Help us make THE GRACE OF JAKE

by Chris Hicky

From crop dusters to gospel churches, Grammy nominated DIR Chris Hicky’s debut feature captures the heart & soul of the Arkansas delta.

“I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.” Mark Twain

Delta SunsetDelta Sunset


Grammy nominated music video and commercial director Chris Hicky is set to helm his debut feature film, The Grace of Jake. Written by Hicky, this delicious tale takes place in the Arkansas delta. It’s here amidst crop dusters and gospel churches where the story unfolds as wayward musician JAKE HAYES confronts a father he has never met. It’s here in the middle of nowhere where Jake finds everything- life, love and a gospel record contract. This is a small movie by Hollywood definition, but our heart is big. So are our aspirations for this project.

Our goal is to film on location in Arkansas this September with a premier at a major film festival such as Sundance, South By Southwest, or Cannes. From there, we hope for a world-wide theatrical release thus bringing The Grace of Jake to a theater near you. A lot has to happen between now and then, and it all starts with you.

“This movie is the culmination of every good thing that has been a part of my life- family, movies, music, spirituality, farming, literature, and grace. I am so excited to be able to come home and direct my first feature film. I cannot wait to share with you all this world, these characters, this story.” – Hicky

One of our main locations. A rural Gospel church.One of our main locations. A rural Gospel church.


Fresh out of prison, drifter musician JAKE HAYES (38) steals a car and says goodbye to California. His destination is Palestine, Arkansas, population 678. It’s here amidst the cotton fields and gravel roads where his father HENRY HAYES lives and works as a crop duster pilot. Jake has never met his father, but holds him responsible for all of life’s troubles- failure, jail, the death of his mother. Jake travels to the mid-south with the intention of revenge. However, once he gets to this small town, big things start to happen. It’s here amidst nothing that he finds everything – life, love, and a gospel record contract. The Grace of Jake is a movie about people, the characters just as important as the location. Jake soon becomes part of a colorful ensemble cast that is as authentic and soulful as it gets. And the situation he finds himself in are ripe with both opportunity and trouble. He sings at a gospel church, gets mixed up in a love triangle, records an album in a morgue, and learns to shoo skeet. And through it all Jake learns his momma may not have been quite so innocent. Seems as if she too had her own bit of trouble in the very same time years and years ago. This indigenous musical movie has the heart and feel of a foreign film, it’s country of origin just happens to be the Arkansas delta.


Character driven movies such as The Grace of Jake are often audience favorites. Void of any computer crafted effects, big explosions, or million dollar ad campaigns, these independent films tend to be the ones that leave lasting impressions. It’s hard to raise industry money for such projects though as the “suits” that write the checks seem to prefer the computer generated drama, the big expensive explosions, and the product placement. The Grace of Jake is not the kind of movie Hollywood studios will finance. We need your help so that heartfelt projects like ours don’t fall through the cracks.

Yes we have an amazing script, yes we have incredible talent attached to the project, and yes we are super passionate about this story. However, that is not enough. We need you. We cannot do this alone. This is the kind of movie that requires creative financing. This is the kind of movie that comes together only because enough people believe in it and the team behind it. This is the kind of movie you watch and wonder why more movies are not as honest and life-affirming!

Your contribution today is the only reason we will be able to move forward with this project. If you love movies, or if you love art, or if you love the south, or if you love blues and gospel music, or if you just love giving money to people who love entertaining others, this is the project for you! Our main goal is to make a movie that makes people feel good about life, to bring a sense of “anything is possible” into the daily grind. Some call it escapism, we call it a great movie. So please help us make THE GRACE OF JAKE.

Chris Hicky at work on set.Chris Hicky at work on set.


CHRIS HICKY is a writer/director living in Los Angeles, California. An Arkansas native, Chris has grown up with a camera in hand. His grandfather introduced him to photography which soon led to a love of the cinema. Making movies has been Chris’ dream as far back as he can remember. Chris has made quite a name for himself in the music video and commercial world. He’s been Grammy nominated, has won various directing awards, and has a client list that includes Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, and Lady Antebellum just to name a few. Chris has been directing for over a decade now and feels it is time to devote his talents to his true love- feature length films.The Grace of Jake is his passion project. He’s been working on the script for years now, has directed a few short films along the way (along with dozens of music and commercial projects), and feels that the time is right for The Grace of Jake.

