Director Judd Brannon On How the New Movie "The Champion" Re-Evaluates Our Relationships


Coming on DVD and VOD on November 7 is the release of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment's The Champion. The film revolves around the story of dirt track racer Sean Weathers. Sean was at the top of his unstoppable career, scores of fans, and an adoring daughter. When a rivalry with another racer turns personal, the ego that propelled him to success causes a tragedy, sending his life into a tailspin.

Jack Reed was attempting to make up for past mistakes. He had prospered as a businessman but failed as a family man.  In a sudden turn of events, his chances for reconciliation are ripped from his grasp.

Sean and Jack's lives collide and an unexpected bond forms between them.  Working through a painful journey of healing together, they each learn about second chances and the true freedom only forgiveness can offer.

Director Judd Brannon (WAR ROOM) sets this story of forgiveness to life. Judd Brannon has had the opportunity to direct and produce multiple video projects. His music video "For Freedom," featuring the music of Avalon, and was selected to be a part of Sean Hannity's "Freedom Tour." His recent projects include working on the Kendrick's feature film "War Room." Currently, Judd serves the people of First Woodstock in Atlanta, GA where he is the staff video producer. Judd is thankful for the support of his wife and two boys. 

Q:  Judd, thank you for your time.  In a few sentences, what is this new film "Champion" about?

Champion is about two men's journey as the learn how to forgive themselves and forgive each other, set against the exciting backdrop of dirt-track racing!

Q:  What first attracted you to this script and story?

God put this story on my heart about 5 years ago.  My desire was to reach people with God's message of Forgiveness  I feel that the foundation of the gospel is forgiveness.  Before we can accept the gift of salvation we must understand that first we need to be forgiven and second the God is offering to forgive us.  Champion is story of being forgiven and forgiving.  I wrote the original storyline and through a partnership with Missy Reedy and Sarah Inabnit to develop the script.

Q:  As director, what has been the favorite part of the movie thus far?

I think one of the coolest parts was seeing how everyone rallied together to make this film. The generosity of the community was overwhelming.  So many people donated their time and talents.  Almost half of the crew and cast were volunteers that shared the passion for making this film.  Sunday School classes at First Baptist Church of Woodstock donated snacks and water bottles to help keep the crew energized on the hot July days on the set.  Hundreds of people from the community came out to help as background cast (extras) throughout filming.  Almost 25 restaurants sponsored meals for the 50+ crew.  It is always amazing to see the body of Christ at work.  God has blessed us all with gifts, and it was a beautiful coordination of those gifts that came together to make this movie. 

Q:  What about the most challenging part? 

I love the art of movie making and was so excited about filming this summer.  While it was thrilling experience, it was one of the most challenging things that I have every done.  I learned much about patience, endurance and humility.  Every day presented new obstacles with weather, health issues, budget, and much more.  There was a constant temptation to be distracted by those challenges and not focus on all the many ways that the production was going well. So I would have to answer's all challenging, but you continue because you believe in what you are doing makes a difference!

Q:  One of the major themes of the movie is forgiveness. Why is this important?

Forgiveness is something that people at every stage of their spiritual walk need to be reminded of.  The lost need to recognize their need for forgiveness and know that God has His arms open wide just waiting to offer that forgiveness.  Christians too often harbor unforgiveness for those that have wronged us.  There are offenses that just seem unforgivable.  My prayer is that CHAMPION will stir the hearts of unbelieving viewers to accept God's forgiveness for the first time and to convict Christian viewers to recommit to a spirit of forgiveness of others.  My God is big, and my goals are big.  I want CHAMPION to be a tool to change hearts and lives for eternity.

Q: Foster care is featured in the film.  Why was that an important subtopic to explore in the movie?

Foster care is also an important part of this movie.  We have been blessed to be foster parents and have witnessed the amazing power of caring for children in difficult situations.  Champion illustrates how Christian families can help other families heal by living out James 1:27.

Q:  Why should anyone see "Champion"? 

I think that Champion has a lot to offer: It's has exciting Racing action, humor, great acting, but most importantly a story that will challenge you to think about your relationships and how you can introduce forgiveness into your life!

Q:  What does this movie mean to you and your own personal journey? 

God gave me the vision for Champion.  He provided for every need along the way in amazing and often surprising ways.  My personal faith grew as I faced challenges and found that often the only thing I could do was get down on my knees. I always found that God answered.  I pray that viewers will connect with the characters and recognize their own need for forgiveness and the love God offers.  I was encouraged to already hear the impact of Champion as a church leader that previewed the film shared that her heart was convicted through the film to reconcile a long lost relationship with her father; that is exactly what God had planned.  Champion uses the language of today's culture, "movies," to reach people with a message that will change their lives. 

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