Producer Kevin Downes Shares His Passion for Faith & Film

 

California native, Kevin Downes (“Moms’ Night Out,” “Courageous,” “Like Dandelion Dust”) has over 16 years’ experience as an actor, writer, producer, and director. Most recently, Kevin co-wrote and starred in “Faith of Our Fathers” as lead protagonist John Paul. In his upcoming project, “Woodlawn,” which is scheduled to release in October, Kevin will play the role of a reporter. A man with many hats to wear, Kevin is also a loving husband and father, so it goes without saying that he is a busy guy. Nonetheless, Kevin was kind enough to take a few moments and chat with Good News about his career in the film industry and some of his latest projects.

 

(GN): Faith of our Fathers was released this past June. Tell us a little bit about what it was like to work on that project.

(KD): The film was really “a love letter to our veterans and dads.” I have never done such a film before, and it was an absolute joy to be a part of. Our veterans have really sacrificed so much, and they often go unrecognized and underappreciated for their services. “I have two uncles who were in Vietnam, and my grandfather served his whole life in the Navy.” We wanted to show just how much our veterans do and how much they give. We actually did this red carpet event for veterans, and it was a really touching experience. “I’m really proud of this project.”

 

(GN): Are there any interesting anecdotes from the filming process? What was it like working with this particular team?

(KD): “It’s always fun to act with David White!” (“God’s Not Dead,” “The Crossing,” “The End of the Harvest”). We’ve known each other for 20 years, and it’s always been fun to banter back and forth with him. It was interesting too because this time around we flipped the roles a little bit in our acting roles. But overall, the filming process was great because “the entire cast really shared the vision throughout: honoring Christ and honoring veterans.”

 

(GN): So far, what project have you been the most pleased about?

(KD): Well really, I’d say that “I’m pleased with all of them!” Every film team is just so different, and it takes years to finish a particular project. I have been blessed to work with a lot of really incredible people and fortunate to be a part of such meaningful projects.

 

(GN): What upcoming project are you most excited about?

(KD): Currently, I’m really excited about our film “Woodlawn,” which premieres on October 16. It follows the true story of Tony Nathan — legendary running back for the Miami Dolphins — during his playing career at a high school in Birmingham, Alabama. At its heart, it is a film of reconciliation and unity. This inspirational story is something we can all relate to today. In the midst of a community torn by racism and hate, a football team came together during the Jesus movement of the 1970s and overcame numerous obstacles with love and forgiveness.

For more about the film: woodlawnmovie.com

 

(GN): Could you give us your thoughts on being a story-teller in the 21st century? What do you hope to accomplish with these films? What do you see as the greatest challenge in communicating these stories on the big screen?

(KD): As a film-maker myself, I don’t know if I set out to accomplish anything in particular except “to share a story that connects with people.” I actually think it’s easier to make films today than when I started 20 years ago. Technology has really brought us far, and we have broadened the kinds of stories we can tell.

 

(GN): What role has your faith played in working in the film industry?

(KD): My faith is the very central part. “I want to tell a story that is not just entertaining but that communicates Jesus”— stories that tell of His love.

 

(GN): With so many faith-based films that have come out over the past couple years and so many more on the horizon, some people are considering this time as a “Golden Age” in Christian film-making. What are your personal thoughts on story-telling as a Christian, and do you see any major pros or cons of so many faith-based films?

(KD): “I think it’s wonderful!” — the fact that we’re able to tell stories that share the intricacies about our heart. Five to ten years ago you just didn’t see this. Now, to see so many wonderful films being made, I just think it’s incredible. I myself am looking forward to seeing many of the films that other Christians are putting out there.

 

(GN): Lastly, I heard a while back about the “Haiti 80,” the largest group of orphans coming to the U.S. from Haiti, after one of the most devastating natural disasters in the Western hemisphere to date.” Do you mind sharing a little bit more about your personal role and impact in this initiative?

(KD): My oldest son, Benicio, was adopted from Haiti. We brought him home right after the earthquake. The incident was heart-breaking, but it did open the doors to have many pending adoptions to be expedited, and roughly 80 children were able to get placed in their new homes. “It is a wonderful privilege to adopt a child and be able to raise him and give him a home. God calls us to take care of the orphans.”

 

Kevin currently lives in Visalia, California with his wife Catherine and their children. He is also the younger brother of producer Bobby Downes (founder and CEO of ChristianCinema.com). To find out more about the brothers and some of their other projects check out: DownesBrothers.com

 

Finley is a freelance writer and doctoral student at SEU. He can be reached at: fwwalker@liberty.edu

Finley Walker :