Christian Film Director & Screenwriter
By Donald James Parker
TCP: Tell us a little about your newest film starring Gavin McCloud.
Rich Christiano: We are super excited about this new film called THE SECRETS OF JONATHAN SPERRY. We really believe this film is going to make a real impact and do well. This will be our biggest release to date. We are hoping to release this film into hundreds of theaters coming Sept 18th. It’s a story set in 1970 about a 75 year old man named Jonathan Sperry (played by Gavin) who starts talking to three 12-year old boys about the Lord and mentoring them. This film has tons of heart and we have received great response in the screenings we have done. And this is not false hype either, this film is delivering. We are very confident about this movie and what it can do. Gavin is excellent in his role and the whole cast is strong. People can check out the trailer and more info at www.SperryMovie.com
TCP: You and your brother Dave started out together. Tell us a little about your current relationship and how you work together.
Rich Christiano: I talk to my brother normally several times each day. He lives in No. Carolina and I live in Orange County, CA. Mainly, we consult with each other on our scripts but also talk about distribution and such. Dave is very busy doing his 7th Street Theater project which is a weekly dramatic Christian TV Series and MUCH needed. Viewers really like it. Check out www.7thstreettheater.com. For me, he is my number one script consultant for sure. He co-wrote the Sperry script with me and was invaluable.
TCP: Who are your favorite actors to direct?
Rich Christiano: For the most part, I have liked every actor I have ever worked with. Actors are unique and gifted people that work hard to bring your vision to life. I have especially enjoyed my relationships with my lead actors. Your lead is always a key performer.
TCP: Do you have any seemingly miraculous stories to tell about your career in movies.
Rich Christiano: Our film career has gone well for us. Slowly, we continue to build it. I love do the Christian films because of the purpose in trying to influence people for the LORD. It is very rewarding.
TCP: Do you feel you're in the role of a David trying to slay the blaspheming giant called Hollywood? How can you possibly win that fight?
Rich Christiano: You know what, I don't look at it this way. First, I am not trying to change Hollywood and I know Hollywood is never going away. But this is a free market and there are great opportunities for Christian films to be a force in the marketplace. Theaters are very willing to play our films. They just want people in the seats. As promotion and awareness increases for Christian films, so will their impact. The key is to make sure your film has a message for the LORD. This is what makes it Christian.
TCP: What are your favorite Christian movies?
Rich Christiano: You put on the spot with this one. Christian films are may favorite films by far and I like all my brother's films for sure! Late One Night is one of my favorites. There are a few guys really trying to make films for the LORD. Not many but a few.
TCP: Where is your base of operations?
Rich Christiano: Orange County, CA. We do not have a studio or anything like that and always shoot on location. We shot the Sperry film in update NY where I grew up.
TCP: How much prayer goes into your efforts?
Rich Christiano: A lot of prayer, especially this new film. I mean my wife and I pray almost every day for the distribution of this film and that it impact its viewers. We want the Sperry film to come out in a big way and I think it has huge potential.
TCP: Christian literature and movies usually preach to the choir. How do you plan on getting your material in front of the secular audience?
Rich Christiano: I am not worried about this. First, with ever film I make I try to please the LORD first. If we want to reach people, we must please the Lord since only HIS Spirit can do it anyways. John 15:5 is a good verse for film makers. And, I like preaching to the choir because the choir isn't all saved! I trust that Christians who see our films will share them with others who need the message. It's working.
TCP: What do you have planned for the future – if it's not top secret?
Rich Christiano: Not totally sure yet. It is going to be awhile before we film again since this whole year is committed to promote Sperry but I have started 2 scripts. One is the sequel to Time Changer that I would like to pull off one day. Time Changer has done well for us and continues to go strong. That film has been a blessing. I have always had the sequel idea, even before I filmed the first one, the script is not written though. I have another idea I have started to but I can't tell you that title.
TCP: Do you have any advice for people who'd like to break into the film industry in some capacity whether as a writer, actor, etc.?
Rich Christiano: Yes, please the Lord first. Forget Hollywood and all of that. Read Ps 40:3 and apply this to films and follow it. 1 Cor 15:58 is a great verse also. 1 Cor 10:31 is great advice.
Visit Rich’s website at www.ChristianMovies.com
About the reviewer: Donald James Parker is a novelist who specializes in culture-clash fiction. Check out his work – including free ebook download – at www.DonaldJamesParker.com?tcp