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Lessons Learned Reaching & Healing Those Hurt By Fatherlessness Through the Power of Story & Movies — With Issac Ingram

In this Listen-to-Learn episode of the Share Life podcast, I'm speaking with filmmaker and philanthropist, Issac Ingram. Issac and I are long-time friends, originally meeting through a married small group together at Victory World Church.

Issaca shares his journey of volunteering and mentoring in detention centers culminating in his recently finished and award-winning 30-minute short film, True Freedom. I asked him to share the journey to that moment and the lessons he learned along the way. Issac overcame hardship to make his film about healing from abandonment. He highlights the challenges of filmmaking and the power of perseverance and emphasizes the importance of teaching history and freedom to young people to inspire growth and change. The podcast ends with his plans for a full-length feature film.

True Freedom Short Film Summary

True Freedom is a time-travel short film that explores the emotional journey of abandonment. After his father leaves the family, a black kid grows up to build a time machine to save his mom, but when he ends up in the year 1860, the real insight begins when he brings a slave to the year 2014.

Discussion Highlights

  • A football fan and getting inspired by Tony Dungy
  • SWIRL (Shattering, Withdrawal, Internalizing, Rage, and Lifting) & healing from abandonment
  • We're only one bad decision away from self-inflicted tragedy
  • We do not know or realize the life circumstances that would facilitate choices we think we'd never make
  • Making a film to help men and women become better leaders
  • Launching his nonprofit, team freedom outreach, and ministering to at-risk youth in juvenile detention.
  • Issac's experience collaborating with NFL player, Michael Vick on a public service announcement and how this moved Issac along the path of filmmaking
  • Issac's 9-month journey writing his first feature film screenplay and how Michael Vick inspired him to do it
  • The difficulty in getting people to read your screenplay
  • Getting inspired by a song and creating a music video about the impact of volunteering and how it became a stepping stone to the bigger project
  • The journey to make True Freedom, a 30-minute short film version of the full feature film — and creating a resource for people who've experienced abandonment heal
  • The scrutiny process of sharing a screenplay and how it made it much better- asking library visitors to get feedback
  • Raising $1,000 for the first scene and $30,000 for the 30-minute version - it took three years to raise the funds.
  • Getting former Atlanta mayor and 1996 Olympics ambassador Andrew Young to do a voice-over for the project
  • Recidivism: How mentoring programs work and how they help people
  • How trauma affects us, the way our brain compartmentalizes it, and how that is triggered later on
  • Advice for raising money for a film project - having a conviction and passion that this film needs to be made
  • How having a clear vision for the project will make everything better - and being fully committed
  • Helping to break the stigma of getting counseling and therapy for past trauma and mental illness
  • Winning the HAPA Awards best short film award, in competition with Netflix's Oscar-Winning 'Two Distant Strangers'
  • It's about how the movie makes you feel
  • What's next? Raising $7 million for a full-length feature version of True Freedom
  • "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Connect With Issac Ingram

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00:00 Introduction and Background
01:26 Getting into Volunteering and Mentoring
04:10 Breaking Through Abandonment Issues
05:49 The Power of Validation and Reaching People
06:15 Using Stories to Inspire Growth and Change
08:05 Understanding the Reality of Detention Centers
09:23 The Importance of Teaching History and Freedom
10:14 Challenging Stereotypes and Embracing American History
11:06 Continuing the Work of Team Freedom Outreach
12:47 The Meaning of True Freedom
14:08 Passion for Movies and Stories
19:07 Writing the Script for True Freedom
20:04 The Journey of Writing and Revising the Script
22:48 Creating Volunteer Somewhere
25:31 The Catalyst for the First Scene
29:30 Raising Funds for the Short Film
32:25 Raising the Full Budget for True Freedom
36:09 The Power of Film in Addressing Mental Health
37:36 Breaking the Stigma of Counseling
39:30 Creating True Freedom
40:42 Fundraising for the Short Film
47:09 Lessons Learned in Production
50:25 Advice for Future Filmmakers
57:00 Using True Freedom for Mentoring
58:24 Premiere and Audience Reactions
01:01:04 The Future of True Freedom
01:04:43 Raising Funds for the Feature Film
01:08:19 Stepping Out on Faith

Additional Resources

True Freedom Movie Poster

True Freedom Short Film Poster

Unedited Transcript

Jason Scott Montoya (00:00)
Another episode of the Share Life podcast. I'm Jason Scott Montoya and this is a Listen to Learn episode. Today I'm here with Isaac Ingram. Isaac, say hello. Isaac is a philanthropist and filmmaker. And today we're going to learn a little bit about his story, but specifically, Isaac produced and screened a 30 -minute short film, which was a huge project for him to dive into and make happen.

Issac Ingram (00:10)
Hello, hello.

Jason Scott Montoya (00:29)
And I want to talk to him about that project and some of the lessons he learned. Before I do that, how we met, I want to just give a quick, brief update onto that. Me and Isaac met, we actually went to Victory World Church together and we were in a small group many, many years ago. It probably 14, 15 years ago, 2009 or 2010, I think. And we've been friends ever since. We've stayed in touch and Isaac is always reaching out about this project or that project. And...

And we'll talk a little bit about that. I've been one of his movie stars. Before I was in the movie with Tom Cruise, I was in Isaac's movie. And so we'll talk a little bit about that. But thank you so much, Isaac, for joining us. And anything else you want to throw in there before we talk a little about your journey? All right, well, tell us, let's go back to how you got into volunteering, because that kind of really...

Issac Ingram (01:04)

Thank you. Thank you for having me.

No, that was a great intro. Thank you so much.

Jason Scott Montoya (01:26)
ties into one of your earlier projects and mentoring and some of your philanthropic work. So tell us about that.

Issac Ingram (01:33)
Great question. Well, I got married in 2005. In 2000, yep, 2000, joined it. I joined my church, met a woman that was also at my church, my wife. And I'd searched around doing some volunteer work with the church, but it was in February of 2007. I saw, I'm a big NFL fan.

Jason Scott Montoya (01:39)
The same year as us, yeah. Yep.

Issac Ingram (02:02)
And I saw Tony Dungey and Lovey Smith, their two black head coaches, the first two black head coaches to ever get to the Super Bowl. And before the Super Bowl, there was a little 15 second commercial. And these two men took the time. They said, hey, the best thing that you can do for the community is be a mentor. And I was going, wow, you know, like these two guys are at the top of their game, you know.

for them to take 15 seconds, I mean, I really took note of it. And so at my church, there was a young guy who was doing recreation and visitation with the church at a local youth detention center. So I joined up and started going with him and that team to do that and just fell in love with it. And I mean, I...

It was amazing just to.

Jason Scott Montoya (03:00)
What was it that you fell in love with?

