Cultural Revolution

Image By:  Howard Thurman

Image By:  |  Quote by: Howard Thurman

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

We stand on the brink of a cultural revolution. Things are shifting, and now is the time to act.

Every 24 hours, we have a profound opportunity to move the positive truths about life into our culture. For those with talent–writers, musicians, artists of all kinds–NOW is the time to produce.

The positive truths about life are gaining traction.The younger generation is hungry. They look for something that makes sense, they want to understand. Now is NOT the time to back down or be passive.

And, those who have developed the greatest understanding have the greatest responsibility to act. Develop your artistic skills in order to capture the imagination of people today.

A battle rages for the minds of men. The systems of this world devour mankind mentally and spiritually.

Those who love God MUST come together to produce music, films, books and all forms of art. It’s that art which will inspire individuals to want to serve and love our Creator to a greater degree.

The bold, loving and accurate teaching of scripture is what inspires artists, writers and musicians to come alive and produce work, which can motivate and elevate any human being to their greatest potential. This is our calling. This is how we transform the culture in which we live.

The entertainment industry spends millions to promote just one movie, one song, or one book. Many times the only motive is just profit with no regard for how detrimental the material is to society.

 Until now.

We may not have access to millions right now but we CAN MOVE with great impact. Because God’s at work and STILL opens doors for those who believe.

Even if you’re not an artist or have millions to promote projects, you can still affect this revolution. When something profoundly impacts you … tell someone.

Get the word out!

For those who desire to see change, get rid of what’s holding you back and get busy. We’re willing to put in the work.

Vista Films is committed to this Cultural Revolution.

Get your copy of the Movie Refuge From the Storm today!  |   Watch the movie trailer   |   See what Vista Films is doing next!

“Refuge from the Storm” did this REALLY happen?

Behind the Scenes of the Movie "Refuge From the Storm" Actress Kristen Quintrall Preparing for the upcoming scene. Photo taken by Debbie Hertzfeldt.

Behind the Scenes of the Movie “Refuge From the Storm” Actress Kristen Quintrall preparing for Marah’s deliverance scene. Photo taken by Debbie Hertzfeldt.

The producers of Refuge From the Storm met for the first time in November of 2009, in a Vista sushi bar to discuss making films. They wanted to produce stories about God’s power working in the lives of ordinary people. It was possible to produce inspiring, faith-based movies that tell the real stories of people’s lives, not sterilized versions. They saw the need for movies that show how dark and broken a life can become, and how God can then restore that individual to complete wholeness.

It was also clear which story to tell first. So, right away they interviewed the woman, and began to write the script. They finished Refuge from the Storm in June of 2010.

And a new generation of faith-based films was born.

Almost everything in the movie is based on actual events. Marah received complete deliverance in the hospital that day. We don’t know if the real Steve ever wrote the book.

Sam did try to attack Linda that night in the parking lot behind Katrine’s bar. But we’re not clear exactly what he saw. Whatever it was, it scared him off. When Linda turned around to see, the place was deserted. We believe Sam saw angels. We portrayed them as gang members.

Behind the Scenes of the Movie "Refuge From the Storm" Photo taken by Debbie Hertzfeldt.

Behind the Scenes of the Movie “Refuge From the Storm” Photo taken by Debbie Hertzfeldt.

Stories of God’s deliverance happen in the lives of people all the time, everywhere.  Most go undocumented.

The real Linda never wanted the focus to be on her or any one person. Rather, she wanted to share the principles, which cause God’s power to kick in, so God would receive the glory. For this reason, we’ve never publicly released the identity of the characters portrayed in the film.

Why did the main character agree to have her story told?

She thought her story would benefit and inspire others. People looking for answers can know it’s available to see God’s power operate in their lives to a greater degree. The real Linda is quick to say she actually knew very little of the Word of God at this time in her life. But she’d been taught she had “Christ in her,” and that it was available to do the works that Jesus Christ did and greater.

Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

She believed it and acted, and God moved with might.

Kristin Quintrall talks about playing Linda

Behind the Scenes of the Movie "Refuge From the Storm" Actresses Kristen Quintrall and Angie Jerez with Director Elias Acosta and Producer James Ellis. Photo taken by Debbie Hertzfeldt.

Behind the Scenes of the Movie “Refuge From the Storm” Actresses Kristen Quintrall and Angie Jerez with Director Elias Acosta and Producer James Ellis. Photo taken by Debbie Hertzfeldt.

“I’ve actually had the pleasure to meet the woman that this movie is about, and there’d be certain scenes where I’d think, how did you do this? I don’t mean in an acting way, but what really happened. Then, I’d find out the motivation for all of it.”

