2017 Speakers Coming Soon!
Nathan Ashton has served the creative community for 18 years as an audio producer. He began his career with audio drama and has expanded from there to work on documentaries, Christian television, and SAG films. Nathan specializes in using sound effects and Foley to create realistic environments. He is currently the Sound Designer for the Burn’s Family Studio film, Beyond the Mask.
For nine years Nathan taught audio production at Oral Roberts University. During this time he developed curriculum for a new Music Technology degree and an affinity for working with young people. He continues to mentor new audio engineers through in-home internships and project collaborations. Recently Nathan spent four years as Producer for an international television program. In this capacity he traveled the world and coordinated documentary video production on four continents. While always content with a hamburger, Nathan finds great pleasure in connecting with people over a meal of local cuisine. Connecting on an individual level helps him share their unique stories with the world.
Nathan now lives in Cleveland, Tennessee, with his wife Lydia and their three children. When not working with audio, he delights in making his kids smile (or occasionally groan) by singing silly songs, inventing “Papa Jokes”, and by reading to them. Nathan enjoys traveling and met his wife in Sweden—Yes, it’s true; Swedes are beautiful! Lydia is an accomplished composer of music for network television and often serves as an extra set of ears on Nathan’s film projects. Together they work in the mission field of media while encouraging Christians to become intentional media creators.
Award-winning composer Jurgen Beck was born in Germany in 1962 and began his musical journey early in his life. His passion and interest in music was directed toward training on the trumpet (Fluegelhorn), while at the same time picking up other instruments such as guitar, piano, and bass. His passion for harmonic structure stems from his early years of musical training and playing in a brass choir in Germany.
Growing up in a country that has provided some of the most renowned composers in history, his love for music found further expression when he started writing all songs and lyrics for his band that went on to garner a growing following and essentially resulted in a recording contract and concert tours.
Having received a full scholarship, he moved to the USA in 1987 to continue his music studies at a Christian college in Dallas, Texas. It was during that time that he began producing music for independent artists, allowing him to refine his skills not only as a composer, but all aspects of music arrangement, recording, mixing, and mastering audio.
His love for film music essentially resulted in a natural transition from writing and producing music to writing for film. Recognizing the unique aspects of composing for film, he studied with renowned composer Leon Willett, who has been instrumental in furthering his understanding of harmony and musical structure. He also studied writing for orchestral instruments with Stephen Hill.
Jurgen is a creative composer who loves to explore the multi-faceted aspects of music and how it affects the listener. This gives him a unique ability adding music to picture that engages the viewer’s emotive abilities to absorb the story. Whether it is composing for feature films, documentaries, commercials, or digital media, his passion is to bring whatever medium he writes for to life by adding a unique blend of electronic and orchestral elements.
Jurgen, his wife Shawn, their daughter Arianna, and their two dogs, Gracie and Molly, reside in northern Texas.
Ken Carpenter’s Ken Carpenter’s experience on a wide variety of projects has provided a broad-based
His experience as a producer/director has spanned feature film, television, commercial, documentary, music video, and marketing pieces for clients across the country. Carpenter’s work has won numerous film festival awards.
Carpenter recently produced/directed “Last Best Summer Ever”, a family comedy/drama for Echolight Studios. In 2014, he produced/directed “One Generation Away”, a documentary feature film about the changing face of religious liberty in the U.S.
His recent work includes “Unplanned: The Abby Johnson Story” for Focus on the Family, a broadcast documentary that earned a Best Documentary Crown Award, as well as “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven”, another documentary broadcast special for Tyndale Publishers. He also produced and directed award-winning documentaries about George Washington Carver, Stonewall Jackson, Terri Schiavo, and World War II veteran Jimmy Gentry.
Carpenter was awarded the GMA Music Award (Dove Award) for his longform DVD “Amy Grant – Time Again”. He also won the Dove Award for his Mark Schultz “Stories and Songs” longform DVD.
He also produced and directed “John Tesh: Alive”, a television broadcast special.
Carpenter also produced 15 episodes of a half-hour human-interest television show hosted by acclaimed author/speaker Joni Eareckson Tada. The show features families from around the U.S. who have triumphed over extraordinary circumstances.
He produced and directed a one-hour dramatic pilot for PAX TV entitled “The Sullivan Sisters”, as well as 15 half hour episodes of “Sundays With Simon”, a discussion show. He also directed six episodes of “Front Row Live” for the Gospel Music Channel.
