Faith, Family, and Film: Western North Carolina’s Red Carpet Connection

Michelle Cox War Room Interview

Michelle’s interview with Karen Abercrombie who played Ms. Clara in the hit film “War Room”

The first thing you notice about local Asheville author Michelle Cox is her smile. Partnered with a sweet southern accent and quick wit, you can’t help but feel like family in her presence. She can cook a homemade meal that rivals anything in Southern Living while sharing humorous and heartfelt stories of family (6 grandchildren!) and faith. In fact, it’s fair to say that Cox’s inspiration as a speaker and writer stem from the 3 Fs: Faith, Family, and Film.

When she’s not buried in the laptop crafting weekly Guideposts blogs or text for her latest novel, (9 books published or soon to be released), Cox can be found jetting off to national film locations and premieres to interview actors, producers, directors, and other red carpet elites. These interviews and set experiences provide rich content for film reviews. Completed reviews end up published on

Michelle Cox Red Carpet Interview
When asked about her most memorable interview, she quickly names Jim Caviezel (Passion of the Christ, Person of Interest and When the Game Stands Tall), as his genuine kindness and deep faith made quite the impression. But she adds that interviewing Harrison Ford following the screening of a movie wasn’t too shabby either!
Cox’s interest in the film industry includes her own film aspirations, as she is the proud co-author of the Just 18 Summers screenplay, a project recognized as a semifinalist for the $50,000 Kairos Prize Competition (spiritual movies award). This screenplay is based on her 2014 fiction novel by the same title.

Part of the drive for Cox’s deep connection with the faith-based film industry is her genuine love for people. She writes: “I love getting into the hearts of the people who make the films. It’s a joy for me to sit and talk with them and to discover WHY they chose to produce or act in the movie of the moment.”

So you might be wondering why Cox isn’t based in Los Angeles, New York, or a similar metropolis. Quite simply, relocation isn’t needed. Asheville, NC is currently home to or a popular vacation spot for many film professionals, including location scouts and screen writers. In 2014 MovieMaker magazine recognized Asheville as the nation’s #1 small town movie moving area. As Cox explains, the mountains foster a creative spirit critical to production success.

With the rapidly expanding faith based film industry (think Georgia based Kendrick brother films and the current movie Risen), it’s safe to assume that Cox is well positioned to keep introducing the public to the film professionals who commit their lives to box office success. She will continue her writings and edits from her western North Carolina wooded retreat with hot tea in hand, Blue Ridge mountain sunsets, and grandbaby giggles in the background.

For more information about author Michelle Cox or the burgeoning faith-based film industry, see links below:

***Blog Post by Lori Brown

Ingredient “X”: 3,000 Souls

The sound is different…that’s what I noticed first. I could hear certain familiar influences, and probably picked up on those immediately because I’m Southern. “Steady as a train, sharp as a razor.” That’s what they said about Johnny Cash, and it was all I could think about. The heartbeat in the drum, the rhythmic striking of the guitar cords, a beat almost clock-like…but then something else. Maybe the ghost of Johnny Cash had come back to jam with Metallica? That wasn’t exactly it either…

Let me make one thing clear. It was good. I felt like I was eating a foreign dish, trying to pick out the ingredients one by one, before realizing it couldn’t be done. It couldn’t be done because whatever they were individually had metamorphisized into something else when they met, and that’s what I was eating up. Jessica Donahue, CEO and Producer of cutting edge record label, Release the Rain Records, felt much the same way the first time she heard 3,000 Souls play.

“My partner and I just looked at eachother and nodded. We said, ‘yeah’, this is it,” she shakes her head and raises her eyebrows clearly still in awe.

I couldn’t wait to find the recipe. I’m a writer…I break things down, look at the parts, and put them back together to figure out what makes the things that make people just feel alive. 3,000 Souls was not just the typical Christian rock band. I could hear edge and pain in the same breath as joy and redemption. Sometimes it’s the first mentioned that draws the connection; a part so often omitted.

The only ingredient I had was guitarist, David Lovingood. I met him sometime in 1986 at approximately 1 hour old. My first memories of him are family Sunday dinners when I knew he’d arrived when the the nose of his guitar case ushered him through the tiny storm door. I know it had to have been winter some of those times, but I remember the smell of summer and Mamaw’s unairconditioned house sweating the music out of it’s 70 year old bricks. I remember my father and Uncle David (as you may have deduced) playing Free Bird every week, and Uncle David making his fingers fly and slide to finish that famous lick, at which some point Dad would get tripped up. I remember hair bands being on television, late seventies rock seeping out of the instruments, and occasionally, just occasionally my grandfather who played the piano like Jerry Lee Lewis, joining in before finding some reason to call the whole thing off. I had the Southern rock ingredient, but I wanted the others.

LLoyd Debarr. When I first met Lloyd I could smell rock n’ roll on him and had to fight the urge to check him for battle scars. This man had been places, and I knew it. I soon learned he’d come to North Carolina from the Seattle music scene, and had played with members from bands like Heart and Bad Company. He had stories…good, bad, and ugly. However, he’s a happy ending guy, and that was clear too. He’s the reason the music burns when breathed it in, but exhales smooth as honey. That’s who he is. He is unafraid of who he is, which is a place we can get to in life if we try…it happens. The better part though is he’s unafraid of who he was, which few people figure out how to do. He isn’t perfect, has probably been in every stereotypical rock-scene situation imaginable, but is jaded by nothing. His scars are healed, and that healing permeates the air in the best way. It doesn’t perfume the place up…it’s more like liking the smell of gasoline. It’s still raw as can be, just raw redemption. There’s an x-factor to it all, and Debarr says it’s simple, “big Jesus.”

The other half of the band is just as important as the first. Drummer, Collin Burgess is the youngest of the group. He has the face of a teenage hearthrob in spite of himself, but wears an authentic edginess to his hairstyle, and an unidentified expression on his face that lets me know somehow there’s an art about him…Then I no longer knew what to think after I watched him beat the drums to a bloody pulp on an unplanned musical ride he and the bass player, Brice Rowland went on with Lloyd. He treated the drums like he’d invented them, and it was impossible not to recognize a divine gift. Teenagers don’t play like that. He’s the only band member I didn’t get a chance to chat with, but I did see him responding to others with a quiet confidence, a politeness of sorts…I’d bet he chose the drums for a reason…they shout.

Brice Rowland plays bass, which I find interesting…The bass sets the tone, tempers harmonies, and drives the beat. It can be the constant of a song. When I met Rowland he seemed like the most unpretentious, easy-going guy I’d ever met. There was nothing strategized about him. None of his hairs seemed to have a home, and his outfit was earth tones of some sort. This is not to say he’s bland….just the opposite actually. He’s steady, natural, like the hum of a river. The river can rage or it can drift a little. It’s never completely stilled…and it’s a lifeline.

3,000 Souls is such a smogasborg of musical mastery. The band has it’s own alive, fresh yet gritty, human sound. It has all the emotions humans have mixed in, but with the redemption that can only be inhuman….something that sounds a little bit Seattle, a little bit Southern, a little bit like something brand new, and lot like an experience above all else…Something Inhuman none of these talented men brought, but was gifted to them. It isn’t the sound of a man, an era, a generation….it’s all of that and then some…the divine…that’s ingredient-x. That is 3,000 Souls.

3,000 Souls

3,000 Souls

“So then those who had received his word were baptized; and on that day there were added about 3,000 souls.” -Acts 2:41

The album comes out in September! For an autographed copy visit and order before release!