As we approach our release - starting in just a few weeks in New York City, Chicago, Seattle, and Lexington - we'll be sharing some tidbits about the film. Here are some reflections from the filmmakers.
My feature film, As It Is in Heaven, takes a deeper look at the rise of a “cult” leader. While it’s easy to vilify these leaders, filtering him or her through the lens of such past events like Waco and Jonestown, I sought to create a sympathetic portrayal of this leader. Each of these leaders began somewhere—totally human and flawed like all of us. My hope is that by showing the protagonist’s humanity, viewers will recognize themselves in his journey. If my project, in even in the smallest way, enables understanding and empathy it will be a success.
Ginny Lee Overbay
In writing As It Is in Heaven, I had two main goals: show the descent of a regular man into a cult leader, and let these people seem real to the audience. Religious fervor isn’t necessarily an easy thing to capture without going over the top, and it was vital to have this cult be as realistic as possible. If they were too “weird” the audience wouldn’t be able to connect, instead writing them off and not sympathizing. The same goes with the protagonist, David, who slowly comes into this madness of leading his cult until the day of the Lord’s return. If he’s too forceful at the beginning, if he’s too intense, it would be hard for the audience to understand how he could go so far. Examining the experiences I had had within a charismatic community, I was able to channel some of that intensity without pushing the audience away.
Director of Photography
While shooting this movie, it was important that we combine the beauty and serenity of the natural surroundings with the dark, unknowable potential that simmers below the surface of the characters. Every visual choice is made to reflect this tension. We chose to shoot in Scope in order to isolate these moments of dark wonder and provide the viewer with a means to access them. In particular, we wanted to retain a timeless aesthetic and use lots of natural light and shadow - moving into a more sculpted and eerie look - that serves to bring peace and discomfort in turn. I’m very pleased with the result and hope that as you watch As It Is In Heaven, you will feel those touches and walk away with a true sense of having been in that world.
As It Is in Heaven was truly a project of passion. It began as a simple enough idea to make a feature with the resources we had at hand. At the time that was a school full of passionate film students and the school’s film equipment. We knew it was going to be tight all the way through. The students really stepped up and volunteered their time to make the movie, along with a group of local talented and passionate actors who brought the story to life. We filmed at breakneck speed, shooting the entire film in 17 days. The cast and crew basically lived in the house the film takes place in. With so much devotion and passion, we had a film in the can by the end of June 2012.
The next couple years have been spent editing and traveling with the film through festivals. We are so excited to bring the finished product of so many creatives' diligent passion to you now.