Issac Ingram (03:03)
Well, going out, you know, these kids are between 12 and 17 years old. Typically, you know, they could be younger and they've been locked up for whatever reason. And they could be very serious stuff or truancy, just different things. And going in there and doing recreation like just basketball, non -contact football, volleyball, you know, just getting them into teams and just.

getting them away from the environment of being locked up, right? And then having a heart -to -heart conversation with them and talking to them about what's going on with them, either through one -on -one visitation. I started to see that, you know, there's a lot of people who go through a lot of things that, and they can't necessarily express how they feel or process how they feel, especially at such a young age. Yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (03:34)

So how do you break through that? Do you kind of share some of your own stories and ideas and then let them kind of piggyback on that? Or how do you handle that type of dynamic?

Issac Ingram (04:09)
You know what, over the years, man, what I found is that, so like, what I find is that 85 % of kids in detention centers do not have a man living in their household. Many of them suffer from abandonment issues that they don't talk about, and the biggest problem is they don't talk about it. So, there was a lady by the name of Susan Anderson, she's got a, she's a psychotherapist.

Jason Scott Montoya (04:28)

Issac Ingram (04:37)
who did a 30 year study on the subject of abandonment. And when she started, like when I started looking at her stuff, almost like the five phases of grief, she calls it swirl. The S stands for shattering, the W stands for withdrawal, the I stands for internalizing, the R stands for rage, and the L stands for lifting.

Jason Scott Montoya (04:41)

Issac Ingram (05:07)
What I realized was there was a pattern of a lot of kids that would be angry in there. And a lot of the anger, I believe, stem from the fact that they felt abandoned, right? And or whatever, however they were dealing with processing things. And I started to realize that one of the things that you have to do in reaching people is help them realize that no matter if they're locked up for whatever they're locked up for, for whatever they've done.

Jason Scott Montoya (05:16)

Issac Ingram (05:36)
that they are valued. They're valued by God and they're valued by you because you're taking your time to come in and talk and listen to them. And when people feel validated, you can reach them where they are.

Jason Scott Montoya (05:48)
Yeah, yeah, that's awesome. And I think it's important to note as we continue to kind of talk about the projects that you do, particularly your short film, that swirl framework is built into the story itself as a way to reach people that are in that place. So you're trying to tell stories that also help people grow and change in a positive way, right? Yeah.

Issac Ingram (06:03)
Yes, yes, definitely.


in a positive way, right, right, definitely, yep.

Jason Scott Montoya (06:17)
I guess one thing before we jump into how you got into the film world is, you know, people may not, I think most of us probably have not done that type of volunteer work. We've gone into those types of detention centers or even prison ministries. What would you tell someone that's never done that? Like, what would you want them to understand that they don't understand because they've never done that?

Issac Ingram (06:45)
That's a great question. You know what, what I came to realize is that, you know, when I would have, I would recruit other volunteers to come in, what would happen is we'd go in and after a while they'd say, you know what, this is just a kid. They're human beings. I tell the boys and the young people that I mentor in there, I say, look,

Jason Scott Montoya (07:02)

Issac Ingram (07:13)
Listen, and I tell the volunteers, all of us are nothing but one decision away from being locked up. The judge, the DA, the counselors, the clergy, men and women that come in, nothing but one bad decision away, right? So, you know, when you speak to someone and you get to a human being, you know,

and the essence of their humanness, you can connect.

Jason Scott Montoya (07:47)
Yeah, so is the assumption there that people think there's just a bunch of monsters locked up and they don't realize that they're just the same? They're almost like, I couldn't be that person, I wouldn't be that person. But then you're saying, yeah, with one really bad decision, you'll be right next to them.

Issac Ingram (07:52)
Thank you.

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Exactly. And I think I think you don't necessarily, you know, get that sometimes because you like, oh, I would never do this. I would never do this wrong or that wrong. But there are, you know, all of us do not know. We don't know. We could say that. But but, you know, some things can arise where we do make a mistake. And so, you know, you've got to.

Jason Scott Montoya (08:12)
Mm -hmm.

Issac Ingram (08:32)
No, keep that in the consideration and have grace that, you know, if you were born in their situation, if you had the circumstances they had, where would you be? Could you possibly be the same way in the same position? You know, so.

Jason Scott Montoya (08:47)
Yeah. And why are you reaching out to kids under 18 versus like a prison industry for adults? Is there a particular reason you picked that?

Issac Ingram (08:56)
Well, I think when I got in there and started seeing at such a young age that this is one of the most vulnerable times of your life, right? Part of the reason why I came up with doing the short film that I did was because, you know, I was seeing a lot of kids, especially African -American kids who have no idea what our ancestors went through for them to be free. You know, they're just trying to get through their day.

Jason Scott Montoya (09:23)

Issac Ingram (09:26)
They don't have a history of the fact that people have, black men and women, with the Civil War have lost their lives so that you might have freedom one day to be able to make better choices. And so I really wanted to make a film that could both make young boys and girls become better men and women.

Jason Scott Montoya (09:39)

Yeah. So what would you say, you know, I'm not black, you are. So what would you say to someone like me or other people who don't have that experience, particularly as it relates to children being in these detention centers and locked up, what are some things you'd like us to know?

Issac Ingram (10:13)
Well, I don't think I think what happens is we we get a sense that it is, you know, it's probably black kids that's locked up. It's probably white kids. I mean, you know, it's probably black kids and things like that. But when you get in there, you see that it's every type of kid. You know what I mean? And you're not you know, it's not just black kids in there. And the thing is, is that, you know, I think a lot of times we we we label things as black history and.

and this, that, and the other, but really what it is, is it's American history. We are Americans. This is a part of our history, but we can grow from it, and we've grown from it. You know what I mean?

Jason Scott Montoya (10:46)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Anything else you wanna say about that? Real quickly, if anyone was interested, like is this still something you do? Is this still something people could get involved in if they hear this?

Issac Ingram (11:04)
Yeah, yeah. So right now, especially after COVID, there's a little bit of a hiatus that is done. And I'm trying to pursue getting the film to be used in these mentoring programs. So I've held back. But for 15 years, basically the second and fourth Saturday in 2011, I started my nonprofit. You know, I started as a nonprofit. Team Freedom Outreach.

Jason Scott Montoya (11:31)
And what's it called? Tell us. Okay, and that's the website as well, right? Teamfreedomoutreach .com .org, okay.

Issac Ingram (11:34)
Right? Yeah, teamfreedomoutreach .org. Yep, yep. So that's my nonprofit. And so, you know, I started that and up until when I got the short film finished, that's when I said, okay, I've got to really, really pursue this in a way where I can, because the thing about it is I love doing this and I'm...

I'm gonna get back to it. But one of the things I wanna do one day, I would love to get the short film made into a feature film. And with the proceeds, I would love to be able to go to local theology schools and get people who are training to be clergy people, do some type of intern with them where they could go and do the team, do.

Jason Scott Montoya (12:08)

Issac Ingram (12:31)
team freedom outreach with them for a certain like six months and things like that. So that way they can get training of being able to minister to people as well as, you know, getting exercise and doing, you know, it could become a win -win.

Jason Scott Montoya (12:43)

Yeah, yeah. Well, freedom is an important thing. Your shirt says true freedom. I've also got my true freedom shirt here as well. Tell me about, like, I wanna know, when you think about freedom, what do you think about? And how might that differ than maybe culturally how we think about freedom?

