George D. Escobar was not only co-director in the relationship/abortion themed drama Come What May, but also produced, wrote, and served as art director on the film. He collaborated with several aspiring filmmakers as well, supporting them in the Advent Film Group organization. I got to interview this talented filmmaker about the journey of Come What May, The Advent Film Group, and filmmaking in general.
Describe how you raised the film’s budget.
Starting in April 2007 we needed $300,000, including $150,000 to begin production on July 9th. We had to raise the funds quickly. Experts said we'd need to talk to 30 accredited investors before one would invest. That's a 30:1 ratio. God had other plans. He gave us 12 investors who all said yes. We shot as scheduled in high-definition video to save costs without compromising quality.
How did you develop your audience and collaborate with other organizations?
Knowing the audience is key. Many organizations we found had a ready-made market, so we didn’t have to create it. God owns time itself and He ordained the timing. We took a risk offering this film online for free in October 2008, but created high market awareness. We’re planning for a future theatrical release in 2010 in approximately 100 theaters, hopefully with the CarMike theater chain. We’ve worked with several pro-life and family organizations, including Guys for Life, a non-profit organization who have asked AFG to collaborate on their new feature film called Reconciled. We're also working with other production companies across the country.
Please describe the Advent Film Group.
Our mission is to train and raise up the next generation of Christian filmmakers and attract them to our program amid competition with several film schools. We seek to make micro-budget movies so that a student who saves his money can work in film, get an education, and Biblical world view. By taking an alternative route to four years of film school, the filmmaking continues as they learn world subjects like literature and history while also learning local knowledge by serving the community, participating in media ministry, and using all their skills to serve different groups nearby. Now, that student with money has completed a cache of goodwill over four or five years with a strong community network. Our core group began with 40 and has now grown to 150.
You co-directed Come What May with Manny Edwards. Describe your approach to the overall filmmaking process.
The basic ideologies and sense of cooperation created a great atmosphere. The standard premise is that filmmakers by nature are rebellious and egotistical. We ratchet that behavior down and humbly ask ourselves: “How can we serve and what is it that God wants to tell in His story?”
Describe your background.
The film That’s Entertainment had a great impact on my filmmaking career. After viewing that film, I knew I wanted to be involved in the filmmaking process. When I began my professional career, I prayed to God and asked Him “Where do you want me to go?” Starting a new company was a challenging decision. You can go in any direction. The business aspect of the company is particularly challenging. You really need a good sense of the local marketplace and entertainment, so you can make business decisions accordingly. I have three sons. My oldest freshman attends Patrick Henry College, where we shot much of Come What May while the other two are still at home. All my boys were homeschooled much like many of this film’s cast and crew.
What future projects can we expect?
We have a film called One Good Man currently in development with Brightline Pictures, headed by Manny Edwards. It’s a father and son baseball story reminiscent of Facing the Giants in style and tone.