>> Audience Of One (2009)

Title: Audience of One

Genre: Documentary

Starring: Richard Gazowsky

Director: Michael Jacobs

Studio: Indiepix Films

Runtime: 88 mins

Release Date: April 21, 2009

Format: DVD

Discs: 1

MPAA Rating: NR

Rating: 2.95 (out of 4.00)

Grade: B

Official Site

Audience Of One chronicles the efforts of a San Francisco-based charismatic church to create a massive film retelling the story of Joseph and his brothers. Richard Gazowsky, pastor of the Voice of Pentecost Church, believes that he received a word from God instructing him to direct a space-age epic called Gravity: The Shadow of Joseph. It’s sort of a Star Wars-meets-Ben Hur-meets Titanic. He and his congregation believe so strongly in this idea that they start a film company and start production on the movie soon after the “vision” is communicated.

If this scenario seems rather preposterous, well, it pretty much is. Watching this documentary is an exercise in a full range of emotions: humor, sadness, shame, pity, just to name a few. As a follower of Jesus, there are aspects of the individuals portrayed here that I completely get and understand. Their passion and devotion, their sense of faith…even the scenes where some of them are speaking in tongues. All of this is a part of my own faith experience.

But…and this is a huge BUT…by the same token, there is so much asinine behavior going on here as to make me somewhat ashamed to be included in the family with these brothers and sisters. The very concept that a church with no filmmaking experience would simply decide to launch into the field with a multi-million dollar budget film from the get-go is ludicrous beyond compare. Granted, movies like Facing The Giants and Fireproof show that at least decent filmmaking from churches is possible…but certainly nothing with the scope of Star Wars for the first one out of the gate.

I won’t give away the rest of the documentary, but suffice it to say that it is fraught with terrible ideas and even worse execution. The sad irony of all of this is that some of the pre-production elements of the film actually look top notch. The character designs, the storyboards, even some of the costume work...it all reveals a certain amount of real talent and skill. Yet none of that really comes through when they first start shooting in Italy. Yep, Italy for a location shoot. If that doesn’t give you an impression of where this shindig is going, well obviously you’re not paying attention.

So if you’re a fan of religious themed films/documentaries, then this should be right up your alley. Check it out for a good lesson on horrible misapplications of spiritual guidance.


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