Christian Movies: Interview with Jenn Gotzon

Jenn Gotzon

Jenn Gotzon has to be one of the busiest young Christian actresses we know. She is helping promote her latest films you will read about here.  We will say there are an impressive number of them covered in this interview.

Fred: We were pleased to be put in contact with you through mutual friends.   First let’s get to two films that came out earlier this year that has been doing very well in DVD sales and Bible Study showings.  I am Gabriel and God’s Country.

Jenn:  I Am Gabriel stars Dean Cain and my buddy John Schneider.  It was filmed in Justin, TX. It’s an inspirational drama. I play Monroe (one of the leads) who is the town’s ambitious journalist desperate to find a ripe story.   God’s Country is a fun Ferarri driving family drama directed by my husband Chris Armstrong. Ironically, we were hired independent of each other. The producers hired Chris first and discussed their wish list for the lead.

During this talk, Chris became aware that his wife’s name  was on their wish list. The producers didn’t know Chris and I were married or even knew one another. The producers didn’t know if it was the wisest idea to hire a husband/wife combo and decided to audition as many girls as possible for the role. After three weeks, they offered the role to me as the  character Meghan Doherty. God’s Country is similar to Overboard and my character is similar to the role Goldie Hawn played. Even though the movie is playing on UP-TV (Uplifting Television), it is selling successfully in stores nationwide, Netflix and Blockbuster — my favorite version is the director’s cut because the image quality, sound design and visuals are much better than what has been released. I’m praying maybe they will release the director’s cut via BluRay.

Fred:  Another film now having limited theatrical releases is one you have much to tell us about.  Doonby.  It has a very intriguing title. What is that about and what is your role?

Jenn: Well Doonby is a mystery-romance movie about a mysterious, charming man played by John Schneider who comes to a small Texas town and he ends up touching many people’s lives. His name is Sam Doonby and our characters fall in love as he changes my world around. My role is Laura Reaper who is the female lead. It is a film about the value of life and excellent for high school and college students, as it explores the choices we make and the party lifestyle. There are many twists in the film. Jennifer O’Neill is also in the film, as my mother. Doonby is directed-produced-written by Peter Mackenzie. Mark Joseph (who was the marketing exec for The Passion of Christ and Chronicles of Narnia) suggested me for the role as he is one of the producers and offered me the role through Facebook without any audition. We made history being the first Facebook direct offer in a major feature film.

Fred:  A couple years you were  in the Roanoke Valley of Virginia, where this is being written, to star in the film, Alone Yet Not Alone,  which is also  now undergoing limited theatrical release.

Jenn: Yes, I play the true-story character Lydia who sacrifices her life to save the children in the film, Alone Yet Not Alone, which takes place during the French and Indian War in America. It is exec produced by my friend Ken Wales (we attend church together at Bel Air, CA) who was responsible for the television show Christie, in fact during our day off shooting in Tennessee he took me to where he filmed Christie. What a blessed memory.

Ken is so special to me kinda like my grandpa. The movie is based on the book Alone Yet Not Alone about two girls who are captured by Native Americans and how their faith keeps them strong in the midst of the wilderness and being separated by the tribes. The story is very similar to The Last of the Mohicans. It is an epic period piece beautifully filmed in the heart of Roanoke,Virginia’s Explore Park. It is a beautiful heart-touching film. It released for a limited release Sept 27, 2013 and was #1 in the Box Office.  It will be released in theaters nationwide Feb 21, 2014.

FredHaving reviewed the book we found Lydia was very key and will be in the movie.  Now before we talk about other films you have a special program, Inspiring Audiences, and it relates to working with young people.

Jenn: Inspiring Audiences is a mentoring outreach program that came on my heart during the Wildwood By The Sea Film Fest in New Jersey. I prayed about how to reach out in inspiring audiences to find their passion in life, to overcome obstacles and to find their God-given calling in life. I have been speaking to schools, churches and festivals. My goal and my heart is to reach into their lives as a lot of times young people don’t think about what their  passion in life is. I hope to challenge them to think about what their purpose in life is. To show them you don’t need to be held back by money, by fear, by naysayers or by rejection. God has a plan for our journey.