“It’s been really cool to pick her brain, but it also had its challenges, too. That’s because she was right behind the monitor. Sometimes I’d wonder, am I doing this right? Is this how I’m supposed to do this? But the fact that this IS a true story makes it that much more epic.”

Where’s the real Linda these days?

Since her dramatic deliverance in the 1970’s, she has enjoyed a life free from bondage.  She’s married and has raised three wonderful daughters. Two are married and having children of their own. She’s enjoyed seeing God work in her life for over 30 years, and continues to tell her story to those who desire to understand more about God’s Power and His goodness.

Get your copy of the Movie today!  |   Watch the movie trailer   |   See what Vista Films is doing next!


Ghana Adventure: Ana Maria Acosta’s Story…-acostas-story/
In 2013, Ana Maria Acosta, a freshman in Early Childhood Education at Palomar College, decided it was time to realize a dream. She wanted to travel to Africa to teach kids.

After lots of research and a little help from her parents, Elias and Mary Acosta, Ana decided to volunteer to teach kids English in the country of Ghana in the village of Kwaekese [pronounced kwah kay see].

Many countries won’t let you in without an invitation. Ghana is one of these countries. But that wasn’t a problem. Ana’s mom, Mary, had a friend in the Catholic Church who knew the Bishop in Ghana—Gabriel Kumordji. Ana got her letter. The visit would last roughly three months from mid November 2013 to the end of January 2014.…-acostas-story/Bishop Kumordji’s diocese had a convent with a school that was in Kwaekese. The nuns here are teachers. It was ideal. Ana could teach in the school by day and a live in the convent by night.

But Kwaekese is pretty remote, and the culture, a break from what most westerners are used to, even for Ana who has lived in the U.S. and the Dominican Republic.

To get to Kwaekese you have to fly into the closest big city, Tamale, then drive for two hours until you reach Lake Volta, the largest man-made lake in the world. Then you travel by boat the rest of the way. It’s about six hours.

Ghana is jungle. It’s summer all year round. The time that Ana Maria was there it was the dry season. The average temperature during hamatan or dry season reaches 110 degrees. When you’re this hot all day, your appetite wanes. She dropped 25 pounds while she was there. Some would consider that a good thing. She certainly does.…-acostas-story/Reasons

But why travel to Africa to teach? Simple.

She’s always had a desire to help people. She gets it from her parents and her grandparents. Her grandmother is a teacher. At eighty-five, her grandmother continues helping kids get educated.

Born in Tampa FL, Ana moved to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. It’s here that she grew up. Her English is perfect. That’s because she attended an English school. If anyone understands the importance of an English school, it’s Ana.


20131212_095153When Ana got there, the nuns showed her the school right away. She was excited that it was only a short path through the Jungle. The children at the school came running up to say hello, except the preschoolers. That’s because they were scared.

People from Kwaekese don’t see many foreigners. They’re leery. This took some getting used to.

English is a national language, here, but most of the people in the village speak tribal languages.

The language in Kwaekese is Twi [pronounced chwee]. Ana is good at languages. She went to an English school. But Twi was difficult to pick up because the villagers actually speak combination of both Twi and another language Ewe [pronounced ayway]. The effect is similar to Spanglish.…-acostas-story/Language was a barrier at first. The older kids, those in 7th grade and older, speak English. But the younger kids don’t.

Ana taught primary school: K-1 [pre kindergarten], Kindergarten, and grades 1-6. So how was she able to communicate? When asked, Ana revealed that she didn’t have any translation support in the classroom. So, she just had to wing it.

To be fair, two of the nuns were teachers in other elementary school classes. Though they were more sympathetic than the other teachers, they didn’t know English.

How did she wing it? Gestures.

She’d ask the other teachers the other teachers for a list of vocabulary words, and they’d bring out a workbook. And she chose action words because they’d be easier to teach. She’d take the kids outside and give the corresponding actions. For example, running. She’d say the word and mime the action. By the end of the day, kids learned 5-6 new words.

She’d say a word and have the children repeat it and act out the gesture. The students made fantastic headway despite the apparent lack of English from other teachers.

In two months she was able to teach them:

  •             The letters of the ABCs both write and recite
  •             The numbers from 1-15 both write and recite

It wasn’t easy but she persevered.

“I’d come home at night frustrated. I questioned the practicality of some of the other teachers. How can English when you don’t know enough of it?…-acostas-story/“One day, none of the preschool teachers showed up. I had to teach 80 preschoolers without a full lesson plan. It was here that I saw some of the things that I’d learned from my grandmother.”

One Ana’s biggest challenges was trying to teach the younger kids, when both she and the younger kids were starting to make real headway, when the older kids, who were curious came into the classroom and were allowed to disrupt.

