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Interview & Guestpost! ~ Filmmaker, Nadine Lee

Folks, not long ago, I discovered Nadine on twitter.Nadine She’s in the process of preparing for a project subsequent to the movie Wheeler. We chatted a little, and I really got interested in her project, as I’ve never seen or heard of the topic of ghosts handled in a Christian movie before. So I invited her over to talk about it a bit. Maybe it will pique your interest as it did mine? After her post, you can find our chat.

Here’s Nadine!


 

Summary for Wheeler

Do you believe in ghosts?

Find out in this gripping supernatural suspense thriller who or what is responsible for killing patients in an old veteran hospital.

Synopsis

(Short version)

Wheeler is a supernatural suspense thriller set in a VA hospital in the fictional town of Las Verdes in San Diego, California.

Steven Crane, a lonely Iraq war veteran admitted for an infection of an old wound finds himself almost murdered in his hospital bed. He finds out the attempt on his life is not unusual for this hospital, only unique in that he is the only patient that survived the attack. He is now a part of an investigation set against the backdrop of a political battle brewing between the investigative detective and the hospital administrator who is determined to keep the suspicious deaths under wrap. Steven befriends a psychiatrist, Dr. Stacey Reed, who tries to help him unravel the mystery behind his unbelievable encounter. Who is killing the sick veterans and what is their motive? Will you believe the answer when the truth is revealed?

-###-

For TBAP readers, I will reveal that the movie Wheeler delves into a subject that many are deceived about. The Spiritual realm and the phenomenon of ghosts. What really happens to people’s souls when they die? What are people actually dealing with when they see ghosts? I will tackle this mysterious subject from the biblical perspective and reveal a truth to the world and many in the Christian community are mostly ignorant about and because of that misperception, many have fallen prey to the oppression of forces they do not understand and have been lead to believe are innocuous and sometimes harmless.

Wheeler introduces the subject and the beginnings of the knowledge about it. The subsequent sequel I am working on affords me to delve into it deeper because the characters have already been introduced and established in the first film. It is a revelatory film and I can’t wait to share it with you and the world on the big screen. It is a truth long overdue to be known.


Nadine is currently accepting crowdfunding for this project. You can be a part of it, too! Goodies for doing so include having access to all inside information of the making of the movie, being part of some of the executive decisions, and having your name appear in the movies appreciation list. Watch this video to learn more.

 

Join Our Chat


 

Me: Hello Nadine! Glad to have you here at TBAP. Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Nadine: Hello, so happy to be here! I am an island girl born in Jamaica, went to high school in New York and lived most of my life in South Florida. I love God, sunshine and rainy days, clean sea breeze air, and spending time at home with family and friends. I am a total homebody.

 

Me: Sweet! Nadine, how did you find God?

Nadine: Miranda, God found me. I was 19 years old and in the midst of a depression. I had taken pride in my intellectual abilities most of my life and was very proud of invitations from Ivy League colleges to apply to their universities. I even took an entrance exam for one of Oxford University’s college for pre-medical studies. I had a great future ahead of me. After deciding on Dartmouth College and getting accepted early decision, reality set in. I could not afford it, even with scholarships. It just was not feasible at the time. My hard working single mother (who was widowed many years before) could not afford to send me. After taking a year or two off from attending college, I decided to go to a state run university in New York. It did not fit the lofty ideals I had in mind or the plans for my life. I was disappointed, disillusioned, and dissatisfied with my life. Looking back I can clearly understand the place I was and am not perplexed by my reaction to my circumstances. That is what happens when one trusts and relies on anything but God as a foundation or sense of self. It is all shifting sand, liable to make one fall and even sink.

Deep in a state of hopelessness one night, alone in my room, I recall getting on my knees and doing something I had not done for many years since I was a child and my mom used to send me to Sunday school. I prayed. Actually, I cried out to God and asked Him for help. After praying, the thought came to me that I should visit the church I knew a relative attended. I went, and during the teaching of the word, felt a strong pull by the Holy Spirit to respond to the invitation to trust in and receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I do not recall what the sermon was about, but I knew one thing. I needed Jesus. So I went running to Him. It was the very best decision I have ever made and though being a Christian has been a challenging and sometimes very difficult journey – it is worth more than anything this world or life could ever offer. His gift of salvation is truly priceless.

 

Me: What an amazing story! Truly inspirational!

What led to your passion for making movies?