Life-mentoring, education and opportunity will help young people rise up and find their purpose in life. That’s my goal. I show a film I have been in as an actor and then talk about it and the allegory in it. My passion is doing films and having the ability to impact and inspire people. I use a movie I am a character in, and I talk about my role in relation to the story- to give them a deeper understanding of the message in the story. I’m so excited for the Doonby theatrical release on Nov. 1, 2013, I’m flying to New Orleans to celebrate Opening Night with the students I’ve spoken to with the Inspiring Audiences program – i hope my visit followed by a Q & A after the film showing, that I will be an example that dreams do come true when we pray, preserve and have faith in Jesus.

Fred: You began life and your acting career in Pennsylvania. What brought you into the acting world?

Jenn: It started when I was fifteen years old. I was going to movies with my family. Whenever there was an excellent movie, I would walk out of the movie theater electrified, thrilled from my toes to my head. I had tears in my eyes, riveted by that particular story. I realized walking out of that movie I wanted to be a better person. It was a feeling I wanted to give other people. That’s what started my journey. I looked in the phone book to find talent agencies and I found a lady Charlene Mateus (Chartreuse Talent Agency) who became my manager and mentor in my life and helped guide me in the early stages of my career.

My family and I went to church and I knew how to pray to God for direction. God guided me to what schools to go to and conservatories (New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, Joanne Baron, DW Brown Studio and Clay Banks Film Acting Studio) where I could learn to act. I felt drawn to go to Walt Disney World and I prayed and moved to that area (Orlando, Florida). I was given a beautiful opportunity to be one of the dancers. Then I went back to school. In the meantime I competed in the Miss America Pageant in Pennsylvania.

So my journey was directed by God and what He put in my heart I would pursue. That is what led me out to San Francisco and I started working in the independent market out there. That was where I did my first feature film called Julie and Jack blessed to win Best Actress award at a Sacramento based film festival. Then I was in another feature film where I was given another award for my work called All Heart and Soul, and playing the lead on Scenario for Delirium is where I met my husband Chris Armstrong. He directed me in his senior thesis film; and it was first a wonderful friendship and then we dated six months later. Four years later we got married on April 30, 2006. We journeyed making films together. It has been beautiful to support my husband as a director.

Fred: We can see what an influence your faith has been on your career. You have been a lead of over thirty independent films. Do you have a preference for independent films?

Jenn: I love being in stories that have the ability to entertain and educate. Independent films have been important in my journey. I have worked on over ninety projects now. That includes feature films, short films, television specials, industrials and commercials. My hope and my vision are to do more studio films that reach a wide range of people throughout the world. Such as Frost/Nixon which was nominated for five Oscars and directed by Ron Howard. I was so honored to have a role in a movie like Frost/Nixon that really helped educate everyone to know a little bit more about Richard Nixon and his journey during the Watergate years. I did a great deal of research and learned things not widely known by the public.

Fred: We were very interested in your working with a film project, the 168 Hour Film Festival ,which creates short Christian films. You have made several short films for them and one  project titled Stained, won all kinds of awards and good reviews.

Jenn: Yes, the 168 Hour Film Festival is very dear to my heart. I am a champion for that program founded by John David Ware. It is a beautiful faith-based event for developing the community of people who are on a journey together for making movies. It is speed filmmaking, and in the group you have writers, directors, film editors and actors. For each film, the producer selects a stone from a pile that has a verse from the Bible. That verse sets up a theme for the producer to use for an 10-minute film. Not to be over-preachy or to scare the viewer or be gratuitous but to speak the truth in a  story.

The year I did Stained I think was the sixth year for the 168 Hour Film Festival. I prayed to be in a cinematically excellent film that would really touch audiences. I also prayed to do a spiritually-excellent film that year and was cast in Mike Wech and Tim Lowry’s Break These Chains. Stained was made by Joshua Weigel, Jeff Bartsch and Aaron Moore. It was done in such a profound way that it swept the festival with 13 nominations and awards. It went on to touch lives everywhere. I have been so excited to show Stained to students with my ‘Inspiring Audiences’ program because of the message.

I was also in a film made by Mike Wech titled Break These Chains. In this film it was a very different journey. There were fifteen of us and we would all pray to see which way God would lead. There was never really a script and each day we would pray to see what God wanted us to capture on film. What ended up happening, through that journey, the lives of many people were changed dramatically. There was a person addicted to drugs and very suicidal, that we did not know about, who became a part of the film group. No one had a clue. At the end of one scene the boy began to cry and confess he wanted to kill himself. The team ministered to his life and prayed for him. He accepted the Lord. From that point on he was able to feel hope and joy. He went through a rehab program and is clean. That was a powerful story of how God heals.

