ALBANY - Having started preaching at age 16, local Pastor Dale Freeman, who is now an energetic age 64, knows the spoken word's value for reaching hearts with the Gospel.
But as a prolific author, longtime cinema buff and father of two professional filmmakers, he
knows preaching is not the only effective means for conveying truth.
That's why he
sons are devoting so much energy to their new movie-making ministry.
"Any tool you can use," said Freeman
"The message never changes, but you are wide open as far as your possibilities.
Whatever it takes to get the message out."
The public gets an advance look at their film artistry this month, with a free showing of their first feature-length movie, Hope, at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 16 at the Pix Theater, 321 S.W. Second Ave. in Albany.
Before coming to Calvary Baptist as pastor 12 years ago, Freeman did pastoral or other ministry in Arizona, Massachusetts, and Colorado and with Texas-based Outreach Evangelism International.
also has written more than 20 books, about evenly split between fiction and non-fiction.
For more than 20 years, Freeman
also has been deeply involved in international missions, especially an ongoing ministry in Africa and the former Soviet Union, including the filming of two documentaries in Ukraine.
sends teams almost every year to these lands, where they conduct evangelistic crusades, pastor training conferences, participate in church-starting and construction projects, and support the work of specific orphanages.
Last summer Freeman joined with sons Todd, from Albany, and Jason, from Battle Ground, Wash., to form Highland International Pictures.
Now in their 30s, Todd and Jason both learned the filmmaking craft at Columbia College Hollywood
in Southern California.
Highland recently wrapped up work on Hope, a drama based on true events in Denver, Colo. Filming will begin this month on another movie, Wake Before I Die, based on Freeman's book My Soul to Take.
Also in the works is a third film, Animal, which Freeman
says is the true story of how God's love and grace transformed a hated and feared leader of California's Hells Angels into a messenger of love and truth.
The rapid pace of activity for the new film effort is a confirmation to Freeman
of the Lord's undergirding.
"We really got up to speed fast," he
"The Lord worked miracles in terms of financing and everything."
It also is a fulfillment of a personal love for film that Freeman
has had for decades.
"I've been making movies since I was a teenager," he
"But nothing feature-length, nothing of this caliber."
has been a longtime observer of the Christian film genre, and he
hasn't always liked what he
is a fan of what another Albany church - in this case, Albany, Georgia - has accomplished in moviemaking.
own congregation has been very supportive of his
new effort, although the church is not formally involved in moviemaking the way the Georgia church is.
But a number from his
church family have been involved as extras as filming has taken place largely throughout the Willamette Valley.
Whether Highland's films receive distribution mainly in churches or through theaters or DVDs remains to be seen.
Getting quality films into secular film festivals is an important first step that will be pursued, he
said, adding that talented professional actors from here in Oregon and great musical scores help Highland achieve that needed level of quality.