Jimmy Gentry Film Debut
Film Debut Benefits Franklin Cinema
"An American Adventure—-The Living Legacy of Jimmy Gentry”, a documentary film on the life and times of Franklin’s own Jimmy Gentry, will be premiered Friday, Feb. 15 and Saturday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Fourth Avenue Church of Christ. Tickets are $10 each and all proceeds benefit the Save The Franklin Theater campaign, according to Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation.
“Jimmy Gentry is larger than life, both on and off the football field. He has had an incredible journey. This new film documents the story of a young man going off to war, his experiences in that war and the legacy he came back home to create here in Franklin,” says Pearce.
The film will be available for distribution in February from Franklin Springs Family Media.
The two-evening premier offers the Heritage Foundation an opportunity to raise much needed funds for the reclamation of the Franklin Theater.
“Jimmy Gentry is a preservationist to the bone. He is one of our biggest supporters on the Save the Theater campaign. It’s fitting that he has offered the premier evenings as a benefit to the Heritage Foundation’s efforts,” she said.
“You can’t spend much time in historic Franklin, TN before learning about the legendary Jimmy Gentry”, said the film’s co-producer, Mark Stubblefield. “His legacy – one that’s built around his remarkable character – has a big reach”.
The subject of Gentry’s profound impact on his local community held great appeal for the film’s producer/director, award-winning filmmaker Ken Carpenter.
"I first met Jimmy Gentry while visiting his family’s farm with my wife and children. We came to befriend Mr. Gentry in a way that I hope family’s do as they get to know him through this film. He’s an extraordinary man in the sense that he embodies the simple treasures of life in a rare – and very appealing – way”, said Carpenter.
Through high-definition videography and cinematic narrative, “An American Adventure — The Living Legacy of Jimmy Gentry” traces the life of Gentry from his Depression-era boyhood in historic Franklin, TN, to his military service in WWII, to his life-altering experience as one of the first liberating soldiers through the gates at the infamous Dachau concentration camp, to his over 50 years as a renowned high school football coach.
An American Adventure examines the intersection of Gentry’s faith, his family upbringing, the historical village of Franklin, TN, and the impact Gentry has had in both private and public sectors.
“I hope this story can be seen as one similar to hundreds of others in towns across American during this time in history. I hope it helps those of the older generation to reminisce, and the younger generation to see what life was like then,” said Gentry about the project.
Gentry Farm plays a key role in the film. In Gentry’s family for over 150 years, the farm draws thousands of individuals and families to Franklin, TN each year for festivals, child camps, and community events that Gentry extends to the community.
“I am looking forward to this documentary, because I think it is going to be a time where the town of Franklin can have a homecoming of sorts. People that I have not seen for many years can come back and experience the town of Franklin and the memories that shaped it. I look forward to the reunion the film provides,” said Gentry.
Filming for the documentary took Gentry back to Dachau, Germany for the first time since World War II to visit the concentration camp that he helped to liberate 62 years ago.
“It is so important to remember that this was his first time to go back since the war”, said Stubblefield. “I can’t imagine the swell of emotion that must have been going through his mind. But he understands that over twelve-hundred veterans pass away each day from the WWII generation, and that he has a responsibility to tell the stories to the next generation while there is still time.”
The filmmakers believe that Gentry’s inspirational story will appeal to a wide range of viewers. "My greatest hope for the film is that an examination of Jimmy Gentry’s life will inspire audiences to aspire to that which is most honorable, most noble,” said Carpenter, the film’s director. “He’s a heroic character in his unwavering commitment to that which is right, that which is true. He values the things that matter."
“The film teaches us to remember where we came from, and the great importance and joy of living a life of steadfast character,” said co-producer Stubblefield. “We look forward to sharing it with the community of Franklin and around the nation”.
Carpenter is an award-winning filmmaker who has worked in the mediums of film, television and music video. He is completing work on a new John Tesh PBS television special, as well as 13 episodes of a new human-interest television show with Joni Eareckson Tada. Carpenter garnered a 2007 Dove Award for the long form video, Amy Grant – Time Again.
Since founding Franklin Films in 1994, Carpenter’s faith-based clients have included projects for Michael W. Smith, Max Lucado, PAX TV, Steven Curtis Chapman, eHarmony, Jeremy Camp, Compassion International, Casting Crowns, The Gideons, dcTalk, and Big Idea Productions, among many others.
“An American Adventure — The Living Legacy of Jimmy Gentry” will be available at FranklinSprings.com February 15th. A trailer is viewable online at www.franklinsprings.com.
Tickets are available at The Heritage Foundation located in the rear of the downtown Franklin Post Office, Williamson County Visitors Center located at Dr. McPhail’s Office on East Main Street, Battle Ground Academy, Brentwood Academy or on the web at www.historicfranklin.com and at all Williamson County Recreation Centers. All proceeds from the premier will benefit Save the Franklin Theatre.
Coach Gentry says “I am looking forward to the documentary premier because I look at it as a homecoming for me and the friends I have had over the years. Many of those friends have memories both Franklin natives and friends who moved to Franklin have fond memories of the Franklin Theatre”.