About the Filmmakers
Dr. Jim Rudisill’s first experience sleeping outside with the homeless occurred just a few years ago. Jim hadn’t shaved in days, and was dressed fittingly. He sought out a homeless camp underneath a bridge in the East End of Newport News. While visible from any passing trains amidst the wild overgrowth, the camp was hidden to most of civilization by a piece of the concrete foundation of the 28th St. bridge between Huntington Ave. and Jefferson Ave. The camp was made up of bushes, small trees, tall grasses, lots of trash, and makeshift bedding. The smell of urine and some feces was evidence of the nearby latrine. It was around the hottest part of the summer, and bugs were bothersome. Soon after his arrival, a man told Jim that he wasn’t welcome.
“He looked like Michael Vick on steroids with dreadlocks.” “He was just super angry; you could tell he was looking… for a fight… He was scary looking because I could tell that he was a little bit insane.”
Jim was really tired, and replied, “I don’t have anywhere else to go.”
The man bellowed, “You can’t stay here. Is there something wrong with you man? You can’t understand good English?”
He told Jim that if he were to stay in the camp, he would have to take his pillow and sleeping bag and lie in the latrine. Jim refused.
Jim curled up where he was and lay down, facing the direction of the hostile man, with his floppy army hat letting him watch others’ feet while hiding his vigilant eyes. Jim couldn’t go to sleep because he could be killed or seriously injured. Finally the man fell asleep, and Jim could finally rest in peace. Alert. ◊
A 2009 graduate of Wheaton College with a bachelor's in Christian Education, Yorktown native ADAM GARRETT decided to take the Community Storytelling and Documentary Studies class to explore the possibility of a career in filmmaking. Interested in the visual aspects of film, Adam chose to document the life of Jim Rudisill due to physicality of his charitable acts and the unique images of his ministry. While this is his last semester at CNU, Adam hopes to continue to develop his skills as a filmmaker to further convey the message of Christianity through subtlety, gripping visuals, and unbiased storytelling.
JOHNATHAN NIXON is a junior economics major. He learned about making film in his studies in high school, and wanted to learn more about documentary work and creating longer films when he chose this course. He seeks to naturally convey informative film, giving his audience a perspective foreign to their normative experience. Through his films he hopes to find and shed light on interesting stories that can bring people more meaning to their own lives as they self-reflect in light of variant worldviews. He sees Jim Rudisill as an example of an older person fighting meaninglessness, exercising care for the forgotten, and as a guide through an often unseen world.—Adam Garrett
Filmmakers Johnathan Nixon and Adam Garrett both have spent time ministering to the homeless prior to meeting and filming Dr. Rudisill. Johnathan has aided the homeless through the ministry Intervarsity at the university. Like Dr. Rudisill, Adam has been intentionally homeless himself various times, including a stint of eight weeks in and around Chicago in 2010. He journaled quite a bit during his time of homelessness. Some that work remains available online.
"A Rational Life: Homeless, Intentionally and Not" (12:23)
a film by Johnathan Nixon & Adam Garrett
“There’s somebody down here who I understand has a bad cold and needs some cough medicine. And they live in a campsite right around the tracks. So I think I know where it is. I’m gonna look for it.”
—Dr. Jim Rudisill