We had the good fortune of connecting with Owen Hisle and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Owen, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
My favorite quote which just happens to be mine is simply this >>> “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.”  Here’s what my quote means to me and what I like about it >>> Everyone has one type or kind of dream or passion they really really love. Mine has always been Filmmaking since I was a little boy. In addition to when I actually took that leap back in 2001 (to present) by moving forward and living-out my Filmmaking dream and passion, it’s also very therapeutic. Just like any therapy, in order for any therapy to work, you have to stay with it continually by always putting it into action (using it every day). In doing so, you’ll be learning so much. The more we use and learn about our individual dream and passion, the better we become at it, and the better we become at it, makes us better at what we become.    

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
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 acting 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, UTR Films was born.  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). 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.” 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 me – 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.  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.  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. 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.  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.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If someone I knew personally, wanted to visit Colorado for a week because they had never been to Colorado yet, and they asked me, if they should, I can honestly tell them this – – –
* I have lived in and visited 35 US States (and 5 different Countries). Colorado is the best by far –
* Colorado’s name means ”colored red”. Its nickname is the ”Centennial State” because it became a state in the year 1876, 100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence –
* Colorado’s altitude and proximity to the mountains provides for a year-round, mild climate. Classified as an alpine desert, Colorado residents as well as visiting tourists enjoy an average of 300 days of deep blue skies, abundant sunshine and low humidity. The region’s climate is often as pleasant in the winter months as it is during the rest of the year –
* The beautiful scenery of the Rockies and the state’s cool, pleasant summer climate (meaning no humidity) have made Colorado a favorite of tourists (as well as those who live here). Aspen is a world famous ski resort. Estes Park, Steamboat Springs, Vail, and Colorado Springs, are also popular resorts. And for any fan of the movie “Jurassic Park,” Colorado shares Dinosaur National Monument with Utah. It has thousands of dinosaur bones from the Jurassic period. And one can also see prehistoric cliff dwellings built by the Anasazi, an early Indian tribe, in Mesa Verde National Park –
* Colorado has the highest mean elevation of any state, with more than 1,000 Rocky Mountain peaks over 10,000 ft high and 54 towering above 14,000 ft –
* Breathtaking scenery and world-class skiing make Colorado a prime tourist destination. The main tourist attractions in the state include Rocky Mountain National Park, Curecanti National Recreation Area, Mesa Verde National Park, the Great Sand Dunes and Dinosaur National Monuments, Colorado National Monument, and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument –
* Most animal species have no permanent habitat in the Colorado Rockies. They move to high elevations where food and cover are plentiful during summer and return to the warmer lower elevations during winter. Deer, elk, and mountain goats are the most-common game animals. Among the furbearers the coyote, the wildcat, the badger, the marten, the muskrat, and the beaver are prevalent. The Weminuche Wilderness, a remote segment of San Juan and Rio Grande national forests in southwestern Colorado, is the site of experimental (and controversial) reintroductions into the wild of predators such as the lynx, the gray wolf, and the grizzly bear. Colorado also has some of the most beautiful bald eagles –
* The Buckhorn Exchange. Rocky Mountain Oysters! Bonus points if you eat them on Oct. 5, Rocky Mountain Oyster Day (a new classic). Five presidents — Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan — have all eaten here. There are more than 500 birds and animals in the Buckhorn’s taxidermy collection –
* Charlie Brown’s Bar & Grill. Go for a burrito, and get it during one of CB’s two daily happy hours. Bill Murray has been known to sing around the bar’s famous piano when he’s in town –
* My Brother’s Bar. The JCB, a jalapeño cream cheese burger. Probably with a beer. MBB was the place to be in Denver for the Beat crowd. Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg all hung out there –
