Bob Kemp
Footprints: an inspirational film by New Shepherd Films
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By Bob Kemp
October 16, 2011

By now many of you are familiar with the films Facing the Giants, Flywheel, Fireproof, and the most recent release from Sherwood Baptist Church (Sherwood Pictures) Courageous. All these films are safe for the whole family, encourage us all to step up and be the people of God He has called us to be, and at the core of each film is the redemptive message of Christ. Hollywood is taking notice also, and has started producing, in a limited amount, films for the Christian faith. Most of the faith-based films coming out of Hollywood are being produced by Christians within the Hollywood film industry, whose purpose in making such films is to glorify God while telling an inspirational story. It is a testament to God how He places His servants in such a place as that, to bring Him glory.

The folks behind Sherwood Pictures are also doing a wonderful job of changing the world one heart at a time from Albany Georgia. In the beginning, nobody believed they would succeed. They even had doubters among the faithful as to whether Facing the Giants could or would be made or if they would be able to get it into theaters. Of course history has proved that their faith in God was well founded, and their obedience to Him not only deserved but rewarded time and again. Sherwood Pictures has been able to build on the success of each film to produce an even higher quality work in the next film. It all started with a vision and a commitment that if God is in it, it cannot fail. Christians all over the world have been challenged, inspired, and encouraged by Sherwood Pictures and we continue to flock to the theaters each time a new faith-based film is released from Sherwood Pictures, Hollywood, or...New Shepherd Films!

Who is New Shepherd Films you ask. My wife and I were curious about this upstart film company also. We had been told that FOOTPRINTS was a faith-based film so we added it to our list of such films we wanted to see. After a little Googling around I found out that FOOTPRINTS was only premiering at one theater in the entire state of Texas for a limited viewing of four nights only. This was part of the test marketing to show distributers that this was a viable film worth investing in for distribution to theaters.

We had originally planned on going to see Courageous on opening night, but decided it was just as important to see FOOTPRINTS and show our support for this new Christian film company. We decided to wait on seeing Courageous until Sunday afternoon. Fortunately for us FOOTPRINTS was premiering at The Lake Country Playhouse/Historic Select Theater in Mineola, about 40 miles from home. Mineola Texas is a small town, and the ninety-one year old theater (the oldest continuously operating theater in the state of Texas) was showing FOOTPRINTS at 7:30 that Friday evening. We arrived early and decided to sit on a bench in front of the theater waiting for the doors to open at 7:00 PM. As we were waiting, I noticed a family of five, well-dressed and strolling in our direction. As they grew closer I noticed their shirts had the FOOTPRINTS logo embroidered on them, so I asked them about that. It turns out this was Jim Huggins and his wife Leslee and their three children Emma, David, and Samuel. We spoke for a few minutes and told them how much we were looking forward to the film. They thanked us for passing up Courageous that evening to see FOOTPRINTS, and then they went inside.

When the doors opened to the general public, we bought our tickets and went inside and found our seats. Shortly before the film started, Jim spoke to the audience, thanking everyone for coming out to see FOOTPRINTS rather than Courageous on its opening night, and he spoke a little bit about New Shepherd Films and those involved in the making of FOOTPRINTS.

As with Facing the Giants, FOOTPRINTS had literally no operating budget to speak of. Everything concerning it has been privately financed. And again, as with Facing the Giants at that time, this was a new film company with no name recognition attached to it. Even getting it in theaters has been an expensive challenge. But into theaters is exactly what God has done with FOOTPRINTS, where people are coming out to see it and it is meeting with great reviews from moviegoers who come away feeling inspired and encouraged.

We enjoyed the story very much. We found ourselves laughing and crying, and even getting a little upset at times. Jim was right when he told us in front of the theater, "You will need a Kleenex." I have included the synopsis from the web site below for your review. I do not want to give anything away because I want you to look for it in your area and go see it for yourself because you need to see this story which will not disappoint, but will entertain you while it encourages you. It is a wonderful story, the kind of story our troubled times needs more of. Parents and grandparents will love it because there is nothing objectionable in it. The kids will love it, people who rescue or work with rescued animals will love it, pet owners will love it, and Gods people will love it.

The Dove Foundation calls FOOTPRINTS a WONDERFUL story. Ted Baehr, Publisher of Movieguide wrote, "FOOTPRINTS is well worth watching!" Churches are giving FOOTPRINTS high marks also, urging their people to go out and see this film. Other audience reactions have been anywhere from "WOW!" to "AMAZING" and "This movie will change your life."

Much of the following information is posted on the New Shepherd Films web site at www.newshpeherdfilms.com. You can learn even more about the people involved by going to the web site.

New Shepherd Films is an independent (non-union), Christian film production company focused on producing family-oriented, Christian-based entertainment; specifically films based on true stories from everyday life. Stories that highlight God at work in everyday lives. Everyday.

Jim Huggins, Director and Writer.

Jim has an unlikely background for someone that now finds himself involved in film making. Jim is a decorated Air Force veteran with 27 years of honorable service to his country. He graduated from college with a B.S. in mathematics and an emphasis in Computer Science. As the Executive Officer (XO) for the largest directorate in Space Command, he was responsible for 350 military and civilian employees and over 56 million lines of code controlling our nation's missile warning and space defense systems. A newly promoted First Lieutenant, he was also the youngest ever selected for this job; a position normally held by a more senior officer. His civilian career has been no less stellar, developing new technologies and managing a global startup company for AMR and CSX. Jim also helped start a new company specializing in custom software for business solutions. Jim has also earned his M.S. in Engineering and a Ph.D in Engineering Management focused on software engineering.

