An angry internet atheist has a near death experience and must deliver the news of Jesus to his devout internet followers.
This film is currently available for rental or purcahse from Vimeo or the official website here: Jesus, Bro! Official Website
Through mutual contacts, I was introduced to writer/director Ryan Mitchelle. Brad Jones of The Cinema Snob and Channel Awesome had recently secured funding for his next feature film. Ryan was going to direct and asked me shoot his film. I gladly hopped on after reading the script.
What appealed most to me was the excellent satire and parody written into the film. The story itself doesn't mock religion; instead, we poked fun at the exploitation of religion (or the lack there of) to further one's own agenda.
The film had a small budget and short schedule. The page count per day was rather high because of the dialoque driven story. Nonetheless, Ryan and I planned traditional coverage for the entire film; partly out of function, but more for the artistry.
There were two approaches to the decisions behind the camera. One approach was to directly spoof the films being parodied. God's Not Dead, Old Fashioned, and War Room were just a handful of Christian themed films that we pulled inspiration from. Most of those films featured traditional coverage and heavy dialogue. Our goal was to emulate the look of those films; we wanted Jesus, Bro! to be able blend in with the above titles, but still clearly be a satire.
One notable example of a direct parody was a scene between two main characters. After the first two lines, they decide to speak secretly to each other by covering their mouths with coffee mugs. The scene was satirzing Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas, which had a scene do the exact action...but for no reason.
Outside of parody, I wanted to bring a touch of depth to the compositions. We were locked into the WS, MCU, MCU style of coverage for the entire film, but I wanted to add layers to the scene, characters, or plot through the restricted compositions. As a general rule, we treated our WS's like a Renaissance painting and our MCU's as Renaissance or religious portraits. WS's typically used one-point perspective, a single source lighting guiding the composition, and specific character placement. MCU's focused on chiaroscurro, iconography, and classical lighting on the face.
I shot the film on the Sony FS7 with the Extension Unit. The entire project was recorded directly to ProRes 422 and finished in 2K. I used my personal Nikkor cinema primes for the entire feature with an assortment of Russian lenses (Helios 44-2, Mir 24M, and Jupiter 9) for other-worldly scenes or moments.
I loved working with the cast and crew; most of them were Springfield or Illinois locals, but all of them cared deeply about the project. Ryan's directing and producing made this film a success and the results are exactly what we wanted.