James Chankin is the producer of two new films, "Escape" and "The Mark," both of which were recently released. Chankin has also worked on such projects as "Jerusalem Countdown" and "Christmas with a Capital C." Yesterday he took the time to speak with The Christian Post about how he got into the Christian entertainment industry and why he chose to work on "Escape" and "The Mark."
Why did you start working in the Christian entertainment industry?
It's real simple; I spent more than 15 years in the entertainment industry, but the values were just killing my soul. I saw my brother, a missionary, go out and do something and it's been in my heart ever since. The reason why I was doing what I was and going through the drudgery of Hollywood was that God had a bigger purpose for me … I heard God say, "You're going to do this for me, not for the honor or the glory but to glorify Me … and make it to where people can stand up and say, "I love you."
I was born and raised in Texas, part of the Bible belt, but then when I came out Hollywood … Sometimes you lose your way but you find your way back because you know in your heart that's the true way to go.
Why was it important to tell these particular stories?
For "Escape," there's one question: Why do bad things happen to good people and why would God allow bad things to happen to innocent people? To have people see that and see that everybody questions, whether you're a follower or not … that's a big thing and the other thing is that we can't escape from God.
There's a high value on escape. Escaping not from your reality and from God, but instead to God … it's a natural instinct to run away from God, but eventually people come to God. It's a reminder that God is there for you no matter what. He doesn't tell you it's going to be easy or give you every single thing; we have to sacrifice; we have to give up a lot but there's God in every little bit of that.
With "The Mark" it's a timing situation. With the world we're in today, there is so much going on. It feels like it may be the "end of the times" period but we never truly know, and I want people to be reminded of that situation so they can stay strong and keep the faith. All the goodness that we have as a human being is going to change, and that's what I wanted to tell … Even though it's action/adventure you still get a message from it.
What are your future projects?
"The Mark" a trilogy- just finished filming "The Mark II" (released in April 2013) and "The Mark III." My goal is to create a timely, active story that people are going to want to follow; every movie will feature a different message, part of the Rapture, "Revelation." It's something that people can go and see and be entertained by and yet get a message from. People will continue to hear the story from the tribulation period; you always see the Rapture but what happens during the 7-year period or that particular time frame?
If you can tell that story in a very modern environment, there's a lot of imagery that goes through there. If people see that, they'll be more accustomed to believing in the 7-year period. There's a lot of stuff that's been predicted that we can piece together here. We have to stand up and take note of that. We definitely have to pay attention to that. This all runs hand-in-hand: politics, spirituality, ethics today aren't where they used to be.
What has the response to "The Mark" in particular been like?
People can give it to non-Christians and spread the message. Reviewers in the secular market are saying they are entertained by it since the majority of it was action, we're going to reach more of the masses and that's been my goal. We have to figure out how to make that happen and make it a really, really good film that people want to see … one that has value.
Both titles are available on PureFlix.com.