We will have four of her amazing actresses that we’ll be lining up interviews for to start their film festival circuit in May and they will do a limited theatrical release in late July.
Below is the interview with the strong and beautiful Sharon Wilharm. Enjoy!
Please tell the readers a little about yourself by starting off with 2-3 specific accomplishments or experiences.
I’m Sharon Wilharm, filmmaker, blogger, and speaker. Working together with my husband, I’ve written and directed seven feature films. They’ve screened in festivals around the world, aired on multiple television networks, and sold in bookstores and online outlets including iTunes and Amazon Prime.
Providence, our last movie released as part of the AMC Independent lineup and screened in select theaters across the country including AMC Empire in NYC.
Summer of ’67, our latest film, will make the film festival circuit this summer and release theatrically in late summer.
When I’m not caught up in the filmmaking process, I blog about the faith-based film industry and speak at film festivals and writing conferences.
What are your greatest professional strengths?
I’m a planner. I’m very organized and whatever I’m doing, I give it everything I’ve got. I also try to be kind and respectful of other people. The film industry can be a very stressful environment, but I try to appreciate and encourage cast and crew members as well as fellow filmmakers.
What would be a few of your greatest Weaknesses?
I tend to set unrealistic expectations for myself and feel disappointed when I don’t live up to my expectations.
Do you have a nonprofit organization you admire or contribute to?
I don’t have a pet charity. I much prefer to see an individual need and react to it on a personal or local level.
What do you think you have had to overcome to be who you are today?
The older I get and the more I learn, the more I realize how much more I have to learn. As a teen and younger adult, I was cocky. I think God had to bring me down a few notches so that I would be a more suitable vessel to be used by Him.
I totally understand that! I believe he has to do that to so many of us. There are so many examples of him doing such to many of his leaders. Saul is one example I can think of.
What is the last book that has made you cry?
I read the most amazing book this weekend, and we were literally late for church this morning because I had to finish reading the last chapter before we left. But then I dropped it off at the church library and now, for the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the book.
HA! Oh no! Well, if you remember send me a message so I can share that with our readers. We could just say you were reading my book! HAHA-
You are doing so much but what else? What’s your dream job?
Traveling the country speaking to women’s groups. My favorite place to be is in front of a large crowd, passionately sharing from my heart.
Public speaking is a fear for so many. That’s amazing. We need good public speakers out there.
What is your definition of success?
I want to impact lives in a big way. I want to leave a legacy that’s still impacting lives long after I’m gone.
Would you say you are successful and in what ways?
That’s a tough question. I have a fireplace mantle covered with film festival trophies. I’ve been mentioned in film trade magazines, and my movie screened in one of the most famous theaters in the country. I’ve been blessed with what the world would define as success. But have I truly impacted lives? I don’t know. I may never know.
Wow. What a sobering thought.
What is your greatest professional achievement?
In 2016 we submitted Providence to the ICVM Crown awards. ICVM is the industry organization for faith films. We were new to the organization, but knew that we would be competing with movies much bigger than ours. We hoped we might get nominated for one award, but really weren’t expecting it. Then we received word we were nominated for four awards! We were blown away, especially when we saw the other films that were up for awards. We were excited just to attend the awards dinner with no expectations for any recognition beyond the nominations.
Well, first we won third place for “Best Youth Film.” Then second place for “Best Evangelistic” (sandwiched between Beyond the Mask and War Room !). Then first place for “Best Drama Under $250,000. And finally, out of 55 movies, we were awarded third place for “Best Picture”. The entire experience was surreal. I’m still not sure how that happened, but thankful for the encouragement God offered us that night.
Do you have long term goals that you can share with the readers?
Growing up, my greatest desire was to entertain and inspire audiences. For years I prayed to be able to speak to large crowds, but while I’d have the occasional speaking opportunities, for the most part, God kept saying, “No, not yet… not yet.”
