The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
The first major project of director Nehemías Jaruchik tells the story of two broken men in need of forgiveness. “Many Christian movies try to be too spiritual. Our goal is to reach a secular public.”
What are you hiding? This is one of the questions that underlies the whole story in “Sparks Fly Upward” (Alto Concept, 2015).
The film, directed by Nehemías Jaruchik, was previewed at the end of November by a small group of thirty people.
On Friday, December 11th, it will finally have its official premiere online. The 45-minute project will be shown on Youtube (here, once it is launched) and from that day will be available for anyone to watch (see Alto Concept’s website).
The medium-length film - produced by a team of people coming from Spain, the UK, the USA and Israel - is a parable portraying a friendship broken by an unconfessed secret.
Evangelical Focus had the opportunity to see the movie before its premiere. The scenes are beautifully shot in emblematic places of Israel, including the abandoned village of Lifta, the Luzit caves, the fortress of Montfort, and the city of Jerusalem.
GUILT, HATE, VENGEANCE…
“Sparks Fly Upward” tells the enigmatic story of two old friends going on a hike, and the conversation that arises between them.
Topics like hate, guilt, vengeance and forgiveness mark the film, and several Biblical references appear in key moments of the film.
“There is nothing kept secret that will not come to light”, an unexpected traveller tells one of the friends in a scene.
A ‘CHRISTIAN MOVIE’?
Most of those involved in the production of the film are Christian believers, but that does not mean the project aspires to be a Christian movie. “Our goal was always to reach a secular public”, explains the director.
“I would say there are two things that make our film different: realism and the aesthetic it has. From my point of view, many Christian movies try to be too spiritual (which is not wrong) but at the same time they do not show the reality of sin as it is. Those films try to be too ‘pure’ and, therefore, lose realism. We should notice that the Bible is very explicit in this sense”.
On the other hand, “the aesthetic –we have made much emphasis on this- has always been the weak point of Christian celluloid. The fact that Christian films have become a business does not help either.”
If the trend does not change, Jaruchik thinks, more “artistic” or independent films done from a Christian perspective could disappear soon.
THE TEAM BEHIND THE PROJECT
After two difficult years which coincided with the financial crisis in Spain, “doors opened to work in Israel, where I found the key people for this project”, explains Jaruchik.
“Among them the main character in the the movie and co-screenwriter Andrew Pilchner, and of course, my wife Lana Bahdanava, who is a special effects technician.” Will Yarokberg (USA) and Michael Adi Nachman (UK) completed the cast.
It took “six months to film the scenes” and two to edit the movie, and all had to be done “in our free time, weekends, holidays… It was hard”, Jaruchik admits.
The dream of the small team with few resources has now become true, and people from across the world will have the possibility to see the movie for free, and share it with friends online.