Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp 2020

This photo has all of our acting students, but two of the
filmmaking students left before this photo was taken.
Photo courtesy of Pete P.
We had what we as faculty thought was our smoothest Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp to date! This was the 12th year of Film Camp, and I've taught there annually since 2013.

We were concerned that we'd be shut down by the coronavirus lockdown, but we kept moving forward, and though we lost a few students, we had the ones who helped make it such a smooth week.

We completed three films! After taking out a day for pre-production and auditions on the front side and auditions for some upcoming professional projects on the last day, we completed one short film per day, three days in a row! Our first day had 17 setups! It's really extraordinary, and we know the hand of the Lord assisted us. All three films glorify Him, and I can't wait to let you know once they're released. The rough cuts look fantastic!

It was such a blessing to escape lockdown and spend time in the Colorado Rockies at Ministry Haven and co-teach with Ken Lawrence and his son, Zack Lawrence. We reminisced about how Zack, who was working as the gaffer on Indescribable, wore a shirt with the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp logo. I told him I'd love to teach there someday, and it's been such a tremendous blessing!

In addition to a full filming week we had a couple of guest artists who enhanced our experience.

The producer and director of the series Vindication, Jarod O'Flaherty, did a video conference with our students, and he talked about how it went from a single short film to a series because the right people saw it at a film festival and encouraged him to keep going. Now they're in pre-production for Season Two!

My mini-review is at www.RichDrama.com/Vindication.

Our acting students were so blessed to have Mimi Sagadin join via video conference! Mimi played Corrie ten Boom in Return to the Hiding Place. I've taught with Mimi at the Christian Worldview Film Festival Guild performed with her in Princess Cut and Skydog. I had her speak to our acting students because they were working on a short film I wrote that alludes to Corrie ten Boom's book The Hiding Place. Mimi was kind enough to read the passage our film mentions with the accent she learned while playing Corrie. It was AMAZING! You can see a brief clip from her talk with us below.

The film also deals with loss, and my friend, Chad Moore, was kind enough to create a video clip for our acting students and happened to do it the day after severely damaging his leg! He talked about how he and his family lived through the same loss our screen family was dealing with in the film. It was a powerful addition to our work!

Our newest
screen children!
And speaking of screen families, I added three to our roster of screen children! Though Joyce didn't play their mother, I did a sociodrama with her to help prepare to play my character, so we're adding them to the list, bringing our total up to 28.

My favorite moment actually came after camp was over, when a filmmaking student wrote to me to let me know she was pursuing the Lord more deeply because of a talk I'd done on revival! I had shared a video about the Asbury Revival of 1970, where chapel went for eight days straight around the clock. You can check it out at www.DayAndNight.org/thegreatexperiment.

Here's a short excerpt from our video conference with Mimi. Future students of the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp will be able to see the entire session.





Sign up to get the announcement that the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp registration is open for next summer.

Vindication


We’ve been overjoyed to discover a crime series with Christian themes. Hurrah! They’re not afraid to show that a relationship with the Lord transforms people. It's my second favorite series, next to The Chosen.

The producer and director, Jared O'Flaherty, did a video conference with our students at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp last week, and he talked about how Vindication went from a single short film to a series because the right people saw it at a film festival and encouraged him to keep going. Now they're in pre-production for Season Two!

We re-watched Season One again, and their cliff-hangers kept us up later than we'd planned on more than one occasion. Just as exciting as the masterful plot points are the creative ways they show criminal activities without titillating or showing that crime pays.

Parents, some of the episodes are rated 13+ because of themes. 




We made three short films at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp. Subscribe to get the announcements as they're released.

The Overthinkers

My friends and colleagues Joseph Holmes and Nathan Clarkson are running an amazing podcast called The Overthinkers.

It's a very thoughtful deep dive on various topics at the intersection of Christian faith and culture.

Below I talk briefly about my favorite episode so far...


I absolutely love their discussions and most of their observations. I have a quibble with two elements:

Joyce and I are very prayerful about the media we consume. You are what you take in when it comes to media choices, and they actually talk about that in their first (I think) episode. But they talk about shows we've avoided. Seek the Lord's peace on everything you take into your spirit.

Holmes and Clarkson close each show with each of them mentioning one creative expression (most have been TV shows, films or books) that they'd like to bless and one they'd like to curse. It's a creative version of the rating system Siskel and Ebert used. For those who don't remember, they gave shows thumbs up or down. It's not intended to be a true curse, but the Lord has been speaking to Joyce and I about the power of words, and curses are powerful. Romans 12:14b says, "...bless and do not curse..."

Those caveats aside, their shows are a great exercise for your gray matter.

You can find The Overthinkers on Spotify.


I released “Pentecost: Beyond the Imagination,” a scene from my one-man play, The Actsat www.RichDrama.com/Pentecost.


Interview on The Gate

I was interviewed on The Gate Radio by my friend George Flores. I let him know that I'd released the scene about Pentecost from my one-man play The Acts, and he invited me to talk about that and several of my other projects as well.