His work with other faith-based clients includes projects with Max Lucado, Steven Curtis Chapman, eHarmony, Michael W. Smith, Compassion International, Casting Crowns, Big Idea Productions, Jeremy Camp, Integrity Publishers, dcTalk, The Gideons, Point of Grace, and many more.
Carpenter has produced and directed projects out of Franklin, TN (Nashville) for over 15 years since relocating there from Los Angeles with his wife and children.
Since 2009 she has worked in 10 different states as cast and/or crew for thirteen feature film productions, the first of which was "Alone Yet Not Alone." Her first lead role was as Virginia Page for "In His Steps," a modern adaptation of the acclaimed 19th century novel by the same title. Her casting director credits include "The Screenwriters" and "Polycarp: Destroyer of Gods," and she was the script supervisor for "The Screenwriters," "Surrender," "Love Covers All," "Princess Cut," and "Kicked By Grace."
Participating in the casting and production process from both sides has given her unique insights into the industry. Rebekah loves working with directors and fellow actors as they develop their characters from the script and bring them to life on the screen. Both on and off of film sets, her heartfelt calling is to be an ambassador of Christ and share God's extravagant love with those around her.
GEORGE D. ESCOBAR is vice president of WND Films and TV in charge of programming, production and strategy. Escobar directed "The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment" for WND Films, which became Amazon’s No. 1 Faith DVD for 75 weeks. Most recently he co-produced with WND CEO Joseph Farah, "Disinformation" and "The Last Pope?" — two current-events documentaries, which are now reaching the top of the DVD sales charts. Most recently he directed "The Rabbi Who Found Messiah" a documentary based on the book by Pastor Carl Gallups.
Escobar is co-founder of Advent Film Group, whose inaugural movie, "Come What May," was seen by over 3.5 million people online and on TV. Escobar’s upcoming narrative films for 2014 include "Hero" (as producer), "The Screenwriters" (as executive producer), and "Alone Yet Not Alone," which he co-wrote/co-directed and co-produced for Enthuse Entertainment. "Alone Yet Not Alone" will be released theatrically in 150 cities on March 14, 2014. It was recently listed by the Academy Awards as "eligible" for an Oscar nomination (for 2014) in the Original Song and Music Score categories.
Escobar was vice president for Discovery, executive director for AOL and a producing fellow at the American Film Institute. He holds seven U.S. patents in technology and user interface design and has taught filmmaking to over 1,500 students. Escobar and his wife homeschooled their three sons from K to 12.
John Fornof is becoming known as “That Radio Drama Guy.” When he was a kid, he clutched his Panasonic RQ309S cassette tape machine close to his heart, and with his dad’s encouragement, started making his own radio adventures. His dream was to grow up to write and produce radio dramas. Sadly, no one was doing radio dramas anymore. It was sort of like, “Hey, when I grow up, I want to be a telegraph operator!”
Fast forward the tape machine to 1997. John was invited to write for the Adventures in Odyssey radio show—literally, a dream job. Since then, God has opened up opportunities for John to work on eight different audio drama series. He’s written over 125 episodes. In 2009, he was asked to help launch Lamplighter Theatre with Mark Hamby. The popular program has grown to over 1700 radio stations in 29 countries. John and his team recently launched their newest audio drama with Heirloom Audio--The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty, recording in London.
As a director, John has had the privilege of working with many great actors including Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey), John Rhys Davies (Lord of the Rings), Billy Boyd (Lord of the Rings), Skandar Keynes (Chronicles of Narnia), and James Cosmo (Braveheart).
He’s also a published author with Zondervan, Thomas Nelson, Focus on the Family and Tyndale and has won two regional Emmy awards for his television documentaries, along with a number of Telly Awards and Addy Awards.
But his most important creative work: John is Dad to three amazing kids, Chris, Robert, and Melissa.
He’s taught writing at the Lamplighter Guild, Oregon Christian Writers Conference, the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Academy, and The Christian Worldview Film Festival. He was also Time Person of the Year in 2006.
John is a graduate of the Act One Writing and Executive Program in Hollywood with an eye on the next dream--film. Short Version: John has fun! And who knows where that fast forward button will take him next?
