Long, Difficult Road for "The Reliant"
The new Christian movie stars Kevin Sorbo and it has faced a challenging journey to get to the silver screen.
Independent filmmaking is a tough, tough business: budgets are usually tight and hurdles to getting into theaters are high and numerous. In fact, the overwhelming majority of indies never do make it to the local multiplex, instead going "straight to DVD" - or the digital equivalent - and other lower-profile distribution outlets.
The Reliant, undoubtedly to the producers' chagrin, makes a great case study. Based on a novel by the same name from Christian author Dr. Patrick Johnston, it's a rare bird for a faith-based movie, being a dystopian action flick that is also very much pro-second amendment. In the film, America suffers a collapse of the dollar that touches off chaos and violence, compelling law-abiding citizens - including Christians - to take up arms to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Director Paul Munger, a veteran of the Christian movie scene, had a reported $700,000 budget to work with and assembled a good cast. In addition to Christian actor Kevin Sorbo, The Reliant includes Eric Roberts, Brian Bosworth, Mollee Gray, the Benham Brothers - David and Jason - and Nicole C. Mullen, the GMA Dove Award-winning and Grammy-nominated Christian singer.
The movie was shot in Ohio, which is Dr. Johnson's home state, and wrapped principle photography way back in September of 2016. A recent social media post from someone who contributed to one of the picture's crowdfunding campaigns complained about the long delay in releasing the movie. The producers, to their credit, responded and their answer is most enlightening.
"First, it was 11 pickup days (extra shooting), and raising money for it. Then maximizing the VFX (visual effects) and sound quality - and raising money for it. Then the R rating from the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America). Then raising money for the re-edit. Then resubmitting and waiting until we finally got the PG-13. Then trying to get distribution. Whew!"
Whew, indeed. It's exhausting just reading about it, so you can imagine what it must have been like to live through it over three years after having spent nearly three quarters of a million dollars to make the movie. Needless to say, independent filmmaking is not for the faint of heart.
The good news is producers believe the "finish line's in sight," and they're targeting a release date in late October or early November. And though they haven't announced exactly when, it's safe to say it can't come soon enough for everyone involved in the project. Christian Film Blog will let you know once the date becomes clear.