You mentioned that the film is like a mirror. In terms of its critical reception, it has seemed to mirror our cultural divide. Ted Haggard, who is featured in the film, and many reviewers in the evangelical press have criticized the film for being unfair and narrow. Then you have warm reviews from the mainstream and alternative presses, some of whom say the film is a clear presentation of evangelicalism. You've said you want the film to promote cross-cultural dialogue, but so far it seems like it reinforces what people already think.

It does. But what's been really interesting is how much negative press we're getting from the secular liberal outlets for totally polarized reasons. We've been getting a lot of it. And the range is the more liberal they are, the more venomous they are. They say that our bias is so obvious that we must think everyone's stupid, or they say that we have no point of view, we have no spine, and why didn't we do an exposé when we had the opportunity? And they're seeing the same movie.

That's just part of making a provocative film that makes people talk. To tell you the truth, my biggest concern isn't that people like it. My priority is that people see it and think about it. That's all.

At one point the character Rachel says, "I feel like we're being trained to be warriors, only in a much funner way." How do you read that line?

It reveals how childlike she is, even though she has embraced this ideology, she's still just a little girl. That's one of the reasons why the entire film is so provocative. If this film had been centered around adults, I don't think anyone would care. But it makes people think about faith in a very different way when it's coming from the mouth of a kid.

Most of the film is set in the fundamentalist children's camp in North Dakota, but near the end one of the campers, Levi, is shown attending a megachurch in Colorado Springs. What was the occasion for his going to Colorado Springs?

Well, it was one of several stops in the Midwest. The [movie’s] distributor had a strategy to open it up in more conservative Christian markets before it had a national release, to give it to the Christian audiences and see what they thought. Ted [Haggard] hadn't rejected the film yet, and it didn't occur to them that he was going to be so against the movie. They opened it up there so that the community could see it and discuss it amongst themselves before the more secular liberal press claimed it as their own.

We really didn't design or edit or make the movie with that in mind. We tried to make it as neutral as possible so that everybody could come to the table and have a conservation about the movie.

But I'm curious about Levi's moment at the church in Colorado Springs. How did he end up there, and how do you interpret that moment? It seems as though Levi is meant to function as an equal sign between the camp and more mainstream evangelicalism.

We were going to be shooting in different megachurches. We called a bunch of megachurches, and we had this concept that we were going to have a montage at the end of the film that showed a Sunday service that was maybe going on all over the country. And when we told the O'Brien's, Levi's family, that we were going to be filming there, they expressed interest in coming.

Arguably, Becky Fischer and Ted Haggard represent very different streams within Protestant Christianity—she's a fundamentalist and he's an evangelical, or at least they have very different approaches.

I do see them as different in a lot of ways, but the O'Briens and Becky and the other, adults in our movie definitely look to Pastor Ted as leadership. They do. And they look to James Dobson and several other important leaders. They follow what their advice is and very much feel part of the evangelical family. They identify as part of that family. I don't think it's fair or right to exclude them because they may do things a little bit different.

Sure. But in the context of the film, do you agree that the combination of the Jesus Camp, with its high-pitched scenes of radical and politicized Christianity, and the rest of evangelicalism creates a very forboding impression? Viewers are shocked by that—"This is what Christians in America are up to?"

I think it's ignorant for people to be fearful. Fearful of what? Fearful of a united community? Fearful of a community that is utilizing the democracy better than everybody else? That's a wasted emotion. They should use the opportunity to think about how civically engaged they are, how are they raising their kids.

The film also contains many references to the confirmation of Samuel Alito, Jr. to the Supreme Court. Again, in context, isn't that meant to feel forboding—that the Alito confirmation is the political extension of Becky Fischer's ministry?

The reason that we bookended the film with the Sandra Day O'Connor resignation and then the Alito confirmation was because it really informed our experience making the film. It happened in real time. As we started filming she resigned and, as we finished editing, Alito was confirmed. So, it seemed appropriate to bookend the film that way. It wasn't arbitrary. For us, it was very organic.

It's interesting to me that you don't see any of this as forboding. As you say, viewers are definitely responding to it as such. And the soundtrack in the film has very dark, deep tones, which seems to emphasize that this is scary material.

You know, the biggest criticism we've gotten is that our music seems to be creepy and forboding. Honestly, we did the best we could. That was exactly not what we wanted to happen. We did not want people to think that we thought it was a horror movie. We struggled and struggled with the music. We're trying to tell a story, but we're craftsmen, and we're trying to create an experience. Apparently we couldn't win on this one because that has been the single biggest criticism that we've gotten. We scored the movie from start to finish twice, [which is] never done in film. And you know what? I throw in the towel. I'm sorry, that was not our intention.

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