Inspired Life Films
Inspired Life Films
Entertain. Inspire. Explore.

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I’m just a storyteller, and the cinema happens to be my medium. I like it because it recreates life in movement, enlarges it, enhances it, distills it. For me, it’s far closer to the miraculous creation of life than, say, a painting or music or even literature. It’s not just an art form; it’s actually a new form of life, with its own rhythms, cadences, perspectives and transparencies.
— Federico Fellini

Out of Ashes (2019)

  "You've given me things I thought were gone."

"You've given me things I thought were gone."

Status-                 Post-Production

Tagline-                Love will rise again…

Synopsis-             On the surface, Out of Ashes is the story of a man struggling to cope with the loss of his wife and son three years after their deaths, when a sudden encounter with Amala- a woman on the run from her past- challenges his seemingly empty world.  She believes that love can’t be trusted, and he believes he has no love to give. The story is their reluctant journey towards a new belief.

Just below the surface lies a rich subtext of fear, despair, hope, friendship, faith and forgiveness- and the roles they play in setting our souls free to love. The story takes place in the small town modern day South- an area where people have learned to live together in a sort of broken harmony, despite years of adversity in the past. The story is written to coincide with the season of Lent; a time of fasting that begins with Ash Wednesday (when partakers place ashes on their foreheads as a symbol of the burdens they must be willing to bear), and ends with Easter (a day that represents re-birth).  Even in the darkest of tragedies, love will rise again. 

Starring: Alan Powell, Yasmine Aker, Danny Vinson, Karen Carlson, Jenn Gotzon, Britney  Merrick, Paul McCarthy-Boyington

Written & Directed by:  Zac Heath

Produced by: Polly Jenkins, Zac Heath, Jaclyn Friedlander, Aaron Champion & Kerri Cissna

Cinematography by:   Aaron Champion


Bluegrass Spirits (2019)

(an Inspired Life co-production)

 “If you don’t drink Bluegrass Spirits bourbon, you’re a lying sack of shit.”

“If you don’t drink Bluegrass Spirits bourbon, you’re a lying sack of shit.”

Status-                 Post-Production

About-                Bluegrass Spirits is a comedy, feature-length film about Kentucky, Kentucky Bourbon, Kentucky folks, and ghosts.

Synopsis-             Bluegrass Spirits is the story of a recovering alcoholic who owns a failing bourbon distillery. When he meets a ghost-hunter, their conflicting views on belief and disbelief come to a head as the ghost-hunter is allowed to run a guided ghost-tour of the distillery, which is said to be haunted, in exchange for a portion of the profits. Through a series of ghost hunts around the Bluegrass, which are equal parts hilarious and emotional, the two will be confronted with their own personal ghosts and have to deal with them in their own ways.

Starring: Jake Busey, Nellie Barnett, Rogelio Douglas, Jr., Brianne Cordaro

Written & Directed by:  Jonny Walls

Produced by: (A2Z Productions) Aaron Champion & Zac Heath

Cinematography by:   Mark Farney


Couch Survivor (2015)

(an Inspired Life co-production)

  Couch Survivor  contestants are taunted by a member of the production team.

Couch Survivor contestants are taunted by a member of the production team.

Status-              Available on VOD and Amazon Prime

Synopsis-            Couch Survivor is a mockumentary that follows the executive of a failing, C-level, cable network, and the contestants in his latest project: A reality show in which eight people compete to see who can stay on one couch the longest. 

Starring:  David Foy Bauer, Alexis Rhee, Alex Beh, Jessica Duffy, Sewell Whitney, Katharine Jameson, Drew Curtis, Jeremy Kozeluh, Nathan Champion, Garrett Hughes, Anthony Gros, Melanie Siegel

Written & Directed by:    Jonny Walls

Produced by:                 Aaron Champion, Matt Perry, Zac Heath

Cinematography by:     Mark Farney


Come Morning (2014)

(an Inspired Life co-production)

  "There's a time to keep your mouth shut. This would be one of them times."

"There's a time to keep your mouth shut. This would be one of them times."

Status-               Available on Blu-Ray, DVD, and Amazon Prime  

Tagline-             Everything will change. 

Synopsis-             In November 1973, Frank and his grandson go on a late afternoon hunt that forever changes their lives. Just before dusk, the hunters track down a kill and find, to their horror, not a deer but Marion Mitchell, a long time neighbor and family enemy, trespassing on their land.

The two would-be hunters find themselves wheeling the dead body through the backwoods of Arkansas during the 12 hours after the late afternoon accident.Due to the sour history between Frank and the neighbor, Frank assures the boy that the only way to take care of the problem is to take Marion's corpse deep into the woods and hide it. The skeptical grandson is convinced that everything will soon pass, come morning.

“Come Morning” was an official selection at the Austin Film Festival and premiered on October 21, 2012 at Bob Bullock IMAX. In February 2013, the film received the Jury Award for Best Cinematography at the Oxford Film Festival.  

Starring:                          Thor Wahlestedt, Michael Ray Davis, Elise Rovinsky, Dean Denton, Maurice Mejia, Blake Logan, Thomas Moore

Written & Directed by:   Derrick Sims

Produced by:                  Zac Heath & Andrea Cadelli

Cinematography by:      Derrick Sims


The Boarder/ Troubled Child (2013)

(an Inspired Life co-production)

  "Our children are our lifeblood. We must not give up on them."

"Our children are our lifeblood. We must not give up on them."

Status-               After a brief theatrical run, Troubled Child began a run on Lifetime Movie Network

Tagline-             Get attached. 

Synopsis-             Not long after Carl is adopted, his new mother begins seeing a different side of him than anyone else. As she becomes more and more distressed, bizarre things continue happening, and the family slowly begins to see that maybe their mother isn't imagining things, and there's more to Carl than originally thought.

