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Meet Owen Hisle of Upon This Rock Films and UTR Films in Aurora

Today we’d like to introduce you to Owen Hisle.

Owen, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born, Owen Demill Hisle Jr, in Kentucky during the early morning of February 14th, 1960. My father, Owen Demill Hisle Sr (now deceased), was originally from Kentucky. My father moved to New Jersey when he was 21 and it was there he met and married my mother. My father worked as a concrete laborer. My mother, Francis Catherine Gallicchio (now deceased), was originally from New Jersey. My parents moved back to New Jersey when I was a year old because my mother got homesick. My grandparents (Bernard and Sarah Gallicchio – my mother’s parents) migrated to New Jersey from Sicily, Italy in the early 1900’s so I am the second generation born on American soil.

I was raised and grew up in New Brunswick, New Jersey from the age of one up until my 18th birthday. My uncles (on my mother’s side) were mostly rough, tough Italians who worked as car mechanics, construction workers, concrete laborers, and tractor-trailer drivers. I mostly hung out with two of my uncles (Bobby and Nick; my mother’s brothers), helping them with the cars they worked on and riding along with them during their tractor-trailer road trips. I also worked as a construction laborer during the summer months when school was out. I am the oldest of four (Me, Greg, Liz, and Gwen).

I always loved watching movies on TV and going to the cinema to watch even more movies. Movies were my enjoyment where I could live another life, even if it were only for two short hours. I knew at a very young age that I wanted to be an actor someday.

In 1978 at the age of 18, just after graduating from High School, I left New Jersey and headed for Kentucky to locate my father’s family, which I never really knew. I ended up traveling 1000 miles from New Jersey. After being away for one year, I went back to New Jersey to live with my grandmother for a while. I hitch-hiked the 1000 miles back to New Jersey.

I stayed in New Jersey from 1979 until 1983. In 1983 at the age of 23, I left New Jersey a second time and headed towards the mid-west. I was gone for one year. In 1984 I went back to New Jersey and again I hitch-hiked another 1000 miles (by this time, I had now hitch-hiked a total of 2000 miles). In 1984 I joined the United States Army (Infantry). Because it was known by many of my Military NCO’s & Officers that I wanted to pursue an acting career, I had the awesome opportunity to work OJT (On The Job Training) outside my regular assigned MOS (Military Occupational Skill), 11-Mike (Infantry), as a film photographer, film camera operator and film director for various military missions, as an assistant director to the director for plays the military put on for soldiers, and as a Chaplain’s Assistant. My intentions were to serve 20+ years in the military, retire and then allow my military retirement funds to help me in pursuing an acting career.

In 1994 while serving a one-year tour in Korea for the military, I sustained a severe back injury when I was crushed by a Bradley (also known as an Army Tank for you civilians). I was placed in the medical hold in 1994 for one year, had major 10-hour spine surgery in 1995, spent almost one and a half years post-surgery learning how to walk all over again, and was honorably medically discharged from the Army in July 1996.

In September 1996, just two months after being honorably medically discharged from the Army and only serving a total of 12 years, which was thought to end up being a hopeful 20+ years, the Veterans Association asked me if I’d like to earn a four-year degree of my choice and they would pick up the entire tab (any major, any college, any location, all tuition, all books, all supplies paid and even tax-free money to live off of each month while in college). Although I had my heart set on becoming an actor, I made a wise choice by taking the V.A. up on their generous offer and majored in Computer Information Systems, Computer Technician Specialist, and Website Development due to the fact I started tinkering with computers two years prior to 1996 and computers would be a good thing to fall back on and use while pursuing an acting career. I went to college for the next three years and graduated one year earlier in 1999 on a fast track program.

In 1999 just shortly after graduating from college, I moved to Colorado. From 1999 to the present day, I have worked in Colorado and various other US States with-in the IT Industry as a Professional PC/Break Fix Hardware/Software/Website Developer Tech, was a Supervisor/Manager for various Computer Repair Chop Shops

In 2001 I took an assessment of my life and where I was, at that time. With the military and college behind me and since I was single and really had no ties or other obligations attached to my life, I felt it was as good a time as any to pick up where I left off and continue pursuing my acting career. In July 2001, I gave my current employer and landlord a 30 days notice, sold everything I owned, then in August 2001, I hopped on a Greyhound bus and headed for Oklahoma to start pursuing my acting career.

From August 2001 to December 2005, I traveled to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Austin Texas, San Antonio, Texas (I hitch-hiked 400 miles from Oklahoma to Texas – By this time, I had now hitch-hiked a total of 2, 400 miles), Portland, Oregon, and Indiana working and training full time as a professional film actor. In that time, I had the awesome opportunity to train with some of the best actings coaches the film industry offered (Michelle DeLong, Pato Hoffmann, Donise Hardy, Van Brooks, Kristy Martin, Toni Cobb Brock, the late Jimmy Zerda, and Norm Silver), attended hundreds and hundreds of auditions, was cast in many independent films, had numerous roles, worked with some of Hollywood’s famous named actors (Luke Wilson, Terry Crews, Dax Shepard and, William Hurt) as well as directors and production companies (Corpus LLC & Content Films-Director James Marsh, 20th Century Fox-Director Mike Judge, Roach Productions-Director Jay Roach).

In December 2005, I permanently moved back to Colorado to work and continue on with my film acting career. I started out as an extra, worked my way up the proverbial film ladder taking on more challenging film roles as a multi-award-winning lead actor.