I’m thankful, though, that my filmmaking days are winding down and God is allowing me more speaking opportunities. I look forward to the time, hopefully in the near future, when I can spend my days writing historical novels and traveling around the country speaking to groups of women.
If a young person walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?
I would tell them to pray diligently and to commit to following God’s lead, even when it doesn’t make sense. I would tell them to take risks and not settle for the safe and easy route for their lives. I would tell them to love God with all their heart.
Have you ever created a vision board?
Not in the traditional sense, however, I do have Pinterest boards that I use for inspiration.
Do you have a favorite motto that you live by?
Follow God wherever He leads!
If anyone is interested in contacting you further what’s the easiest way(s) to reach you???
Girl, Taken – An interview with Author Elena Nikitina
posted on: February 6, 2018
To me, age is a state of mind. Depending on the day, I can feel myself anywhere between 18 and 90.
What are you passionate about?
I’m an artist at heart. I enjoy writing, painting and photography. My other passions are Latin dance and shooting weapons at the range. I love to work out and create things as well. I love to design new stuff from scratch or transform ugly things into beautiful ones. I love fashion and my dream is to create a fashion clothing line one day. I’m also passionate about real estate – I’m a licensed agent in Ohio.
What human trafficking looks like and how does it affect American youth?
Human trafficking is illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Behind those words there are many broken human lives. Each story is an incredible tragedy of a person who is torn away from his normal life and deprived of his freedom and human rights.
Young people are particularly vulnerable, as criminals can find victims and manipulate them through internet, social media and private chats. One report cited “13 years old as the most common age in Ohio for youth to become victims of child sex trafficking”.
What motivated you to write a book and more importantly what inspired you to get involved with bringing awareness to human trafficking?
The book Girl, Taken – is a true story about kidnapping and survival. The plot of my book took place in real life and I just described it in my own words.
I saw and experienced things no one should have to go through. I’m sure that right now, right at this particular moment, there is someone who is suffering from being a victim of kidnapping or trafficking or facing a similar ordeal in life. I wanted to deliver a message to those who seek hope or to those who are about to give up. Hope and faith should never leave you, even in the moment of total and all-consuming despair.
Every human trafficking story looks similar to mine. The incredible tragedy that involves not only one person – it’s an adversity for all family members. Unfortunately, most people consider human trafficking as a problem of the past or believe that it is limited to being outside the United States only. Only by bringing awareness and education about this problem taking place everywhere there will be a chance to fight this crime.
Tell us a few statistics concerning human trafficking in your city and the surrounding areas.
Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery that occurs in every state, including Ohio. Ohio ranks number five in the nation for the most human trafficking cases. Last year, 375 Ohio trafficking cases were reported based on calls to the national hotline–according to Polaris, a nonprofit organization that tracks human trafficking cases in America and across the world.
If any readers might think a loved one is in harm’s way what would be a few actions you would suggest so they can get the help they need?
The professional help from the therapist and a good family environment are the best sources, in my opinion.
What steps did you take to begin bringing awareness and getting involved?
I’m at the very beginning of my journey at the moment. I think social media is the best way to bring the awareness.
What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
Through the horrifying months of my captivity – witnessing atrocities, surviving bombings and sexual violence, and trapped in a land where countless people were dying every day, I fought desperately to stay alive, stay sane and not lose the one thing that kept me going – my hope.
We never know what we are capable of until we are placed in a situation when you have to make a choice – stay strong or break down. Choose to remain a victim or choose to become a survivor.
At some point, I decided for myself – I wanted to be a survivor and not a victim. I like to believe we can all make this choice, no matter the hardships we face in life.
What advice would you give to parents of youth?
Pay attention and talk to your children. Be proud of what they are accomplishing. Love them.
So many people have dreams and want to start nonprofits or businesses because they have a burning desire to change the world. They want to be men or women of influence with a powerful message. Then doubt sets in or failure happens.
-What are your thoughts about this?