Issac Ingram (12:53)

You know, the question I think that has that we have on our mind that I had on my mind was what is freedom to you? What is true freedom to you? Right. And what is true freedom to you in that? True freedom for me is being with my family. Right. Or or but but to someone else, it may be some different things. And sometimes the very things that we are trying to.

you know, be successful in our career and things like that. We're not really taking the time to take an inventory of what it truly means to be free, what it truly means to have a connection with somebody that you love and that you can allow yourself to be loved by. So that's what true freedom, I think, you know, the representation of that.

Jason Scott Montoya (14:01)
Yeah. Tell us about your passion for movies and stories and how that came about and how that was cultivated.

Issac Ingram (14:07)

You know, it's amazing. Like back in 2011, when I started the nonprofit, I went to a friend of mine, his name is Brandon Jolly. And I said, Brandon, he was working for Tyler Perry Studios at the time. And I said, Brandon, hey, I just want you to just simply record me asking men to come out and volunteer. You know, I want to go to local churches and get Christian men to come out and volunteer with us. And so I just want you to record that. He said, Isaac, that's not going to work.

He said, you need to tell a story. And I said, what? He said, you need to tell a story. And so I am.

I wrote a script and I hired my little nephew and we went in and we did this little skit based on one of the first conversations I had with the kid that I visited one -on -one in the detention center. And lo and behold, when I did that video, I sent it to the Philadelphia Eagles.

and Michael Vicks people reached out to me and he ended up doing a public service announcement. At the end of this thing, he had come back from, he had been locked up for dog fighting from like 2007 to 2009 or something like that. And he came back and that year, he won comeback player of the year. He's an NFL quarterback for those who don't know.

and he was able to, he had a comeback year and coming off that comeback year, I just said, when his people contacted me, I tell people when I came to after fainting and came to crawl back to the phone, I said, hey, he could do just a PSA, just encouraging people to come out and volunteer with us. And he did that. So that showed me the power.

Jason Scott Montoya (16:05)


Issac Ingram (16:16)
of volunteering. I mean, that showed me the power of film, right? And when that happened, I was kind of like, what? What? And I remember telling him, he and I went to visit Congressman John Lewis in Washington, D .C. And I said, man, I said,

Jason Scott Montoya (16:18)

Yeah. Yeah. But it's all, you're him.

Oh wow.

Issac Ingram (16:45)
you doing this with me, man, has helped me realize that, I said, you know, I've had an idea. He was the first person, me and him were on the elevator together. You know what I'm I said, man, I'm telling you this, but I said, I think I'm gonna try to write a feature film. I said, inspired by what you did for me, you know what I mean? And...

Jason Scott Montoya (16:55)

Issac Ingram (17:10)
And I think I'm gonna really try that now. And I can remember saying that out loud, thinking to myself, well, I said, man, you just inspired me that much. You know what I mean? So that was great.

Jason Scott Montoya (17:16)

So what was it about him that inspired you?

Issac Ingram (17:30)
Well, you know what? I felt like he had this amazing God -given talent to play football, but just the culture that he was in, the people he was around, you know what I mean? He just fell into some bad things and I think it could happen to any of us. And so what...

Jason Scott Montoya (17:35)

Well, you know what's also funny is you mentioned Tony Dungey. Tony Dungey mentored him while he was in prison, right? Yeah.

Issac Ingram (17:53)
Exactly, exactly. And I really like that Tony Dungy reached out to him and did that. So, you know, it was really, really cool that he would, you know, do this with me, you know what I mean? Like, it was an amazing thing. And yeah, so once I did that, I was... And I think...

2014, I sat my wife down and I said, hey, babe. I said, look, I know I've never, you need to sit down for this. I know I've never made a script. I've never written a script before in my life, a feature film script, but I'm feeling like I want to tell, I got this story in me that I want to tell. And I said, look, you know, I'm working my day job. I said, hey, Tuesdays and Thursday night,

Jason Scott Montoya (18:28)
You need to sit down for this.

Issac Ingram (18:51)
if you would just allow me to go to the library like a second job and figure this thing out. And I think it took me about nine months and I finished my first draft of True Freedom as a feature film.

Jason Scott Montoya (18:54)

So tell us about that experience and what you learned from that project. Just writing the script, yeah.

Issac Ingram (19:11)
Oh man, just writing the script, just every day, man, just going and sitting and having all these characters in my mind and figuring out how to tell this story, outline this story, and then just studying the different ways that you can tell a story and trying to come up with the best possible way to do it in a structural way where,

Jason Scott Montoya (19:23)

Issac Ingram (19:41)
the beginning, middle, and end where you, at the end of the film, you can appreciate it. And you come out feeling like, wow, I did, you know, this was great. Yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (19:50)
Yeah, cool. And then when you finished this draft, was it any good or did you have to get help like making it better or was it a masterpiece from the get -go?

Issac Ingram (19:58)

Oh my gosh, I'm 17 drafts in and 10 years. So no, it's always a work in progress. But another great boost that I got was. So once I finished it, what I realized was I didn't realize how hard it is to get people to read your stuff. I mean, friends and family, because people are busy, you know.

Jason Scott Montoya (20:07)


Issac Ingram (20:32)
they're busy and everything. But it was a great experience to sit down and then kind of think through these characters and think through how to each scene, scene by scene to do that. So it really tests a lot of creative muscles on me.

Jason Scott Montoya (20:49)
Okay. All right, so you have this. Now you have volunteer somewhere, it falls in somewhere. Where does it fall in? Is that before or after the script?

Issac Ingram (20:55)
Yeah. So after I did the script, OK.

I was inspired by this song. I heard a song one day and I kept hearing the song and I said, you know what? I would love to, you know, this kind of a music video played out in my mind. And I said, well, you know, I'm probably not gonna do that. And so in 2017, Mr. and Mrs. Obama, they were completing their

their last year of being in office. And so they came to this call. They said, hey, send us your ideas. We don't want to just build a presidential library. Send us your ideas. We're out of office now, and we're part of the community. How can we help the community? Come up with any ideas that you guys have and send them to us. And so my idea was that I felt like,

A lot of people don't understand the power of volunteering and donating their time. And so my idea was that Mr. and Mrs. Obama and Mr. and Mrs. Bush come together and do a public service announcement encouraging people to volunteer somewhere in their local community. And I wanted to tell a story about a kid who gets locked up for vandalizing a bakery, but is positively impacted.

by a volunteer that comes into the detention center, a group of men who play and one that visits him one -on -one, he gets a breakthrough. And so, just to kind of show the power of volunteering. And so that's where I ask you to come on and.

Jason Scott Montoya (22:47)
And the star power I bring is just extraordinary.

Issac Ingram (22:55)
But it was wonderful. We did a shoot over 40 volunteers. The Lilburn Police Department, the DeKalb County Fire Department, all chipped in, all of these people. And so that's how Volunteer Somewhere came about. But what happened with Volunteer Somewhere gave me the confidence to try to do True Freedom as a short film.

Jason Scott Montoya (23:08)

So this small project kind of was a stepping stone to the bigger project.