The 168 Hour Film Festival is not just a film festival and not just the opportunity to make a film. It is a time when God moves in the lives of people. There have been multiple testimonies from that program. My husband and I have produced several 168 films.   168 is not about what we think,  it is not about-going in to make a film or going in to be an actor.  It is something more. One year I went in saying, “God, I don’t know where you want me. My desire is acting, but you show me where you want me.”

It was put on my heart to serve Geoffrey Black on his film. During production, I heard the Lord saying, “Go back to the church (you just filmed at).” I went into the chapel and felt the Lord putting me in a new direction. A month after that is when I got the offer, my dream-come-true lead role in Doonby. A movie that has such value and is going to be a theatrical treasure. I felt my obedience to God is what gave me this divine opportunity. The film is about the significance of life. My character goes through a dramatic emotional transition and something I very much enjoy as an actor.

Fred: It looks like we have come full circle from when we first asked about God’s Country, Doonby and Alone Yet Not Alone.  We look forward to hearing more about future projects.

Doonby Movie PosterJenn: Another film coming out on the same day Nov 1 as Doonby is Dragon Day. Dragon Day is a culturally relevant thriller about a cyber-attack by China that brings the U.S. to its knees through a virus within every electronic devise operated by a chip ‘Made in China’.. So that is 4 features to release 2013: God’s Country in Aug, Alone Yet Not Alone in Sept, Doonby and Dragon Day on Nov 1. (both will be available on VOD by Nov 7). There are five other amazing feature films I play one of the main characters in coming out in 2014 include controversial drama Right to Believe, crime suspense political thriller based in Savannah, GA Untouched, first evangelical silent movie The Good Book, charming 1940’s Old Hollywood dramedy The Screenwriter and a coming of age romantic comedy Princess Cut.

There is one hilarious family TV Sitcom pilot  Heaven Help Us  with Nancy Stafford as my mom and Lee Meriwether as my grandma.  Also I have a cameo role in a redemptive drama Out of the Ashes starring Anthem Lights singer Alan Powell.  I have to mention Walls by artist Sean Guerrero. You have toi watch this cool music about fighting suicidal thoughts from losing the love of your life:

Next spring, we plan to launch my web-platform talk show The Jenn Gotzon Show ‘Inspiring Audiences taking my motivational speaking program taking the message behind the characters I play on-screen and translate practical ways they can inspire an audiences to find hope. It’s a hybrid of Oprah meets Inside the Actors Studio and I’m excited to be in-talks with my dear friend Ken Unger to play Aimee Semple McPherson in her epic revolutionary story.

Fred: Certainly God has been opening many doors for you and we appreciate your sharing this with us. We know that you have a real affinity for your fans in the way you use Facebook and other social media to stay in contact and provide information about your film work.

Jenn:  My passion is really helping encourage and minister to everyone. I love serving, mentoring, teaching and helping people through AMTC which is a 30 year old company that a year ago turned 180 to be a ministry with main heart to raise up role models in arts & entertainment through an excellent cross-training only Biblically based talent development program focusing on Biblical values like grounding yourself in the truth that we are beautifully and fearfully made in the Image of God. This is super important for the fragile soul who can be so damaged by the darkness of entertainment industry. I just love AMTC and the staff who truly love serving and helping the performer..

Facebook page is one of way of making myself available (when i am available.. haha as this season has been the busiest ever). My page is and my website where my web platform talkshow will eventually be launched. Twitter handle is @JennGotzon.  Here’s a link for people to sign up and i will send them updates on the movies coming out and possible screeners:

I must give a quick shout out to my family thanking my mom for championing the Doonby premiere happening in my hometown next month and how she championed the I Am Gabriel screening last year. My family is the best like my loving supportive husband Chris who i love to pieces.

Dr. Fred Eichelman About Dr. Fred Eichelman

Dr. Fred Eichelman is a retired educator and one of the founders of Point North † Outreach, a Christian media organization. He is the editor of its publication, Point North † Tidings. For information about this organization or to subscribe to receive it free on-line, contact: or visit: