When we decided to make American Zealot, we had no money, no time, and little experience. Production was going to be an uphill marathon, and we had no idea what the finish line held for us, so we had to be certain of the why.
America is becoming a nation of echo chambers, of crowds that preach to their choirs instead of maintaining an open dialogue with those who might disagree. How many times have you witnessed an open, honest conversation between two people from separate sides of a coin that is without judgement?
Abortion is a taboo topic in America, and with polarized news media, polarized communities, and even the emerging popularity of “safe spaces” in academia, I don’t see a proper forum to hold the dialogue our nation needs for this and other cursed topics. What if cinema was that forum?
The majority of American cinema does not accurately portray what’s going on in our nation. Movie theatres are flooded with genre pieces that cater to audiences, and we believe there’s artistry lost by following a formula. Rather than allowing money to be a guiding interest in my filmmaking, where are citizen filmmakers? We want to be a part of the movement toward honest, mirror-up-to-nature cinema.
It is our belief that you can make an important film for cheap. We were lucky enough to have free access to equipment, locations, and facilities in Los Angeles that could have cost us thousands of dollars, but that wasn't a reason alone to make a movie. We filmed with a nimble cast and crew, learned to pool resources effectively, to improvise, to use available light. Artistry was our guiding force rather than money.