Los Angeles, CA (July 2, 2009) - In the wake of civil discourse on the hot button social issues devolving to bumper sticker slogans like "Choose Life - Your Mom Did" or "Democrat and Christian" or "God Made Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve," film maker Dan Merchant faces the American religious culture dilemma head on with the upcoming theatrical release of his film, Lord, Save Us From Your Followers: Why Is the Gospel of Love Dividing America?, releasing nationwide on September 25, 2009. www.lordsaveusthemovie.com
According the Merchant, "Talk radio and cable news have clogged the airwaves with so much divisive rhetoric over faith in the public square that "Us versus Them" seems like the only alternative. Americans on either side of this cultural divide have grown content with screaming across the abyss at each other."
Has this country lost the art of the conversation? If so, can an idiot filmmaker (with a big heart) dress up as a human bumper sticker and reconcile the nation with a movie? Writer/director Dan Merchant had to do something…and in his words, "desperate times call for desperate measures."
A follower of Jesus himself, Merchant, in his 'bumper sticker suit,' interviewed folks at Times Square and everywhere, running into the same situation - non-believers who don't have a problem with Jesus, but vehemently dislike many who claim Him.
"Merchant's documentary turns on a deceptively simple question: Why is the gospel of love dividing America? With a nonchalant manner that miraculously never comes across as judgmental, Merchant zeroes in on politicians, Christian organizations, religious leaders and even the church. Lord, Save Us From Your Followers is incisive and fair, goofily funny and deeply moving. There is no watering down of the gospel. Merchant knows sin when he sees it. He simply finds the plank in his own eye of greater importance than the mite in his neighbor's."
- Christianity Today
"Everyone has a dog in this fight." says Merchant. “Everyone has an opinion on God, on why we're here, on what we are supposed to be doing. The surprise is that we all are secretly yearning for the yelling to stop and for the conversation to begin."
In an effort to jump start the conversation, Merchant interviewed anyone who would say "yes," from cultural lightning rods like Senatorial candidate Al Franken and former "Religious Right" Senator Rick Santorum, "liberal evangelical" Tony Campolo, best selling author William Paul Young (The Shack), conservative talk show host Michael Reagan, religious TV host Matthew Crouch, author Dr. John Perkins and many more. Lord, Save Us… also features segments and news clips with Bono, Bill Maher, Bill O'Reilly, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, George Clooney, Pastor Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Life), James Dobson, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson among others.
In the tradition of entertaining documentaries like Super Size Me, Bowling for Columbine and What the Bleep Do We Know?, Lord, Save Us From Your Followers employs the language of pop culture to create a provocative, amusing and redemptive film-going experience. With the successful use of man-on-the-street encounters with "Bumpersticker Man," a "Culture Wars" game show, a moving "Confession Booth" at a gay pride event (where Merchant himself actually does the confessing) Lord, Save Us From Your Followers delves into all the hot button issues with candor, humor and balance bringing everyone into the conversation.
Through advance screenings in places as diverse as Seventh Day Adventist churches to evangelical mega churches, from secular schools like Reed College to Baptist schools like Baylor University, Merchant has been able to somehow, remarkably bridge the "great divide" through his film. The film has also had a broad run throughout the worldwide festival circuit, playing faith-friendly and mainstream festivals alike, being chosen as a participant and award winner by many festivals across the country.
"We know what we think," Merchant said of his fellow Christians, "and we often think that's good enough. But if you don't understand anybody else, how can you have a real conversation? Are we truly following The Gospel of Love or have we turned it into The Gospel of Being Right?"
For more information on the film, please visit www.lordsaveusthemovie.com.
THUNDERSTRUCK FILMS and BENT PYRAMID PRODUCTIONS present a Lighting Strikes Entertainment production, Lord, Save Us From Your Followers: Why Is the Gospel of Love Dividing America? The director, writer and producer is Dan Merchant, the executive producer is Jeff Martin, TIM ABARE AND NORMAN A. MILES ARE CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS and the director of photography and editor is James Standridge. Also producing is Jon Manning, and the associate producer is Matt Miadich.
About the author/director, DAN MERCHANT:
Merchant is an award-winning writer/director who began his career selling sketch comedy to the Seattle late night institution Almost Live!, before settling in at CBS affiliate KOIN-TV in Portland, Oregon where he won an IRIS award for We're Makin' Movies, and three Northwest Region Emmys for writing/producing The Dr. Wilderness Show and the original Bill Nye the Science Guy pilot. He became the Executive Producer/Writer of VH1's critically acclaimed "rock and roll Twilight Zone" anthology series, Strange Frequency. Thomas Nelson publishers released the companion book to Lord, Save Us From Your Followers in March 2008. Outreach magazine nominated the book for a 2008 Resource of the Year Award in the Culture category. A follow-up book entitled Loving Kindness Actually Works is also underway. Dan regularly speaks to diverse audiences in support of Lord, Save Us From Your Followers and can be booked through Ambassador Speakers Bureau, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For interview opportunities please contact:
Lesley Burbridge-Bates/Tracy Cole
Rogers & Cowan