Faith-based movie being shot in Vicksburg|Religion

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Vicksburg man is living a lifelong dream of directing and producing a movie.

“I always wanted to work behind the camera,” said Mike Gillis, whose faith-based film “Change of Hearts” is being shot locally and is slated for a September premier. “This screenplay gave me the opportunity to work behind the scenes.”

Written by Gillis, the story is supported by a five-member production crew, including longtime friend and production assistant Cindy Rollison. Written in one night around Thanksgiving, it is about a troubled teen who finds herself and God. Gillis hopes to turn the film into a ministry tool by sharing it with the community and, eventually, the nation.

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Gillis’ attraction to acting and directing began during his days at Warren Central High School when, in 1976, he starred in the lead role of “Oklahoma.” After high school, he went on to participate in local theater productions and worked on a couple of projects with Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

Filming for “Change of Hearts” began in the fall, and Gillis says he’s about a quarter of the way finished. The 45-minute movie features Porters Chapel Academy students and other community members. The main character, Connie, is played by Porters Chapel senior Katie Greer, the daughter of Fred and Lisa Burkhalter. Connie’s best friends, Robyn and Pattie, are played by her real-life friends, respectively, senior Julia Lee, the daughter of Debra and Stanley Lee, and junior Kathy Quackenbush, the daughter of  Ken Quackenbush and Marilyn Brubaker.

“All of us got to be out of the box (in the characters we played),” Katie said.

One difficult part, she said, is crying on cue. “Stopping and starting your emotions is a very hard part.”

The actors are working on a volunteer basis, and Porters Chapel Academy and Trinity Baptist Church are sites for some significant scenes in the movie. Mike Robinson, interim minister of music at Trinity, has composed some of the film’s music.

Once production has wrapped up, the editing process will begin, which can take five or six weeks. Gillis plans to enter the movie in the religion category of film festivals nationwide.

Casting remains open for three adult roles — two males and a female ages 35 to 45. Anyone interested may contact Mike Gillis at 601-638-4131.


Contact Manivanh Chanprasith at