It will was aired at various times between May 29 and June 1 on The Gate Radio. I got permission to post it here for those of you who missed it:



Here are links to some of the things I spoke about:
The Adventum
Beyond the Chariots
www.RichDrama.com
Five Bells for 9/11

I Dreamed I Was Free
The Revelation
Big Fish Little Worm
The Acts
www.RichDrama.com/Pentecost


See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

Pentecost


Since 1991 I've been performing one-man plays in theatres, schools and churches. Since no one's been bringing me into their communities lately due to the pandemic, I felt led to start making some scenes from my plays available for churches to stream for their online services and in their sanctuaries once they start meeting again.

I thought the first one I would make available is the scene describing how the Holy Spirit was given to the Lord's people at Pentecost from my one-man play The Acts, and it's now available for Pentecost Sunday, which is May 31 this year.

Photo courtesy of Ken Bizzigotti
 of Times Herald-Register.
Joyce and I lived through 9/11 in NYC. I wrote a play about how the Lord walked with three individuals on that dark day, Five Bells for 9/11. In the wake of that horrific tragedy people flooded the churches looking for answers to their questions. W. Scott Lamb, of The Washington Times, said that, "...four out of ten (evangelical congregations in Manhattan) were started in the decade after 9/11...." Lamb is reporting on the research of Tony Carnes, president of the Values Research Institute, who says NYC has become a "postsecular" city.

We're praying for a similar worldwide revival in the wake of this pandemic, and we hope offering this scene about Pentecost will help spark a hunger for a new work of the Holy Spirit in our day and intensified prayer to that end.

In my one-man play The Acts the main story teller is a fictional character named Nathan who was hired by Saul of Tarsus to spy on the followers of Jesus. Nathan realized that they were telling their stories as if they believed them, and Nathan's faith in the resurrected Jesus Christ began to grow. In this scene, Nathan brings an old codger named Ulrichus off the streets to tell his first hand account of how the Holy Spirit fell on followers of Jesus.

I hope you enjoy the scene, and if you do, please encourage your pastors to download it to play on Pentecost Sunday, May 31, this year. You can send them to www.RichDrama.com/Pentecost.

I've now taught and performed in 39 nations, so it's my prayer that this will literally be shown around the world, and I hope some of you will create translation subtitles.

Let's pray that the Holy Spirit moves in a powerful way during these unique times we're experiencing!

To watch it in your home we suggest a donation of $2 (www.RichDrama.com/Donate)

To download it to show for a group and to stream it as a part of a service (please do not post it online on its own) we suggest a donation of $20 (www.RichDrama.com/Donate).

Once you've made a donation, click this link. Praying it blesses you and your whole congregation for Pentecost or any Sunday! To show in churches, look for the download button below the video on this page.



Rather than sharing the link above, please send others to www.RichDrama.com/Pentecost.



Credits:
Written, performed, filmed and edited by Rich Swingle
Concept: Through Fran Warren
Producers: Jim and Linda Warren
Dramaturgy: Jim and Linda Warren, James Masters, Joyce Swingle
Language Coaches: Adam Rudinsky (Hebrew), Tim Tsohantaridis (Greek), Wojtek Typrowicz (Latin)
Costume: Fran Warren
Costume consultant: Selah Cohen
Acting coaches: Selah Cohen and Judy Dodd
Consultants: Micah Derksen, Ethan Hill, Jenny and Niklas Holmgren, Paula Kasica
Desert City by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100564 Artist: http://incompetech.com/


See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

Ravi Zacharias

One of my heroes passed away today. Ravi Zacharias was a profound apologist for the Gospel. He was always so gentle, always honored those asking questions, but he was always as sharp as a tack. Having been raised Hindu, his observations of how Christianity compares to other faiths was always insightful. He said:
Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity. Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the toughest situations of life.
I've posted his videos of his talks at Ivy League universities on this blog several times. You can find them at www.RichDrama.com/Ravi

Here's his obituary: Ravi Zacharias 1946 - 2020.


See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

All religions are not alike

Whenever I hear people say all religions are the same I think of all the religious practices we've come across on our journeys to six continents and about 40 nations, living in NYC where every nation on earth is represented, and just observing the world:
• In Israel we encountered the Druze. Their male leaders wear baggy pants in case they give birth to the messiah.
• In Singapore there was a Hindu worship practice that was so gruesome it's illegal in India: The practitioners carry a metal home for their god over their heads with hooks digging into their flesh.
• We have a friend, Kara M, who partnered in ministry with a Christian couple in India who adopt the children who are conceived when men "worship" their goddess with temple prostitutes. Hear her story by clicking here.
• Some Hindus worship rats.
• Animists worship everything.
• When I was working on my master's thesis, a gentleman in the drug rehabilitation center, where I was teaching sociodrama, told me that his higher power was Mickey Mouse.
• After performing a piece that addressed witch doctors while we were in Africa we were told many there still go to witch doctors even after becoming Christians.
These religions are obviously not all alike!

