18 03 2009

Hey All,

Wanted to let you know about a few new books/movies to keep your eyes peel for.


Angry Conversations with God by Susan Isaacs is a sharply written, funny confessional of a book by a talented creative woman trying to come to terms with her relationship with God…by taking Him to couples counseling. Cleverness aside, the book stands on terrific writing, valid questions and Susan’s willingness to bare her soul.

churched1Churched by Matthew Paul Turner is a spot on memoir about growing up in a fundamentalist church from the point of view of a young boy seeking God, despite all the “church” in his way. Turner’s warm and yet direct storytelling style offers meaningful revelations and many knowing laughs.

Train Master is a sweet children’s adventure film directed by fellow Portlander and all-round nice guy Phil Bransom.
Here’s the Amazon link to Train Master. You get a nice discount.



26 01 2009

I have to tell you it is a surreal experience to stumble around the Internet and discover thoughtful words of kindness or abrupt words of anger describing the creative work that has consumed my last four years. Of course, I enjoy and much prefer the kind words of understanding, agreement and considerate challenge. The journey of Lord, Save Us From Your Followers became much more than the creation of a film project or the writing of a book. The road became one where many of my beliefs were challenged or more accurately, my own lack of concrete belief in, well, uh, my beliefs was exposed. Now expressing that to the world wasn’t as hard as I thought – there is a simplicity to forging ahead, telling the truth, admitting you don’t know everything and trusting in this Grace and Truth I say I follow. The freedom that comes from surrender is, in fact, exhilarating.
As you can probably imagine, the writing of a book and the editing of a film is a fairly solitary endeavor. The publisher and book editor may have or thought or two, and the editing of the film is pretty much two guys in a dark room staring at the flickering screen. The point is I really wasn’t sure what kind of a reception Lord, Save Us From Your Followers would have. The former Clash t-shirt wearing punk rock fan in me is very comfortable with provoking thought. But the big hearted Jesus lover in me wanted the byproduct of that provocation to be positive. I’m so tired of all the bomb throwers trying to be right all the time that I just want to curl up on the sidewalk. In this case, my version of curling up on the sidewalk meant directing a feature documentary film and writing a book, but you understand the sentiment.
As an analog based creative person who still swears that his Exile on Main Street sounds better on vinyl than it does on his iPod, I’ve been fascinated by the interconnection of commentators and pundits on the web. The random comments and reviews have been a cyber affirmation of the reactions that I’ve been finding as I travel around the country screening Lord, Save Us From Your Followers at churches, colleges and in theaters. Of course, on the web I can’t see the tears in the eyes of people who have been deeply moved by the film, but the Internet commentators are adept at sharing in their own way. I’ve also been surprised that despite the cloak of anonymity the ratio of positive to negative comments is just about the same as it is at any venue I’ve screen the film – which seems to be about 85%-15% positive. Most people seem to appreciate the opportunity to consider why they believe what they believe and most people, after having seen the film or read the book, clearly understand where we’re coming from. Hah. But I suppose you’d have to be me to truly appreciate what the understanding and affirmation of our effort means. There were times when I was up alone late at night typing or when Jim and I were crafting a scene in the edit bay where I wondered if I was the only person who felt this way. Was I only the one asking these questions? Was I the only one who thought maybe, just maybe, we could step it up a notch so that when people thought of Christians they’d also think of Jesus? Turns out, I’m not the only one. Duh. I know, but I truly didn’t expect to feel like the persona Sting adopts in The Police classic “Message In A Bottle”. Remember, he throws his desperate S.O.S. out to sea and “a hundred million bottles” wash up on the beach on his lonely island. Corny? Yeah, but it feels good.
In recent days, these two random posts gave me great encouragement: which devoted 800 or so thoughtful words to examining the movie and which commented on both the book and movie, apparently last summer sometime. I was encouraged by the twenty or so follow up comments on the Internet Monk post because I could read for myself the positive conversation the mere discussion of Lord, Save Us… had provoked. In making this film the goal wasn’t to create the greatest documentary in the history of cinema (happy coincidence I guess – THAT’S A JOKE!), it was to spark a healthy, robust conversation that leads to action and change outside the church, inside the church, inside my heart, heck, anywhere that needs changing.
So thanks to all for contributing to the conversation and I’ll look forward continuing to expand this conversation in our own little way as Lord, Save Us From Your Followers finally gets a wider release this Spring and Summer.