Nadine: Lol… Oh the thoughts that went through my head at this question. I went from studying to become a doctor to being passionate about something I never once thought of, much less desired doing for a living. It is such a 180 turn from the trajectory of my thoughts and life goals I can only see the hand of God in it. Short answer? I began writing scripts from a need to create vehicles for me and my friends to act in. Am I an actor? No. Why did I want projects to act in? I needed to create a reel so I could get auditions for commercials which I heard paid very well. You see, I was on a mission to pay off my student loans. After an obstacle arose in my path on my way to practicing medicine, I decided to go spend some time with my best friend in California to clear my head. In California, I became friends with actors in the entertainment industry who told me by doing commercials; it was possible to earn enough to pay off my student loan debt. I was sold! I had always been a writer. I wrote poems and songs constantly as a creative outlet, but never thought of making a living with my writing. It was a gift I just enjoyed sharing with friends and family. Being in LA and getting the opportunity to work on sets and seeing how everything came together from just an idea fascinated me. Before I knew it I was jotting down story ideas. It was only when I was encouraged to write something so that I could create content to build a resume to get to the desired holy grail of a national commercial payday that I started developing my ideas into scripts. What really turned it into a passion for me was when I saw how much I could do with the stories I was creating. I could create movies that could help in the sharing of God’s word, I could create entertaining experiences that was not officious, and I could help give struggling artists gracious their big break. That is what started it all for me, what made me persevere when projects didn’t work out as planned. I had begun creating and producing small projects and my actor friends were so gracious lending their time, talents and often money to help. It was always a great struggle and huge learning experiences, but with each project that did not make it off the ground, it only made me more determined. Especially because I saw how hard these artists work and how much the industry rejected them because they were not stars, yet no one was willing to give them a chance to make a name for themselves. If you are unconnected in this industry – it is brutal. I wanted to make my movies, so I could offer opportunities. That became my chief motivation. It was after a period of great spiritual growth   after drawing closer to the Lord by committing to the discipline of spending time in his word daily that I started to understand and appreciate the tools he had put in my hands to share His love and salvation with the world. I began re-editing my first film script with that purpose and goal in mind and it turned an original and ordinary script into what I truly believe has the capacity to be a ground breaking film. One I cannot wait for the world to see because it sheds truth and light about a very little understood subject -the spiritual realm – that this world is so deceived about and unfortunately many believers are also ignorant of because they do not read the whole Word of God.

 

Me: What a journey, Nadine. And, now, I’m curious to know, what do you hope to achieve through making movies for God?

Nadine: I admit in the beginning making movies was more about what I could achieve. Now as with everything in my life, I ask the question – how may I serve You, Lord? Before I was all about telling God about my plans and asking Him to give them to me, open doors for me, conform to my plans and wants. Ha! Well God graciously made me aware of a truth I so needed to hear, and understand, and live! God is not here to serve me. God created me to worship and serve him! I recall my pastor (here in South Florida) made a statement that struck me to the core. He said, instead of asking God to join in on your plans, why don’t you ask God if you can be a part of what He is doing. I can tell you that this changed my way of thinking, and changed my life, because it has brought great peace into my life. My plans for me, my life, is always subject to circumstances and failure, which brings uncertainty. God’s Will will always be done! God’s Will and purpose is what matters in this life. He already loves me more than I can fathom and will always provide my needs. I will never be fulfilled or satisfied until I walk in the purpose God has for me, so why not get on board with His program? So when the storms blow in (and it will), I can trust and be secure in the fact that it is His plan, and He allowed/is allowing me to go through that particular storm for a reason, and, His reason always means me and/or others good. Whether it is to strengthen me, protect me, correct me – I do know He has my eternal salvation, sanctification (becoming more like Jesus), and my very best interest in mind, and can rest securely in His trust. I trust God. I really do. And, so, I have and am letting go of trying to control everything, including my life and the plans for my life. I hope to achieve what God wants me to achieve with my films. So far he has made me understand and change Wheeler (my first film script that I am trying to produce) in a way I could have never fathomed. The question I ask now is will this glorify God? It is the question I ask when editing the script, when I begin casting–will be asking when I shoot the scenes, and when I consult with the editors in the editing room. After they are a box-office hit, lol? I will ask God, where do you want me to give? Who do you want me to help? I have many ministries in mind that are faithfully sharing the Word of God with the world that I can’t wait to give more to. I give now. I have learnt that any blessing God gives to me no matter how great or small is not only for my benefit, but to share with others. He gives me so I can give to others. That is what I intend to achieve with this gift of movie creating – both tangible and intangible. Give to others in the name of Jesus my King.

 

Me: Wow! I’m blown away by your testimony of faith! I pray God takes you all the way, and keeps you, too.

