It was a random twitter message to Freshman Christian ministry major Ross Nesselrode that brought Will Bakke, Alex Carrol, Michael Allen and their film Beware of Christians to campus.
“One of them said, ‘BOC movie,’ I saw it, thought it looked cool, so I e-mailed them and 10 minutes later Alex called me and we got it set up,” Nesselrode said.
A well-attended screening Feb. 7 at Shelton theater was sponsored by the CAB office. After showing the film, Bakke, Carrol and Allen held a Q-and-A session.
Beware of Christians is the story of four young men who document their travels across Europe as they interview people on the topics of identity, materialism, poverty, church entertainment, alcohol and sexuality.
The film received positive reviews from those on campus who attended.
Freshman education major Mindy Lewis said, “They got to a deeper level than many people were willing to address, especially in today’s culture.”
UMHB was the first venue of a tour planned by the filmmakers. Their goal is to visit campuses across America to share their film and what God has done in their lives with as many people as possible.
Their hope is to get Christians who only have surface level faith to reevaluate the things they thought they knew about Christianity.
“It seems like the majority of Christians in our country do what is popular or they take what their pastors say for granted.” Allen said, “They only know their ten favorite verses, and they kind of ignore less comfortable things in scripture.”
The film is not without its harsh critics. Some Christians have complained that the film does not come to any conclusions. Others did not agree with all of the content or the message.
The feedback and criticism from the audience has helped during the process.
“It has really made me a better filmmaker to be able to talk to people and see what works and what doesn’t and what people respond to,” Bakke said. “We had a couple of test screenings in May from some pretty close friends and people I look up to, I took a lot of their criticisms into consideration.”
One reason Bakke wanted to make the movie was because he realized there were no Christian films he related to. The idea was to make a documentary for Christians, who like them, were college age and only going through the motions.
“We are in a generation where Superbad is the funniest movie. For us, though, we should be able to make films that promote a good message but are still … funny,” Bakke said.
While the filmmakers intended for the film to cater toward a Christian audience, non-Christians have also seen it. They like that the film does not tell them how to think or live their lives.
Originally the film was supposed to be picked up by the same company that produced Fireproof. However, after nine months of negotiation, the plan fell through.
“It has been a huge testament to God’s faithfulness.” Bakke said, “God has really provided in enormous ways over the past few months. So much so that I can say it has just shaken me.”