So when I saw a Ravi Zacharias talk entitled "How do you know that Christianity is the one true worldview?" I passed it by because I have so many reasons to know that it's true and all other religions are counterfeits. I finally took the 9.5 minutes to watch the video, and I was surprised to discover so many things I hadn't heard before.

If you're a Christian, this will really encourage you.

If you're not a Christian, and you're honestly seeking truth I really encourage you to watch with an open mind.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email, visit www.Blog.RichDrama.com to watch.



And Dr. Zacharias addresses a similar question here:



My grandmother had a similar glimpse into Heaven as Dr. Zacharias describes. I got to share that story at her funeral.

If you want to know more about becoming a Christian, visit www.RichDrama.com/MyPassion.


See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

Hope in the Lord

Joyce and I were guest presenters on this morning's Zoom service for Hope Community Church of the Nazarene. I performed "The Potter" from my one-man play Big Fish Little Worm, and Joyce taught on our marriage verse: Jeremiah 29:11. She frames up ways to hope in the Lord during this strange season of pandemic.

Click the arrow below, or if you're receiving this in an email, you can find it at www.Blog.RichDrama.com (May 17).



If you'd like to know more about a relationship with Jesus Christ, please visit www.RichDrama.com/MyPassion.



I play a lead in Providence, which you can bring to your area.

Beyond the Imagination

I submitted a short film to The Quarantine Film Festival with two minutes to spare! It's an adaptation from my one-man play The Acts.

I ended up reshooting it and it's now available to watch at home and for your church through www.RichDrama.com/Pentecost.

If your church is interested in showing it, please contact us through the contact form at the very bottom of this page.

I didn't have time to put credits in the film, so here they are:
Written, performed, filmed and edited by Rich Swingle
Concept: Through Fran Warren
Producers: Jim & Linda Warren
Dramaturgy: Jim and Linda Warren, James Masters, Joyce Swingle
Language Coaches: Adam Rudinsky (Hebrew), Tim Tsohantaridis (Greek), Wojtek Typrowicz (Latin) Warren Costume: Fran Warren
Acting coaches: Selah Cohen and Judy DoddConsultants: Micah Derksen, Ethan Hill, Jenny and Niklas Holmgren, Paula Kasica
Desert City by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100564 Artist: http://incompetech.com/


See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

The Book of Job

I got to play Job in this livestream reading of The Book of Job, considered by some to be the oldest play in history...




I Dreamed I Was Free tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

Tonight I got to encourage Westchester Chapel to keep their eyes on Jesus -- not on the storm or fear around them -- as I illustrated Matthew 14: 22-33 with a video reenactment of Peter walking on the water. 

The video was shot in Israel in 2011 while on the Sea of Galilee. You can see it below.

I also sang Rich Mullins' song I See You and played a music video Sanctify My Life from the short film A Matter of Perspective. You can see the music video below.

Pictured below is our family farm which I mention. I also refer to my one-man play about 911 called 5 Bells for 911.




This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.





If you want to know more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.

Songs used under the terms of CCLI #352386.  Music video created by Light Symphony, written and performed by Ron and Kelly. Used by permission.

"I See You" written by Richard Mullins. © Copyright 1991 by Capital Christian Music Group.


"Sanctify My Life" was written for the short film "A Matter of Perspective," for which Rich won Best Actor in a Short Film at the International Christian Film Festival.

Stirred but not Shaken

Joyce and I were delighted to be in a roundtable discussion with other creatives over video conference called Stirred but not Shaken: Focus and Influence in Crisis

It was posted to www.LivingArtsTabernacle.com.




See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.
I play a lead in Providence, which you can bring to your area.

I Dreamed I Was Free tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.
There are still openings for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp and the Christian Artist Mentoring Project this summer, where I'll be teaching acting for film (RMCFC) and stage (CAMP).

Interview on Creative Arts Fellowship

This was a fun interview Joyce and I did with our friends John and Paula Kasica, who run Creative Arts Fellowship in St. Louis.

If you're reading this in an email you can watch at www.Blog.RichDrama.com (4/27).



I play a lead in Providence, which you can bring to your area.

Prepare While We Shelter!

Joyce shares from Acts 1 how the disciples used their time of sheltering in place to prepare through prayer, fellowship and organizational healing.  She encourages the congregants to use this sacred time of sheltering to prepare as persons and as a people for the mission of building God's Kingdom on earth.

Illustrating the unique times we are living in, Joyce shared this weekday view of the usually busy 42nd Street in Manhattan.

I got to open in prayer, and I shared a filmed version of a scene from my one-man play, The Acts. I'm wanting to make adjustments before posting it, so stay tuned.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to know more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.

Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

Joyce and/or I will be presenting three more times this week: www.RichDrama.com/Schedule.

Resurrection: A Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On!

I got to open this morning's service at Westchester Chapel with a dramatic reading of Matthew 27:45-54Dr. Linda Warren brings the Resurrection Day teaching from Matthew 27:45-54 and 28:1-10.

Pastor Jim Warren in his
Easter best... a few years
ago.
Have a blessed Resurrection Day, everyone!

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service: 



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to know more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.



I Dreamed I Was Free tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.