Three Ouachita students gain film experience as interns on “War Room”

Editor’s Note: War Room, the No. 1 movie in the nation over Labor Day weekend, is the latest faith-based film by Kendrick Brothers Productions. Three recent Ouachita Baptist University graduates served as interns on the film that was shot in North Carolina in the summer of 2014. The following article about their War Room internships was published in the fall 2014 issue of The Ouachita Circle.

How would you like to spend several weeks working on a film set? That’s exactly what three Ouachita mass communications majors had the opportunity to do this past summer.

Nick Burt, a May 2015 graduate from Wake Village, Texas; Chelsea Byers, a May 2014 graduate from Campbell, Texas; and McKenzie Cranford, a May 2015 graduate from Irving, Texas, spent the summer in Charlotte, N.C., serving as interns on the Kendrick Brothers’ latest movie.

Alex and Stephen Kendrick have directed and produced such movies as Facing the Giants, Fireproof andCourageous through Sherwood Pictures affiliated with Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga. They established Kendrick Brothers Productions last year to expand their filmmaking endeavors and train the next generation of Christian filmmakers.

Based on those goals, they reviewed hundreds of cast and crew applications and accepted intern recommendations from several universities, including Ouachita. Burt, Byers and Cranford, all of whom were students in Ouachita’s Christian Communications course last spring, were among 18 interns chosen by the Kendrick brothers to work on Movie 5. (The film’s actual title has not yet been announced.) Scheduled for release next fall by Provident Films and Affirm Films (Sony), the movie focuses on the power of prayer and its role in the Christian life.

“We had a very good shoot this summer,” said Alex Kendrick, who is directing the film. “We had a total of 18 college interns from six different colleges, including Ouachita. They were fantastic! Although every shoot has hurdles, we worked together to complete every scene and wrap the production on time and under budget.”

Expressing appreciation for Ouachita’s “partnership and the students you sent to join us,” Kendrick said the interns “served in almost every capacity, including production assistance, lighting, grip, wardrobe, camera and production office work.”

“They were easy to work with and a pleasure to have on the team,” he noted. “We’re very excited to see the final result in the coming year.”

“All three of the interns from Ouachita Baptist University that worked in our movie production crew this summer were great additions to our team,” agreed Stephen Kendrick, the film’s producer. “They learned fast, worked hard, kept great attitudes and added so much value daily to their departments.

“They not only helped us make a better movie,” he added, “but they gained professional experience and grew in their faith as they served in an environment where the Word of God and prayer were constantly affecting our daily decisions. I’m so glad we decided to partner with your school and utilize your students to intern with us.”

“Working with the Kendrick brothers was the experience of a lifetime,” Burt said. “Not only was I able to get real experience in the film industry, but I got to witness Christian filmmakers incorporate their faith into every aspect of the film.

“I was blessed to be given the opportunity to work on the film,” he reflected. “This is a very hard career field to enter and through connections at Ouachita, I had the privilege to participate. It was truly an incredible opportunity.”

Byers noted that “it was during an interview with Alex Kendrick in my Christian Communications class that I first heard about the opportunity to intern on the next Kendrick Brothers’ film. Alex explained what they were doing, and how it was their passion to invest in the next generation of faith-based filmmakers. I was ecstatic about getting the chance to even apply, let alone be considered for the job. It wasn’t until later in the semester that I received word directly from Stephen Kendrick that I had landed the position. I could not believe that I had been chosen out of hundreds of applicants to join the Movie 5 crew.

“It was such a blessing to work on this film; meet such amazing, godly crew members who were masters of their craft; and get to see God move and work not only in the cast and crew’s lives, but in my own life as well,” Byers said. “It is opportunities like these that separate Ouachita from other schools. God used my class, my professor and my school to place me in a position that provided an unmatched experience and an intense period of growth in my life and faith.”

According to Cranford, “When invited to apply for the Movie 5 crew during a class video chat with Alex Kendrick, I could not pass up the chance to potentially work with some of the leaders at the forefront of Christian film. The Kendrick brothers are paving the way for future Christian filmmakers, and I am grateful for the relationships the OBU mass communications department has fostered over the years to provide students opportunities such as this.

“Although the hours were long, every early morning and late night was completely worth it,” she concluded. “I look forward to seeing how this film is used to touch countless lives across the world.”

By Trennis Henderson, OBU Vice President for Communications

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