“The format presented below is a bit out of the ordinary as biographies go. It is an updated version of an interview I had some years ago with ChristianCinema.com. The intent is to give you a brief introduction to who I am as well as my mission.” Ken Klein
Former NFL defensive back-turned filmmaker Ken Klein is married to Jan, his wife of 42 years. They have 3 very creative sons, with lovely wives and six grandchildren. They all live in El Dorado, California where he continues his movie-making career and author/writer. Ken took some time between projects to talk with us…
CC.com: Ken, you played for my hometown team the Houston Oilers for a season. How does someone on the road to greatness as a professional football player become what some would call a prophetic filmmaker and writer?
Ken: I don’t know about the greatness part but I was all right. It started with a serious injury my second year. That was a long time ago in 1968. Before that, all I wanted to do was play pro football. I held a couple of records playing for the University of Oregon, and saw a bright future ahead until I injured myself. The disillusionment from those unfulfilled dreams caused me to look for something more to and from life, and I found it in the Lord. I am pushing seventy years old now and it has gone so fast. I came from a Jewish home, and I had no religious training in my parents’ beliefs, but in 1969, I made a decision to accept the Lord, and soon became a voracious student of the Scriptures. Ever since, I’ve been a rabid student. I studied for six years under a powerful man of God. A fellow by the name of Roy Hicks Jr. in Eugene Oregon.
I began preaching and teaching and discovered that I had a gift for that. People used to tell me when I was in Jr. high school that I was talkative! So I had some kind of gift all along, but no idea what it was to be used for. I ended up putting it to work with my first assignment as a youth pastor in 1972. After six years I started a church in Oak-ridge, Oregon and then a second church in Seattle, Washington.
That church, actually in Kirkland, Washington, grew to several thousand people. In the midst of the growth I moved to San Diego and started a third church and was there for three years. Then for the next number of years I worked on my second book that became a best-selling book called “ America Globalism and the False Prophet.”
CC.com: Okay, the conversion to preaching makes sense, but how do you go to film making from there? Ken: In 1992, after the book came out, I was invited to do a lot of speaking about that topic. We did hundreds of radio and TV shows and I was a guest speaker at many churches. At one point, it occurred to me that it might be good to have these sessions on video, so we set up three cameras at a church in Chicago and my foray into film making began.
Since then, I’ve made 20 films and feel like I’m just starting to understand the craft. Film is very powerful because through it, we can tell stories that are metaphors for truth. And when people see the metaphor, it can open their eyes and hearts to the truth.
CC.com: So you had no formal education or background in film making. How did you develop your skills?
Ken: No I had the best teachers. I believe what has really helped me is that I’ve studied the Hollywood masters and how they present stories. I took some video classes from the UCLA Film School; Story, Structure &; Form, and Premises – the building-blocks of storytelling. You know, without a good story, you can’t have a good film.
I continued to take classes at the University of Oregon – one of my professors, Larry Ferguson, wrote the screenplay for “The Hunt for Red October.” Also, when I began to write my scripts, I had some good people look them over and help with the critical aspects of the drama, aspects of what is in today’s bible. Even though my focus is on documentary films, in my view, they still need to contain drama. I think of it as “dramatized documentaries.” I have had an unusual privilege (thanks to God) to travel the world many, many times.
I have visited Israel nine times and been to Egypt seven times. I have also visited Europe many times as well. I have crossed the United States several times by motor home and seen how America lives from the ground. I have flow over the United States so many time I cannot even count the number. I been to most every state in the Union.
These opportunities have broadened my perspective and enabled me to conceptualize images for my film productions. My many travels have given me an objective understanding of the world. They have immensely served to facilitate my film making abilities with actual first-hand knowledge. My goal in film making is to open up people’s minds to think of new possibilities. God has to be bigger than what we know – we tend to conceptualize Him within our 24-hour day, 71-year life span. But He’s bigger than that! I want to expand people’s consciousness of God, eternity, and who they are.
CC.com: You speak about this very passionately.
Ken: Jesus rescued me from deep despair and a great deal of trouble. I owe Him. I believe it’s my destiny. I believe God has geared me specifically for this, and I only have a certain amount of time to get this done. Yes, I am still sold out doing what I can to the best of my ability. What I mean by sold is is that I am focused only on serving Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. That is all any of us can do. It’s my hope for everyone – that they find God and their destiny and direct their steps accordingly. Just go for it – but it’s a process and not easy to find. The Apostle Paul said “This one thing I do,” and that’s my focus and prayer also.
CC.com: You present some very interesting and different ideas in your films. What kind of reactions have you received?
Ken: They’ve varied – I think people might either agree or say I’m a heretic. I admit – many of the things I believe are not in the mainstream and for many those idea are controversial, but I try not to be combative or defensive. Sometimes my defensiveness does pop up, but I’m gradually growing out of it. My heart’s desire is to reflect God – He’s not defensive, and He doesn’t strong arm anyone. He never violates our “freedom of choice,” and so my hope is to manifest His qualities towards everyone.
CC.com: Ken, it’s been great to talk with you. Any last words for us?
Ken: Just this: Don’t let culture dictate your faith. Do not let the outside world try to define you. Life is not about being a great American…, it’s about being a follower of Jesus Christ.