Why should Christians go into filmmaking? What do you believe filmmaking can offer the world from a Christian perspective?

Nadine: Christian filmmakers can offer so much! They are story tellers. Communicators. They can communicate truth and knowledge, wisdom and understanding, all in an entertaining package, in a format the world is used to, and want to consume. People love going to the movies but are wary of religion because man and Satan have corrupted it with lies, self interest, greed and the ultimate sin of pride; the pursuit of power in the desire for self worship. Movies allow people to let down their guard in order for the film to take them on a journey or adventure. They are open to hear whatever is communicated in the tale. What an opportunity! What a way to be used by God to do His work! Sharing His truth and love with the world. The world is on its way to hell. Satan has deceived them that all is well. It is a chance to join in on God’s plan and do what Christ commissioned us (His church) to do. Go tell the world I came to save them! It is exciting work – being a Christian. Using filmmaking as a means of doing this work is just an added bonus. Other filmmakers cannot claim such a calling in delivering the greatest and most important news – a message that can save their souls from eternal damnation! My favorite film this year was ‘God Is Not Dead’. It was not the best produced or the best acted film I have seen this year, but it soared because of the message! I was a one-woman marketing team, telling everyone I know, and did not know, to go see this film! ‘Guardians of the Galaxy came in second place in terms of entertainment value for me. It was good, but ‘God Is not Dead’ was everything. It entertained, it drew me in, it offered God’s truth – a perspective the world and many movie goers have not heard. Now that is rad and very much needed. It delivered!

 

Me: Movies allow people to let down their guard in order for the film to take them on a journey or adventure. They are open to hear whatever is communicated in the tale. What an opportunity!” You got me with that!

When you make a movie, what message do you hope to pass across to viewers?

Nadine: Whatever the message I want to impart from a particular story, and the lessons from the characters whether good or bad. Everything we do, every action has consequences and nothing we do exists in a vacuum. It affects others around us and it affects our souls. Every person brings their own perspective and experiences into a viewing, so I cannot dictate what each individual will take away from a story, but there are certain things, certain conditions of our existence that are hard to manipulate even in the telling of a fictional tale. In our world today absolutes are a negative, but it does not change the fact that there are absolutes. Truth is truth no matter how I may perceive or want to manipulate it. If I make a film about planting a seed in the ground and the truth is revealed on screen with the camera recording the seed growing into a plant, then a tree – that is the message. The viewer may argue I manipulated the image or regardless of what they see, an alien or fairy replaced the seed with a plant, the plant did not come from the seed. Regardless, it does not change the truth presented – that the seed grew into a tree. Most will get it and choose to incorporate this knowledge as a part of their understanding. Some will manipulate themselves into rejecting the message. As a filmmaker, I am mostly responsible for showing the message on the screen. In my case, because I am a Christian, I have an added responsibility to offer a perspective of truth (God’s revelation declared in his word) in contrast to the worldview. If no one tells them, how will they know? Whether it is the truth about the spiritual realm in my supernatural suspense thriller ‘Wheeler’ or the consequences of behaviors and actions displayed by the characters in hopefully my next film – a nineteenth century romantic adaptation of a Jane Austen novel.

 

Me: Your words are something to reflect on. I’ll keep them in mind for my personal use. Also, Jane Austen adaptation? Super yay!!

Do you have any other passion(s) apart from filmmaking? What are they? What role do they play in helping you become a better filmmaker?

Nadine: I do love studying the Word of God and discussing what I have learnt. I love spending time with the Lord and I purpose for it to be my greatest passion. To love Him and serve Him, and those He places in my path. My favorite subject to talk about is God and the mysteries He reveals about himself, the world, and heaven in the bible. It fascinates and delights me. I also like the practice of medicine and although I am not a practicing physician, I do in some form practice my diagnosing skills by giving advice to friends and family. I love the beauty of God’s creation, whether it’s the ocean, the sky, animals, nature – you name it, I am in awe of His imagination and the beauty of it all. All of it has made me into a better filmmaker because it has instilled in me not only knowledge, but appreciation for the origin of knowledge, wisdom and beauty. Our work cannot help but be an extension of ourselves. My work is better for these gifts God has bestowed upon me.

 

Me: Wow! Your passion is contagious!

What project are you working on now?