Issac Ingram (23:23)
Yeah, because what happened was, I never will forget. So I went to work and on my lunch break, I asked two ladies, I said, hey, I've been volunteering at UTD students for years. Mr. and Mrs. Obama asked the public, sent in ideas, this is an idea I'm gonna send them, will you just take a look at this and tell me what you think. They both wept in front of me after they saw it. I was shocked.

I was like, maybe they were having a bad day. So the very next day, I remember I went to a cafe and I used to see, I saw this, I would always see this black and white woman, black woman and white woman, they were all be sitting together. And I would never, I had never talked to them before. And I said, hey, you guys are, you know, I said, hey, I just finished, I explained to them what I was doing. I said, could you guys take a look at this video and tell me what you think? They both wept at the end of.

Jason Scott Montoya (23:54)


Issac Ingram (24:22)
And I was kinda saying to myself, man, you know, well, if they did this off of five minutes.

music video that I did, right? Like...

maybe I could do a short film. You know what I mean? Like maybe I could truly do a short film. And that's how, I mean, that's what led me to going to try and do the short because I had to sit down and say to myself, okay, Isaac, why did you wanna tell this story? And because I was...

Jason Scott Montoya (25:01)
And what did Isaac say when you asked him that?

Issac Ingram (25:05)
And what I started saying is I'm seeing young people who've been abandoned and I want to try to tell this story in such a way where they might get it and they might become better men and women at the end of the film. It inspires them to become better men and women despite being abandoned, especially by their fathers. Does that make sense? Yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (25:31)
Yeah, yeah. It's actually funny you talking about the swirl framework and abandonment. I had someone I worked with last year, a client, and he described his experience growing up and it was like almost verbatim that scene and we'll talk about the scene you filmed first before you did the full thing.

Issac Ingram (25:56)
Mm -hmm.

Jason Scott Montoya (25:58)
that scene where the kid's waiting, he's hoping for his father to show up and he doesn't. But the scene, I actually sent it to him after he told me a little bit about his story because I was like, the scene you described is just like this other kid. It's such a, I guess it's just a human thing. It's evergreen, it transcends. When we have that sense, we all have that same longing and that hole in us, right? Yeah.

Issac Ingram (26:18)

Yes, absolutely, yes, yes, yeah, yeah. So after Volunteer Somewhere, I made the decision, I said, I'm gonna do this as a short, okay? So I wrote a script, a short script, and.

Jason Scott Montoya (26:45)
And when you thought short, it ended up being 30 minutes. Is that what you had planned or did you plan it being even shorter than that or longer?

Issac Ingram (26:50)
At first I just wanted to be like 15 minutes, right? And so I wrote the script and I got with the guys that I volunteer with and they said, Isaac, you gotta tell a beginning, middle and end. You can't leave it just, you gotta really do a beginning, middle and end where, you know, cause my, he was my thinking about it. I was like, I don't know if True Freedom will ever be a feature film, but what I could do is I could,

Jason Scott Montoya (27:05)

Issac Ingram (27:20)
do it as a short and I could donate it to mentoring programs where mentors could sit down with mentees and talk to them about abandonment so they might begin to heal. So I sat down with my guys, they were like, Isaac, you gotta tell. So when I told the beginning, middle and end, and they kinda helped me come up with, he needs to do this, and I wrote that.

It was amazing to me because we usually work with boys, right? So I did like three table reads and the table read is when you have a script, you go in, you give, say it's 10 kids sitting around. Each kid is a character and we read through the script, you know, and then, you know, you ask them, you know, what they think about it and those types of things. Little boys, they, you know, teenagers, they're not, especially boys, they're like,

Jason Scott Montoya (28:02)

Issac Ingram (28:17)
very surface level, you know, they wouldn't really say much about it. You know, they'd give me some feedback, right? But it wasn't until I had a friend who was mentoring the girls and I asked her to go in and do a table read with her and the little girls. And I promise you.

When we did that table read, those little girls were like, why did this happen? And why didn't he, why didn't she say this? And why, you know, and it's like, I was, it was so cool of me, along with my, well, my writing partner, Mr. and Ms. Niles Pankey, I was able to write that thing a whole lot better after getting their input, because little girls get abandoned too.

Jason Scott Montoya (28:45)

Issac Ingram (29:06)
and they feel some kind of way about it too. And so that scene you were talking about, like that helped me get through that scene as well.

Jason Scott Montoya (29:17)
So where did this idea to start with this scene, what was the catalyst for that? I mean, you have this short script, you made it better, and then I assume from that, then you went to this first scene? Or am I missing a piece?

Issac Ingram (29:29)
Yeah, so here's what I did. So it's a great question. So I didn't have enough money to do the whole short, right? So I raised.

Jason Scott Montoya (29:35)

And how much money did you think you needed to, when you first were starting?

Issac Ingram (29:42)
Well, I got with a friend of mine who is a great professional who had done volunteer somewhere with me. And I said, hey, that was all donation. It was just me donating to it. And everybody volunteering, right? And so I said, OK, listen.

Jason Scott Montoya (29:57)
Yeah, did you raise any money for that or was that all donation?

Yeah. And everyone just volunteering somewhere.

Issac Ingram (30:12)
you know, I want to pay people because I was blown away by people volunteering their time to do that, right? So, hey, I want to at least pay people for their time. And I came to him and say, hey, how much would it do? Would it be if we did it right? And that amount was thirty thousand dollars. Now, I'd never raised that kind of money whatsoever before. Right. So I was like, what? So but I said, hey, you know, you know, at least he's told me now, right? With the.

Jason Scott Montoya (30:18)


Issac Ingram (30:42)
you know, what the amount is. So I raised some money to do just the first scene, that first scene that you did show. So it was like it was like a thousand dollars. It's like like a thousand dollars. So, you know, and we did it. We did. And it was just it was just a really, really quick little scene. But what I wanted to do was capture the essence of it, of what what what I'm trying to do.

Jason Scott Montoya (30:49)
And how much was that for that first part?

Okay. Yeah.

Issac Ingram (31:08)
and why I came up with doing that scene, what was happening was, so I'd had the short film script. Like I would go to the library of colleges and pass out the script and say, hey, I'm here at the library till this time, this is just the short, can you read this and tell me what you think about this? This was just a short, it's just a short. It was the whole short, right? It was the whole short.

Jason Scott Montoya (31:22)

Was this the full script or just like a section? Yeah, yeah, okay.

Issac Ingram (31:38)
And I would say, hey, could you just read this? And the amazing part that was coming back to me was people were like, man, the scene on the very first scene, I remember waiting for my dad and him not showing up. And that's what started to resonate with me. You know what I mean? Like, wow, you know what I mean? Like that's, so I said, I at least need to do that as the beginning scene. I need to at least film that so people can kind of relate to what I'm trying to do so that maybe I can.

Jason Scott Montoya (31:51)
Oh wow.

Issac Ingram (32:08)
raise the rest of the money to do it.

