This Little Light of Mine

A Filmmaker’s Journal

Five years ago an independent production company agreed to finance my “compelling little story of forgiveness” as one of eight feature films for limited release to a faith-based audience. Thrilled, I wrote, directed, and produced the movie with the help of a wonderful cast and crew, but…

It soon became apparent that Healing River was not like the other films. It was darker, earthier, and more universal in its appeal. When a Hollywood distribution rep saw it, he said, “This one’s different—this is for everyone!”

We tested our not-yet-completed film at ICFF, the largest Christian film festival in the world. It was immediately nominated for Best Picture, Most Inspirational Picture and Best Score, receiving a special Honorable Mention award; the audience claimed it as their own, many calling it the most powerful inspirational movie they’d ever seen. (It eventually won over twenty film festival awards and nominations.)

The completed film had its official Premiere at Cincinnati’s historic Memorial Hall. The audience, this time made up of people from all walks of life, cheered as the end credits rolled. Here are some responses recorded afterward:

  • “It captured what I’m going through. I cried so hard. But now I know I’m not alone.” (Mother of a heroin addict)
  • “This is the most effective presentation on forgiveness I’ve ever seen.” (Cincinnati drug and family counseling director)
  • “A remarkable theatrical experience: powerful, gripping, provocative, heart-breaking, moving, inspirational. You have created a masterpiece!” (Ray A. Smith, retired teacher)
  • “Only Heaven will know the true ‘box-office’ returns of this film. My son and I had an excellent conversation about grief.” (Rev. Drew Smith, Presbyterian pastor)
  • “I am overwhelmed with what I received and am taking away from this film. It was powerful on so many levels, both spiritually and emotionally. But even more drastic for me (was) the ethnic diversity. I don’t have words to describe how that aspect of the film impacted me. I’ve never seen a film with such an even display of racial justice. I’m blown away. Excellent!” (Rev. Dennis Hall, African-American Methodist pastor)
  • “This isn’t just a great Christian film, it’s a great drama with Christian DNA. The script, acting, and music are all top-notch. Most importantly, it’s true to life. The emotions are so pitch-perfect that we know the characters are acting and reacting as we would in their circumstances. This isn’t a Hollywood production, but it could have been.” (Dan Andriacco, The Catholic Telegraph)
  • “You don’t watch this movie, you live it. The characters are strong and vibrant. The movie will get inside you. It has moments so intense you forget to breathe. There are moments of gut-wrenching grief, there are moments of rage, there are moments of laughter. There is love. Healing River is about forgiveness, (but) it doesn’t just show you the way, it takes you there.” (S.M. Zang, blogger and reviewer)

Upon its release, Healing River became (and remains) the highest rated independent inspirational film in the history of Amazon Prime. You can see it uninterrupted there, or free-with-commercials at sites like Tubi and Roku. I would also encourage you to leave a brief review at Amazon (the more reviews it gets, the more they recommend it). Plus, you can rate it from 1 to 10 stars on IMDb (Note: IMDb only recognizes the rating if you rate a few other movies, as well).

This little light is still shining bright!

The Official Trailer

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Movies, Popular Culture & Entertainment, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to This Little Light of Mine

  1. Wynne Leon says:

    Wow – that’s powerful. Amazing work, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dorahak says:

    What a powerful movie, Mitch! It’s been more than two years since I saw it and I remember it as if it were yesterday. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. BookOfPain says:

    Wow! GOod luck! I hope to see it soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A very compelling film!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This still remains one of my favorite Christian films. I continue to buy and give away DVDs as gifts.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Lesley says:

    Oh my goodness, I’m in tears just from watching the trailer!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. DANG! I cry during the trailer!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. An Audience of One says:

    How amazing. It looks incredible, based on the trailer!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Badfinger (Max) says:

    My wife and enjoyed it a lot. I told some people at church about it and they liked it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Victoria says:

    Can’t wait to check it out — thank you, Mitch! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thotaramani says:

    The songs in the movie seems awesome. I watch movies because I am fond of listening to music 🎵🎶. Music and songs 😍💐

    Liked by 1 person

  12. WebbBlogs says:

    Wow Mitch I feel like I’m talking to a celebrity right now. You are extremely talented, I can’t wait to watch this.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Fantastic. I will check it out!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. That’s awesome mitch…let me check on prime ….

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Saw it. Loved it. Fantastic message.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ann Coleman says:

    Is it available on Amazon Prime? We finally joined that!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Victoria says:

    Thanks again, Mitch. I watched “Healing River” yesterday. Beautiful. I especially enjoyed the scenes with Ingrid and Alec…the dialogue rang true and Rupert Spraul as Alec, overall? What a talent…and I think his hair should get some sort of credit, too. 😉 Lastly, did you pull a “Hitchcock” and pop into the group session around 1:36? A “Mitch” Easter egg?
    Appreciate you pointing us to your amazing work. Kudos in every way! 😊😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Victoria! And, yes, I did a Hitchcock (Mitchcock?) in the group session; stepped in last minute to replace an actor who’d gotten sick (but in ‘Notzilla’ I do 5 or 6 Easter egg appearances, just for fun). Rupert is indeed a brilliant young actor. The moment I saw his audition (this was his first film), I turned to my co-producer and said, “Well, we have our Alec!” He and Renika Williams, the gifted actress who plays Rose (also her first film) are both working regularly on Broadway and in films and televsion now. I’m so proud of them!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I cannot wait to watch it, thank you for sharing it Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I will surely watch this movie.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Congratulations Mitch…that’s amazing!.. I gave it 10 stars on IMDb

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Wow this is truly amazing. Continued blessings for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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