Shining a light in the film industry
by Angelika Dawson
Seeing the LIGHT!
When Jamie Rauch gave his life to the Lord he lost everything. His transformation was such that he was unrecognizable; God had utterly changed him. “Everything was different,” he says. “I didn’t swear. I looked different. My friends didn’t know who I was.”
Those friends rejected him. He had the lead role in the school play and his change was so stark that the school leadership considered cancelling the production. Acting was Jamie’s passion and he was good. He was already accepted at major acting schools and his acting coach was preparing him for the road to Hollywood. But his conversion caused his coach to give him an ultimatum: your career or God, you can’t have both.
“I chose God,” he says, calmly. “Until then I felt hated in real life by a father who had abandoned me and a step-dad who abused me. Now I had a Father who loved me and accepted me fully. I chose God.”
It cost him his career. Instead, of going to acting school, Rauch headed to Bible School. These were hard years but it was here that God shaped and nurtured him. He came out of school equipped and ready for his next call: the film industry.
Behind the CAMERA!
Rauch married his sweetheart, Mandy, in 2002 and started his journey in the film industry.
“I was always interested in film particularly in writing and directing. I love the whole creative process,” he says. Through church, he met a man who worked in the film industry and who became his mentor. Rauch began as a Production Assistant, then an Assistant to the Director and worked his way up the ladder until he was writing and producing his own films. He won awards. His strong work ethic helped him land jobs and provided him with steady income – until the writer’s strike in 2008.
“I went from having lots of work one day to there being absolutely no work for anyone the next,” he recalls. “But as it turns out, the timing was perfect.” Mandy was eight months pregnant with their first child and Rauch felt God telling him to focus on his family. It also became a time to reflect on what was happening in the industry.
The entertainment industry is difficult for anyone. Long hours, enormous pressure to succeed and unforgiving expectations are the norm. People put up with 18-hour days, six days a week for months on end because the pay is excellent but none of this is conducive to a healthy marriage or family relationships.
“There’s a 98 per cent divorce rate in this business. Kids grow up hating their dads; wives give up on their spouses because they’re never around,” Rauch explains. People turn to drugs to stay awake and when exhaustion sets in, people make bad choices. Rauch has avoided these pitfalls because of his unshakeable faith in God and his personality strengths.
“I’m a leader, which means that I’m often alone, so I pray,” he says. “I am also fortunate to have friends in film who are also Christians.”
A Call to ACTION!
Despite its challenges, Rauch loves the film industry. But being a person who loves people, it also breaks his heart to see the devastation that so many of his colleagues experience. In 2013, the idea of a ministry to those in the film industry emerged. He wanted to bring the light of Christ to people living in darkness.
“That’s where the idea of being a Chaplain came about,” he says. Together with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada and Mission Canada, Rauch founded Light in Film. This ministry encourages Christians already working in film and also reaches out to show the love of Christ to those who do not yet know Him. Along with counselling and life-coaching services, Light in Film also hosts what he calls “Underground Bible Study.”
“This isn’t your typical meeting. It’s meant to be a safe place where people can come and not have to perform,” Jamie explains. “There is no social media, no photos, no autographs. It’s ‘underground’ in the sense that it’s not public. It’s by invitation only.”
For Christians, it’s also an opportunity to have an effect on what is arguably the most influential industry in the world. “By just being genuine, showing others the love of Christ, by praying for them, we can make a big difference – we are making a difference,” he says.
Light in Film will host a Red Carpet Celebration on January 29, 2016 to celebrate their first full year of ministry. The event will include live entertainment and powerful testimonials from people whose lives have been changed by their engagement with this ministry. The public is invited to attend. Visit lightinfilm.org for more information.