Robert Kiyosaki – famous American businessman and author – once said: “Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success”.
Pursuing things that truly matter gives people a sense of purpose and this, in turn, will help people persevere in their pursuits.
-What would your message to these people include?
Take a risk to make a difference. If you win, you will be happy. If you lose, you learn.
What is your favorite quote or mantra?
This too shall pass.
My favorite of all times, meaning that nothing is permanent.
When everything is good, remember that it won’t last forever. So, enjoy and cherish it while you can. When things are bad, remember that it won’t last forever. Have faith, bad times eventually will pass.
What motivates you?
Achieving the desired results motivates me.
When was the last time you were out of your comfort zone?
A few days ago, I was honored to give a public speech about my book Girl, Taken. That was something I have never done before and had zero experience with. I was way out of my comfort zone.
What are your most important gifts you have to offer your city and state?
Every voice has an influence. Many voices have the power to change the world or to stop a crime. To be involved in the organization or a group with like-minded people – is a gift that every citizen should offer to their community to improve the quality of life.
If anyone is interested in contacting you further what would be the easiest way to reach you?
The best way to reach me is through one of my social media accounts:
Is there anything else you want me to know that will help me write this article?
As I mentioned earlier, I wrote a book Girl, Taken – A True Story of Abduction, Captivity and Survival. In 1994, just after my 21st birthday, I was drugged and abducted from my hometown in southern Russia by a group of gangsters. The idea was to hold me for ransom, but an unfortunate thing happened. Soon after my kidnapping, the first Russian-Chechen War broke out…
I would love to share my story with the readers of your blog.
Readers love Girl, Taken.
Here’s a small sample of what they are saying:
“This book will astonish and inspire you. It is the harrowing tale of a young woman who saved her own life through nothing more than courage, determination, and inner strength.”
“One of the best books I’ve read in the past few years…”
“Girl, Taken kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. She is lucky to be alive. Very intense, hard to put it down. I would definitely suggest you enjoy the book for yourself and feel what it’s like to be kidnapped…”
Girl, Taken – A True Story of Abduction, Captivity and Survival. You can check it out on Amazon
The mission of IMPACT JUNKIE is to excite, engage, and inspire entrepreneurs, change-makers, and impact-seekers to use their superpowers (talents, skills, abilities) for good — to create real impact in real lives in their cities/communities and around the world. Since the establishment of ImpactJunkie in February 2017, we have already built water wells in Haiti and currently investing in sustainable work for locals to build water wells in their country. Many of our ImpactJunkie members were instrumental in the relief projects of Hurricane Harvey and Irma. This month, we are working with an organization to support Syrian refugees in Athens, Greece, providing tech and entrepreneurial training. We are excited about future projects in Central America, Africa, Asia, and multiple cities in the US.
During our most recent event in Washington, D.C., our team supported the DC Dream Center by organizing and cleaning the gorgeous Southeast White House for the holiday events provided to all in the community. Needy children in the Washington DC community go without proper food, shelter, and small things we take for granted such as a safe place for after-school activities. While all of us are susceptible to hard times, there are many children and families who are at the most risk, and they make up the largest number of people in need around the holidays. While cleaning and prepping, we noticed a special sunroom that stole our heart. It currently functions as an art room for the community’s children.
Sadly, the tables are old, the vinyl on the chairs are split, two tall window panes are missing, and the art supplies are all gone.
Knowing the wonderful support, the DC Dream Center provides to the community by keeping kids off the streets and providing them with a space to be creative, ImpactJunkie has adopted this room and asking for your help. It would not take much to transform this room (pictures available). Together, we will be able to help many of these families’ beautiful children start toward a brighter future using creativity with after-school programs in an awesome, safe, warm room. As a member of this incredible organization, to support a pillar program like DC Dream Center is an honor.
