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Audience of One (2009)
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Audience of One (2009)
Ten years ago, a pastor from the Voice of Pentecost Church in San Francisco received a prophetic whisper - a directive from God to make movies for the Lord. Using donations from his congregation, he slowly transformed his church into a fully functioning movie studio, and the production company Christian WYSIWYG Filmworks was born. After experimenting on several small projects, Pastor Richard Gazowsky announced he and his WYSIWYG crew were going to make a film entitled, "Gravity: The Shadow of Joseph", a $50 million biblical science fiction movie that would redefine the Hollywood epic.
AUDIENCE OF ONE is a documentary that chronicles the making of "Gravity". This verite-style film goes inside a Pentecostal church, where the charismatic Gazowsky leads his loyal cast and crew on an incredible journey that tests the limits of faith. From pre-production at their church, to shooting principal photography in Italy, to leasing an enormous studio on an island in the San Francisco Bay, AUDIENCE OF ONE keeps pace with an embattled church production looking to God in order to keep their dream alive. Full of humor and pathos, what transpires is a story of obsession, faith and delusion.
Audience of One (2009) | Preview
An Inside Outsider
MJ: I think sometimes it came from me and sometimes it came from him. It was never spoken about. It was always either real or inside my head. It was usually just a matter of how warm and welcoming versus how cold and shoving he was to me. I think there were just different times where I was picking up from him, like, "leave me alone," and different times, like, "you're totally welcome to film this or you're totally welcome to see this." Here they are being so vulnerable in front of me, and I'm totally aware of that, yet at the same time, I need that. I need that for my story. It makes my story more powerful the more invisible I am and the more vulnerable they are in front of the camera. And there are just moments when I feel I had to manage that relationship. It's hard to sort of specifically talk about relationship management when it's just a series of feelings and ideas and perceptions, but at times it just felt more warm and open, and at times it felt less warm at open.
HJ: Why do you think that changed when it did?
MJ: Probably for a variety of reasons. I think it could have just been the whims of the day. He's stressed out about all these other things going on in his life from family to church to filmmaking, and here I come saying, like, "Hey, I need ten minutes of your time," or "Hey, can I come shoot today?" It's just like I'm this nagging filmmaker, and it was probably just real and practical. At other times, I feel like he was tired of being vulnerable in front of me and saying, like, "You've got so much on us, when are you going to leave us alone?" Again, he never said any of this straight to my face. I would have respected it if he had. Then some of the times, it was just inside my head, my own insecurity about my role and relationship with them getting the better of me and saying, like, "Man, I should probably back off." Even though it was never said that I was doing something wrong&ellips; I'm pretty perceptive, I guess, and I was always perceptive of how he was feeling and when to shoot and when not to shoot.
There are plenty of times where I turned the camera off. Even the fight in Italy, when the actor comes up to him, Richard turns to me and says, "Are you going to record this." I was like, "I'm going to keep recording, but if you want me to stop, I'll stop." Richard said, "I don't care." And then Ken said, "No, he can record this. He's making a film; I want him to see everything." Then I start rolling again&ellips; So it changed day to day, week to week. Toward the middle to the end of my experience with them, it got its most intense, where I felt as unwelcome as I ever had before. But then two months after that, I'm equally welcomed again; I'm picking up on this communal vibe. Even now that the film's done, if I walked into that church right now, I would get all of these hugs.
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