Christy Lawler Collins’ love for telling redemptive stories has taken her all over the world.
Most recently, the 2010 Palm Beach Atlantic graduate and her husband, Derrick, traveled to Kenya, India, Mexico and Haiti to film the stories of four Christian believers. They wove the stories together in an intricately-produced documentary, “Then Sings My Soul,” to encourage and challenge the American church.
Watch the film online here.
Collins’ passion for storytelling evolved when she was a theatre major at PBA.
“The heart of my inspiration at PBA was good, honest storytelling, whether it’s a fictional play or a documentary,” Collins said.
When she met Derrick, who had a degree in filmmaking, her passion and his skillset fused. They now own Wild Bridge Films, a video production company in Richmond, Virginia, that specializes in cinematic and intimate storytelling.
Collins, who previously worked in the missions department of Grace Fellowship church, wanted to share the inspiring stories of believers who “count it all joy” when they face tough circumstances.
“Then Sings My Soul” follows the stories of Pius, a vocational pastor in Kenya; Yvrose, an adoptive mom and school founder building a culture of worship in Haiti; Eunice, a young woman in Mexico living and working among the urban poor; and Rushil, a missionary’s son who rediscovers his faith after tragedy.
The filmmakers premiered the documentary at their church in Richmond last year and subsequently distributed it online for small groups to watch together. It was well-received, both by those featured and American audiences.
“People identify with these different experiences of loss, or not knowing where your next paycheck is coming from, or giving everything over to God,” Collins said.
The Collins family remained faithful to complete the film, despite the challenges they faced. Their son was four months old when they left, and nearly a year old when they returned to the U.S., so they shot most of the footage with him strapped to their backs. At one point, they paid for childcare so that they could focus on editing the film.
It was difficult to arrange transportation to get to Yvrose in Haiti. Once they arrived, electricity was intermittent.
“Recording her interview, there were cicadas and crickets and stuff. It was chaos,” Collins said. “It was a labor of love. It felt like a joy to overcome anything that was challenge.”
Photo 1: Derrick and Christy Collins, a 2010 theatre alumna, produced "Then Sings My Soul," a documentary highlighting the stories of four Christian believers from around the world.
Photo 2: Yvrose, an adoptive mom and school founder in Haiti, is one of four Christians from around the world whose testimony is included in "Then Sings My Soul."