“It was so frustrating. And I didn’t know how to correct the older children. Thankfully, some of the mothers who were going to and from the well, happened upon these shenanigans and helped me get the older kids back in line.”

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about going abroad to teach?

  • Not to have too high expectations about the environment
  • Don’t expect brick houses
  • prepare yourself for the language barrier, and apparent unfriendliness
  • Keep and open mind
  • Have a big heart
  • Have lots of love
  • Have fun and expect to learn

Ana loved this experience. She’s grown and evolved her life goals as a direct result. Since returning, Ana thinks she’d like to teach English to children and adults here in the United States, who don’t know it.








Refuge from the Storm: Behind the Scenes Look

Men with Lights

Every year at the Oscars, the film industry celebrates the artistry of its cinematographers and directors of photography. They should. A good cinematographer can take a decent story and make it breathtaking.

Thanks to director Elias Acosta, the Refuge from the Storm production had an outstanding cinematographer—Bruce Logan ASC.

They’re friends.

We talked about Bruce in an earlier article.

What people outside the actual filmmaking industry might not know is that no cinematographer is an island. He or she needs his gaffer and an no nonsense team light their visual confections.

We’ll never look at an inside daylight scene the same again.…he-scenes-look/

Photo Courtesy The Decider

Enter Mr. Kevin Funaki, Mr. Trevor Elliot, and Mr. Tommy Gallagher (and company).

They are to lighting, what Heimdall is to Thor–keeping out the forces of darkness.

They have the ability to make the lighting effects happen. And we mean that in a very super hero, man-of-steel sort of way, despite the fact that Kevin is a Raiders fan. 🙂

As a reminder, Vista Films International is based in San Diego.

On Location Butt Saving

Case in point, Linda is at a yogurt shop one night when she runs into Steve. If you look behind her to the left, you see a shop with sit-by-the-fire warmth beaming through its window. It undeniably adds to the gorgeousness of the shot. Thanks to Bruce, Kevin and the guys.

Here’s what happened. The locations manager was supposed to arrange to have that shop stay open long enough to keep their windows lit. Never happened.

Bruce Logan: I need that window lit.

Locations Manager: Ugh!?  OMG. What now? How am I going to light this effin shop window?

Yogurt Shop Owner: Here’s their number.

Owner of Shop with Dark Window: Ain’t no way I’m coming back to light you up, babe.

Locations Manager: S#?@!! Now what?

Nothing necessary. Kevin and the guys already lit the place by shooting a few angled spots from under the awning. Here’s what the screen looked like:…he-scenes-look/


In the end, it worked out better than the shop’s cold, in-house flourescents.

That’s what we mean by superheros. Front light, side light, backlight—and uncooperative store light—all lit to perfection.

San Diego Film Equipment

Trevor Elliot has been shooting films since middle school. He’s currently a partner and director of photography for San Diego Film Equipment. He recently finished a gig as director of photography for a film short called Homestead. It’s in coloration with Bruce Logan at the moment, and will be part of a festival release.

Logan communicated light setups to Kevin Funaki, the gaffer. The grips helped set lights as well as facilitate camera movements.

Elliott shared what it was like to work with Logan. Bruce Logan is highly respected. He was the director of photography for TRON. It was amazing to with so closely with the cinematographer. That doesn’t happen on a big picture. Refuge was a small film, so there was time to really pick his brain. It was a tremendous learning experience.


Film Terminology

A Gaffer is the chief electrician. He coordinates how the lights will be placed | powered.

The Grips support camera crew with positioning: dolly, crane, or ladder shots achieve optimal storytelling angles.

See the visuals in the DVD.





A Behind the Scenes Look at One of Our Top Stars: Michael Madsen

We continue with week three of our DVD release milestone celebration.

When Elias Acosta, the director for Refuge from the Storm, was thinking about who to cast in the movie, his first and only thought for the role of Steve was film veteran and big screen, tough-guy Michael Madsen.

Mr. Madsen was in Europe on a shoot when things finally came together. The production team breathed a sigh relief, because they all knew he was perfect for the role.

And if that wasn’t already cause to celebrate Madsen’s son, Christian Madsen, also agreed to appear in the film.

Michael Madsen has a career that spans over 25 years and more than 170 films. You can watch some of his best work in movies like Kill Bill, Die Another Day, Donnie Brasco, Thelma & Louise, Free Willy and for some, his most memorable character—Mr. Blonde in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.

Mr. Madsen is also an accomplished poet. His first book Burning in Paradise won the Independent Firecracker Award.

Here are some behind the scenes moments with the great Michael Madsen:

You can purchase the DVD here to see him in Refuge from the Storm.