Karen Francis has made her mark in the entertainment arena in many ways. She is an award winning artist, a writer, director, and can now add the birth of a faith based, full feature film to her incredible portfolio of accomplishments. Karen is a lady that stands firm on her beliefs, which, above all is her belief in God and his creations. So, is born, her gift to the the entertainment field, “Christmas Ride.”
EX: Karen, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us here at the Examiner about your upcoming production, “Christmas Ride.”
Karen: Gerry, I appreciate your interest in it.
EX: Before we talk about “Christmas Ride,” tell us about your career up to this point.
Karen: My career reflects the ever present possibilities of America and gracious gifts from God. Because of my hardworking parents and the fine public schools of Memphis, I was able to attend Rhodes College where I majored in Communication Arts and participated in several dramas, acting and directing. Upon graduation I obtained a position as a Speech teacher at Memphis City Schools, Whitehaven. After grad school in Missouri, I taught Public Speaking and Voice and Diction a couple of years at the University of Georgia. Then I moved to Washington DC and worked for a US Congressman a year. Next I took a position as an instructor or trainer with a fast growing computer company. In that city at that time, there were many opportunities for women. (Perhaps we were working harder for less salary, who knows?) My responsibilities increased and I was promoted to manager of Installations of their product in many cities all over the United States. Then I moved over to a telecommunications company as a manager and soon became a director over two departments. Following my children’s birth, I stayed at home as my husband requested and after a dramatic incident, I felt called to painting, and took up the study of art. I became a painter, taking a few classes along the way. The art won prizes and sold. I formed Art Promotions in 1989 to market my works and the work of a few other artists, organized shows, wrote press releases, etc. I was asked to put some works on a Public TV Station that filmed weekly. This led to my becoming involved in producing cable TV programs as a volunteer featuring other artists and their works and Public Service Announcements which I did from 1989-1996, while still painting and raising my family. Then the internet came along, so naturally I tried to learn how to put my art on it to possibly increase its reach to a larger audience and find more sales. Many of my works are linked to artpro.com, my domain, and available as prints on the fineartamerica.com site. I turned to writing fiction with the dawn of the new millennium, in addition to my art, and chose the screenplay as my format. I have completed three screenplays.
EX: Art has been your passion for many years. How do you equate it to your writing and filmmaking?
Karen: That’s a good question. They each required learning new skills. They all involve creativity and sharing some portion of your vision of life with others. Art is a rather solitary experience during its production, as is writing and filmmaking involves working cooperatively with more people. With art, a painter is lucky if one person actually sees, likes, and can afford the work created. I think of filmmaking as a larger canvas, with a mass market. Films are the merger of art, writing and music; art for the masses at an affordable price.
EX: What was the driving force behind the writing of Christmas Ride?
Karen: A combination of things. I have experienced miracles and tragedies in my life. And, in some ways, writing about them in a fictionalized way, helps me come to terms with them. I wanted to write a spiritually uplifting, inspirational family drama that moviegoers will enjoy and appreciate. But it might be a spoiler for me to explain it. I think anyone who sees this film will understand.
EX: What are your plans and expectations for this film?
Karen: I am encouraged that Yarbrough Media Productions will be working in cooperation with Art Promotions in filming it. I truly hope the film will be a blessing to all those who participate in and go to see it.
EX: Do you have other projects lined up for the future?
Karen: God willing, I have an idea for another screenplay I want to write. Also, I would like to bring the other two scripts I have written to the screen. And find distribution for some of the art programs I produced earlier. And there are more paintings in me I want to paint. But for the immediate future the production of Christmas Ride is going to take up most of my time.
EX: In closing, what would you tell a young girl that was born with your passion for art and entertainment?
Karen: At a seminar I went to on the arts once, a speaker in answer to that question said something to the effect, “Either marry well or be born into a family with a large trust fund for you, preferably both.” Seriously, get a good education, work hard, keep Christ in your heart and in all you do and to thine own self be true. Try to make some good friends along the way. Learn about investing and buy yourself a home as soon as possible. It’s a journey.
Karen has announced a call for auditions for this film at and says, “we are having auditions for the twenty speaking roles, Thursday, November 15th at the Chamber Center in Covington, Tenn., which is located on West Pleasant Avenue on the West Side of the Square.