A heartwarming, touching tale, “The Boarder” shows the amazing power of love.

Starring:                          Leslie Stevens, Carlton Wilborn, Andy Scott Harris, & Dee Wallace

Co-Produced by:            Zac Heath


The River Within (2009)

  "When we baptize in the river, we represent a connection to our life source."

"When we baptize in the river, we represent a connection to our life source."

Status-               Released to theaters in May 2009, to DVD in November 2009, and to television in 2010. 

Tagline-             A journey home can change your life forever.

Synopsis-             What am I doing here? It is a question that has haunted Jason (Josh Odor) ever since he heard his dad utter it prior to his death several years ago. Now, fresh out of law school, and with an upcoming bar exam to prepare for, the highly motivated and strictly disciplined Jason returns to the small Southern town he grew up in to spend the summer studying. He reconnects with Paul (Craig Luttrell)- a "shoulda been" actor who has just returned from Los Angeles, and Layla (Jaclyn Friedlander)- an old friend whose childhood crush on Jason returns with his sudden reemergence, sending her engagement into a tailspin. But it is a chance-encounter with David (Craig Morris)- a pastor at a local church- that changes his life forever. David offers Jason a part time summer job as a youth director, and he reluctantly accepts it- caving into the pressure from Layla and the need for some extra summer cash. But as he gets to know the kids and their individual struggles, he gradually discovers a passion that he didn't know existed within him; and he soon realizes that his dad's life-long question has now become his own.

Starring:                          Josh Odor, Craig Luttrell, Jaclyn Friedlander, Maurice Mejia, & Craig Morris

Written & Directed by:   Zac Heath

Produced by:                  Zac Heath, Kerri Cissna, & Craig Luttrell

Cinematography by:      Derrick Sims


Greater Love (2007)

  "If we want our boy to grow up and do what's right, we have to show him by our example."

"If we want our boy to grow up and do what's right, we have to show him by our example."

Status-               Currently retired to our vaults. May appear as a special feature. 

Tagline-             The cost of integrity is steep. 

Synopsis-             Having just given birth to her first child, Jennifer Schmidt's world is turned upside down when she learns that her husband was killed in Iraq- less than one month before he was due home. It's not until an unexpected letter arrives in the mail three weeks later, that she discovers why he really died.

An eleven minute short film shot outside of Austin, TX, during the summer of 2007. After a brief festival run in 2008, Greater Love  was retired to our vaults. It may one day make an appearance in the special features of one of our films. 

Written & Directed by:   Zac Heath

Produced by:                Kristie Herlong

Cinematography by:     William Leonardo Molina


Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results
— Andrew Carnegie

 
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Zac Heath

Director/Producer, DGA UPM

Zac has worked in the entertainment industry for more than fifteen years. Starting as an actor, he performed in films such as End of the Harvest and the Dreamworks film Dreamer. After working mostly as a stage actor, he went back to school, earning his Masters from Asbury near Lexington, KY. While there, he spent a year as the school’s Theatre Director which gave him a passion for telling a story from behind the scenes. After graduation, he  moved to Los Angeles, where he has since worked on over 12 feature films, most recently as Unit Production Manager for the Lifetime movie Stolen From the Suburbs.

His feature film debut as a writer and director came with 2009’s The River Within, which received a 5/5 rating from the Dove Foundation and opened to great responses in multiple US Theatres; including opening as the number one film on half of the screens it showed on (let’s not over-Hollywood this, it only showed on 10 screens- so five, it opened as number one on five screens… and one of those theaters only had one screen… but still). It went on to a worldwide DVD release in 2010 through C10 Pictures. Some critics praised The River Within calling it, “a wonderful film written with wit and acted with amazing concentration and focus,” it’s a story with “a thick, rich plot,” “there is depth to each character”. While some Amazon viewers ripped it, saying, “I’ve seen better.” His second film, Out of Ashes, is due out in 2019. 

Behind the scenes, Zac has budgeted and scheduled more than a dozen feature films. His personal philosophy when it comes to film is that ‘drama should remain in front of the camera.’ He maintains an ever growing database of talented and hard working crew who adhere to this philosophy.  

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Kerri Cissna

Producer

Kerri is the force of energy that keeps our team moving forward. She has a strong disdain for stagnancy. When she has her mind set on a goal, she doesn't stop until it is completed. One need to look no further than her 2012 resolution to 'meet Oprah' as proof of her determination. Within four months of setting the goal, she found herself on the set of a Life Class in Toronto, where she was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra. 

Kerri's passion for our projects is contagious, and often leads to others wanting to be a part of what we are doing. She has an ability to strongly and clearly communicate where we are going. 

When she's not firing up the ILF team, Kerri can be found getting people excited about what's going on in Malibu, CA- where she teaches courses at Pepperdine University. 


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Polly Jenkins Medici

Producer

We couldn't ask for a better budget manager than our producer, Polly Jenkins Medici. Having previously worked as a production coordinator for Lucas Arts, she understands the ins and outs of production budgets. She's a whiz when it comes to managing numbers, and her ability to hunt down and secure bargain deals is second to none.
But it's Polly's humor and story telling that make her the most valuable- keeping everyone relaxed and laughing and always having fun on set. She is a huge asset to our team, and we are lucky to have her on our shoots.

(And no, you can't follow her on Twitter. She's far too private for that). 


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Aaron Champion

Producer

With eleven years of experience, Aaron has been a Director of Photography on over 300 projects, from features to TV and everything in between. Aaron also produces and directs. The last film Aaron produced was the indie comedy Couch Survivor.

Check out a reel of some of Aaron's work here

Check out his production company, Cineline Productions, here

 Our team shooting the picnic scene for  Out of Ashes

Our team shooting the picnic scene for Out of Ashes

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