Machine Gun Preacher is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG – MOTION PICTURE
- “HELLO HELLO” — GNOMEO & JULIET
Music by: Elton John; Lyrics by: Bernie Taupin
- “THE KEEPER” — MACHINE GUN PREACHER
Music & Lyrics by: Chris Cornell
- “LAY YOUR HEAD DOWN” — ALBERT NOBBS
Music by: Brian Byrne; Lyrics by: Glenn Close
- “THE LIVING PROOF” — THE HELP
Music by: Mary J. Blige, Thomas Newman, Harvey Mason, Jr., Damon Thomas; Lyrics by: Mary J. Blige, Harvey Mason, Jr., Damon Thomas
- “MASTERPIECE” — W.E.
Music & Lyrics by: Madonna, Julie Frost, Jimmy Harry
The story of Sam Childers, a former drug-dealing biker tough guy who found God and became a crusader for hundreds of Sudanese children who’ve been forced to become soldiers.
Angels of East Africa (AOEA), founded in 1998 by Machine Gun Preacher Sam Childers, has rescued over a thousand orphaned children from starvation, disease and enslavement by the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army.
Today these children live in the Children’s Village, a secure compound and oasis of calm in the Southern Sudanese village of Nimule. Behind these protective walls the next generation of Sudanese leaders are housed, clothed, fed and educated, safe from the echoes of war that still traumatise the nation of Sudan.
Despite the incredible challenges associated with operating an orphanage in Sudan, the Children’s Village continues to flourish thanks to the tireless work of AOEA and her legion of dedicated supporters.
Andrew Alexander pens supernatural thriller
Contact Dave McNary at email@example.com
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Nov. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Safady Entertainment is excited to announce the acquisition of the screenplay, “Dreamt”, a psychological thriller written by Andrew Alexander.
“Dreamt,” is a story set in modern day, where two people have a supernatural connection and therefore are actually dreaming in each other’s lives. Conflict ensues after the men discover each other’s existence, leading one man to try to take over the other’s life and stopping at nothing to get it.
“We’re excited to tell a thrilling, exciting story with an amazing twist to it,” said producer Gary Safady, adding: “The script has all the elements for intrigue and fascination to capture the audience from the opening frame of the film. Andrew has crafted an amazing story in the vain of Memento and Fight Club.”
Safady Entertainment has also secured renowned music video, commercial, and director of “The Hills Have Eyes II,” Martin Weisz. Martin has shot over 350 music videos for artists such as Puff Daddy, Korn, Live, Sisqo, Nickelback, Fuel, and numerous others. “We believed that Martin’s visual capabilities, intuition with actors, accompanied by his passion for this project will create an amazing film,” Safady adds.
Pre-production on this action-thriller is expected to begin February 2012. Principal photography is scheduled to begin April 2012. “Martin has been a great friend of mine and a couple months ago told me I had to read this script,” says Safady’s producing partner Craig Chapman. “That night I read it three times and said we have to make this movie. Good material and great writing fuel our business. We were lucky to stumble upon a gem!” He added.
Todd Moyer of the Flagship Management Group, who is currently producing the Brendan Fraser film: “William Tell 3D,” is also a Producer on the film. “Martin and I are excited to be doing this picture with Gary Safady. We’ve been developing the project for 3 years. Gary’s passion for the screenplay convinced us that Safady Entertainment will help us make this film a reality.”
Andrew Alexander is represented by Original Artists. Martin Weisz is represented by Anonymous Content and is the owner of Weird Pictures.
ABOUT SAFADY ENTERTAINMENT: Safady Entertainment was founded by Gary Safady and Craig Chapman. The company is a synergistic development, finance and production company. It combines the team’s collective experience in production and finance, with strategic partnerships in all facets of the entertainment industry. Safady Entertainment is focused on A-list, highly marketable projects appealing to broad-scope audiences. Safady Entertainment draws upon its vast relationships in the production and finance world, with a goal to produce 2-3 pictures a year.
