Friday, September 7, 2007

Starring Monica Bellucci as Potiphar's wife!

I'm pretty sure that the headline isn't true, but we can dream can't we? I think that every Christian movie should have a part reserved for Monica Bellucci. Imagine all the roles that she could play; Eve, Hagar, Potiphar's Wife, Rahab, Ruth, Deborah, Deleliah, Mrs. Hosea. The list goes on and on.

But I digress.

Time for an update to an old story. Don asked me about this the other day, so I decided to do some digging. Remember, way back in an early episode we talked about a documentary called Audience of One? Well, I don't either, since it was back in the bad old days when our show notes were woefully incomplete. Anyway, the documentary screened at South by Southwest, and I heard about it on an NPR feature about the documentary.

Summary: Pastor Richard Gazowsky of Voice of Pentacost Church in San Francisco, recieved a "mission from God" to make a film. Not just any film, but a several hundred million dollar science fiction epic retelling the story of Joseph. Entitled The Shadow of Joseph, the church raised enough money to film for a short time in Italy. Apparently the money ran a bit short, but that hasn't dulled Gazowsky's vision.

Here is what we know: Filming began, but stopped at an unknown point. Pastor Gazowsky is still very enthuastic about it and is pursuing the project passionatly. That's about it.

I think buried somewhere in this story is a lesson about why a church like Sherwood Baptist can produce 3 films in 4 years(Flywheel(2003), Facing the Giants(2006), Fireproof(2008?) and Voice of Pentacost hasn't finished one. Not to fault them for having ambition, but Sherwood Baptist perhaps realized that starting with small, character-based dramas would be a bit easier than a hundred million dollar futuristic epic.

But I am really dying to see that hundred million dollar epic. Don't give up the dream!

I sent an email to Gazowsky's film company, WYSIWY Films, which also runs a Christian film festival(hmm, I may have to submit something to them). I'll update if and when I get a response. What I can say now is that the visuals that you can see in the trailer for Audience of One are impressive, and unique. The shots have a very Star Wars, 1977 in Tunsia feel to them, which is good. I'm dying to see this, and I hope that Audience of One documents only a bump in the road, and doesn't become the Lost in La Mancha of Christian cinema.

BTW, if you haven't seen Lost in La Mancha you must, since it is a fascinating look at the tenuous line that low budget productions walk between success and total collapse. Lost in La Mancha documents Terry Gilliam(12 Monkeys, Time Bandits) and Johnny Depp as they begin filming a new version of Don Quixote. They are almost at once beset with problems, and their financers pull out after just 2 weeks of shooting. The visuals they do get are heartbreaking since they show tremendous potential, but the project was apparently doomed from the start, as the documentary reveals.

Links about Audience of One and The Shadow of Joseph:

The NPR feature that first got me excited.

A follow up interview with Gazowsky by NPR.

The MySpace page for Audience of One, which lists screenings and has the trailer. It seems that the film still hasn't found distribution, but here's hoping for a DVD release soon.

2005 San Francisco Chronicle Article about Richard Gazowsky and his Church. This article goes into a lot of detail about how they got into filmmaking.

Austin Chronicle write-up of Audience of One from SXSW screening.

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