MARSHALL - It may seem unusual for someone from Marshall and Ivanhoe who spent 11 years in the U.S. Army to now be an actor and a filmmaker, but looking back, Joshua Sheik said there were glimmerings of his interest in movies.
Sheik, who spoke to the Independent by phone Friday morning while driving to Atlanta, Ga., said his cousin reminded him recently that he had directed "Murder on Saratoga Parts 1-7" when they were young.
"You'd think after a while, those people would move from Saratoga," he joked.
Sheik, who changed the spelling of his name from Sik, was born in Marshall and graduated from Lincoln HI High School in 2001 before moving to New York at the age of 18 to attend West Point. After an additional eight years of service in the U.S. Army, which included flying Chinook helicopters, he started making movies last year.
He acted in the short films "Virtual Temptation" and "Trading Station" in 2012 and now is promoting "Christian's Carol" which will be shown at 7 p.m. Friday and at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Windom State Theater in Windom.
Sheik, who now lives in Enterprise, Ala., produced, directed, edited and acted in the movie, which stars Ken Israel in the title role.
Sheik gives the following as a synopsis of the movie: "Christian is certain that at death, his good deeds will outweigh his bad deeds. That is until he is shot. While on the operating table, his subconscious takes him through a journey through his past to discover the man he truly is."
Sheik said he financed the movie, which cost $32,000 to make.
"The actors were paid, but the crew's paid is deferred," he said.
If the movie makes money, the crew will be paid. More than 100 people worked on the movie.
With a budget that low, Sheik said he knows that people might conclude the movie can't be very good.
He wants people to know, "it's better than you think," he said. For one thing, he said, the director of photography is Hal Davis, who is an experienced cameraman for the Auburn Tigers football games and practices. The movie was accepted into three film festivals and took 3rd place at the Glory Reelz festival in Michigan.
In addition to entering the movie in film festivals, Sheik is busy trying to drum up interest in his movie.
"I'm calling a lot of churches and newspapers," he said.
Sheik said the movie takes place at Christmas and the title, "Christian's Carol," is reminiscent of "A Christmas Carol," in which the main character also reflects upon his life.
For those who like Christmas movies, Sheik said he embedded a few "Easter eggs" - which are little inside jokes for movie fans. The Easter eggs reference other Christmas movies, Sheik said. "There's just a few. Nothing that detracts from the movie."
Sheik said his movies have Christian themes and "Christian's Carol" is the most overt. In his future movies, he said, he would like to forge a middle ground between Christian movies and secular.
"Movies are either Hollywood-type movies or Evangelical," he said. He would like to be known as a Christian who makes movies.
Like www.facebook.com/ChristiansCarol to keep up to date when DVDs are available.