tossed in, but just entertaining, loveable movies.”

Being An Actor, Writer, Producer, and Director (and Singer) In One Movie

If many will think that it’s awesome to be an actor, writer, producer, and director at the same time---it’s not! John says of himself as an actor and director, “It's VERY tough! If I could take back a decision, I would definitely not cast myself in the film over again. In fact, I asked another man to direct the film, but he turned it down. Writing is easy for me; I simply throw out concepts and my friends and family develop them into feature films. I just throw away the plot points that don't fit, and presto! Instant screenplay. But acting and directing at the same time is nearly impossible. Directing is all about being able to objectively gauge an actor's performance, and give an unbiased critique on improving the performance. It's hard to be objective about your own work though; thankfully, Jeff Moreland, executive producer, was able to direct my acting.”

The Cream of the Crop

John’s 2007 film entry for the SAICFF, Heartstrings received the Young Filmmaker’s Award and the Audience Choice Award—the first time the award was garnered by a teen. And just two weeks ago, he and his team again won the Audience Choice, this time for The Widow’s Might. Also adding unexpectedly to HeuMoore’s recognitions is the prestigious Best of Festival Award with the cash prize $101,000, beating stalwart independent films such as Fireproof and Expelled. It surely feels great to win awards but for John they are just decorative etched glass and what matters most to him is that the right people recognize his film—the audiences and the judges. Which all of course he got in the 2009 SAICFF.

Receiving the Best of Festival Award and the $101,000 cash prize

The HeuMoore team still in awe of the unexpected award from the SAICFF

Many young filmmakers are daunted by the expensive filmmaking business and so they leave filmmaking to those who have the money but John tells us otherwise,

“Filmmaking, yes [is expensive]. Storytelling, is not. And with the constant shaping of stories and improving storytelling techniques, the money for filmmaking will come. God provides the resources, when we prove ourselves to be faithful servants. Faithful in little, faithful in much. When we become faithful with the printed page, our Lord will entrust us with DVD's. That principle of being faithful in little, to be faithful in much, is something that Americans often don't grasp. It's too easy to run out, borrow the money and start making films, without having earned that level of trust. But if we keep our nose to the grindstone and prove ourselves trustworthy with the pen, the celluloid will come. ◘◘◘

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Related Media:

  • Listen to John Moore and David Heustis' interview with SAICFF judge Kevin Swanson about winning the Grand Prize at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, how HeuMoore was formed, and where HeuMoore is going. Listen and download the interview here.
  • Kyle Prohaska of Praise Pictures interviews John Moore. "We interview John Moore Writer/Director of The Widow's Might, and ask him all sorts of questions about the film, his company, winning at the 2009 SAICFF, what he learned, where HeuMoore is going, and much more!" Read it here.
  • Read about The Widow's Might victory here.
  • Doug Phillips' recap of the SAICFF, History Has Been Made is available here.
  • Praise Pictures review The Widow's Might here.
  • Kaufman Herald: An Award-winning Effort

Failing Femininity - Reviewing "Bride Wars"

Phylicia Duran of the Cross-Eyed Blog and Webzine wrote an interesting review of Bride Wars starring Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway. We encourage you to read it and learn how to be cautious with seemingly "harmless" movies, Hollywood produce.


Title: Bride Wars
Rating: PG
Moral Rating: Poor
Nudity: Minor
Profanity: Minor
Violence: None

Every little girl dreams of true love – and better yet, the day she marries that true love. So it is with Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway), two best friends who have planned out their wedding days since elementary school. The girls once saw a wedding taking place at The Plaza in New York and both knew two things: they wanted to get married at The Plaza and they would be each other’s maid of honor. Those plans are put to the test when Liv and Emma are engaged within the same week and even further tested when, by a chance accident, their wedding dates are set on the same day.

Someone has to be selfless and give up her spot at The Plaza. Unfortunately, overbearing, control-freak Liv and the softer, but determined, Emma cannot come to an agreement. Based on misunderstanding and confusion, a bride-against-bride war ensues, threatening both the weddings and a friendship as well.

True love? Bride Wars does not give us any representation of this. Lasting friendships? The premise of the movie lies with the selfishness of both participating parties. The meaning of marriage? There is no “meaning” to marriage as portrayed by Bride Wars because for both main characters, it’s about the wedding – not the commitment.

Continue reading at the Cross-Eyed Blog & Webzine...


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Resolution and Rebelution

The new year is slowly unfolding before us and soon it will just quietly slip before our eyes and will become the old year. It's a new year, new month, and a new day everyday in the fresh of the year. Almost everything in time is new. America's got a new president, people have new clothes and had new friends over the holidays, new school term and like everything else is new. That includes resolutions which I bet are renewed every year by some traditional new year's resolution sticklers. Though I am not interested in resolutions on New Years nor do I make it on a traditional basis, I felt led to read Jonathan Edwards' Teenager's Resolutions again. Reading it again was thought-provoking and it somewhat refreshed me of what I should prioritize. Jonathan Edwards, a man of integrity, charity, and humility is one of those historic Christian figures that the youth today should look up to.