Fueled by a passion for teaching, Stacie began directing and producing plays for children in 2006. Stacie’s enthusiasm and direction led to successful and creative productions despite tight funds and inexperienced actors. Her desire to teach young people found new channels when she began producing films starting with Bessie in 2009. She launched TeamVision, a class for beginning filmmakers, as well as a film festival for young filmmakers.
She has taught at numerous film events, including TeamVision, Filmmaker’s Academy, and DCFM Workshops. She met and married Joseph Graber as they co-produced their feature film, Indescribable in 2011 (starring Rich Swingle and Seth Pruski). She is currently living in Colorado where she raises their son, Peter Marshall, and assists Joseph as he pastors a church and works on a documentary about the Amish.
Timothy Jones began operating cameras seven years ago for live TV, a year later he began work in cinema and has since worked on ten feature films and countless shorts, documentaries and corporate video projects.
Timothy has extensive experience in the Camera, Grip and Electric departments, He also owns a rental company that rents out the RED Epic Dragon. Timothy has been privileged to work for a number of industry professionals and loves a hands on training and Q&A style teaching.
Stephen Kendrick has dedicated his life to serving Jesus Christ and to making Him known around the world. He is a co-writer for the screenplays and books and the producer for the Kendrick Brothers' films.
Stephen has spoken to churches, conferences, and seminars around the nation, and has been interviewed by FOX and Friends, CNN, ABC World News Tonight, The Washington Post, and other media outlets. He is a co-founder and board member of the Fatherhood Commission. He graduated from Kennesaw State University and attended seminary before being ordained into ministry.
Stephen and his wife, Jill, live in Albany, Georgia, where they homeschool their six children. They are active members of Sherwood Church in Albany.
Daniel Knudsen is a filmmaker from the Detroit, Michigan area. He has directed or produced several feature films including Creed of Gold, A Horse Called Bear, Rather to be Chosen and Lifestone Velocity. Daniel has worked in the industry over a decade and has a passion for creating quality family entertainment. His films have been complimented by the Dove Foundation for their promotion of family values through entertaining stories. He is a graduate of Thomas Edison State College and a lifetime student of storytelling. While not in the editing room or on a shoot he enjoys bike riding and watching the sun set.
Mimi Sagadin began her acting career in Chicago during the 90’s and studied improv at The Players Workshop of the Second City, and performed children’s shows on the main stage at the infamous Second City. She co-founded the improv troupe Mission IMPROVable, a “clean comedy” troupe that performed shows in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.
She continues to work in feature films and shorts, commercials, industrials and plays. For the past 18 years, Mimi has been a volunteer for the annual Karitos Worship and Arts Conference as the film and drama department head and teacher.
Sagadin has performed on several stages throughout the Windy City. Some notable productions include: Provision Theater’s Jeff nominated play, “The Hiding Place,” Ken Davenport’s (Godspell, Altar Boyz, Somewhere in Time) off-Broadway production of The Awesome 80’s Prom (15 month run), and Akvavit Theater’s “A Summer’s Day.”
Her film and TV career began to take off in 2005 when she was cast as Emma Thompson’s stand-in for five weeks in the film, Stranger Than Fiction. Since then, Mimi has worked directly with Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, director Marc Forster, Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Winona Ryder, Jennifer Connelly, director Ron Howard, Katherine Heigl, Kurtwood Smith, and Lisa Ann Walters.
Mimi Sagadin’s break-out role occurred portraying Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom, opposite John Rhys-Davies (Lord of the Rings, Raiders of the Lost Ark), in the soon-to-be released film Return to the Hiding Place. Her latest film, Princess Cut with Jenn Gotzen (Doonby, Frost/Nixon) will be released early 2015.
Rich Swingle has performed and/or taught on five continents, in 26 nations and in hundreds of venues, mostly with a dozen one-man plays he has written or helped developed: A Clear Leading, Big Fish Little Worm, The Revelation, The Acts, Alien Immigration Training, Views of the Manger, Five Bells for 9/11, Journey to the Garden, Paradise Lost, God of Hope, Shepherds Reflect on the 23rd Psalm, and Beyond the Chariots, which he’s performed Off-Broadway, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (the largest arts festival in the world), in LA, Toronto, Hong Kong, Shangai, Transylvania, and in Beijing, Vancouver, Singapore and London while those cities hosted the Olympics.
