Sold out at Damm Theater for Sunday; has local connection
Film portrays life of late Christian singer
Osgood will be one of the theater sites for the opening of a new movie. It’s called “Ragamuffin” and is about the true life of Rich Mullins, a Christian vagabond singer/musician from Indiana who was killed in a tragic car accident at the age of 41. What’s unique about the movie other than it’s subject is it’s been shot in Indiana, among other places, and you may even spot a local face! Rev. Bob McCreary has a very small role; he’s in some concerts and a birthday scene but his only movie dialogue is on the cutting room floor. McCreary and his church, the Holton Christian Church, is responsible for bringing the independent film to the Damm Theater. It was his friendship with Dove award-winning Christian contemporary singer Mitch McVicker, who plays himself in the movie, that led to his church hosting “Ragamuffin.” The March 9 showing sold out early last week, and they added another showing for April 27 at 6 p.m.
Pictured: On the movie location set, from left, actor Mike Koch as Rich Mullins, Mitch McVicker, director/actor David Schultz and Ryan Bodie.
Hundreds of churches and organizations are hosting the movie as it opens across the country through the end of May. Already, 15,000 people have seen it, and reviews have been good. The movie will go on DVD in late summer and will be available at Wal-Mart. Ticketholders are also asked to bring nonperishable food to be given to the local food pantries. A warehouse in Osgood stores the goods to be distributed to the pantries in the region.
“It’s a huge blessing to be a part of the movie,” McCreary said. “I’ve always been a Rich Mullins fan.” His friendship developed with McVicker, who is also from Indiana and a Mullins fan, both musically and spiritually. McVicker is a well-known Christian contemporary singer who collaborated and toured with Mullins in the late ‘90s. McVicker was in the car with Mullins that was hit by a semi in Kansas that killed Mullins. He was in a coma with a collapsed lung, many broken bones, plus brain and eye injuries, but recovered with minor residual effects, he told Ripley Publishing in a phone interview. He doesn’t have survivor guilt. “I don’t feel bad for Rich. In one instance all he tried to achieve was attained. He’s in communion with God. Actually, as I thought about it, I feel guilty for not feeling guilty,” McVicker said.
McVicker has seen the feature-length movie and was surprised at how much he liked it. “It’s anything but hokey. It’s maybe too authentic. It talks about addictions and human struggles,” he said. McCreary feels the same about the film, and says it’s more on the line of a biopic like the more recent Johnny Cash or Ray Charles movies, showing human flaws and struggles. “Christian movies can be flaky, but it shows his love of Christ. And you see his faults, with addictions like alcohol and his bad relationship with his father. Rich was unique and gifted, and left a lasting impression. He’s fascinating. He was outspoken, very beloved.” He was also humble, preferring a trailer instead of a mansion for home. Mullins made hundreds of thousands of dollars from his profession, but instructed his staff to never tell him how much he made “so he wouldn’t be tempted.”
David Schultz, also from Indiana, is the producer of the film. While he didn’t know Mullins personally, he said, “I would not have become a Christian if not for Rich Mullins in my life,” he said, noting he was his hero since he was 13 years old. This is his first movie to produce, but he has acted in 15 movies with some big names like Burt Reynolds. A comedian and writer, he now lives in Orange County, California. Why this story, this movie? He concedes if Mullins was around today he would not be thrilled a movie was being made about his life. “But it’s not a glorification of Rich. The point is Jesus as our Savior. I actually think if he was here he’d get a kick out of it.” He’d like that is gritty, even dark at times. After all, so is the Bible, Schultz said. “The love of God is redemptive. Rich was all about Jesus.”
He wants people to walk away from the movie knowing Mullins better, but even more so, Jesus. The movie message is love, he says. “I want them to know Jesus loves them, and believe it,” Schultz said.
McVicker said of the movie, “I want the audience to feel in one sense for one hour and 45 minutes escapism, or relief, or relieved from stress…to give more hope, that Jesus is working in them, regardless of their goodness or badness.”
Tickets will be available for the April showing by calling McCreary at 812-363-4502, or if it doesn’t sell out, at the door.
About Rich Mullins
Rich Mullins, as the trailer for the movie says, is a prodigy musician who rose to Christian music fame and fortune only to walk away and live on a Navajo reservation. A lover of Jesus and a rebel in the church, Rich refused to let his struggles with alcoholism, addiction, and women tear him away from a God he was determined to love. As he wrestled with success in Nashville, and depression in Wichita, Rich became one of the first of his time amidst a culture of religion and conformity.
He was 41 when he was killed in an automobile accident.