Jason Scott Montoya (32:10)
Okay, yeah. So you have this scene from this scene to, was it just from, it was using that scene to raise the 30 ,000, which ended up being what, 50 ,000?

Issac Ingram (32:24)
Yeah, yeah. So what I did was I, so when I used that, when I got that scene done, what I would do, I said, okay, Isaac, it's now or never. I've got to just sit down and try to raise the money. It took me three years. It took me three years. I remember he gave me the budget back in 2018 and November, I mean, November, 2021 is when we start shooting.

So it took me that long to raise the money. But what was happening is when I would go to try to raise the money, when I do my presentation, I would show them that first scene. And they'd be like, wow. So one of the things I did was, I don't know. So Ambassador Andrew Young is a former mayor of Atlanta. And he's a gentleman who helped get the Olympics here.

in 1996 and he's a former ambassador to Mr. Jimmy Carter. He's a UN ambassador. And he's 91 now. So I went to him and asked him if he would do a voiceover to play the role of the mentor who's talking to the main character.

Jason Scott Montoya (33:29)

Oh wow.

Issac Ingram (33:53)
on the phone and he agreed to do it. But that's how I did it. I was able to sit down and show him what I was trying to do. So I showed him that first clip and the five phases of abandonment, you know, where I explained that. And he did it, you know. And so, and then, you know, more momentum comes from that. Hey, Ambassador Young has donated his voiceover. You know, I've got momentum. And then another...

Jason Scott Montoya (33:57)
Oh wow.

And he did it, yeah.

Issac Ingram (34:21)
company, H .J. Russell and company, they were the first company to say, hey, we'll donate to it. And then another company, and then I had about 7 ,000 raised. And then Etna CVS Health, the pharmacy company, when they came in and they saw it, I said, guys, I just, I wanna donate the film to mentoring programs. It's not about.

You know, I've been seeing a lot of pain over the years and with a video, you know, I explained to them this, there's, you know, at risk youth, there's three ways that the mentoring programs help, right? There's preventative mentoring programs that like, you know, big brothers, big sisters, 100 black men that's trying to, you know, prevent them from getting in trouble. There's,

Organizations like mine, Team Freedom Outreach, that's going into the Youth Detention Center and meeting kids in the darkest moments of where they are, right? So that's while they're there. And then there's programs that try to...

prevent recidivism, right? You know, like for them going back and get back in trouble type thing, right? And I was like, a film can help, can reach all three of those areas. You know what mean? Because, well, I see it two ways. So I remember sitting at CVS Health, they had a short film that they had done with first responders.

Jason Scott Montoya (35:45)

Yeah. And do you see that as like, cause it gives them hope or what, how do you.

Issac Ingram (36:08)
It was a, and they talked about how with mental health, let's see, if you saw, if you were first responder, you saw somebody literally get hit by a train, your brain can't unsee that, right? So you could say, hey, that just happened at work. I'm just gonna deal with that because that just happened at work. But your brain,

even though you try to compartmentalize it, it could be two or three weeks later, you could see a green car parked beside your house as you're coming home and it bring those memories back. And they said, hey, the one thing with counseling that you can do is if you go to a professional counselor, they can help you to help your brain kind of cope with that.

And being able to talk with someone about those types of traumas helps with things, right? But the one thing I did not see is I did not see anybody, any of the first responders actually go into a counselor and talk to one. And that gave me the idea, you know what? I need to write a role because there's a stigma, especially in minority communities, to go get counseling.

Jason Scott Montoya (37:11)
Yeah. Yeah.

Issac Ingram (37:36)
professional counseling because they you know, and I wanted to help stop that stigma.

Jason Scott Montoya (37:36)

Okay, yeah.

Issac Ingram (37:41)
So I reached out to Mr. Ward Dunn. Ward Dunn is a former NFL player who lost his mother when he was 18 years old. She was a police officer by day. He was the oldest of six. He was the oldest and he was about to enter his senior year of, about to graduate when his mother was killed. She was...

Jason Scott Montoya (38:08)

Issac Ingram (38:11)
shot in the line of duty. She was working two jobs. She was a police officer by day and working security at night. And Warwick went on to go to Florida State University. He became the first running back to run for a thousand yards, three consecutive years, and he made it to the NFL. But he talked about,

Jason Scott Montoya (38:37)

Issac Ingram (38:40)
I saw this clip where he talked about that it wasn't until he came to the Atlanta Falcons, he was six years in to his career. When he came to Atlanta Falcons, he started going to counseling and it helped. And he talked about how now he's been retired since 2009, but he's an advocate for counseling. So I reached out to his camp and said, hey, you know, I've written a role where the main character comes in to see a counselor.

Jason Scott Montoya (38:52)

Issac Ingram (39:10)
And I want to help him in his quest to get rid of that stigma. And lo and behold, he did it.

Jason Scott Montoya (39:20)
Yeah, so he was the one in it. And I assume, was that their offices as well?

Issac Ingram (39:23)
Yeah, so he was the one in it. Yeah, so he's the one in it. And so.

No, oh no, no, no, no. We actually filmed that at Victory, at Victory Church, at my church. Yeah, we did a little makeshift off the office and filmed it there. Yeah, yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (39:31)
His counseling office? Oh, okay.

Oh, OK. Yeah, yeah. OK.

Okay, yeah, yeah. Now, was it called True Freedom when you first wrote it, or did that change come about later? Yeah, yeah.

Issac Ingram (39:49)
has not changed, it's true freedom. Yeah, it's true freedom. And really it's a, Freeman is my main character and Truitt is the slave that he meets in the year 1860.

Jason Scott Montoya (40:03)
So give us the basic premise so people kind of understand what the story is about. Yeah, yeah.

Issac Ingram (40:08)
Okay, great, great, yeah. Two sentence log line of what the film is about. After his father abandons the family, a black kid grows up to build a time machine to save his mother. But when he ends up in the year 1860, the emotional insight begins when he brings a slave to the year 2014. And so, Freeman, the main character, and Truett, the slave who he brings to the year 2014, is kind of a...

play on that. But I came up with true freedom as a result.

Jason Scott Montoya (40:39)

Yeah, yeah. Okay, cool. Now tell us, I guess we'll split this into a couple different pieces here, but so you raised $50 ,000. Did you not film anything other than that first scene until you raised the full amount or were you raising as you were shooting?

Issac Ingram (40:58)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I raised a full amount. So I raised a full amount.

Jason Scott Montoya (41:02)
and tell us what you learned about that. Like what if someone else is like, I wanna do this. What tips would you give them? What advice would you give them on how to effectively fundraise for a short film?

Issac Ingram (41:12)
It's the hardest thing, one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. But I think you have to have a conviction and a passion and a true belief that this film needs to be put into the world. And I want to make a difference. I want to make a difference. So I think it's...

Jason Scott Montoya (41:16)
Ha ha ha.

