Filmmakers share stories of faith with new documentary drawn from Oklahoma storms

A documentary called “Where Was God?” features the faith testimonies of survivors of the May 2013 tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma. The film premieres May 16 at the Warren Theatre in Moore.
by Carla Hinton Published: May 3, 2014

— A film featuring Moore residents sharing their faith experiences in and after the May 20, 2013, tornado is set to open May 16 at the Warren Theatre, 1000 S Telephone Road.

“Where Was God?” features stories of five individuals and families whose lives were changed during the storm that ravaged their suburban community, said the Rev. Steven Earp, lead pastor at Elevate Church in Moore. Earp served as executive producer of the film.

Earp said several other people like Sam Porter, Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief director, and longtime KWTV-9 meteorologist (now retired) Gary England are included in the film, with many of them providing context to the stories of the main narrative.

He said he feels the documentary accomplishes what he and the other producers set out to do: show stories of hope, faith, miracles and life change in the aftermath of the May storm, but also the storms of life that challenge everyone.

Earp said the film’s title comes from common questions posed to faith leaders after tragedy strikes: Why would God allow this to happen? Why me? Why now?

“As a pastor, ‘why’ is a really difficult question to answer because we can not presume to know the mind of God,” Earp said.

“But I do think if we ask the question ‘Where was God?’ then we can look for evidence of His presence and for evidence of how he has interacted in our lives through the small miracles, the big miracles or the things that happen within each of our hearts as a result of the tragedy. And we can see evidence of Him working, even in the darkest days, even in the worst of tragedies.”

Timely film

One of the film’s co-producers, Chris Forbes, of Edmond, a longtime church media consultant, said he came up with the idea for the film when he and the documentary’s other producer, Brian Cates, attended the deadCenter Film Festival in June in Oklahoma City.

The documentary was produced by Cates’ production company, Behold Motion Pictures. It was directed by Travis Palmer.

Forbes said the film’s premiere is timely — tornado season is in full swing — and the first anniversary of the May 20 tornado looms.

“I think this is a subject that people will be thinking about,” he said. “To see people who experienced such turmoil and pain and loss and yet experience such hope is inspiring.”

People featured in the film include James and Micah Moody, who lived across the street from Plaza Towers Elementary, the school where seven children were killed in the tornado. Scott and Stacey McCabe also are featured. The McCabes’ son Nicolas, 8, was one of the Plaza Towers students who died in the storm.

Chase and Alise Newby, along with their son Liam, also share their story. Plaza Towers first-grader Liam was one of a trio of boys protected from the storm by their teacher Karen Marinelli.

Kari and Kayla Carmona are two survivors of the deadly 2011 Joplin, Mo., tornado. They lost two members of their family in that storm and spent this past summer helping Moore tornado victims. The family has now moved to Moore permanently.

“It’s not really a movie about the tornado. It’s really a movie about the storms of life,” Earp said. “While all of these people encountered a Moore tornado in some way, the reason they’re in the (movie) is because they have experienced life storms.”

by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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IF YOU GO

‘Where Was God?’

•When: The movie opens May 16 at Warren Theatre, 1000 S Telephone Road, Moore.

•Tickets: At the theater or online at www.wherewasgod.com.

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