Sharon Wilharm Speaks Mar23

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Sharon Wilharm Speaks

On December 8, 1990 a communications major with a desire to make movies married a schoolteacher with a passion for writing and directing drama, and Mainstreet Productions was born. The husband and wife team of Fred and Sharon Wilharm have since produced five faith-based films, including their multi-award winning silent film, The Good Book, and are currently at work on their sixth project, another silent film called Providence.

The Good Book is available in all Lifeway Christian Stores, Family Christian Stores, Parables and many independent Christian retail stores.

thegoodbook2Parker: Tell me about the process of going from creating The Good Book, to getting it to the marketplace.

Sharon Wilharm: We weren’t sure how it would be received, since it is a silent film. We were fortunate because we already have relationships with a number of distributors from our previous films. We don’t claim to be experts in the process. Every distributor has their own niche and expertise, but we went with Bridgestone because we felt they were the best match for this project because of their connections with the Christian marketplace.

Parker: You went the film festival route with The Good Book. How was that experience?

Wilharm: We really enjoyed the process. We felt like silent films are so different and people don’t know what to expect, so we thought it was important for people to have the experience of seeing it in a theatre, and for DVD audiences to have the assurance that other people had seen it and enjoyed it. We entered a number of film festivals, both Christian and secular. We’ve been official selections in 16 film festivals all over the country and won multiple awards, including Best Inspirational Film at the Holywood Christian Film Festival and Best Feature at the GloryReelz Christian Film Festival. I think it really has made a difference.

Parker: Tell me about developing the sound of the film.

Wilharm: When picking a composer, we were looking for someone who could capture the mood of the film. We brought film scorer Rick Holets on early in the process. He had the script early, but he wanted to wait until the film was finished before he started the final composition process. We had plenty of discussions about the story so he could get a head start on the basic sound design. He lives in Albuequerque and we live in Tennessee, so we had to communicate through skype. He created themes for each of the main characters that he wove through the soundtrack and it ended up being just lovely.

Parker: Why a silent film?

Wilharm: Everyone always talks about how cheesy dialog is in Christian films, and you know the old adage of ‘show, don’t tell.’ We have done music videos and interpretive drama to songs, so we had some experience with doing non-verbal communications. It just worked for us.

Parker: What kind of reception have you seen at screenings?

Wilharm: It’s been an interesting experience. It’s almost like watching Shakespeare or a foreign language film. Once the audience figures out this is something is different, and gets acclimated to the environment, they get it. Of course it is not for everyone. You have to pay attention to the story. But we haven’t received a single negative review yet, which is pretty amazing.

Parker: It seems like it would be popular in foreign markets because language is not an issue.

Wilharm: We didn’t originally intend it for that purpose, but I’ve lost count of the number of missionaries who have told us they have used the film in countries around the world.

Parker: What is the takeaway value for audiences?

Wilharm: I hope audiences will realize the Bible offers something for everybody. Not everyone has a perfect ending; people react differently, but the Bible remains the same. It is there for the taking.