Issac Ingram (41:40)
you've got to get used to the no's, you have to. And you can't let that get you down. You've got to let the one no fuel you for the next no to fuel you for the next no so that when you get the yes, you're thrilled. I mean, you're like, it's a miracle, right? But you really have to have that dogged persistence. Yesterday, it's like a thrill of my life.

there's a character in my feature film that I've always wanted to, I wanted to cast this guy to be in the film. And yesterday I got a chance to talk to him. He's been doing film and TV now for 23 years. And I want him to play the young, Freeman's younger brother in the feature. And just talking to him, I was saying to him, man,

I was like, this is like a dream come true. I said, man, every day that I think about true freedom, I think about you as the character and what you do. So it's surreal for me to be sitting here talking to you. And he was thrilled in the, he's agreed to come on to play that role, which is great to me, you know what mean? But I was like, you know, I just.

Jason Scott Montoya (42:53)

Yeah, yeah.

Issac Ingram (43:12)
you know, when you have that belief and part of the reason I brought that up is he said, he said, man, my agent said, Isaac, he said, man, hey, this guy, he contacted you first in 2015. And he's finished, he's finished a short film version of this. And he said, he said, when I saw the short film, he said, man, I was blown away. He said, let me talk to this guy. So, so that.

Jason Scott Montoya (43:25)


So it opened up a door, yeah.

Issac Ingram (43:40)
So it opened up a door. So that type of persistence, the point I'm trying to make is that type of persistence can go a long way. I had no idea. I mean, that's what they told him. This guy contacted us back in 2015 when he was thinking about doing this and he's got a short film version. And yeah, once they showed it to him, he said, man, he said, it was really good. He said, I'm really impressed. So.

Jason Scott Montoya (43:49)

Yeah, so having a strong conviction, being persistent, perseverance through the nose. Any other principles that you would convey in terms of the fundraising piece?

Issac Ingram (44:14)
I would say have a clear vision too. Be able to communicate your vision. Because when you get in there and you're able to communicate the vision, that can help you kind of communicate what needs to be done. I got a storyboard. I went to Fiverr and had them create a storyboard. So it's like when I would, for the whole, yeah, yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (44:17)



for the whole 30 minutes. Yep.

Issac Ingram (44:43)
for the whole thing. And this was just scenes, okay? It was like maybe, I think 15 slides or something like that. But it was just, it was kind of highlights, right? But I remember, you know, when I would go in and pitch, you know, doing it, when I would show those slides, the first thing they'd say is, wow, how'd you get those slides? You know, because.

Jason Scott Montoya (44:49)
Okay, so it wasn't everything, it was just kind of highlights. Okay.


Issac Ingram (45:11)
I think people want to know that you're giving it your all because if they're going to invest, they want to know that you're fully invested into it. You know what mean?

Jason Scott Montoya (45:15)
Oh, okay.

Yeah, they want you to demonstrate, they want to see clues to demonstrate that you're a conviction, right? Hey, I'm all in. I'm going down with the ship if it doesn't get across the sea.

Issac Ingram (45:29)
Right. I'm on it.

Right. And I think when they start seeing, hey, wow, this guy got a video, showing his first scene and what he's trying to accomplish with it. He's got a storyboard that shows everything. It starts to give them confidence that you can do it. And then the other thing was, and I didn't realize this.

What really sold it was sometimes it was I would at the end of it, I would show them volunteer somewhere.

the five minute video, you know, music video. And they'd say, man, that was great. You know, and it gave them confidence that I could do a good job with the short. Yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (46:16)

Yeah. So you're building, I don't know how intentional you were, but it's like you were building pieces of the puzzle and they came together at the right time for you to get to the next step, right?

Issac Ingram (46:30)
Exactly, exactly. Because with some success, then it builds on other success and other success. And so people, you get a track record. I mean, if Quentin Tarantino came into your office and said he wanted to do a movie, you may not fund it, but you're going to be all ears. Because he's got a great track record of being a great storyteller. Yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (46:48)
Yeah, yeah.

Yeah. So let's shift to the production side of it. What did you learn about producing and directing and did the writing have to be tweaked while you were shooting stuff? Tell us about the lessons you learned on the production side of things.

Issac Ingram (47:08)
Oh my goodness, man, the production side. So I had never directed before. Okay, so I had to learn about blocking and blocking scenes and making sure what camera angle is it gonna be at, where each scene, who's gonna stand where, what, but.

Jason Scott Montoya (47:25)
Yeah. And how old were you when you were doing this?

Issac Ingram (47:30)
Oh my goodness, I...

I was at the time, well this event, this is only, 2021 is when we got the money to do it. So that was two years ago, yeah, 48, yeah, yeah, yeah. So.

Jason Scott Montoya (47:41)
Okay, so 48. Okay, so I just, I wanna pause one moment here because I think a lot of people think they hit their 30s, they hit their 40s, they hit their 50s, and they're done. They can't do something like you're doing, but you're 48 and you're directing your first movie. So, do you have anything to say about that?

Issac Ingram (48:03)
Yeah, I mean, you know what? You know what? I think sometimes part of it is in your own head. Your own head, you're saying, I can't do this. You know, I remember going to the gentleman who had helped me do volunteer somewhere. And I said, hey, can you direct this? He said, I don't, I feel like you should direct it. And I was like, I've never directed before. He's like, well, that's the first time for everything. He said, I'll be right there with you, right? Making sure you don't, you know, you're not going to be completely totally on your own.

And I think you have the vision and if you have the vision, then it'll come out the way that you envisioned it. And I'm so glad he was humble enough to tell me that. And it gave me the courage to do it. And so in the production aspect, you've got to do all this blocking and there's a lot more that you, each script, on the script, you got to label it one, two, three scene.

Jason Scott Montoya (48:39)
Yeah, yeah.

Issac Ingram (49:01)
you've got to get people ready for the, you got to find out what actors need to be there. And this was around COVID, so everybody had to be tested. So it was maddening, bud. It was maddening, but it was truly, it truly opened my eyes to how you can really tell a story and you're not just doing it alone. You know, the set design people.

Jason Scott Montoya (49:10)
Yeah, oh yeah.

Issac Ingram (49:31)
You know, the wardrobe people, you have a vision, but I didn't know what everybody had on, what everybody was wearing. I didn't know what the production, you know, what the set looked like, that type of thing. And they would come alongside and say, hey, I've got an idea for this. How do you think this could work? And it comes together in that way. It's truly a collaborative thing, a movie is.

Jason Scott Montoya (49:58)
Yeah. Now, if you were mentoring someone that was, or if you rewind to past Isaac and you're giving him advice before he starts doing this on how to, you know, you've raised the money, here's how you could go about this production piece more effectively, you know, less waste, you know, get a better vision, better outcome. What would be some of the things you would tell yourself?

Issac Ingram (50:24)
I think I would tell myself that be patient and just trust the process because it's such a collaborative thing. We did like two rehearsals via Zoom. And I cast my vision and when I cast my vision and help people understand that

Jason Scott Montoya (50:42)

Issac Ingram (50:53)
I'm trying to truly do this so that a kid can open up about feelings of abandonment at the end of this and may want to possibly reconcile with a loved one that may have abandoned them or they would start thinking.

you know, get them to thinking about their life, right? And how can we tell this story in such a way where they could truly get it and truly see themselves reflected in the story or some things about the story? So I would tell people to really have the patience to, because it's a, there's a lot of moving parts to it, a lot of moving parts. And, but now I feel,

much more validated having gone through that process.