Welcome to 2009

2 01 2009

Welcome to 2009

The theatrical poster for Lord, Save Us From Your Followers

The theatrical poster for Lord, Save Us From Your Followers




Well, here it is, I greet this New Year by typing my first words in the blogosphere.  So far this seems about the same as typing the words for an e-mail or book or screenplay and yet I do sense this is different some how.  I’m a tad embarrassed to be joining the Blog Party so late.  What self-respecting published author doesn’t have a blog?  What kind of guerilla marketing indie film director doesn’t use the Web to share his vision and spread the word about his latest project?  Now, in my case the project in question is Lord, Save Us From Your Followers, the acclaimed and controversial (yeah, there actually are some naysayers, so I kinda feel validated in a weird way – hah) documentary film. 


Blog protocol now guides me to share some kind of an update on said project that can only be found on the director’s blog (so far so good?).  At present we are in a number of discussions with distributors, large and small, to finally release a deluxe DVD version of the Lord, Save Us From Your Followers.  When you have to whittle 100 hours of footage into 100 minutes of movie, there are some excellent bonus features.  After two previous deals have gone sideways and left the movie in limbo, we’re excited to be close to getting the film out to the marketplace.  You can imagine my agony after watching Expelled and Religulous come and go.  2008 turns out to be the year of the religious documentary, ours in the only one that actually starts a conversation and we can’t get a wide release, but, God has some kind of plan (wish he’d let me in on it) and I am just trying to keep marching and spread this important conversation (so thanks for spreading the word on this here blog-o-mater).


The Lord, Save Us… companion book has been out in stores for several months and I am thrilled the book has been nominated by Outreach magazine for a Resource of the Year award.  Every week I see a new blogger comment on the book, so it’s cool that the book continues to chug along and am sure when the movie is finally released many more folks will discover the book.  By the way it’s available in stores everywhere, and our website,  My wife jokes that, “If you liked the movie, you’ll love the book.”  My friend Simon Swart at Fox Home Entertainment likes the book better because “you really get to know the people”.  I tease him it’s because he read the book first and everyone knows if you read the book first you never like the movie as much.  Hah.


What else…we are in the midst of booking at Spring Tour where I’ll be screening the movie and leading a Q & A session afterwards.  I’ve done a dozen or so college events and metric tons of church events and the conversation that follows the viewing of Lord, Save Us… is so gratifying, challenging and constructive that I can’t wait to get back on the road.  The film really seems to meet people where they are at so the range of conversation is broad and always manages to be relevant.  For some of the events I’ll be joined by a terrific author Matthew Paul Turner (“churched”) and awesome Nashville musician Scott Phillips, so if you’d like to invite the Lord, Save Us Tour to your school or church or theater or clubhouse or backyard, visit or e-mail me at


Lastly, and this is the most asked question, “Where can I get the movie?”  Well, while we’re finalizing our distribution deal, we’ve decided to sell the “Movement Edition” of Lord, Save Us From Your Followers on our site.  This is the same version of the film that has been playing in theaters, churches and colleges around the country.  And if you’ve purchased the film at one of these events, we are finally going to sell it at  On upcoming blogs I’m looking forward to sharing stories of my continuing adventures with Lord, Save Us… and new projects.  Thanks for welcoming me into the blogosphere, I’ll do my best to entertain, illuminate, provoke and cajole with a minimum of inanity, ego, verbosity and “Internet spelling”. 


Send your comments and thoughts and please let your friends know that the “idiot in that Bumper sticker suit from that movie you’ve heard about but haven’t seen because it’s not out yet” finally has a Blog.  Oh, and come be my Facebook friend and join the Lord Save Us Group on Facebook too.  Okay, is there anything else I should be doing with this stuff?  Come on Web Heads, bring me up to speed.


All the best,