Nadine: I am working on several things right now. I have two feature length film scripts and a short of a sci-fi project ready for production. I’m currently shooting a comedy for the web and TV, and developing a consumer product which profits I hope will eventually help in financing future film projects. I have of course prioritized the production on the films because just getting one produced involves a herculean effort. The first major film project I am currently raising funds to produce is the supernatural suspense thriller – WHEELER. My second film project is a nineteenth century romantic film adaptation of a Jane Austen novel. The third project is a demo short film of a 3D live action animation story I would like to develop for different markets including a film franchise, television and gaming. The title of this ambitious project is ZUR. Think Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. I am also in the process of writing the sequel script to ‘Wheeler’.

 

Me: Goodness! Your projects have gotten me so excited! can’t wait!

What actors do you hope to work with?

Nadine: I confess my priority is to work with new talents that have not been given a chance in Hollywood. I know very talented, passionate, hard working actors, many who are Christians who have just not been given a chance. I hope to be able to give them their break, especially minorities. It is a hundred times harder for them to break in. I intend for all my films to have a very diverse cast. I also intend to work with some known actors – for my first film ‘Wheeler’ I will cast 1 to 2 known and widely recognized actors in roles in order to get distribution deals for the movie in the international market. As for specific known actors? I do think Lupita Nyongo would be a great fit for the lead female role of Dr. Stacey Reed in ‘Wheeler’, and Henry Cavill for the male lead in my nineteenth century Jane Austen adaptation.

 

Me: Henry Cavill? Triple YAY!!!

Do you intend to work with other filmmakers also?

Nadine: I would love to. There are many I admire and think I could only learn from those who have been doing it for a while, and there are many just like me who have not made their mark yet that I welcome creating and growing with.

 

Me: How would you describe your experience so far in filmmaking, and in the industry as a whole?

Nadine: Challenging, frustrating, difficult, exciting, exasperating, disappointing, exhausting, adventurous, rewarding, and hopeful. That and many more describe my experiences in filmmaking. For me, every project has been easy to write, tedious to edit, hard to get off the ground because of the difficulties in obtaining financing, difficult to sustain and keep going because it involves working with many individuals and when has it ever been easy working with such a large group of personalities? So many variables and personalities and contingencies sometimes beyond your control are very challenging to manage. But the creation, finished product, usually makes it all worth it in the end. Just as birth pains are never lovely but the fruit of the labor is its own reward.

The entertainment industry is staid and mostly afraid of the risks inherent in innovative ideas and new talent. The studio system that dominates it is run by executives who are neither creative nor about originality. They regurgitate the same formula because they are only concerned with the bottom line. It is hard to carve out a place for new ideas and discover new talent in such a closed environment. Unfortunately it is also a world where Christian ideals are an anathema to what they want promoted, but that is not surprising as it is the same in every area of the world. Even in the religious. All is tolerated but the things of Christ. Christian filmmakers whether well funded or not, find themselves in the same arena as independent filmmakers – trying to forge out a place for themselves in the market place. It has become easier because of unprecedented access to the viewing audience to market and build an audience through social media and access to many through the web. Also the success at the box office of recent Faith based films has Hollywood taking notice. There is one thing they love more than their own worldview – money.

 

Me: Those are some hard facts to swallow, Nadine. But I’m glad you mentioned them. Thank you for that.

In what way is the Christian movie industry different from the secular? Any advantages or disadvantages? What can be done to make it better?

Nadine: Today in regards to the quality of production, actors and marketing to a generalized audience – there is not much difference. Christian films are now competing with main stream films in the general market place and not only holding their own but they are competitively winning the box office and some are even making bigger profits than their competition. The reason for this is that the Christian films are mostly marketable to a wider audience due to their wholesome content. What I also like that I have been noticing with the recent crops of Faith based films is that the wholesomeness does not come at a price of portraying life’s gritty realities. There was a perceived notion from audiences in the past that Christian films were too cheesy and of poor production value. To some degree this was true because in the past Christian films were burdened with the lack of investors and the quality of production suffered. I am happy to see things have changed exponentially. Christians are realizing that films are a great tool for sharing the gospel with the world and are investing their time, money and talents to get these films made. Films have the capability of reaching a worldwide audience and that is what the great commission is all about. Reaching people for Christ.

 

Me: All you said, so true!

What advice has been most helpful to you as a filmmaker, and as a person?

Nadine: The same advice I would give to anyone pursuing any dream. Seek God’s will. Walk, work, and live in His will and ways, always putting Him first. He promises to direct our path if we abide by this. If you are seeking God, walking with God, whatever obstacles or challenges comes your way – he allowed it. No need to panic. He is building your skill sets for eternity and it can be used in your vocation. Operating with this in mind, I am less stressed, I am more hopeful and setbacks do not devastate me. Perseverance is important. If God decides to re-route you, like he did with me and my medical career – don’t give up. Your life isn’t worthless because you lost a dream. He helped me to get through the disappointments and gives me a peace that truly passes all understanding. I have a M.D and I am not practicing medicine. I am trying to raise funds to make a movie! How unexpected is that?! Life with God is an adventure. I have learnt to be content where I am, BECAUSE I trust God. So the key is – stick to God like glue and you will A.O.K.

