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By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Jesus Camp: Ewing and Grady testify

As attacks on Boys of Baraka directors Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing‘s new doc, Jesus Camp, accelerate, they talk sect vs. secular with Annie Nocenti at Filmmaker. Of the bubble the Jesus Camp kids live in, Ewing says, “Two types of parents home-school: far-right conservatives and the far left, the hippies. Anyone in an extreme situation wants to remove his or her children from the mainstream. That is their right. But you can’t shelter somebody forever. JesusCamp_levi_450.jpgEventually they’re going to interact with the outside world, and the parents’ hope is that their children will stay strong and be for God.” And what about the dogs? Nocenti asks, “When one of the mothers says something ridiculous, you cut to a dog looking up startled, almost like an eyebrow raised. I thought, Is that Heidi and Rachel’s POV?” Grady concedes, “You’re right.” Ewing says, “We have to be honest. You are right. It’s not like the dogs are the director’s voice necessarily, but we do have two scenes where we cut to dogs.” Grady adds, “The dogs look into the camera like, ‘Huh? I just live here.'” Nocenti asks, “What about the comparisons of the political side of the Jesus Camp training to the extremist Islamic madrassas? Is that a fair comparison?” Grady answers, “It’s fair in the way that you can make a comparison of all fundamentalist religions worldwide. They have something in common: blind faith.” But Ewing adds, “I initially said something similar. But comparing the kids in Jesus Camp to the kids in madrassas is a little overstated, just like it irritates me when people bring up Hitler Youth. The difference is that Evangelicals do not need to strap on guns and bombs. We have something called a democracy, and these children are learning how to utilize the offerings of this democracy to get what they want. That’s what the movement’s doing. They’re not doing anything illegal… Their leadership keeps abreast of every single hot-button issue, and that’s legal. These guys aren’t going to kill anybody, ever.”

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“Film festivals, for those who don’t know, are not exactly the glitzy red carpet affairs you see on TV. Those do happen, but they’re a tiny part of the festival. The main part of any film festival are the thousands of people with festival passes hanging on lanyards beneath their anoraks, carrying brochures for movies you have never and will never hear of, desperately scrabbling to sell whatever movie it is to buyers from all over the world. Every hotel bar, every cafe, every restaurant is filled to the brim with these people, talking loudly about non-existent deals. The Brits are the worst because most of the British film industry, with a few honourable exceptions, are scam artists and chancers who move around from company to company failing to get anything good made and trying to cast Danny Dyer in anything that moves. I’m seeing guys here who I first met twenty years ago and who are still wearing the same clothes, doing the same job (albeit for a different company) and spinning the same line of bullshit about how THIS movie has Al Pacino or Meryl Streep or George Clooney attached and, whilst that last one didn’t work out, THIS ONE is going to be HUGE. As the day goes on, they start drinking and it all gets ugly and, well, that’s why I’m the guy walking through the Tiergarten with a camera taking pictures of frozen lakes and pretending this isn’t happening.

“Berlin is cool, though and I’ve been lucky to be doing meetings with some people who want to actually get things done. We’ll see what comes of it.”
~ Julian Simpson 

“The difference between poetry and prose, and why if you’re not acculturated to poetry, you might resist it: that page is frightening. Why is it not filled? The two categories of people who don’t feel that way are children and prisoners. So many prison poets; they see that gap and experience it differently. I’m for the gap!”
~ Poet Eileen Myles