In 2013 my film production company, Upon This Rock Films, was born. From 2013 to the present day Upon This Rock, Films has written, produced, and directed three multi-award-winning short film projects. UTR Films is currently gearing up to make our new first full feature film – ONE OTHER ELIMENT (Eliment is spelled incorrectly for a good reason for the film), which will go into the theaters, and on Netflix and Amazon Prime. ONE OTHER ELIMENT (2021-2023, preprod-postprod). Upon This Rock Films’ future goal is to eventually do the professional Hollywood-Red Carpet thing but, from Colorado.

Today, I live in beautiful Colorado with my beautiful wife Thesa (she’s from the Phillipines), continuing to work as a professional multi-talented award-winning filmmaker, and I have been blessed with the fan base UTR Films has built so far (and still growing), with just the right Crew-Team thus far (will always interview for more) who are always willing to be part of all UTR Films projects, and a great small circle of professional actors who always love portraying a UTR Films character because UTR Films puts out unique stories with unique characters which require professional, trained correctly, passionate, and movies are their life – Actors And Actresses (we’ll always need more).

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have learned in the last 19.5 years as a professional filmmaker that following your goal for success is a climb. I have learned and experienced myself that it’s also a journey (we can choose to make it a great journey). This wonderful film industry is lifelong and built with undulating and unpredictable ups and downs. Remember, success is always built upon risk, change, and personal development. My journey thus far has taught me to cope with failure. I have learned to get up anyway and to push myself onward towards my dreams, and in doing so I help others pursue their dreams as well because they help me; we all choose to learn to help each other – help each other. I have seen many start their journey with pie-in-the-sky, smooth-road ideals, yet, success is rarely, if ever, that type of journey. I have found and am applying this to my film profession, If I want to succeed, I must have the resilience to face the inevitable.

1. I will feel pain (I have).
2. I will want to give up prematurely (almost did).
3. I will lose relationships (already have).
4. Many have tried to discourage me (they still try).
5. I will be hated for no reason (hasn’t stopped).
6. I will doubt myself (been there done that).
7. I will fail (and I have).
8. But I know it will all be worth it.

I have a saying which is my personal quote created from years of personal experience in the film industry – “Acting and/or Filmmaking is like therapy, at some point, you have to put into action what you have learned, the more you use it, the better you will become.”

Please tell us about Upon This Rock Films and UTR Films.
UTR Films is a ministry first, to help mankind for the glory of God. Can’t speak for every Christian who’s part of UTR Films, what, if, and/or how their able to help However, where we as Christians aren’t able to provide, we go into prayer, then God shows up providing another way. Upon This Rock, Films is a multi-award-winning Faith-Based / Family Friendly film production company which was founded in 2013 by its multi-award-winning President, & CEO, Owen Hisle. Upon This Rock, Films is located in beautiful Aurora, Colorado. Our goal is to make professional high-quality, Faith-Based / Family Friendly movies that, yes – are Faith-Based – however, we welcome all cast and crew regardless if their Faith-Based or not. UTR Films film projects are about taking risks, challenges, chances by pushing the envelope in creating films with a genuine risk-taking real-life approach {more real-life bad, and ugly} (not just the good and different), with a get-in-your-face real-life Jesus message, however, also making sure we maintain that audience entertainment value

Upon This Rock Films vision is to bring together all talented cast and crew within Colorado (as well as out of state when funding allows) to make Faith-Based / Family Friendly movies. We will all work together as a team. As time goes on, all of our own film industry experiences will reveal to each one of us what our individual talent and niche is and what Jesus wants us to individually, as well as collectively, bring to the movie-making table, and reveal to each one of us our strengths and weaknesses, make our strengths stronger, turn our weaknesses into strengths, provide us with new tools, or sharpen the ones we already have

What are you most proud of?
1) Here’s a powerful story concerning ‘Broken Clay’ in a nutshell. The original full feature Broken Clay movie was filmed in 2018. During Editing, many of the video files were found to be lost and broken. This was so heartbreaking because everyone (cast & crew) worked so hard on this movie. UTR Films hired another different Editor (Timothy Lee) in 2019. Since many of the original video files from 2018 were found to be lost and broken, I asked Tim Lee if there were enough files salvageable enough to at least make a short Trailer since everyone (cast & crew) worked so hard on this movie because UTR Films wanted to at least give everyone something, and Tim Lee, said yes. As a result, later, we walked away with many awards.

2) Half-Way through directing the End Of Wyntor Trailer, I became very sick and wasn’t able to continue directing the final half. It was a good thing for the Trailer that Brian Koo stepped up to the plate, per my request to finish directing the final half. Also as a result later, we walked away with many awards

What sets you apart?
I have the will and drive to be successful in the filmmaking world, I’m constantly working on my skills daily that will improve my chances of a prosperous career in the filmmaking industry, I am an exceptional filmmaker with certain film skills to get myself, UTR Films, and all other Cast & Crew team to the top of the filmmaking game. I have a very creative side, I have a skill for telling and writing stories/scripts, I’m a great director with powerful testimonies, I have the determination to accept the rise and fall of this industry with ease. Plus, I have hands-on skills to tackle the technical aspects of any job on a film set as leader, writer, producer, director, acting coach, motivational speaker, as well as a great crew team, The most important skill of all, I have the ability to communicate and lead by example. The great thing I have learned about all of these skills is, I can improve on all of them over time.

What’s your favorite memory from childhood?
When I started getting into my teens (13 and up), that’s when I started gaining a love for movies. I would often ask my mom if I could walk to the new six indoor movie theater after Saturday morning cartoons were over (I still love watching cartoons to this day). I’d always forget about real life, even though it was good for two awesome hours. When that movie was over, I would stay and watch another movie for another two hours. That’s how most of my Saturdays (2 to 3 each month) went – I loved it because I love movies.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Photographer: Sarah Chance Fischer
Photographer: Peggy Wantwadi

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