- Associated Press - Sunday, December 27, 2020

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - While last week’s Capri Theatre screening of “Poetic Expressions of Hope, Love & Forgiveness” was a night of William Owens’ poetry and faith, it was also a chance to honor a young Montgomery man who helped bring the film to life.

“I just want to thank everyone for coming out,” said Jackson Cole, 19, who has his own production company RJC Production Studios. Cole was both the film’s director and co-producer.

“It’s just really amazing to see how God has been able to work in my life and work through my life to share the gospel and the art of filmmaking,” Cole said. “It’s a really interesting form of storytelling that has inspired me to pursue it wholeheartedly.”

Owens, known as “America’s Poet,” honored Cole after the Dec. 17 screening by presenting him with the True Artist Award. Owens said it’s an award he presents to artists who use their gifts for the glory or God, and in service of others.

“Poetic Expressions of Hope, Love & Forgiveness” showcased Owens’ poetry and messages of faith.



“I wanted to select poems that spoke to the issues that we face,” Owens said.

The two-hour film featured aerial footage of Williams’ RV as it traveled Montgomery and Wetumpka. The film’s shooting also went in location to Orange Beach.

“I believe people were really blessed,” Owens said after the screening. “Everyone stayed the distance for the whole film, and people had a lot of warm things to say about how it touched them in a personal way.”

The project began only two months ago, after a mutual friend connected Owens and Cole.

“We had a lot to do in a short amount of time, and we did it with quality,” Owens said.

“(Cole) is a phenomenal filmmaker and visionary,” said Dallas Jones, who shares a scene in the film interviewing Owens. “He has done incredible work on this production… What we saw tonight is a poignant expression of what’s possible when we all come together.”

Cole said he wants to continue sharing inspirational stories in future projects.

“And use them as a vessel to share the gospel,” Cole said. “I want to wholeheartedly pursue Christian filmmaking, because it’s so edifying for the soul to watch people come to Christ from something that you’ve been able to produce.”

MORE TO COME

“What we saw tonight is a poignant expression of what’s possible when we all come together,” said Jones.

Longtime radio personality Larry Stevens agrees. Stevens, who plays a host role in “Poetic Expressions of Hope, Love & Forgiveness,” said he and Owens forged a relationship as brothers in Christ.

“I really believe he has the ability to go to a much bigger stage,” Stevens said.

That’s entirely possible, since Owens is a potential contestant on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” after recent auditions.

While the film played to a limited in-person audience due to COVID-19 restrictions, with guests like longtime Montgomery pastor John Ed Mathison and That’s My Dog and That’s My Child founder Charles Lee, it’s still available for viewing online for a donation at americaspoet.com.

Owens said the film is also bound to other cities and states for more in-person showings soon, including Tupelo, Mississippi and Atlanta, Georgia.

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