CHRISTIAN MOVIES "R" RATING STUNS AREA FILMMAKERS
Kansas City actor Michael Joiner has starred in no less than a dozen faith based films since his breakout performance in Sony Pictures “The Grace Card” in 2011. The IMDB has listed him as the #1 actor in Christian films for 2013. “I'v been very blessed to have been offered roles in films where the scripts are much more gritty and real than your average Christian movie” Says Joiner. “The characters I’ve played have also strayed from the ‘hokey, church skit” that have given Christian movies a bad rep, “He elaborates. “If you’re producing a ‘family friendly’ movie about horses or how much a boy loves his dog, then “G” or “PG” works. But my films have a bit more of a reality kick. For this reason most of Joiner’s films have been rated “PG-13.” That is, until the MPAA strapped Joiner’s latest film, “Broken Faith” with an “R” rating. “It floored all of us”, Joiner says. “We’ve seen movies with language, blood, even sexual situations that received a PG-13 rating. Broken Faith’s content has none of that. We could not understand how it was slapped with an ‘R’.” Writer/Director Ricki Holmes, who hails from the UK and now makes his home in Branson,MO. was also shocked. “We didn't go looking for an R rating, indeed we made conscious choices to avoid that”,says Holmes, “but we also wanted to make a film that resonated with a movie going public, not just a faith based public. We gambled and we lost. Can I say we gambled when dealing with a faith based film?” Both Michael Joiner and Ricki Holmes, along with the producers, are starting to wonder if a bias exists against films that label themselves “Christian.” “We already know how Hollywood in general thinks of Christians and Christianity, based on how we are portrayed in TV and film scripts, “ Says Joiner. “But I am finding it hard to believe that they are now going as far as to try and ‘sabotage, our movies. Shot mostly in the Ozarks but set in backwoods of Mississippi,on a budget of about half a million dollars, "Broken Faith" is about a broken man and war veteran, Dan Zebrowski (Joiner)who drinks away his bad memories and loses touch with God and his daughter. "It's about a man, out of touch with everything; his life, his family, his faith - after his daughter witnesses a crime he essentially kidnaps his from under the noses of an evil ATF agent to save her. He not only rekindles their father-daughter relationship but also his relationship with God," says Holmes. "I was given a deadline of just a few weeks to finish the script," says writer Holmes. Quite a challenge, but somehow the inspiration stayed with me and we started and wrapped on time. “The script is incredible” says Joiner, who since his role in Sony Picture ‘The Grace Card” has garnered a reputation for turning down roles because of bad scripts. “The character of Dan Zebrowksi was just so deep. So passionate” Joiner explains. “His disconnect with what happened in the war. His desire to re-connect with his daughter…the entire script, in my opinion, was just as good as anything Hollywood puts out. Since meeting on the set of “Broken faith”, Joiner and Holmes have started up their own production company. “We both share a vision to create films that are not so overtly “in your face” with the message, yet because of the quality of the production values, will have just as much, if not more of an impact in encouraging and inspiring audiences within a Christian world-view. We have two scripts already in development that are dramatic, touching, powerful…and that we feel will resonate with both secular and faith-based audiences. As for’Broken faith’s R rating, Joiner and Holmes think it could be a blessing in disguise. “This could be the very thing that allows us to attract the audience that we had hoped to attract from the beginning. Says Joiner,” Fans of Die Hard, Lethal Weapon etc. are gonna love our film, too.” “Little House on the Prairie it aint, “Adds writer Holmes. “And that’s a good thing” Hopefully the Box will agree it's a good thing.
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