by Adam McManus
Kevin Downes, producer and co-star of Faith of Our Fathers, chatted with ChristianCinema.com in the podcast below about his film, seven years in the making, which celebrates both the legacy of fathers and the brotherhood of men. With the Vietnam War raging in 1969, two young fathers report for duty -- a man of great faith and a doubtful cynic. A quarter-century later, their sons, Wayne (David A.R. White) and John Paul (Kevin Downes) meet as strangers. Guided by letters handwritten by their fathers from the battlefield, they embark on an unforgettable journey to The Wall—the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Along the way, they discover the devastation of war cannot break the love of a father for his son. And, more importantly, they learn that the ultimate demonstration of love was when Christ died on the cross to atone for their sins.
Wayne offers his unsolicited, unvarnished counsel to “be the man” and speak his mind which prompts a humorous response from John Paul who counters, “I don’t need relationship advice from a backwoods hillbilly who’s probably never been in a relationship!”
Candace Cameron Bure, who starred in Full House, portrays Cynthia, the fiancé of Kevin Downes’ character John Paul.
Throughout Faith of Our Fathers, there is a nice balance between the misadventures of John Paul and Wayne during their 1997 road trip to The Wall on the one hand and flashbacks to their fathers’ equally prickly relationship in the Vietnam foxhole in 1969.
To their credit, Kevin and his brother Bobby Downes, who both produced the film and also co-founded ChristianCinema.com, don’t shy away from a clear Gospel presentation. As life hangs in the balance, Eddie and Steven have an emotional, heart-to-heart talk about God, forgiveness and eternity.
Kevin and Bobby Downes, who produced Faith of Our Fathers and co-founded ChristianCinema.com, are pictured here at VisionFest with a number of awards.
“It’s a very intimate moment, out in the jungle, on a log, just hanging out. I can remember vividly watching it behind the monitor. We had some guests that day,” recalls Downes. “We all just sort of looked at each other and said, ‘Wow!’ How in the world? Both of these guys were able to hold tears or shoot out tears at a moment’s notice and yet do it with such subtlety that you feel like you’re there. You feel like you’re a part of their world for that split second in time. I’m very grateful that I had them in the cast. Their performances alone are worth seeing the movie. It makes me thankful for my own dad,” said Downes.
McManus was struck by the juxtaposition of the two central themes in Faith of Our Fathers. “I thought it was an interesting contrast between fatherhood and the legacy we leave as fathers and the legacy that our fathers left for us – especially if they were Christians. But there is this simultaneous theme in Faith of Our Fathers about the brotherhood of men and the importance of relationships that are honest and vulnerable and transparent.”
Downes agreed and extrapolated. “One of the things I love about that moment is that we are all in our daily battle. We don’t have to be in a jungle in a foxhole somewhere.”
Interspersed throughout the more serious moments of the film are plenty of lighter, funny moments. Si Robertson, known from the A&E reality show Duck Dynasty, and a Vietnam veteran himself, plays a convenience store clerk who witnesses some good ole boys take on Eddie and John Paul. Duck Dynasty’s Si Robertson, a Vietnam veteran himself,portrays a humorous convenience store clerk in Faith of Our Fathers.
Robertson was the final edition to the cast. “I was so glad that we waited for him,” said Downes who described him as endearing. “When I got on set with him and got to hear his heart, I thought, ‘You are the epitome of why I wanted to do this film and why we needed to do this film."
See this movie in theaters beginning Wednesday, July 1st Official Website and Group Tickets: Faith of Our Fathers
This is part 1 of a 3 part weekly series.