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President, Bearing Fruit Entertainment
Producer & Co-writer, End of the Spear; Director of Beyond the Gates of Splendor
Former Sr. VP, Production Administration, Columbia (now Sony) Pictures 1986-2001
50 YEARS LATER
Bill has had years of experience in the movie industry. Making this story into a major motion picture was an enormous undertaking. Because the Amazon basin of Ecuador (where the story originally took place) was too remote to support a large crew, the director chose the rainforests of Panama.
In order to keep the film looking genuine, the casting director needed actors who could properly portray the Waodani (pronounced “whoa-DONNY”) Indians. The movie crew pulled their boats up to the Noko village in Panama and asked the chief for permission to use their tribe for actors. The village was remote and the natives had never seen television before, but miraculously the entire village agreed to cooperate. Members of the Waodani tribe from Ecuador came to the movie set to train the Nokos how to throw the spear, how to grab and carry the spear, and shout and stand like Waodani. (There were only four North American actors that portrayed Waodani.)
Filming in the jungle presented a whole different challenge. For example, if a light was needed in the background, someone had to take a machete and cut a trail through the dense jungle to make room for the line. There were also insects like spiders and ants that made filming uncomfortable.
The movie is based on the true story of five missionaries in 1956 who dared to make contact with the Waodani, the most savage tribe in the history of anthropology. Interestingly, Steve Saint, son of jungle pilot/missionary Nate Saint, served as the film’s stunt pilot and also played the missionary who led the search party for the missing men. During the scene of Steve’s aunt Rachel’s funeral, three of the missionary wives were present: Barbara Youderain, Olive Fleming and Marj Saint.
Bill says that the tribe faces the same things we face as a society. Fortunately, the killers all became believers but not everyone in the village has become a Christian. Bill says that the amazing thing about filming in the jungle is that God is still the same. “You can be in the middle of 6,600 acres of rainforest, but God is still trying to reach each one of us.” He says that the movie is designed so that everyone can “dare to make contact” and bring their friends who are non-believers to the movie. For outreach information, please visit www.daretomakecontact.com.
AN UNPRECEDENTED TIME
Bill grew up in a Christian home. Although he was an executive for a huge movie company, Bill never had to compromise his beliefs. “I was very open about my faith,” he says. There were times Bill would have to say he couldn’t work on a particular project.
After a lackluster summer, Hollywood is trying to figure out why their movies aren’t bringing in the ticket sales and revenue. “This is an unprecedented time,” says Bill, “for people to support a movie that complements their values and belief.” He says big stars and special effects did not perform in 2005 and Hollywood execs have been left scratching their heads in disbelief. “It definitely sends a message to the major movie producers,” says Bill.
As the former Vice President, Production Administration for Columbia (Sony) Pictures, Bill’s career was impressive. He started in 1986 as a production consultant and was named as Director of Production Services in 1987. Bill was promoted to Vice President in 1988 and later to Senior Vice President after Sony’s acquisition of Columbia. He supervised production of over 100 films including A League of Their Own, My Girl, Groundhog Day, In the Line of Fire, Little Women, Air Force One, Men in Black, The Patriot, Charlie’s Angel’s, etc. His final productions included Spiderman, Adaptation, Stuart Little 2, and Men in Black II.
In 2001 after 15 years, Bill left his executive position at Sony to give the film and Every Tribe Entertainment, the support they needed. Bearing Fruit Entertainment is a non-profit organization that brings the message of the Bible to life through media including films, documentaries, television commercials, radio and print advertisements, books and video.
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