Reading Edwards' Resolutions in The Rebelution also presented a New Year's gift for me. As I read Part 1-10, I happened upon an inconspicuous link. I clicked it and was transported to another page. I had to admit that seeing that page brought tears to my eyes. It was the The Rebelution in its old generic Blogger template. Happening upon that link gave me the chance to look back on how God has mightily used that site to change young people's lives around the world, including mine. Before I found The Rebelution, I thought I was already doing great being a youth officer for the region but I was so wrong. There was so much more that He wants me to attempt and it's not about feeling great in the ministry. It's about giving back the honor and glory due His Name in everything I do. It's all about submitting to humility and charity all the time, that in it His name will be glorified above all.

The Rebelution has challenged me to raise the bar and do more than what is expected of teens' immaturity and incompetence. For the past few years, The Rebelution has undergone changes and upgades. From a generic Blogger template, it has become a full-blast website with a forum and resource page; The Rebelution's cry was written down in book form a year ago; thousands of teens refocused their lives in Rebelution conferences and it's continually changing teens' lives through Do Hard Things. I could say that God has blessed The Rebelution. It has grown so much. And I've grown so much.

Jonathan Edwards' Resolution and The Rebelution gave me the chance to look back and be inspired to make a written resolution not just for the New Year but for the rest of the changing times ahead. My resolution might not be as detailed as Jonathan Edwards' nor Brett's 2005 resolutions but I am resolved that it shall be the basis of any future resolution I make.
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CHRISTIN A.'s RESOLUTION
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I Am Resolved that I shall acknowledge only Him above all in everything I do, and bearing that in mind, I shall only do things that count for eternity.

  • Things that have an eternal impact for the sake of the gospel (Mark 14:8-10, Acts 20:24))
  • Things that shall advance His kingdom (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
  • Things that will bring glory and honor to His name alone(1Corinthians 10:31)

If ever I be found unfaithful even for a moment to this resolution, and future resolutions I make, I shall willingly and humbly accept His punishment for my ill and unfaithful conducts.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Movies to Look Out for This 2009

To Save a Life



Ever since Jake Taylor was a kid, he was the type of guy you couldn't help but like. For Jake, life is good. He has friends, fame, a basketball scholarship, a future and the hottest girl in the school. Not much to get down about, right?

Enter Roger Dawson. He's Jake's childhood best friend before Jake's popularity goes into high gear. Miserable and mad over being on the outside of Jake's, or anybody's inner circle, he's tired of being pushed aside by everyone. He walks onto campus with a gun in his pocket and pain in his heart, and makes a tragic move.

Jake is devastated at what Roger has done. And something in him changes. In seeking answers in his own life, one question plagues him the most... Could I have saved him? He is now deeply compelled to reach out to the students who are on the fringe of acceptability by the school's upper crust. But he finds reaching out to the undesirable threatens his world. He may lose his own friends, his scholarship, his dreams and even his reputation to do it.

Check out: ToSaveaLife.com



The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry



Best buddies Dustin, Albert, and Mark, are twelve year old boys looking forward to a summer of fun in 1970.

Dustin has a crush on Tyanya and wants to ask her out on a date, something he has never done before. His main obstacle though is the town bully, Nick, who also likes Tanya. When Dustin mows the lawn of seventy-five year old Jonathan Sperry (Gavin MacLeod), a man he has seen at church, a unique friendship develops.

What happens the rest of the summer is something Dustin and his friends...will never forget.

Check out: The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry

Monday, January 05, 2009

A List of "Hard Things" for 2009

1. Learn a language (I'll start off with French, probably) -
My course is Intercultural Studies; knowledge of other languages is a must. My Junior year (which is next school year) requires that I take a language course or two. I would prefer to start now (perhaps during the summer), so I can tackle other languages, Lord-willing, as soon as I am done.

2. Write more -
2008 was such a busy year (actually, I made a mistake by allowing it to be a busy one, foccusing on urgent matters instead of important ones). As I reflected on the things I'd done, I realized that I had accomplished much (some of them, things I'd never even dreamed of!)...but there's something missing, and it's this: I miss writing, especially for Godly Ladies in Training.

3. Get back to classical guitar -
Not only did the busyness of 2008 keep me from writing, it also kept me from pluckin' melodies on my classical guitar. I've decided to get back to it this year. Concerning the Praise & Worship Ministry in my church, that's something I'm still praying about.

4. Memorize verses -
Not just bits and phrases - chapters! God's Word is my daily bread, the lamp unto my feet and light unto my path (Psalm 119:105). It's so easy to have a "Bible" nowadays. We can have it in our cellphones and in our laptops, but we still need to hide it in our hearts (Psalm 119:11).

5. The 101 Percent Principle -
This comes from John Maxwell's Winning with People. We're currently taking up this book as part of our leadership course (LEAD 2 - Interpersonal Relationships). The 101 Percent Principle is just one of several principles in the book - helpful bits n' pieces of advice for those who want to develop wonderful relationships with other people. I found that this principle is the one I need to work on the most. It states that we must "Find the 1% we agree on and give it 100% of our effort." We don't always agree with people, and sometimes, we even look for things to disagree on! The 101% Principle, however, asks us to focus on the one thing - no matter how small - that we agree on (or that we have in common) and give it all our effort to make our relationship with that person grow.

6. ORB -
That's a term Christin and I coined for bringing the Rebelution to the Philippines by starting with Do Hard Things. It's my goal to spread the word more, through the bookstore and through other ways. The Philippines needs a Rebelution!