JAKE LA BOTZ is a true American musical icon. Jake grew up in Chicago where he learned to sing and play the blues from some of the legends of the genre- David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards, Homesick James, and Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis. Jake moved to Los Angeles, and his boyish looks and gravelly sound proved to be a unique draw. He has become a legend in his own time thanks to his authentic blues sound and soul. Jake has a world wide fan base that includes celebrities, dignitaries, fans, and hard core music lovers. Jake’s music can be heard in both film and television. To top it off, Jake is one heck of an actor. He’s been in movies such as Ghost World, Animal Factory, and On The Road,holding his own right alongside some of Hollywood’s most respected stars. Jake also plays the lead in the stage musical “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County” written by Stephen King and John Mellencamp with musical direction by T-Bone Burnett. Jake of course is slated to play JAKE in The Grace of Jake. His music will of course be the heart of the soundtrack.

Jake La BotzJake La Botz


The really cool thing about Kickstarter is that you get rewards for your donations! And we have put together some really fun categories depending upon your level of contribution. From a personal concert by Jake La Botz to a sweet trucker cap, from a director-for-the-day experience to an autographed copy of the script, we have lots of great stuff to choose from. You can also contribute without receiving any reward, but we suggest taking the prize! And please remember, even if you only give us $1 we could not make this movie without you. Our reward prizes may escalate in relation to value, but our appreciation is the same across the board!

Men's and Women's Tees!Men’s and Women’s Tees!

Ok, so why 125k?

We’ve crunched the numbers and this is the bare bones amount we need to shoot and edit the movie. Could we use more? Of course, but this is the figure we need to go into production and come away with a completed project we are proud of. Chris has been directing for over a decade now and has learned the importance of running an effective set on limited budgets. He’s made an art out of shooting high end projects for pennies on the dollar. To survive as a director in this competitive creative world a director has to be able to deliver the “wow” factor on time and on or under budget. Chris has proven himself more than capable of doing so time and again. The Grace of Jake will be his chance to put all he has learned to work towards the goal of making this small movie look like a million bucks!

To help him do just that, our plan is to hire the best cast and crew our budget allows. A movie is only as good as it’s players, and Chris has developed amazing team relationships with some of the industry’s top craftspeople. For his feature debut you better believe Chris is going to work with the most talented peeps he can convince to come on board. Good thing is, it has not been that hard to convince. Everyone loves the script, especially the actors we have approached.

100 percent of the money we raise on Kickstarter will go into the movie. We (Chris and Jake) are not paying ourselves a dime. In fact we’re putting our own money into the project as well. For us, being a part of this project is our reward. We want to put every dollar we can onto the screen. From travel and lodging, to gear rental and insurance, to catering and craft service, to airplane fuel and props, to casting and crew – every dollar we raise goes right back into our film.

We set the mark at 125k, but if we can reach double that then all the better. In the world of making movies you work with what you have. If you have a dollar then you put that dollar to work, stretch it, pull it, make it last. If you have two dollars, well you work just as hard, stretch and pull just as much to make it work.

Every dollar over our funding goal just means we get a little more production value, a little more breathing room. One of our first bonus expenditures would be an extra day or two of shooting. As of now we are budgeted for 18 days of filming- 18 days to cover 100 pages of script. That’s not a lot of time. Typical bigger budget films have 2-3 month long shoots for those same 100 pages. Another bonus expenditure would be to pay more money to the local people helping us out- the owner’s of the locations we will film in, the stunt pilots we will use, the caterers bringing us hot meals, etc. This project is going to bring in some money to the local economies. We’d like to bring more. We’d like to help out those helping us as much as we’re able 🙂

If you have read this far, you truly are one of us. We cannot thank you enough for your help and support. Without each and every one of you The Grace of Jake would not see the light of day. Thank you for helping us make THE GRACE OF JAKE . . .

Jake on the guitar.Jake on the guitar.
Delat cotton bolls.Delat cotton bolls.
Trucker hat reward!Trucker hat reward!