Recognizing the need for family-oriented films in today's world, Jim has focused these abilities on the world of entertainment. His experiences include theater, commercial campaigns, voiceovers, printwork, and even feature film. An award-winning stage actor, experienced director, and professionally trained TV/Film actor, Jim understands the entire spectrum of how to tell stories and tell them well. Couple that with a genuine desire to be a storyteller that glorifies God and you have an unbeatable (and unstoppable) combination!

A dedicated father with three children, Emma, David, and Samuel, Jim and his wife, Leslee (along with two rescued German Shepherds) make Somerset, MA their home.

Russ Dougherty Director of Photography and Writer

An award-winning professional behind the camera and in the studio, Russ has developed and produced shows for a variety of outlets, most notably television. He has had the pleasure of working with such talents as Martha Stewart, Jeff Dunham, Jack Palance, Lee Remick, Tony Orlando, Chuck Negron, and Anthony Bourdain.

In addition to his television work for broadcast stations in the Boston and Providence markets, Russ has had his productions on the ABC, FOX, and TLC networks. Recognized for excellence, Russ has been honored with numerous awards for video productions including two grand prize awards from Videomaker™ Magazine, two platinum awards from The National Professional Videographers' Association, the Director's Award, and an Award of Excellence from the MarCom Marketing and Communications Agency.

Russ along with Gail, his wife of 24 years, and his son, Sean, continue the legacy of producing superb video projects. Among their current productions is "The UnReal Deal," a weekly television series for NBC 10 in Providence.

Leslee Huggins Music Supervisor and Associate Producer

Leslee received her degree as a Doctor of Dental Surgery from Baylor College of Dentistry. During her first residency, she went on to earn her Master of Science degree in Orthodontics from St. Louis University. She then began private practice in Raleigh, NC where she quickly became aware of the needs of pediatric dental patients in the underserved community — an experience which became the driving force for all her future endeavors. As a result, Dr. Leslee returned to school and completed a second residency in Pediatric Dentistry at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill — while maintaining her private practice at the same time!

Dr. Leslee specializes in serving children with special needs and working in the underserved communities throughout New England. She also serves in the U.S. Navy Reserves where she too is a decorated officer and holds the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Lt. Cmdr. Huggins is part of the vital Naval Health Clinic of New England (NHCNE) medical team stationed at Naval Station Newport in Rhode Island.

Dr. Leslee is also an accomplished musician on several instruments. She is also an award-nominated stage actress and was the spokesperson on a national advertising campaign for Hasbro.

New Shepherd Films has produced and put into limited release their first film, titled FOOTPRINTS. It is the true story based on "Memoirs of an Angel" by Jim Huggins.

Film Synopsis

Desperate to put the past behind him, David struggles with the everyday task of simply living. Facing what would become his greatest challenge, accepting the love and forgiveness for his past, he searches for ways to earn acceptance from those around him. Finally, losing his closest companion and friend — a German Shepherd named Smokey, became too much. His dog had been the one friend who had never left his side and had always accepted him for who and what he was. Devastated, David found himself in the one place he feared most. Alone. A place God never intends any of us to be.

Abused and neglected since birth, Cadie grew up alone. Rescued several years later, but still lost in a world she didn't understand, Cadie became an "award-winning" dog. She received the Boomerang Award at the rescue she was in. An award of dubious distinction, it was given to the dog who is adopted and brought back the most number of times. She won the award because no one wanted her. Which was fine by her — she didn't want anyone either. She wanted to be left alone. And that's not normal for a German Shepherd.

It's a place God never wants for any of His creatures.

Feeling unwanted. Feeling unloved. Embraced by loneliness. This is when God does His greatest work.

FOOTPRINTS is based on the true story of a man who finds the healing power of love only after he lost everything he had valued and given up. It is a true story of a dog who learned to trust and serve only after she'd been abused and then discarded as worthless. It is the true story of a journey the two of them took that neither knew would bring them together.

But God did.

Through His guidance, a man and a dog experience the transformation of being unwanted to becoming cherished. And in the process, they impact lives around them in ways only God could have imagined.


There is much uncertainty in life these days. People are concerned about a great many things, and movies have always been an escape for us from the pressures of life. So we make the drive, buy the ticket, and for two hours we allow our head to get filled with stuff, much of it does nothing to encourage us. FOOTPRINTS is different. New Shepherd Films is different. You will feel the difference when you leave the theater. We found the experience of having to decide between two faith-based movies being released on the same weekend by two different film companies exciting, and want to repeat that experience. By coming out to see FOOTPRINTS, you will be showing your support for another faith-based film company, and I believe it is our duty and obligation as Christian's to support these films. Sherwood Pictures puts out great films with great stories, and I do not want to take anything away from them...but wouldn't it be great for them to experience more direct competition focused on the same market of moviegoers?

© Bob Kemp

 

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Bob Kemp

Bob Kemp, an ordained Deacon, husband, father, and Sunday School Teacher, currently works as Concert Coordinator for a multiple Dove Award winning and Grammy Nominee Contemporary Christian Artist at Praise Ministries in Lindale, TX... (more)

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