"A Lively Experiment, The Life of Dr. John Clarke, America's Forgotten Patriot", chronicles the life of a Baptist Minister who risked treason to secure Religious Freedom and Civil Liberty for the Colony of Rhode Island.
March 23, 2020 - Movie Production Update: Yes, we are moving forward with Producing our Historical Drama! We invite you to make a Tax-Deductible Donation to keep us moving forward! Your financial support will help to cover expenses for us to Film a Proof of Concept Trailer (May 2020), Write a Children's Educational Guide on the Life of Dr. John Clarke (Now) and for the Screenwriters to complete the Feature Length Script (Now). Stay mindful, happy and healthy out there and remember, we are all in this together and will benefit by lifting one another up within our communities near and far! ~ Risa Leigh Clarke - Producer
The story of one man's unwavering belief and sacrifice to hold true we are all born free with innate "Liberty of Conscience".
A full-feature Historical Drama, the story of Dr. John Clarke will bring you on his world changing journey to overcome religious persecution, loss of personal freedoms, mounting sacrifices and risk of treason to secure the Rhode Island Royal Charter of 1663 from King Charles II which granted Religious Freedom and Civil Liberties to the colony of Rhode Island.
With a professional Film Production Crew ready to go, we invite you to contribute to our film production with a tax-deductible donation.
Round One Funding Needs:
- $45K - Proof of Concept Trailer Shoot A Proof of Concept Trailer is more than a movie trailer but less than a complete short film. The idea of a POC is to give a feel of the intended feature film to potential investors, distribution channels, star cast and to build audience. Scenes will be shot at Historic St. Mary's City 17th Century town and authentic tall ship.
- $30K - Screenwriters - Extensive research for the story is completed. We aim to complete the script August 2020. 3 -4 months to complete. Includes travel for additional research.
- $5K - A Lively Experiment, The Life of Dr. John Clarke Educational Guide - Written by Award Winning Historical Children's Book Author and Illustrator Michael Dooling. Voted top 10 Author Visits and has visited over 1000 schools nationwide widening children's eyes with a new awareness of history with his History through Picture Books School Program.
- $10K - Development - Develop the production budget, scene breakdowns, character profiles, cast and crew requirements, location needs, legal and much more.
- $15K - Branding, Marketing, Publicity, Website - Audience building, Fundraising Efforts.
The look and feel of Soul Freedoms Movie is similar to Amazing Grace the Movie:
Rarely do people speak of or remember peaceful, honorable men and their world changing contributions. As a descendant of Joseph Clarke, Dr. John Clarke's youngest brother, and through referencing John's book "Ill Newes from New England" and scores of historical research, I want to share with the world the importance of John's life, his unwavering commitment to build a Colony(RI) where persons of differing religious beliefs could live together in harmony and welcomed to practice their faith without fear of persecution.
Love, peace and acceptance of others starts within each one of us. I often wonder, without Dr. John Clarke and his selfless actions, where would we be today with our innate right to be free?
Risa Leigh Clarke – Writer, Producer, Director
John Clarke (1609-1676) was a highly educated physician, statesman and Baptist Minister. He came to America seeking freedom to practice his faith without fear, or strict rule under the King. In 1651 Dr. Clarke was arrested, jailed and sentenced to 20 lashes on the whipping post for holding an "unlawful service". He was resonate that no one has the right to govern or convict any person for their religious beliefs. Overcoming personal sacrifices and risk of treason, Dr. Clarke wrote the Royal Charter of 1663 & secured from King Charles II on July 8, 1663 granting Religious and Civil Liberties to the Colony of RI. 126 years before the Constitution of the United States.
A non-conformist, Clarke believed that secular government should peacefully coexist with religion, and he became a seminal figure in applying the separation of church and state.
- Historian Thomas Bicknell, one of Clarke's most ardent supporters, wrote that at the time of the Puritan settlement of New England that "nowhere on the face of the earth and among civilized men, did civil and soul-liberty exist. Its first clear, full, deliberate, organized and permanent establishment in the world can now be distinctly traced to the Colony of Rhode Island, on the island of Aquidneck, in the Narragansett Bay, under the leadership and inspiration of Dr. John Clarke, the true Founder".
- Historian Louis Asher wrote, "It hardly seems arguable that Dr. Clarke was the first one to bring democracy to the New World by means of Rhode Island." Bicknell also asserted that Clarke was the "recognized founder and father of the Aquidneck Plantations, the author of the Compact of Portsmouth and leading spirit in the organization and administration of the island towns.
- Historian Edward Peterson wrote that Clarke was a man "whose moral character has never been surpassed, and his piety never been questioned."
- Asher made this final assessment of Clarke: "As a man, Clarke lived for others. Like many men of the past, he was selfless and uncomplaining. Despite his sectarian religious views, he gave more for his fellow man than he received."
We plan to film part of the movie within a recreated authentic 17th Century town on the East Coast.
The proposed film site is complete with a working 17th Century full sail ship, church for inside scenes and access to onsite historical consultants and wardrobe.
Did you know Religious Freedom and Civil Liberties were secured on July 8, 1663, over 125 years before the US Constitution and Bill of Rights? It's true, yet very few people know of Dr. John Clarke and his personal sacrifices and risk of treason to secure these Freedoms for the Colony of Rhode Island under the Royal Charter of 1663.
Even more astonishing, Dr. Clarke was able to achieve this unprecedented accomplishment through diplomacy and respectful mediation. In today's political and social climate, we hope Dr. Clarke's story will inspire others how through heart driven focus within each one of us it is possible to live together in peace and prosperity regardless of differing beliefs and without overreaching government interference.
The charter afforded unique provisions which make it significantly different from the charters granted to the other English colonies. It gave the colonists freedom to elect their own governor and write their own laws, within very broad guidelines, and also stipulated that no person residing in the colony could be "molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question for any differences in opinion in matters of religion."