Dallas Jenkins produced the independent film Hometown Legend at the age of 25, ultimately guiding it to Warner Brothers for distribution. Dallas made his directing debut with the short film "Cliché." His next short film, "Midnight Clear," starring Stephen Baldwin, won a Crystal Heart Award from the Heartland Film Festival and was the opening night selection of the San Diego Film Festival.
In 2006, he was the co-executive producer of Though None Go With Me, a movie, based on his father's book, that aired on The Hallmark Channel. Dallas and his father Jerry B. Jenkins founded Jenkins Entertainment in February, 2000. In 2009, Dallas directed his second feature film, entitled What If… starring Kevin Sorbo, Kristy Swanson, John Ratzenberger, and Debby Ryan. The film is expected to be released sometime in 2010.
What would you like to accomplish through What If…?
From a filmmaking and marketing standpoint, I hope that I've made a very good film that audiences will be excited about because of its level of quality, humor, and emotion. In terms of what I want to accomplish as a message, I want people to see the value of faith and family over material pursuits.
What's the movie all about?
Here's the synopsis: What If… tells the story of Ben Walker (Kevin Sorbo), who 15 years ago left his college sweetheart Wendy (Kristy Swanson), and his calling to be a preacher, in order to pursue a business opportunity. Now with a high-paying executive gig, a trophy fiancée, and a new Mercedes, he hasn’t considered a family nor felt the need to set foot in a church in 15 years.
But God has other plans. While on a thrill ride outside the city, his new car mysteriously breaks down, and he’s visited by a tow truck driver named Mike (John Ratzenberger) who claims to be an angel sent to show Ben what his life would look like had he followed his true calling.
Suddenly Ben wakes up in the middle of domestic chaos as his “wife” Wendy and daughters (including Disney Channel’s Debby Ryan) are getting ready for church, where Ben is the new pastor. Before he can get back to his old life, Ben must first embrace this reality and discover the value of faith and family, and perhaps restore his love for those who were heartbroken 15 years ago: Wendy… and God. In the tradition of It's a Wonderful Life and The Family Man, What If… is a story of finding your true purpose in life.
How long have you been involved in filmmaking?
Out of college I worked for a small production company in Kentucky for a few years before producing my first film in 2000, Hometown Legend.
In your article, "I Try To Make a Good Christian Film," you said, "I had to admit that the films made by [Christians] were typically very poorly done." How do you hope to change this?
I think it's important for Christian filmmakers to study the craft and work hard at becoming better artists. This is not only true because we owe God our best, but because I think we limit our audience potential when we focus solely on the message and nothing else. Sure, we'll appeal to a certain segment of the population that is just looking for a spiritual message, but we can expand our reach if we not only have a good message, but a really high quality film. I'm hoping to raise the bar a bit, so I work very hard every day to study filmmaking and improve as much as possible.
What things occupy your time, other than filmmaking?
My family, my church, tons of reading, following sports, and playing poker (my favorite hobby).
Any closing statements for us?
If you're at all interested in how films get put together and what goes on on a film set, check out the movie's website. I did a video blog every day of shooting and every few weeks during the editing process. Other than that, I'm really proud of What If…, it's definitely the best movie we've ever made and something I think that audiences will really appreciate.