WATCH: DeVon Franklin Shares His Passion for Bringing Inspiring Stories to the Big Screen


Courtesy of OWN
Courtesy of OWN

DeVon Franklin is the filmmaker behind the hits “Karate Kid,” “Heaven is for Real” and “Annie.” But his passion for bringing these inspiring stories to the big screen comes from the pages of his life.

This “behind-the-scenes” movieman graces magazine covers. He’s married to actress Meagan Good. He is also a minister, who has been preaching since he was 15-years-old. And that is a rarity in Hollywood entertainment circles.

“The Bible consistently — God consistently puts his people in perceived difficult environments, perceived dark environments and perceived challenging environments because what better way for him to get the glory than for his people to succeed in environments where people think it is not possible,” Franklin noted in a recent interview with CBN News.

Succeeding against the odds is a familiar script for Franklin whose personal story begins in the San Francisco area. He and brothers Donald and David grew up the children of hard-working, childhood sweethearts.

“My father took a job at UPS. He was making his way up the corporate ladder. And all the while, we had what people would perceive as the American dream,” Franklin said recalling those childhood days.

“But then, of course, with any great story, conflict comes. And one of the great conflicts was my father was an alcoholic,” he continued. “And as part of trying to keep up socially with his peers and counterparts at UPS, he started drinking.”

That drinking derailed dad’s dreams and Franklin’s childhood.

“It went from a few nights of not coming home to weeks of not coming home, to not being able to hold down the job, to losing the job, to losing the house to losing everything,” Franklin recalled. “We had to to move out of the home and move in with my grandparents. They had to sleep in the motor home at night because there wasn’t enough room in the house.”

The burden of holding the family together fell on Franklin’s mom.

“It was very traumatic, even through all of this, I never looked at him as less than a man, as less than my father,” he said. “I just recognized that he was going through something and had a disease that was bigger than him. And my mother never spoke poorly about him.”

Things appeared to be changing for the boys and their father when Franklin turned 9.

“He got his life back together. He got back in the church. And he had a heart attack,” he continued. “He had had a heart attack. He was in the hospital. He had gotten off alcohol, gotten off cigarettes.”

“We went to go visit him, and he was saying, ‘When I get out of here, I am coming back and we are going to get this family back together.’ And we were like, ‘Great.’ And then the very next day, we got that call, right after school that he had another massive heart attack in the hospital and they could not revive him.”

“We go and we see him in the morgue and my mom says, ‘Kiss your dad goodbye,'” he said. “And so that moment, you can’t quite process what’s happening because as a kid you are like, where is God in all of this? And what am I supposed to think and feel?”

Franklin turned to the church and to movies for comfort from the pain. He was inspired by films like “The Color Purple,” “Rocky” and “Back to the Future.”

Click here to read more.

Efrem Graham

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