As we geared up to shoot our new micro short/mock-commercial Rough Neighborhood with our friends Red Gryphon Pictures & Tryptic Films, some controversy sprang up. As a group of filmmakers, we discussed who might we offend with this quick, funny & clever concept.
Zombies have never really been our thing. It is not a genre we saw ourselves pursuing. However, when we first heard the idea we laughed as we pictured every scene. It wasn’t until we put into question our target audience (average-joe-any-person), and some of our fellow “Christian” peers, that we took a step back and weighed the ramifications of producing this short. We discovered those we consider “religious” may not understand our film. Some may even judge it.
Ironically, we had prayed for an idea and the very next day this zombie idea was handed to us by our scriptwriters Denise Churchhill & Karen Alderidge. It has no religious agenda and no preconceived Biblical references. We believe it to be intelligent, passive, fun entertainment. Yet, despite all that, we also found many metaphors in it.
The gist of the short is this: There is a well to do zombie family sitting down to eat a nice candlelight dinner. They mumble to each other bonding over the day’s events. Outside their kitchen window we see a mob of “living” people heading toward them with pitch forks, shovels, guns, and weapons in hand, and.....(We’ll save the punch line for the release). All in all, it’s about 45 seconds to a minute long.
The controversy arose when we considered if we would ostracize our “Christian” fan base. Some may get “icky feelings” or sense a “demonic presence” on it because it has zombies. However, we viewed the whole thing much different than that. We saw those who are the “living dead” eating a nice peaceful meal, having family time, minding their own business. Suddenly they are attacked by a mob of people who would rather eradicate - proselytize or conform them - rather than understand them.
While we do believe in sharing our faith, we don’t believe people are our enemy. We’ve personally witnessed many “Christian's” attacking people on a regular basis. Judging, condemning, shaming, guilting other humans for their wrong behavior rather than loving them. They rely on harsh words instead of letting their life preach through their actions. Fear breeds fear. And according to Christ, reacting out of fear is also sin. When we fear people’s sin, we ourselves sin. Shouldn’t we be a place of healing rather than unintentional carriers of disease? It’s “perfect love that casts out fear” - shouldn’t we be operating from a place of love?
We believe our films are Christian because we are Christian. We believe we carry the Spirit of God in us. He inspires our ideas, our creativity, our life. We work with people, humans, both Christians and non-Christians alike. Our goal is to live like Jesus everyday and practice what we preach by living as examples. We seek to serve those in the film industry with honor and humility - as we believe He would.
The film industry can be a Rough Neighborhood. We've tried the to change it through shouts of anger and condemnation and it hasn't gotten us far. Maybe we should give serving it a try.