“Overcomer” is a production of Affirm Films, the faith division of Sony Pictures World Wide Acquisitions and is produced by Stephen Kendrick and Aaron Burns and is directed by Alex Kendrick.
In 1999, Kendrick became associate pastor of media at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga. He took his brother’s sermons and made them into movies.
“The Lord gave Alex story lines, while at the same time, He gave me scriptures about that same topic,” said Stephen. “So, the Lord gives him the ‘Fireproof’ story line while I’m studying marriage, covenant, and love; the Lord gives him the ‘Courageous’ story line, while I’m studying fatherhood at the time. When I was leading the prayer ministry at the church, the Lord gave Alex ‘War Room,’ and so, we’re working together.”
“Flywheel,” their first movie featuring a used car salesman, came about after church goers donated $20,000 and volunteered their time and talent. The Kendrick brothers have since produced six films.
“On ‘Overcomer,’ I’ve been studying Ephesians 1 and 2 for the past few years,” said Stephen. “Then the Lord gave Alex the story line about identity.” Two years in the making, the project is all about what it means to have an identity in Jesus Christ. “The more we understand what it means to have our identity in Christ, the richer our relationship with Him becomes,” said Stephen at a recent showing of the film. “When you know who you are, it settles a lot of other things.”
“There’s quite a bit that I actually drew on,” said Cameron Arnett (“Meet the Browns,” “Stand Your Ground,” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation”) who plays an amazing supporting role in “Overcomer.” “My father, who is now deceased, wasn’t there for me in my young age.” The Haitian–born actor continued, “I had to chase him down, which is the opposite of what happens to my character in the movie.
“When I finally got to my dad, the reception wasn’t exactly what I had wanted. So, I pulled back from him. But then, he died. So, in that process, I realized that I had that opportunity to get to know him when the Holy Spirit was speaking to me, but I wasn’t listening.
“Today, I tell young people that regardless of what’s going on or how painful it may feel right now, make sure you keep your relationships intact. I keep a special bond with my mother. I make sure we have that connection.”
A tool to reach souls
Stephen Kendrick said, “We try to include the gospel in all of our movies because we know that non–believers are going to see them. We want to make every movie a tool that the church can use to reach their communities and neighbors and friends for Christ. We’ve seen thousands of people come to Christ through the films.
“Secondly, we hope you will enjoy and be impacted by the emotional journey, and that the Holy Spirit will speak to your heart while you’re watching the movie. We’ve prayed, ‘Lord, will you put Your hand on this so that, regardless of where people are in their journey, the Holy Spirit will speak to their hearts?’
“I think that at this time, people desperately need to discover who they are in Christ. We’re facing harder and harder opposition; we’re being attacked at every level. Regardless of what’s happening in our culture, we need to come back and say, ‘I know that I am my heavenly father’s beloved child. I’m adopted, and chosen, and forgiven, and sealed, and equipped, and empowered—by His Holy Spirit.’”
by Warren L. Maye