Last year a gentleman passionate about missions whom I worked with on a prior project approached me about doing a documentary on the insider movement* in Christian missions. I wasn’t too excited about the project so initially said no. It’s not sexy, extremely niche, and probably wouldn’t sell well. What changed? I I think it was my first-hand experience seeing the damage this is causing the Christian church in Bangladesh. I had a few other people I trust suggest I really consider doing this project.
After extensive mulling over, I agreed. The original gentleman agreed to fund the majority of the documentary and after discussing things with him, we agreed to take the approach of tax-deductible donations. We partnered with an organization to help facilitate some of the production and contacts we needed to continue. They budget I put together is $90,000. That includes a first distribution printing. We’re still $35,000 from that goal but we have enough to complete the film.
After I got insurance and legal in place, I did what I love most: I started bringing people together. The first was a director. I certainly don’t know this issue and consequently wouldn’t know the right questions, the issues etc. So that’s where my director, leading writer on the topic and former missionary to Islamic-majority countries Bill Nikides came in to play. Somehow I suckered him in. He was on the final drafts of a book on the same topic called Chrislam. We sat down for many hours talking, discussing and crafting. He has contacts in all denominations, as well as Muslim and secularists.
I started putting together the crew. We were on a budget and it’s a doc so we can run relatively light. I lined up a few sponsors and then hit up Twitter mates: Jon McKee and J. Aaron Greene. Jon’s an accomplished DP and we ate too many expensive meals in Vegas during NAB. Aaron’s a connection through a friend. Saying he’s a pro photographer is putting it lightly- this guy’s insanely good. I filled in the grip, audio and second camera gap. Bill, with the most experience in Bangladesh ran the relationship part of things.
So after a year of planning (that was for naught, but that’s another post. Until then, please refer to my post “The Fog of War“), we set off for three weeks of filming in Bangladesh this last September. We’re back with over 13 hours of interview footage from Bangladeshis and three American experts and a story we didn’t expect.
My next post on the doc will be regarding some of my biggest challenges producing while in the field.
*Insider movements teach that the new convert to Jesus Christ remains in their prior cultural context (in this case, Islam). The result however is that they are not Christian as understood historically and traditionally; nor are they a Muslim in any of their various sects. They are instead considered a “Muslim follower of Christ” or “Isai Muslim.”