Rich has been immersed in the life of Eric Liddell since 2000 when Liddell’s niece Peggy Judge gave him a tour of the Eric Liddell Centre in Edinburgh, where he pored through family photos and out-of-print biographies. The Edinburgh Fringe performances were in the lunch room where Eric Liddell ate his meals at the University of Edinburgh. It was transformed into a theatre space, and it was 100m from Liddell’s dorm room and 100m from McEwan Hall, where Liddell graduated. Rich’s performances have also taken him to Le Stade de Colombes in Paris, where Liddell broke the world record, and to Tientsin, China, and a track Liddell designed, the home where he lived and a church where he preached. He’s interviewed people that remember Liddell on four continents, including all three of Liddell’s daughters, two of his wife’s siblings, one of his students, and numerous people who were interned with him in China. Rich was a writer for the documentary Olympic Hero in China: The Eric Liddell Story, for which he recorded the English narration.
Rich has lived in New York City since 1993, where he’s acted in a number of productions, film, radio, and CD-ROM. He has been featured in eight movies: the lead role of Frederich Lehman in Indescribable, the featured role of Claud in the award-winning A Christmas Snow, the principal role of Coach Sean Ryan in For the Glory, and the featured role of Sheriff Hanson in the award-winning Pawn’s Move, the featured role of a land speculator in Alone Yet Not Alone, Hollywood director Forrest Woods in The Screenwriters, a quirky clerk in Christmas Grace, and a lead in the short film Settled. He performed as The Apostle Paul for CD and DVD in God of Hope. He played the narrator and all other roles in Paradise Lost, which was featured at the International Double Reed Conference. He provided the voice of Peter Cooper, the subject of a documentary by award-winning Gardner Documentary Group. For the Beginners Bible video series, distributed by Sony Wonder, he did 20 roles including Jesus, Adam, and the Serpent. He recorded two projects related to the September 11th attacks: Crossing Barriers and Stage Shadows. He has performed voice-overs and on-screen roles in several commercials. He originated the roles of Simonides and Pontius Pilate in the musical Judah Ben-Hurin Singapore, and he performed five poems by George Herbert at The Kennedy Center.
He worked with John Kirby (acting coach on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, DéJà Vu, Count of Monte Cristo) to co-direct Tartuffe and Our Town, during which he performed the role of the Stage Manager, and The Miracle Worker as a part of The MasterWorks Festival, where Rich directs the theatre program.
Rich’s shorter works have shared the stage with numerous musicians including Margaret Becker, Bob Carlisle, The Martins and Fernando Ortega.
Rich was on the planning committee for Media and Arts at the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa, and he is on the board of Christians in Theatre Arts, through which he was selected as a leader and Featured Dramatist for CITA to the Nations, a trip to Jordan and Israel in which he taught, directed, performed and organized others to do the same for students in Amman, Jordan. Then they performed biblical sketches where they took place in Jordan and Israel.
Rich is a Freedom Finder for Graceworks, helping presenters in a variety of fields overcome stage fright and connect with their audiences through seminars and project coaching.
He has performed and/or taught workshops in over 40 colleges and universities, including his alma mater, George Fox University (rated the number one Christian college in the US by Forbes and US News and World Report), University of Memphis, Namseoul University in Korea, Singapore Bible College, and Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary in the Philippines. Each spring he teaches a workshop at Princeton University. Rich also spoke at the Ivy League Congress on Faith and Action, hosted by the Harvard University chapter of Christian Union.
- 2013 Gold Crown Award for Best Documentary at the International Christian Visual Media Conference
- 2013 Best Documentary at the GloryReelz Christian Film Festival
- 2013 Best Documentary at the Midwest Christian Inspirational Indie Film Festival
- 2012 Best Documentary Runner-Up at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival
- 2012 Best of Festival Finalist at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival
Brett has been making movies since he was a teenager. In 2008 he directed and starred in The Board, and God used the creation of this film to call Brett into full-time ministry. God gave him a vision to create a non-profit film production company. In 2010 he was able to see that vision come to life by starting House of Grace Films. His most recent feature “The War Within” was a big winner at the 2014 Christian Worldview Film Festival and is available in Christian bookstores and online.
Brett’s most passionate and comfortable in the Director’s chair, but also loves to write, produce, and act in films as well. He is an Emmy award winning director and a two-time David Letterman Scholarship winner. Brett’s ambition and passion in life is to share the precious gospel of Christ through film.
He resides in Indianapolis with his wife Christina and their two children.