The film’s producers, Ernie Zahn and Tom Stroll, told The Christian Post on Wednesday that the film is currently in the post-production phase – which includes editing and adding music, sound and visual effects – and they hope to have it completed by January 2012.
In the film, fictional Italian scientist, Claudio Chiuso, creates the “Immaculate Perception,” an elixir that allows him to see the “heavenly realm,” according to the movie’s website. Soon after, though, humans begin competing for God’s favor and World War III breaks out. A villain named God-Man, who is a divine but flawed representation of God, appears and uses his powerful zombie army to try to rule the world from “the throne of Eden.” He is met with opposition, however, from Charlie Kemp, an enlightened hero who steps in to help prevent God-Man from succeeding in total domination.
“We are focusing our energy on any systems or groups that separate us,” the film’s producers wrote in an email to The Christian Post on Wednesday. “We think faith should be about people’s evolving individual relationships with God and should not be forced upon anybody. We are making this film to open up faith for public discussion.”
The producers say the film addresses race, class, gender and sexuality injustices, in addition to the separation of church and state and the commercialization of faith.
“There is always the possibility that someone might misunderstand our intentions. If we cause any offense, we’re hoping the reaction will spark a constructive dialogue to produce a positive end,” Zahn and Stroll wrote. “In fact, in addition to our regular distribution venues, we also intend to travel to churches and other religious institutions to engage in this very dialogue. We do use overt terminology to raise awareness but we are not shock jockeys, abusing content without delivering substance.”
The cast and crew for “Charlie Christ” is religiously diverse, and features Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Atheists, Gnostics and people of other belief systems as well. Two individuals on the film’s writing and directing team were raised Catholic, while the third was raised in the Jewish faith. None of the three practice those faiths anymore, although they “still consider this a big part of who we are today.”
Perhaps the film’s most controversial point is the underlying criticism of “the interpretation of God as a physical being.”
“When you give God tangibility, sentience and the characteristics of a human being, it is not long before you give God gender, a certain age and ethnicity. God-Man is a criticism of the need to place God in a demographic. Giving God a demographic suggests there is a better or more pure demographic,” said Zahn and Stroll.
There is another God in the film, who is “higher and more complex” than humans can comprehend, and so remains difficult to define, the producers said.
The character of Charlie also seems to stand in opposition the Christian perception of Jesus Christ as being a perfect man. He is described as a “world traveler” who seeks “love, truth and strength” and a better understanding of the universe. He becomes spiritually enlightened, and seeks to help re-establish a world that is fair and equal.
This “egalitarian civilization” is “the way the real Jesus would have wanted” the world to be, the producers said. “And much like the real Jesus, Charlie is an imperfect person who grows and matures into the leader he was destined to become.”
The film was shot over the course of several years in locations all around the globe – including Jerusalem, Florence, Paris, London, Petra, Sydney, Boston, New York City, New Orleans and more – though a significant portion of it was filmed in the town of Stamford, Conn.
Zahn and Stroll hope to begin showing the film in April 2012. In addition to showing it on a film festival circuit, they also plan to visit Jesuit schools and Unitarian churches in order to begin a “constructive interfaith dialogue” about the topics it addresses.