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Throwback: My interview with the director of ‘Church People’

Two years ago, I interviewed Christopher Shaw. It was my first ever interview. Christopher Shaw is the Director of the now released movie Church People. As you may have know, I enjoy film, and I have carved out a niche of reviewing Christian movies like The Reliant, Risen, and a Netflix show called Messiah. In honor of Church People finally debuting in theater, I decided to revisit this interview. This interview predates Evangelical Dark Web and is audio only.

I learned a lot from the conversation, about the process of making a movie, and just general advice about pursuing passions. His advice was to do and not wait, advice I follow to this day.

As a Director, Christopher appreciates a high quality film. This was his critique of faith based movies, however he emphasized his optimism for how much the category has improved over the years. Passion of the Christ, he says was a breakthrough in closing this disparity. Since then, a number of faith-based films have proven to be remarkable returns on investment. As I pointed out in the interview, Christian comedy, remains rather untapped in its potential, which is a reason I sought to interview someone behind Church People.

Christian Comedy being a very untouched genre in film makes this a far more experimental film than you would think. The ‘most controversial’ Christian film ever made was The Reliant for its willingness to tell a violent contemporary story. However, as I discuss in detail, The Reliant was a step in the right direction in Christian film making but ultimately not a good movie on its own merit, mostly because it got bogged down in the expectations of religious films.

Church People is a “romantic comedy satire” with a concept that interested me from the start. In short the movie is about a high profile youth pastor being hired by a megachurch that has place so much emphasis on entertainment that the gospel has been pushed aside. This ultimately escalates into wanting to perform an actual crucifixion for an Easter service.

I think there’s a message in this film American Evangelicalism needs to heed. And the delivery of this message in a satire is far more poised to be effective than ham-fisted messaging like Courageous or War Room.

Site unseen, I have high hopes for this movie because it is far more ambitious than most Christian films.


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