Jason Scott Montoya (51:46)
Yeah. So I want to talk about kind of the future of the project, but before I do that, let's talk about how you're using the 30 -minute film now and what you're trying to do through Team Freedom Outreach. So talk to us a little bit about more of that and how this is being used or is going to be used in mentoring. Talk to us about that. And whoever might be hearing this or watching it, they might be a good connection to

Issac Ingram (52:06)
Yeah. Yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (52:15)
to tap into this resource.

Issac Ingram (52:17)
Excellent, hey, and this is, I'm so glad you asked this. For all mentoring programs, no matter what your mentoring programs are, what I would love for you to do is go to...

TrueFreedomFilm .com. Go to screening and sign up for Screener. You can put your name and your email address in and what mentoring program you're working with. It will automatically send you the Screener where you could watch it. One of the first and largest organizations that their board approved it to be seen is the 100 Black Men organization. They've got like 10 ,000.

Jason Scott Montoya (52:54)
Yeah, okay.

Issac Ingram (52:58)
and volunteers that they worked throughout the country. Yeah, they definitely did. So their board approved it. But they work on a chapter basis, so I kinda need to go to each chapter and introduce it and show it and things like that. But that's my hope is that it could be used so that it could, and CVS Health Aetna, along with Mental Health America,

Jason Scott Montoya (53:01)
So they definitely went above the 100. They got above 100.

Okay, yeah.

Issac Ingram (53:28)
they kind of gave me a facilitator's guide where a facilitator could actually take a look. So someone that wants to use it in their program, they could use this guide to start spark questions and things like that. So that's how I definitely want it to be used. And churches could use it as well. They could use it as well. Any nonprofits that are wanting to use it to do some type of social impact.

Jason Scott Montoya (53:43)
Yeah. What about churches?

Issac Ingram (53:56)
but part of the goal is to stop the stigma of mental health counseling, professional counseling if you need it. And so that, I am so proud of the film. In fact, so when we finished the film, we got nominated for this award called the HAP Award, Hollywood African Prestigious Awards. It's out in LA, okay? And so.

Jason Scott Montoya (54:21)

Issac Ingram (54:25)
I was kind of like, you know, wow, something I'm a mentoring thing, you know, short film I'm doing for mentoring. But we got nominated. And so it's a black tie event. Me and my wife flew out to L .A. We had we were staying with my wife's relative and in going to the event, they said, OK, the nominees for best short film, I didn't know what they were, what the other nominees were. They said true freedom, my film.

Jason Scott Montoya (54:37)

Issac Ingram (54:54)
They named four other films and one of those films was Netflix's Oscar winning short film, Two Distance Strangers.

Now, when I heard that, I was thinking to myself, okay, it's great that we got nominated, we got to dress up, you know, type of thing, right? And when they said the winner is True Freedom.

Jason Scott Montoya (55:07)

Issac Ingram (55:16)
It's like I was a deer in the headlights. I was like, are you serious? When I got up to the podium, it's almost like I'm like, ah.

Jason Scott Montoya (55:17)

I wasn't - I didn't have a speech prepared. There's no way I could win.

Issac Ingram (55:31)
I was in shock. I was in real shock. But it wasn't until I got home to my wife's relatives and I said, hey guys, I said, I need you guys to watch Netflix's Oscar winning short film, Two Distance Strangers. I need you to watch that first before you watch my film, right? So she's a widower.

she's in her sixties and her son who's in his thirties who's just moved back to LA. They both watched To Distant Strangers and they both were like, listen, that's one of the best short films I've seen. I said, yeah, I said, I know, right? I said, I know. And they said, they said, man, I don't know how you won. And I, and I said, yeah, I said, so, so let me, let me show you mine. When I showed them my film,

Jason Scott Montoya (56:15)
Ha ha ha ha ha!


Issac Ingram (56:28)
At the end, they both were in tears. The two of them were in tears. And I was really shocked. But what made me more shocked was that, you know, their father did not want to die, right? But you can feel abandoned because of his death, right? And I realized that it's not about my film. It's about the way my film makes you feel.

Jason Scott Montoya (56:48)

Yeah, that's a really good point. Dive into that a little more.

Issac Ingram (56:58)
You know? So, so whenever, I mean, once I saw that, it was like it quickened in me that this is a bigger thing. And the other thing was, Etna CBS Health came to me and said, hey, we want to show our black employee resource group, the film, for Juneteenth. And I was like, okay, I said, okay.

Jason Scott Montoya (57:07)


Okay, yeah.

Issac Ingram (57:27)
said we wanna do it as a virtual screening. So we go in there to do it as a virtual screening. And as we're doing it as a virtual screening, they did a survey, five stars being the highest. CVS Health, and they came back to me afterwards and they said, Isaac, they put up a chart, they said, Isaac, they said out of five stars, they said,

Jason Scott Montoya (57:29)

Issac Ingram (57:55)
the average ranking on this thing was a 4 .78. They said, Isaac, that's the 95 percentile. And the comments were like, man, this thing was so beautiful. It was beautifully told. It it was it made me think about, you know, things that's happened in my life type thing. And so I'm really, really fired up about trying to make this a feature film because I want it to be an event film.

Jason Scott Montoya (57:59)

Issac Ingram (58:24)
people can go to and watch at the theater.

Jason Scott Montoya (58:24)
Yeah, yeah. So before we talk about that, one last question. You had this premiere, so it was the premiere that I attended. That's where I got this shirt here. What was that like? I mean, obviously you had the big event where you won the award, but the private event or the screening was more of a private thing. These are the people that were in the movie. How did that make you feel? What was that like?

Issac Ingram (58:36)
Yep, yep.

Yeah. Well, you know what? And I'm so glad you mentioned it. So when we did the screening, this is before the awards and all that, right? We did it at a theater, OK? About 100 or so people there, cast and crew, friends and family. So you hear, when I showed the film, when the people came out,

Jason Scott Montoya (58:54)

Issac Ingram (59:16)
they were like, man, this thing needs to be making a feature film. But I'm like, okay, they know that I eventually made it as a feature, wanted to make a feature film. Your friends and family are always gonna be in your corner. I kinda did not, I just thinking, hey, these are my friends. Of course they're gonna say it's good. Right, they're my friends, right? They want the best for me, they'll say it's good, right? And so,

Jason Scott Montoya (59:21)

Yeah, yeah.

Issac Ingram (59:45)
I kind of had an idea, it was good, but I still somewhat that self doubt of, okay, they're your friends. I mean, you know, that kind of thing. So when all that other stuff happened, I started realizing maybe I really do have something.

Jason Scott Montoya (59:53)

Yeah, yeah. You hit a... It's like you've... The way you describe it just makes me think you've hit this emotional nerve, particularly as it relates to your story, our society's history, how far we've come, where we're going. And, you know, in many ways, it feels like we're at this identity -based moment in our society's story. Like, who do we want to be? What's the story we want to tell?

