As many of you probably know there has been a resurgence of Christian themed movies being released theatrically. Heaven Is Real grossed 80 million dollars, God Is Not Dead has grossed 60 million dollars with more of course in the pipeline because of such success. I am also unsettled by our government being hijacked by republican Christians who would be happier living in a theocracy. I am interested in making a anti theist themed film. Many people on this site are probably familiar with Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Nietzsche. Do you think it would be possible to make this book into a film with a narrative? I believe this text qualifies as being in the public domain so obtaining rights would not be an issue. I am also aware of some services like Kickstarter and Patreon where one can donate to many causes. Do you see this as viable in anyway? My initial idea is to not play kid gloves or hide the message in "sub text" within the narrative. I am talking about a film that says what many people know and think about the absurdity of Christianity. I was also playing with the idea of creating the christian story under the guise of a science fiction film. I am at the moment just brain storming and would just like to have some feedback. I may not be able to reply to every message so don't let that be a hindrance. Pontificate as much as you would like about the subject and I would appreciate it very much.
I would like to add that my motivation would not be to create a straw man depiction of christianity BUT I would like to concentrate on the new testament story . I think to claim one is a christian you must adhere to the apostles creed , athanasian creed or Nicene creed at a minimum. The Passion story as you well know its preposterous and that is what I would want to mock. The idea of inherent sin, atonement and redemption.
We have many anti theist films and they can be seen on You Tube or by browsing a good documentary site. The problem is that they will never be "big" and never have the following that popular theist movies do. One reason this is so is that most Americans are theist. Atheism is growing but we are a minority, so the "big belief" films of the day will most likely be christian. The idiots that think America is a theocracy just eat this shit up! They can't wait to make more movies about a man in the sky, and how he sent his son to save us, all because he loved us that much! (Oh, look! I'm killing my son for you. See how much I care about you. Accept this now or you go to hell.) The ones that do accept it pay big bucks to watch it all again and again even if the stories make little or no sense.
Am I the only one here that sees a close tie in with science fiction?
The simple truth is that without Genesis and the creation and "fall," there is no need for the rest of it. No need whatsoever. Theists insist on belief in these myths to keep themselves in business. Films about evidence and logic are just not popular, however some movies mock christianity and get away with it.
Christians --too afraid to live, and scared shitless to die!
This would not be a documentary but a narrative film. I wouldn't expect a theatrical release. lol I agree christianit is akin to science fiction hence
Anything is possible. Question is: can it make a profit?
Bill Maher's Religulous only made something like $12 million, and more recently, The Unbelievers hasn't even been in major release. IMDB.com has no financial numbers on it, and release for download is currently in process, DVD and Blu-Ray following next month.
As to Also Sprach Zarathustra, something that esoteric might limit your audience. Something more everyday, something to the effect of showing that atheists are no different from theists in more measures than not might be both more attractive and more effective.
Make it real-world and accessible and without straw men on either side (as you note), and I think something positive could come of it.
That is a valid point on Thus Sprach being to esoteric. Perhaps going the monty python life of brain way would be best.
I think the problem with the Life of Brian approach is that it isn't real. People can take it lightly, whether they believe or not, because it is so obviously absurd. Ordinary, current-day people in real situations, on the other hand, are far harder to dismiss. Again, THIS is the direction I would go in if you want to move people and change minds: a person who is as real as anyone any believer could relate to ... who simply does not believe in any form of god. Such a person will rattle cages because people WILL identify with him, yet he will depart from their expectations when it comes to belief, or in his or her case, lack of it.
If he has more in common with them than he has in difference, his example will shake up those who believe ... BADLY ... and that I think should be at least one of our goals.
Personally I would actually like to cause uproar and "controversy" ala "Temptation of Christ". The thing is to me the christian story with Jesus is so utterly and palpably absurd that It hits me like a pile of bricks. I suspect many don't think about it much because it has been a part of our western culture for so long. I mean the christian story to me is MORE absurd than many sci fi speculations. At least many sci fi films try to extrapolate from known facts.
Read "La-Bas" by Joris-Karl Huysmans. The title loosely translates to "Down There." If I could just get it written (Bunuel did a version but couldn't get backing) I would send it to Johnny Depp, as the character of Durtal should appeal to him. My rewrite posits Durtal and DesHermies, his closest friend, as a bit more friendly than in the novel; in fact, a bromance. Durtal has made a bet with DesHermies that Satanism is alive and well in Paris and sets out to show him, but Durtal falls into the clutches of the seductive (and sacretly Satanic) Mme. Chantelouve. The novel was a roman a clef and I chose to base my story on not only those characters, but an assortment of real life people who figure prominently in the Huysmans. The story pokes fun at the RCC in particular, but also has anticlericalism, anti-occultism, and a send up of psychics. Think conscrated hosts stolen at mass by aging prostitutes, who carry them to the Satanic priest by way of a soft warm place found on any woman's body. A soft, warm, sacred place.
Are you a screen writer?
Not if you mean "professional". I had to write scripts for film school but I have never written a feature film script.
I've often wondered what it would take to make a great film of this type, maybe even a sitcom, but it's a tough sell.
Maybe a movie that focuses on some of the more rebellious anti-theist characters, such as Giordano Bruno. People want the gore of crucifixion? Bruno had a rough time too.
Perhaps a film that encompasses the lives of others like him, along the lines of what Cosmos has been doing. Cosmos celebrates the "unsung heroes of science." We need to give people some genuine role models who are worthy of worship, made a tangible difference, and who actually existed.
That is a valid point but the problem I have with that approach is the fact that even the "rebels" were christians, they just were apposed to some doctrines but nevertheless were god believers. The film Agora had that approach but I suspect Hypatia was a believer in god or gods, not the christian god but gods nonetheless. But the selling of any atheist type film of course would be hard so that is why I also proposed the idea in subtext. Sort of like those Golden Compass books. I havent actually read them but I was informed they have sub text that criticizes the church
The new Sean MacFarlane western spoof is supposed to have some moments suggesting non-belief; I have not seen it. The only consistently atheist filmmaker I can think of is Luis Bunuel, but he is too esoteric for the general public. You mention Monte Python, and of course Life of Brian is one of those irreverent films to cherish. I note that DVDs of it are rare and expensive. There was a film a few years back called Dogma, and did it have some stars on their way up, including Matt Damon. Mainly, though, American movies with atheist messages do not get made. Kubrick was so upset with the tampering of Dalton Trumbo's clear references in Spartacus to bisexuality he moved to England and made films there, writing one producer to warn against a sequel to 2001. Kubrick was a non-believer, of course. I think of him as a stoic.