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Shooting the Prodigal: The Fine Line of Satire
by Jacob Sahms, Contributing Writer

Shooting the Prodigal is an insider’s look at the way that church works, told from the perspective of long-term pastor David Powers who wrote and directed the film. While the film itself is a satire aimed at church life, its careful blend of humor and critique will engage the audience, leaving them entertained and challenged.

Brother Bob Cross (Paul Wilson) is a headstrong pastor of a Southern Baptist Church in Georgia, who knows that he needs to try something different - but struggles to identity what that difference should be. When a series of conversations leads him to the idea of making a film, he ends up with a young, Jewish New Yorker, Josh Blume (Sterling Hurst), as his director. Of course, Cross’ daughter, Emily (Christie Osterhus), becomes the softening element to both of their expectations, which just might bring them together in the process.

While there enough hurdles to be overcome running a church - or making a movie, Brother Bob and Blume find themselves wrestling with their emotions and the expectations of others. Not everyone wants the film to succeed, and not everyone involved in the film is in it for the right reasons. But with a heartfelt desire to tell a story, Brother Bob and Blume explore their common ground, trying to get the film made.

Many films set out to accomplish satire. Unfortunately, some of them aren’t funny at all; others, end up highlighting their mean-spirited critique without ever loving their subject. To walk the fine line of critique and laughs, a film must actually appreciate the thing which it critiques and have a sense of humor. Powers’ film accomplishes that.

In the end, the film itself teaches, just like the film that the story is wrapped around. It’s tied to that parable of Jesus’, the Prodigal Son, which highlights the heartfelt message of inclusion, reminding the audience that God loves everyone. With humor and challenges for the church, Shooting the Prodigal delivers in Belltower Pictures’ debut release.

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