October 27, 1974
Reed City, Michigan, United States
Countless people have dreamt of packing up everything, moving to Hollywood, making movies becoming a movie mogul; Harold Cronk lived it. A successful high school teacher with a passion for the arts, he persuaded his wife to move their family to California in pursuit of a movie career. After landing a job as art director on a television pilot, opportunities were opened for film and television projects: art and production design, then screenwriting, and finally directing. A short film adaptation of Mark Twain's posthumous poem "The War Prayer" led to a surprise win of the 2006 Beverly Hills International Film Festival's Best Director Award. This led to the founding of a movie studio in Cronk's native Michigan, a multi-picture deal with Origin Entertainment, and a succession of successful independent films that generated a greater amount Hollywood buzz with each release. Harold Cronk was born in Reed City, Michigan in 1974. Active in acting and the arts in high school and college, he graduated from Central Michigan University in 1998 and became a successful high school arts teacher, winning "Teacher of the Year" twice. He teamed up with fellow arts teacher Matthew Tailford and traveled to Los Angeles to perform Production Design and Art Direction duties for the unsold 2000 television pilot "Dear Doughboy." Inspired by their experience, the two artists produced Cronk's screenplays, "South Manitou" and "The Agent." The two were encouraged by positive reception from local audiences; under the advice of producer Ralph Winter, Cronk and Tailford moved their families to Los Angeles. Successful assignments soon followed, including a commercial for the Magic Johnson Foundation and the independent movie, "Secret of the Cave" (2006). Cronk moved next to direct his own screenplay, an adaptation of Mark Twain's "The War Prayer" (2006). This short film would win him Best Director at the Beverly Hills International Film Festival, which led to a three-picture deal with Origin Entertainment, and, more importantly, the founding of their own Michigan-based movie production studio, 10 West Studios. Cronk produced, wrote and/or directed several movies for the studio, including "Johnny" (2010), "Return to the Hiding Place" (2011), "Jerusalem Countdown" (2011), "Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Conspiracy" (2012), and "Silver Bells" (2013). In early 2014, he stunned Hollywood with the release of his Christian-themed drama, "God's Not Dead," when social media buzz turned the $2 million picture into a $42 million box office hit. Featuring known stars Kevin Sorbo and Dean Cain, the film became Cronk's most successful production to date, raising his mainstream Hollywood profile.