Interview with Francine Locke – Stand Your Ground

Francine Locke actress from Stand Your Ground movie

We have been hearing a great deal about a new film coming out January 17th, 2014, Stand Your Ground  and about one of its principal stars, Francine Locke.  She has already been making waves in the faith and family film world so we knew we needed to be in touch with her for details.  Francine made sure we knew her back ground even before our questions were put together.  She graciously sent this writer a short film, Family Law, with a beautiful Hitchcock style twist that has been greatly enjoyed in  Bible Studies

Fred:  Francine, the first thing we want to definitely hear about is this new film Stand Your Ground.  We understand it has already won some awards.

Francine:  My goodness, yes! Under the working title A Cry for Justice, the trailer, film and screenplay have all won awards, including two for 1st Place, lots to be excited about!

Fred:  Tell us about your role.

Francine:   I was honored to play the leading role of Jackie Carpenter. Jackie’s son Jason, is a contractor, and his home sites had been hit on multiple occasions by copper theft.  Each time it happened, he had filed a report with the police, but they could or would not do anything about it. Finally, a rogue cop suggested that her son arm himself to defend his property, hold the thieves at gun point until the authorities arrived, which would only be a few minutes, as they’d be patrolling the area.

Unfortunately, the gun went off, the police never came, and the ensuing months were horrific. Jackie wrote 2 books about the ordeal, and the film is based on the actual events. The cinematography is wonderful, scenes are intense, emotions raw, and the joy that comes from faith in our Father, unbridled.  AND I am excited to say it will be in selected theaters  January 17, 18 & 19, 2014! There will be cast members at each theater signing autographs, so if you are in the Southeast, I hope you will make it a priority to come out and support the film! Go to to reserve tickets!

Fred:   You have won several best actress awards and there is one that especially intrigues us as it was for a short film that relating to a film maker who has family in Japan.

Francine:  Yes, True Tale Monsters! The writer and director, Maiko, was a student at Columbia when we made the film. Frankly, I had sworn off student productions as I was so tired of reading scripts that were so filled with negative images & language, but then I read this script & it was so charming, I fell in love with both my character & the spunky little girl. Maiko had returned to Japan to visit her family and that’s when the earthquake & tsunami hit, though thankfully, all were safe. While she was there, I entered TTM into the Gideon Film Festival, and was so excited to give her the news that she and her film had received five nominations!

She came to the Gideon Film Festival, and was thrilled to have won “Best Film,” “Best Sound” and I won “Best Actress”…. And the icing on the cake was that she had on idea what to expect from Christians, didn’t know we would all be so sincerely happy for her! What a gift to be a part of exposing her to true Christians, working and loving together, I have a feeling God is doing great things in her heart.  And truly, winning “Best Actress” was an honor, but being a part of Maiko getting recognition for her work, was incredibly humbling and thrilling at the same time!

 Fred: We’d like to hear about your background and what brought you into acting and performing. What inspired you to go into films?

Francine: Initially, a girlfriend talked me into going to a party for a new agency in Chicago, and I won the contest to have all sorts of promotional photos taken, etc, but it ended up being a fly by night group. Lucky for me, I didn’t give them any money, but I learned not every smiling face is to be trusted.  That was my first experience of dipping my toes in the water so to speak, but it intrigued me.

I did not have a very positive self image, and this showed me that perhaps my perspective was flawed. Also, my mom had modeled throughout Canada after she emigrated from Lithuania, I was always amazed by her beautiful photos.  So after a rocky start, I was accepted with a legit agency, and began my career modeling in the midwest, Toronto & Montreal, eventually acting in commercials, and industrial film and had a few roles on episodic TV shows being filmed in Chicago. I had a great time working and traveling, but really didn’t have much focus.

I met my first husband in Toronto, we bought a house in the suburbs of Chicago, and began our family, unfortunately, I learned he didn’t feel the same commitment and ended up leaving when our son was only a year old. Eventually the economy changed, several Chicago studios closed their doors, and the SAG strike in 2000 was the final straw, forcing me to take full time employment rather than rely on the erratic workflow. So, even though I’ve been in the business over 25 years, it changed so much during my time away, that it’s been quite the learning curve to figure out how things work now!

Fred:  You have also been very involved in the 168 Film Project mentioned earlier.

Francine: It was about five years ago that I discovered the 168 Project out of LA, a Christian film festival where you are given one week (168 hours) to film a 10-minute short. Through some pretty interesting circumstances I ended up being cast in two films, each one helping me to grow in different ways, and Stealing Home stole my heart! My experience on the set of Stealing Home was wonderfully positive, they were all professionals, I was working with Frank Ashmore (V), and director Ben Lobato. I was a novice in comparison, coming into the business after such a long break, and not an LA talent, nonetheless, I was treated as an equal, we were all part of a team. And this was the first time I had ever witnessed prayer on set prior to filming, and believe me, it made such a difference. Add to that my nomination for “Best Supporting Actress,” and I was hooked!

