Introducing David Powers, director of Shooting The Prodigal. David began his career in radio and then shifted to television and film. During his career, he traveled and worked in different countries producing short videos for use in evangelistic missions overseas. His most recent film Shooting The Prodigal was released on Digital HD and DVD this past week. David gave his insights and his inspiration behind his film.
How did you come up with the storyline for ‘Shooting The Prodigal?’
I wanted to write about something I know and love: the church. There are a lot of quirky people in churches, and some truly odd things that go on in those hallowed halls. But we wanted to do a film that would be entertaining for everybody, including folks who didn’t belong to the “church crowd.” So we decided to have a little fun and gently poke at the institution of the church… and along the way, perhaps challenge some of the things we do and think that aren’t exactly Jesus-like. What better story to use as the basis for the film than the best story ever told by the best storyteller who ever lived – the Parable of the Prodigal Son as told by Jesus and recorded in Luke’s gospel? Jesus told that story to the crowds of tax collectors and sinners, but it was a pointed message to the Pharisees and scribes who complained about Jesus socializing with the riffraff. And so was born Shooting the Prodigal – a movie about a church making a movie about the prodigal son.
What was the inspiration behind the characters featured in your film?
Several of the characters are based on actual people, and others are combinations of folks I’ve known. The ancient church secretary is based on a lady who died a few years back… rest her soul. She had a little bicycle bell on her walker. She’d come tooling down the hallway, ringing her bell and plowing through anybody who didn’t get out of her way. Brother Bob is an exaggerated combination of people I’ve encountered… could any one person be that over-the-top? But there’s a lot of me in Brother Bob, too. The curmudgeonly old church board members were inspired by those old codgers in the theater box seats in the Muppet shows. But some of their words came from the mouths of some actual Baptist deacons… bless their hearts.
If you could pick out any scene and/or moment during filming, what would you say would be your favorite part in making this film?
The scenes are like my children… how can I favor one over another? But there’s one scene that is especially touching to me every time I see it… and I recall getting a little choked up as we were shooting it. And, wouldn’t you know it, it is the scene with no dialog: the scene in the hospital where we see the Jewish filmmaker observing the Baptist preacher praying for the Muslim actor. In that little scene, you see the kind of love, acceptance and inclusion that our world needs more of: simple, honest compassion quietly expressed without regard for race, nationality, religion, politics… or any of the other pigeonholes in which we like to put people.
What do you hope viewers take away from the film?
I hope viewers laugh and have a good time. And I hope they feel inspired to see folks as God sees us: as people He loves rather than issues to argue and take sides.