What's the type of country we wanna be? Type of people and citizens we wanna be. And we're wrestling with this and we're kind of struggling with it. And I think your film has an interesting way of sort of capturing that tension and also maybe helping us to see the bigger picture, right?

Issac Ingram (1:00:50)
Yes, yes. And I think that that aspect of the thing is the sometimes we can get caught up into a lot of things that we feel like matter that really don't matter as much as the core thing, you know.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:01:04)
Yeah, yeah, and figuring out what is that core thing and sorting through it and going, actually, this thing is more important than that thing. I think that's really critical. So in a couple years, sometime in the future, I'm gonna be standing on this movie set for this feature film called True Freedom, right? What happened to get me into that moment? Tell me what needs to happen for that to happen.

Issac Ingram (1:01:07)
What is that core thing?

Yeah. Yeah.

Okay. Okay.

Well, I need to raise the money to do it or get a large streamer or someone to want to do it and promote it and do it. But right now it's about the funding and it's about getting the, I just spoke with a director that wants to come on to be a director, to direct a film.

They've done several projects that have been profitable. So now it's really about getting the right pieces in place so that we would film it all here in Georgia. It would be a beautiful thing to show how far we've come as the city of Atlanta, just how far we've come as a nation. So I am.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:02:24)
Yeah. And what kind of money are you talking about? How much are you trying to raise for this full feature? And how long is the feature are you estimating?

Issac Ingram (1:02:29)
Whew, well, you know what? Now, here's the thing. I got with a professional and I gave him my feature script. And I said, listen, this is not about how much I can raise. This is not about how much. Line by line, prop by prop, how much would it cost to film this thing to do it right? Not to just do it, to do it right.

because you can come up with all type of budget to do it all different types of ways. Yes. And when he said $7 million, when I came to, he came back with an 80 page budget of $7 million. And we may have to do it for less than that. I'm not, but that was the goal because I said,

Jason Scott Montoya (1:03:00)
Yeah, you wanted a good starting point that was anchored in reality. Yeah, yeah.


Yeah, but that's the goal. And how long is that?

Issac Ingram (1:03:26)
how long is the, the length of feature is two hours long. Yeah, estimated two hours long. Yeah, two hours, seven million dollars. And the thing about it is, you know, they're only in slavery about 20 minutes of the two hour movie. But I, cause I want to explore fatherlessness, if you will, in the film. And so,

Jason Scott Montoya (1:03:29)
Feature, estimated. Okay, so two hour movie, $7 million.

Issac Ingram (1:03:55)
I just wanted to.

You know, the film itself is a beautiful film that plays in my mind every day, but how can we get this big stack of paper to actually become a feature film? And that's where I am right now, trying to figure that out.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:04:12)

And so what is, I mean, this is, so you raised 50 ,000, now that seems like pennies compared to this. So if someone hears this, sees it, is interested in getting involved, whether it's connecting you with someone or maybe they are interested, maybe they're an investor that has funds to help, what would be the best way for them to move forward with that exploration?

Issac Ingram (1:04:42)
Oh yeah, if they could go to truefreedomfilm .com and sign up for the screener or the contact information on there and they can send it to me and we can have that conversation. Because I'm definitely interested in having someone help me come alongside with me. Because this is not, you know,

I'm just a regular guy, right? I'm just a regular guy. I just, you know, I came up with this idea to do it, you know, being, you know, trying to do my nonprofit. And I just think this could be a wonderful way that we could tell a great story and get people to go get mental health counseling if they need it. So, you know, I'm looking forward to with this company trying to go out and get.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:05:14)

Issac Ingram (1:05:40)
others to join up with us so that we can come up with a really good package to raise the $7 million.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:05:45)
Yeah. And is this the type, do you have any idea on how that type of money is raised in terms of like, is it a bunch of individuals that kind of, you get a bunch of them to contribute or are you looking for like a production company or a studio that, or?

Issac Ingram (1:05:59)
I would love a production company or studio or high net worth individual, right? High net worth individuals that could do it. Because I definitely want to, when you talk about a profitable movie, you're talking about a for -profit venture. And I definitely have a great vision to not only do the film, but get the film to be possibly profitable. But over 96 % of feature,

Jason Scott Montoya (1:06:04)
Yeah, okay.

Issac Ingram (1:06:29)
films do not make their money back, right? So about, you know.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:06:31)
Yeah. But most of them are not this $7 million budget. The movies that are lower budgets tend to have a lot more profitability than the ones that, right?

Issac Ingram (1:06:40)
Well, yeah, but I mean, even those, it's very, very difficult to make your money back, right? And so that's a sincere reality of what we're doing. It's a very sincere reality of what we're doing. However, if a studio or a streamer wanted to do it, it's not as much of a risk for them. Yeah. Yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:06:45)
Hmm. Yeah.

Got it.

Got it. Versus if someone's wanting to invest and really get a certain type of profit, they're probably not the best fit because you want someone that's willing. That's really got the conviction for getting the message out more than the profit, right? Yeah.

Issac Ingram (1:07:14)
Correct, so it's really more about the message. It's about helping with this message because, you know, one of the striking things, if you see my trailer, the main character is at, he's at a counselor's counseling office. You know, you don't see that every day. Right? And so, you know, it's kind of a striking thing.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:07:32)
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, we need the Counseling Association of America to go ahead and fund this project right now.

Issac Ingram (1:07:41)
Yeah, yeah, put the plugs in there. But yeah, because I think once you once you start getting that, you know, you want it to be a mainstream conversation and then not be a stigma around it. And doing something like this helps to because, you know, there's a lot of people who've been through a lot of trauma, everyday trauma, you know what I mean? And it's nothing wrong with going and getting seeking and getting professional health counseling.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:07:54)
Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah. Well, we've talked about a lot of things. What else do you want to share that you didn't get a chance to share so far?

Issac Ingram (1:08:18)
Hey, just the fact that I guess the main thing I really want to say is this, this has been a labor of love. Sometimes you have to step out on faith, right? Dr. King said this, he said, faith is taking the first step when you don't see the whole stairwell.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:08:43)

Issac Ingram (1:08:47)
I stepped out on faith and wrote a script, you know, and from there, 10 years later, I'm still plugging along, but now I have an award -winning short film. You know, this is how I look at it. 40 ,000 feature films get copyrighted every year.

Okay, of those 40 ,000, I mean, 8 ,000 short films get made every year and are accepted into film festivals, okay? But of those numbers, how many of them have an award -winning short film that beat an Oscar winner, right? Of those, how many of those have been seen by a Fortune 50 company, right?

Jason Scott Montoya (1:09:31)

Issac Ingram (1:09:38)
and given a ranking in the 95 percentile. So I realized that, you know, there are steps to this and I've got to be able to show someone that this can be something that they could truly have and it could truly be a win.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:09:56)
Yeah, yeah, you've got the cards stacked in your favor. Well, thank you so much for sharing about your story and the things you learned. Anything else?

Issac Ingram (1:10:01)
Well, thank you so much. Thank you so much.

That's it. Thank you so much. I appreciate it, OK?

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