This was such a great affirmation for me that I was doing the right thing. You see, when I first got involved in the industry, I didn’t even realize there was a Christian film market, and while I had really enjoyed the work and camaraderie on set, this time I was searching for something more fulfilling than just the paycheck. Now I finally understood that rather than  a certain look and random skill set, I had a specific gift from God that could be used for a better purpose than paying the mortgage!

Fred: You then like doing films that will have an impact on the audience, is that right?

Francine: Absolutely! Films are such a big part of our culture and every thing is so visual, a good film reaches into the audience heart & makes a change, good or bad.  That being said, while feel good films with a rosy ending are nice, real life can be dirty, painful, messy, and that is where I feel that we have such a responsibility to reach out and share God’s message. Many unsaved people will never see a “nice Christian film”, they want to see reality, see themselves or someone they can relate to on the screen.

My desire is to portray characters who are hurting, in pain and on a journey that hopefully ends with their redemption. I don’t care for glorifying the drug dealer, but instead show their pain and emptiness, and hopefully, they find a better way to fill that void. My performance may not lead a person to Christ, but if I can be a stop along the way and at least make them ask questions, seek answers, then I have done my job.

After all, which of the people in the Bible led a pristine, moral life? Other than Jesus?  There is certainly an audience for film with a direct gospel message, but I especially want to reach those who Jesus would be sitting with, who need his redemptive message. My gift is in being able to show my pain on screen, I reach in and take out my heart and offer it to the audience, and hopefully touch their heart.  In saying all this, you have to know where you fit in, and what pulls at your heart strings.

A few words of advice, if it is your desire to be involved in the film industry, if you feel a visceral excitement watching movies, or writing, or thinking how you might have done a scene differently, then go for it! If this is where God has gifted you, it is up to you to use your gift, refine it, and grow in your craft.

Fred: What advice would you give Christians of any age who may have a desire to get involved in the media?

Francine: Do not wait to be discovered, instead, read, ask questions, attend classes and seminars, begin to develop a plan. If you wanted to be a concert pianist, you would not just look at the piano and think you could make magical sounds, you would practice different styles, listen to various musicians. God may have given you the talent, but the skill must be developed. No great actor is suddenly “discovered”, they have been working on their craft probably for many years, doing plays, student films, taking classes, etc.

Be the absolute best you can be, do not settle for “good enough”. Be willing to take criticism, and learn from it. Your way may be the best, but be open to suggestions, accept guidance.

Fred: What about challenges that non Christians may give you because of your faith?

Francine: We will be faced with challenges one way or the other, and not just because of faith.  Know that & be prepared! Number one, don’t compromise your values, be confident of where you stand on moral issues. Will you be able to proudly say I was a part of such and such? What you do may haunt you for many years.

And remember who your audience is, a story that may on the surface not appeal to you, may in fact have a deep message for a person at a different place. I recommend finding out the whole story. The story, that is paramount!  And don’t get enmeshed in arguing about what is or is not a good project, if it is Christian, etc.

Let’s not be fighting  against each other, but rather support each other. I don’t think all the folks on a set need to be Christian, but where ever you are, be a Christian! Be the light! Show what it is like to work with a bunch of Christians.

Too many Christians focus on their projects, their “baby”, and by doing too many things, master none of them and the end result suffers. You really cannot write, direct, produce, act and edit, and do all things well, at least not on the same project! If you have a fantastic story but the acting is mediocre, the sound is off, no one will remember the story, but they will remember it was a poor quality film and it’s up to us to raise the bar and do the absolute best we can do. Last, keep a network of believers around you, get involved or start your own group. There are plenty on Facebook.  They will help you stay grounded, pray together, and ask for guidance.

Fred: Lastly, what have you been working on lately?

Francine: I wrapped on In Gramps Shoes late fall, then was up in Buffalo working on My Dream Beside Me. Fun fact, I met Jeff Rose (finally) on Gramps set. Although he was initially involved in Stand Your Ground, we’d only been Facebook friends, then I worked with him on My Dream and finally saw him in our home state for the first time a few weeks ago at a premier! Small world!

The series Sacred Eternal (Daniel Pickett) has funding and been green lit, I am co-authoring a book with CJ Powers, and also working with Jerry Gill on a script that we hope to be filming next fall, and of course auditioning. So all in all, keeping pretty busy, but that is the fun of this industry! All this to say, if you want to be busy, you can be, just do it! Be the light!

Fred:  That is a challenge we pray will be taken up.  We encourage readers to follow you through your web page,


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: