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Posted: 05 December 2006 07:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]

That sounds like an excellent idea, Yonts!

Sort of like the Apple “switch” commercials?

Yes, in a sense.  (It’s funny that you mention those spots, which were directed by Errol Morris.  When trying to imagine a documentary made almost entirely of interviews, I often think of Morris’ “The Fog of War.”)

From some of the reading I’ve done it seems that the escape itself is often the most interesting part of the story.  People might go through a period of leading a double life, such as changing out of the Hasidic garb and into jeans and heading for a different part of town.  Or an Amish kid sneaks a look at TV while he’s working at a neighbor’s farm.

I don’t necessarily want to limit it to people who have left religion entirely.  It could still make an interesting story if someone moved from fundamentalism to a more moderate belief.  I think some common themes may emerge:

The big switch often happens in your late teens or early twenties.

Often there’s someone who has paved the way—an older sibling, perhaps.

Clothes and head coverings—Mormon underwear, yarmulkes, whatever—can be factors.

“What will the neighbors think?” is often as important as what God might think.  The disapproval of other members of the group seems to be a powerful tool for keeping people in line.

There’s hell to pay, if you’ll pardon the pun, from the friends and family you leave behind.  This seems to be a big factor among the Amish and Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example.

That’s a little of what I think right now, but that may change after I’ve done some interviews.  I do want the film to be primarily about the specific experiences of the people in it, and let the viewer draw the conclusions.

Doug, if you don’t think it’s too much like double-posting, I’ll start a separate thread encouraging people to contact me directly.

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Posted: 05 December 2006 07:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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[quote author=“Yonts”]Yes, in a sense.  (It’s funny that you mention those spots, which were directed by Errol Morris.  When trying to imagine a documentary made almost entirely of interviews, I often think of Morris’ “The Fog of War.”)

Errol Morris is one of my favorite filmmakers, hands down. I loved his Fast, Cheap and Out of Control, among others.

The rest of your description sounds very promising.

[quote author=“Yonts”]Doug, if you don’t think it’s too much like double-posting, I’ll start a separate thread encouraging people to contact me directly.

Please feel free to do so. You might want to contact people at CFI directly, as well, e.g., Thomas Donnelly or DJ Grothe, who might be able to help you with their own contacts.

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Posted: 05 December 2006 08:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Great suggestion—thanks.

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Posted: 05 December 2006 02:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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[quote author=“Yonts”]So in a narrative film that takes on religion directly I think that the most you’re likely to get is a few good points, or maybe a sympathetic character who happens to be a skeptic.

How about trying from another angle altogether?  There’s a sci-fi story about an exploration ship that comes across a planet that was destroyed when its sun went nova.  It’s been a long while since I’ve read it, but the jist is the planet had apparently had a bustling civilization with beautiful buildings and art work.  There’s a priest with the team and he’s talking about how great God is, and look what wonders he allowed to grow here, and it’s a shame they couldn’t escape the natural end of their sun and so on.  In the end, the captain finally plots the star in relation to Earth and determines that it blew up in time for its light to be seen over Bethleham in the year 0, leaving the Jesuit to think about how his god annihilated this civilization in order to supply a new star for us.

A movie that takes some of the stories in the bible literally and shows their real world consequences could be quite effective, and it could be as heavy-handed or subtle as desired.

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