The story of Newman iMotion starts with the story of Paul Newman, the founder. He gave his heart to Jesus Christ in Walvis Bay, South West Africa (now Namibia), at age 5. This was after watching the 1972 movie A Thief In The Night by director Donald W. Thompson. Paul recalls that night: “Faced with the hypothetical choice between being raptured into heaven or left behind, I knew for certain I wanted God to rescue me. I asked my Mom to pray with me, inviting Jesus Christ into my heart.”
Despite being raised by Christian parents and witnessing a healing miracle in his youth, seeing so much pain and suffering in the world caused disillusionment. In 1987, during the height of his spiritual rebellion, Paul reluctantly took his brother to church one Sunday. Not wanting to sit that long in the car, he joined the church service. While determinedly remaining seated, God pulled him from his chair to stand upfront weeping. Paul experienced his very thoughts answered by God through the mouth of the pastor. That was the day God called him into a worldwide ministry.
A few years later Paul sought to hear God’s voice just like the people of faith did in the Bible. At the time he was dodging military service by studying at University. The first command God gave him was to “go and do your military service.” Following intense prayer during basic training in the South African Air Force at SAAFTV where he met people and received training in the television industry. He ended up as video editor, enjoying the solitude of the 2nd floor edit suite and boardroom. This was 1992, the same year he got married.
God again spoke, revealing he would make movies. It seemed unlikely that a severe introvert could direct people to make movies, so he challenged God: “If You want me to make movies, please change my personality.” The next day his shyness was gone.
After SAAFTV he started doing 3D animation from his apartment in Pretoria. In 1995 the Newman iMotion corporation was registered by Paul and his wife Aurelí. Their first animation customer called from Mozambique without them having marketed their services.
Paul relates that in those early days he saw visions of future film production technologies: “In about 1994 I saw a vision of virtual 3D film production hardware and software which allowed a filmmaker to be in the 3D scene in real-time. I could move the virtual camera and see the shot by gliding my hand through the air between the 3D buildings in a virtual town. I could walk onto the set at any scale and review the artist’s modeling and texturing progress. Since I saw the technology I naturally thought of developing it. However, God told me He would lead others to build it, that I had to learn production instead. Today we see real-time virtual interactive 3D technology realized and advancing.”
Running for about 25 years, Newman iMotion was the vehicle for a varied media career with a focus on animation, editing and visual effects. Art, graphic design, writing, web development and video production was also part of the mix. Commercial work was done for television stations, TV programs, adverts, music videos, product visualizations and more, providing rich experience.
Paul tells it like it is: “Over the past few years commercial work has been good and bad. For years I pushed hard hoping it would one day enable us financially to make movies. The harder I pushed the more I got burned out on the altar of achieving my calling. Although I love giving to others, both me and my time were spent, leaving me dry. Relationships suffered. I had failed. While having no reserves and a big family to sustain, I gave up commercial work in order to live out my God-given calling. We’re blessed to have the support of gracious people around us.”
“We’re now working on books, movies and animated series which we’ll publish to edify people worldwide. I imagine some of them eternally touched through movies and books, just like I was.”