 

Me: PERFECT!

What advice would you give a filmmaker just starting out?

Nadine: Just do it. Make what you can when you can. Do not wait for the perfect circumstances, or the perfect set up, or the right people. If it’s only you and you have no budget, equipment, cast or crew – make something anyway. Take your phone and use the video function to make a short using inanimate subjects or yourself or a pet as the cast and put it on youtube. Distribution to the masses has never been easier. Use whatever is at your disposal. Keep making films. Experience is your best teacher. Mistakes can be your greatest innovation as you problem solve how to reveal the mistake on screen or hide it. All the greatest filmmakers had to start somewhere and Hollywood always rejects the next best thing until they see they missed out on it and become band wagonners, but they have to SEE it first, which means you have to MAKE the film.

 

Me: I especially love your answer because it’s a principle I’ve applied to my work–Just do it, perfect or not. In fact, don’t wait for it to be perfect. You’ll learn as you go. There’s never a perfect time. That has got me moving at lightening speed always, unless God says stop, wait, or don’t. Thank you for that!

Where do you see yourself in the next five to ten years in filmmaking?

Nadine: Wherever God leads me. Personally – I am hoping Jesus returns by then. If not? I purpose to be closer to him and continuing to ask him each day – “How may I serve you.” I don’t know what His plans are from day to day, so I ask each morning and just go along for the ride.

Me: “I am hoping Jesus returns by then.” That made me chuckle!

 

THIS or THAT

Blue or Green?Blue

Pink or Yellow?Yellow

Orange juice or Lemonade?Orange Juice

Summer or Fall?Summer

Spring or Winter?Spring

Music or Books?Music

Gym or Outdoor?Outdoor

Coffee or Tea?Neither. Really?

Boots or Sandals?Sandals

Flats or Heels?Flats

Dresses or Pants?Dresses

Ice cream or Shakes?Ice cream

 

Thank you for having me, Miranda!

Most welcome, Nadine! It was a pleasure having you! I enjoyed this!


 

Nadine

About Nadine Lee


Nadine Lee, a writer born in the Irie Island of Jamaica, has lived most of her life in the United States. She attended high school in New York and then moved to South Florida, where she obtained a bachelor of science degree and a doctorate in graduate school.

Gifted with an expansive imagination, Nadine has been channeling her creative energy in different forms of writing since learning the alphabet. She has written children books which are currently available on Ibook, Kindle and other retailers.

Having lived in Southern California for three years, she had the opportunity to work on film and television sets. She found herself fascinated with the collaborative efforts of the cast and crew and spent her time learning how all the pieces fit together to create a finished production. Not surprisingly, her creativity took flight in this new medium and she found herself writing and producing scripts for film, television and the web for her friends who were looking for projects to be featured in. The production side was a harder curve to learn but experience is really the best teacher and novelty the best creative freedom.

Nadine has completed a crime drama pilot script for tv, a romantic nineteenth century film adaptation of a Jane Austen novel, a sci-fi demo for possible television/film/video game production, a comedy webisode serial, and is currently working on the sequel to Wheeler (a supernatural suspense thriller).

As a devoted Christian, Nadine infuses her work with a refreshing perspective missing in many mainstream entertainment productions today which takes her productions beyond mysogeny and mindless gratuitousness. Her perspective is neither naive or unrealistic, but offers a broad perspective including a Christian worldview often ignored or ridiculed by many filmmakers today. Whatever the genre, she endeavors to entertain her audience without them having to sacrifice their intelligence, dignity and morals.

Nadine Lee is a writer, director, producer, and it is from this stance of novelty birthed from the experience of exercised talent and perseverance, that she seeks to produce and direct her first feaure film -Wheeler. Following in the footsteps of first time feature film writers/producer/directors like Silvester Stallone -Rocky, Quentin Tarantino – Reservoir Dogs, Kevin Grevioux and Len Wiseman – Underworld, Diablo Cody – Juno, Matt Damon & Ben Affleck – Good Will Hunting, Bryan Bertino – The Strangers, Christopher Nolan – Memento, Andrés Muschietti – Mama, Nadine is working very hard to be a positive voice through her wok in this diverse landscape of film entertainment.

 

 

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