* Sam’s No. 3. Spero’s breakfast burrito, smothered in kickin’ pork green chile. Armatas came to the United States from Greece without a visa at the age of 14, and he went by the alias of Sam Andrews. He often couldn’t sleep at night because he was so worried about being kicked out of America, the country he loved. One day at lunch, police officers came in to the restaurant asking for Sam Armatas. With his true identity discovered, Armatas agreed to go with the police, but he asked if he could first finish the lunch rush. When he got to the courtroom, his judge was one of his best daily customers, and he sponsored Armatas on the spot to help him become a U.S. citizen –
* 740 Front. The 740 chopped steak, an early 1900s dish of chopped top sirloin served over caramelized onions. OK, so it’s not exactly a “fact,” but believers swear that the place is haunted by a ghost named Samantha, a lady of the evening who was killed inside by a dissatisfied customer –
* Minturn Saloon. Pancho Villa’s ribs, or the quail and enchilada combo. Because where else are you going to find a quail and enchilada combo? Cherry used to hold target practice with his .22 inside the Saloon. So that’s fun –
* The Red Onion. You can’t go wrong with the wings or a burger. Billie Holliday and Louis Armstrong performed at the Onion –
* Bastien’s Restaurant. The world-famous sugar steak! It’s exactly as it sounds: steak grilled with sugar. Turns out, Bastien’s is one of the best Denver representations of Googie-style architecture, according to History Colorado  –
* Gaetano’s. Sausage and peppers with cavatelli, or the biggest seller: lasagna with ground beef and sausage. In the 1950s, the Smaldone brothers couldn’t be in the restaurant at the same time because judges had ordered them to stay away from convicted felons, i.e., each other –
* The Cherry Cricket. With a smorgasbord of toppings — Peanut butter! Grilled pineapple! Green chile strips! — your burger is your own personal work of art. The Cricket made appearances on both the Food Network, and the Travel Channel –
* The Fort Restaurant. Go still for some of the best meat preparations around — herb-butter sautéed buffalo filet mignon, dry-aged beef ribeye and a mixed game plate with elk, buffalo and quail. Sam Arnold became a national expert in foods of the Old West. He published cookbooks, hosted television series and cooked for celebrities (like Julia Child) and world leaders (like President Clinton) at the restaurant. Arnold’s menus favored hard-to-find meats, such as rattlesnake, moose nose and bison liver. Today, chef Ian Stewart-Shelafo keeps alive some of these cooking traditions –
* Flagstaff House. Current executive chef and partner Chris Royster is a Food Network “Chopped” champion. His tasting menus in the historic space are still plenty old-school and special-occasion with diver scallops, foie gras and Japanese Wagyu. But his seasonal vegetarian dishes are also standouts, as is the s’mores dessert, which provides entertainment for the whole table. Below this restaurant is one of the most robust wine cellars in Colorado, with more than 16,000 bottles. It continuously receives Wine Spectator’s Grand Award –
* The Gold Hill Inn. Spring for the six-course dinner for a meal that will take you back half a century. Rainbow trout or beef tenderloin might be your main dish options, while the meal will start with house bread, butter and jam, and a throwback fish salad-topped avocado. The sour cream apple pie is a dessert that Barbara Finn was famous for, and it’s still on the menu. The Inn has always hosted bands on weekends, and some of them are big names like Lake Street Dive, Yonder Mountain String Band and Gregory Alan Isakov.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give as well as dedicate my ShoutOut, to my Mom; Frances Catherine Gallicchio-Hisle.  Although I spent only 17 awesome years with my Mom, whom was my only best friend, until a heart condition she was born with took her life at only 38, she always told me she knew I was born talented as well as special and she knew I was going to use all my talents some day. I asked my Mom one day when I was like 10? – “Mom, can I make movies when I grow up?”. My Mom with her excited proudful response said – “Owen Jr, you will do whatever you choose to put your mind to because that’s who you are”. Those powerful encouraging words traveled with me everywhere I went then, and still go with me today. Since 2014 to present and still moving forward, myself and my film production company, Upon This Rock Films (UTR Films)-{www.uponthisrockfilms.com}, has achieved multiple awards on 3 of our short films, written about in 2 different books from 2 different authors, has a lengthy article in a magazine, now writing all this for another different magazine, plus currently in Pre-Production with our New 1st Faith-Based Full Feature Redneck Hillbilly Comedy – DILDAHMAHTOR. UTR Films isn’t on the cover of Time – YET!, nor are we at that ‘Hollywood stage – YET!’ however, we are moving forward towards that whole Hollywood Red Carpet thing but, from Colorado. No matter what happens though, I’m still pursuing my life long passion as a Multi Award Winning Filmmaker, having so much fun too, and with-in my own Tribe. Thank you Mom. I love you. I miss you.

Website: www.uponthisrockfilms.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/owen.hisle
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8c4GLgRWF3NjsHf9ye69Sw/featured

Image Credits
Photographer: Sarah Chance Fischer Photographer: Peggy Wantwadi

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