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© 2017 Ruth: A Faithful Journey. 

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Church of the Nazarene Official Site-

August 2nd, 2017

"It’s not every day the dreams of a few church youth group members turn into a feature film, but 18-year-old Richie Johns has accomplished just that with the support of the Rush Community Church of the Nazarene.The 92-minute drama is a modern day retelling of the book of Ruth. It is the first film produced by the church and was written and directed by Johns."

The film, “Ruth”, a modern-day telling of the biblical story, debuts with a red carpet opening at New Philadelphia’s Quaker Theater April 18. Richie said the idea came during a trip with members of his church group, who decided it would be fun to make a modernized Christian movie.

“There are so many stories to be told,” he said, “but I kept thinking about it and decided I would like to try the story of Ruth because of its lessons in faith.”

Front Page Times-Reporter Article April 8th, 2017

Front Page Times-Reporter Article April 8th, 2017

REVIEWS

You need to see this one!  From beginning to end there are biblical subtleties that will make you smile!  Then 'BAM' it all comes together and you are so impressed that a mere teen still in high school wrote/directed/produced and acted in this wonderfully scripted heartwarming movie.  Don't miss it!

    I have been reviewing films as a Christian Media Specialist for almost 20 years. Much of my early work was with Eden Communications. I was the lead reviewer for the website christianspotlight.com .  It is now called christiananswers.net. You can still read many of my earlier reviews.  My passion then was exposing offensive content to parents and viewers. Giving them a heads up before they headed out to the theaters.  I also had a column in several newspapers called “A Fly on the Wall’, hosted for 3 years a Cable series called “Reel Films”, and published in many other magazines.
    Right now my main focus is bringing attention to Christian films. There are plenty of reviewers that can tell you about the latest film at your local theater, but who will be the voice for some of the great movies of faith? I have now reviewed films for Big Idea (Veggie Tales), Global Kid Vid Factory, Edify Media and many other Christian groups. I’ve seen some excellent films, some average films and some that you just have to say, “at least they tried.”  I’ve watched film companies grow like Sherwood Pictures. Most of us are familiar with films like “Facing the Giants” and the Kendrick Brothers. They certainly have created a very successful model.
    “Ruth – A Faithful Journey” follows that model. It is the first full length film written, directed and produced by Richie Johns. He was not alone in this endeavor. He had the help of his church, Rush Community Church of the Nazarene and other Christians in the area. He had the full support of a High School teacher, who not only gave instruction, but loaned some very high quality equipment. Richie had made some other short films for fun with his sister Hannah, some for illustrations, even a commercial presentation for Doritos. Each step has been a process of developing his craft. He may young, but he does not lack experience or vision. 

    Richie along with Sam and Gabe Brewer explored the idea of what would it look like to take a classic Bible story, like “Ruth” and let us view it through the lens of life today. I’ve seen others try to do this. Some somewhat successfully and others just were not true to God’s word. Those films, I honestly wish they hadn’t produced something that would create more confusion than understanding. 

    I believe that a great film must begin with good writing. Not just a good idea. I’ve seen my share of lazy script writing. I will refrain from 2 recent films that were extremely popular, but got stuck with just presenting tired stereotypes. The story of “Ruth” is already a great story. A daughter-in-law, now finds herself widowed like her mother-in-law and decides to go where she would go. It is also a wonderful story of love and restoration. Ruth is also part of the lineage of Jesus. That’s right she is a part of the Good News. 

    Here are few examples of the details that this young trio encorperated in their plot.
{So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. Moved from Bethlehem PA, to Moab, Utah.}{ 3 Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. Eli passes away from an unknown terminal illness both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband. Matt and Kyle are both tragically killed in a car accident.}{ So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek. Ruth began to look for a job and came across a business owned by Boaz.}{ 5 Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?” Boaz asked his Manager: “Who is that woman down there?”}{ So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. 9 Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you.  Boaz tells Ruth that she has a job and not to look anywhere else.}

There are many more that I can share. The film quality is also excellent. We have the use of drones to give some great aerial shots. We have the scenes filled from several angles and perspectives. The scene transitions are practically seamless and  the music matches the story well. All of these things are not easy to do. It is a tireless job that requires you to have a strong vision in mind. This helps you to make adjustments. Richie certainly never compromised his vision or just did enough to get by. You can tell that the hard work of all involved was well worth it. This film from a technical standpoint views well on the big screen. This is not easy to do. Often the big screen can be very unforgiving. No problems there.

The cast was charming and because everyone already knew each other..there was a great chemistry. The kind of chemistry we’ve come to expect from film makers like the Kendrick Brothers. Not only did I love the plot and the tech aspects, I also loved bringing into the production what I call that “Halmark” feel of appeal. The charm of the story truly draws you into the plot. Besides critiquing films, I’m also a minister who studies the Word. There were many times during the film I wanted to go back and revisit the story again. 

I know plans have been made to have a companion Bible study, sermon series and other ways to present this story. I am thrilled to recommend this film without any reservation. So what’s next for Richie Johns and all his partners in cinema? I do know they already have a list of ideas and film concepts.  All I know is that I can’t wait for the next film. But for now…I’ll just do all I can to create buzz about this one.