You can find the Dream Center on social media @DCDreamCenter http://www.dcdreamcenter.com/. The Southeast White House is conveniently located behind the Dream Center and both work completely off donations. Their most recent event they gave away hundreds of Leesa mattresses and are currently organizing Thanksgiving baskets to give away to those in need in the community.
Join our Impact project: Monetary donations can help purchase supplies, materials, and have the windows fixed in the art sun-room. We would also take donations such as complete table sets, plastic containers for supplies, and art supplies. We have a team of impactjunkies ready to get this room ready as soon as possible. Our goal is to have the room ready in time for, January 15th MLK Day.
ImpactJunkie is most rewarded when we are able to empower others to have an impact in their communities and around the world. Join us as we drive impact!
Please contact our Team leader, Laura, at 337-849-9860 for information on donating materials. For monetary support visit our website at https://impactjunkie.co/products/support (in special instructions put “DC Dream Center”)
I smile as I think of the wonderful weekend with the Impact Junkie team in Washington DC area this past weekend. What an incredible team of people who use their abilities, talents and skills to help domestically and internationally. Impact Junkie
On this trip I stumbled across a project I need help with this year. The White is an old gorgeous home that has the best kind of creaky floors. It is located behind The Dream Center created by Mark Batterson’s Dream Team to give people a place to hang out, learn, grow, get their families involved in productive after school activities like ballet, martial arts and even basketball. Walking through the White house with my Impact Junkie team, we began checking off the list of things we would want to get done like:
fixing two broken toilets,
collecting all the holiday decorations from the attic and basement and
organizing those for the upcoming season.
I was excited to be there but my heart kept tugging me to explore the old house more…until I found the sun-room.
The sun-room was a warm haven. Quiet with huge glass windows that overlooked the beautiful DC residential area. As cold and windy as it was outside, I was warm and toasty and my heart felt peace in that sun-room. I decided to make this my project for the day. I cleaned, dusted, mopped and made it shine the best it could but it lacks art supplies and paint on the walls as well as it misses two window panes…the holes covered by wooden planks.
If you want a legitimate place to invest in. A place that really needs a small touch of love for it to really bloom and thrive I offer to you the other White House on South Pennsylvania Ave in Washington DC.
As I swept the floors I picked up old hand drawn art projects from children I will never meet. I thought about those kids and smiled. I prayed God would paint beautiful memories in their minds and cover any nightmares of memories they might have.
I dusted baseboards and asked God to dust away any debris in the kids’ lives that might be covering talents they could use to grow and have productive lives in the future.
I cleaned away old glitter from long past projects and prayed God would fill their lives with sparkle.
This was a peaceful place for children to come and be safe and artistically grow. As we washed the windows we noticed repairs needed. Two window panes are missing covered by wooden boards.
There are no art supplies left. Only broken chalk.
The three tables are sturdy but mismatched and their vinyl chairs are torn and the stuffing is coming out.
The one wall is beige and scratched from constantly been touched by little hands.
My friend Zuri came to check on me and I showed her the things I wouldn’t be able to fix today but it would be easy to make this room incredible.
Our idea? Let’s adopt this sun-room!
Three new donated tables and chairs.
And the IMPACTJUNKIE logo over the newly adopted door.
And of course the art supplies.
We would need a group of people with a vision to donate and contribute a very small amount of money to go to buying good art supplies monthly.
An idea was born and I have to see it through.
I may not be able to go overseas and do missions but I can offer these simple solutions and help kids here. If you’re interested in helping at all reach out to me and I promise 100% will go to those renovations. I can’t wait to show you the updates…the improvements on the adopted IMPACTJUNKIE sunroom. I have shared pictures with you here to show you what the room looks like right now. Color and new supplies would be all this room needed. Feel free to contact me: LauraAranda@owlofhope.com
I will be teaching 2nd grade this year. Pinterest has given me so many ideas but I am truly in love with Wassily Kandinsky’s ‘Concentric Circles’…. I really want the kids to make art a major part of their day. We will be studying and using the A beka program so think there will be time to fit art in.