The company’s latest production: “Machine Gun Preacher,” is the story of Sam Childers (played by Gerard Butler), a former drug-dealing-biker who turns his life around, finds God, and becomes a crusader for hundreds of Sudanese children who’ve been forced into war. Directed by Marc Forster, “Machine Gun Preacher” also stars Michelle Monaghan, Michael Shannon and Madeline Carroll.
More information: http://www.
CONTACT: JR Savet, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Safady is exec producing indie horror thriller
“The Culling” centers on a group of five college friends who head out of town for a fun-filled long weekend but their plans change after finding a 7-year-old girl alone at an empty cafe along the highway and have no choice but to drive her home. When they arrive at her house it’s quickly apparent they will have to stay for the night — but what’s not apparent is the evil nightmare they are about to encounter.
Graham plays the 7-year-old and her parents are portrayed by Schaech and Williams. She appeared in “Thor” and just booked Gerard Butler’s “Of Men and Mavericks.”
Sumpter was seen in “Soul Surfer,” DiPrinzio in “The Devil Within” and Godfrey in “The House Bunny.”
Contact Dave McNary at email@example.com
Washington (CNN) — President Barack Obama is sending about 100 U.S. troops to Africa to help hunt down the leaders of the notoriously violent Lord’s Resistance Army.
“I have authorized a small number of combat-equipped U.S. forces to deploy to central Africa to provide assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of Joseph Kony from the battlefield,” Obama said in letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Daniel Inouye, the president pro tempore of the Senate. Kony is the head of the Lord’s Resistance Army.
“I believe that deploying these U.S. Armed Forces furthers U.S. national security interests and foreign policy and will be a significant contribution toward counter-LRA efforts in central Africa.”
Obama notes that the group “has murdered, raped, and kidnapped tens of thousands of men, women, and children in central Africa” and “continues to commit atrocities across the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan that have a disproportionate impact on regional security.”
He said the United States has backed regional military efforts since 2008 to go after the Lord’s Resistance Army, but they have been unsuccessful. U.S. military personnel will advise regional forces working to target Kony and other senior leaders. The president said the troops will not engage Kony’s forces “unless necessary for self-defense.”
Obama cites the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009. In that, Congress “expressed support for increased, comprehensive U.S. efforts to help mitigate and eliminate the threat posed by the LRA to civilians and regional stability.”
“I have directed this deployment, which is in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive. I am making this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution,” he said. “I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action.”
Obama said the initial team of U.S. military personnel with appropriate combat equipment deployed to Uganda” on Wednesday. Other forces deploying include “a second combat-equipped team and associated headquarters, communications, and logistics personnel.”
“Our forces will provide information, advice, and assistance to select partner nation forces. Subject to the approval of each respective host nation, elements of these U.S. forces will deploy into Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The support provided by U.S. forces will enhance regional efforts against the LRA. ”
One member of Congress, Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, weighed in to support the effort.
“I applaud our nation’s military for making this a priority and taking the steps outlined in our legislation that will eventually protect the children and people from Joseph Kony’s reign of terror,” said Inhofe.
“I have witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by the LRA, and this will help end Kony’s heinous acts that have created a human rights crisis in Africa. We must work to bring justice to the children and victims in Uganda devastated by Kony and the LRA. I have been fervently involved in trying to prevent further abductions and murders of Ugandan children, and today’s action offers hope that the end of the LRA is in sight.”
Encouraged by the success of ‘Blind Side’ and other movies, studios are embracing star-powered, faith-based films.
|From left; Kathy Baker, Madeline Carroll, Michelle Monaghan and Gerard Butler star as the Childers family in “Machine Gun Preacher.” (Relativity Media)|
In the span of just a few weeks starting in late August, audiences looking for God at their local multiplex have had their choice of titles, including “Higher Ground,” a chronicle of one woman’s struggle with her faith; “Seven Days in Utopia,” an inspirational golf drama; and “Machine Gun Preacher,” about an evangelist who takes up arms in Africa.
And the onslaught isn’t slowing down. “Courageous,” about policemen wrestling with their faith after a tragedy, opened this weekend. Emilio Estevez‘s “The Way,” about a father on a religious pilgrimage, is set for Friday.
These films follow the success this spring of “Soul Surfer,” about a Christian teen surfer’s comeback after losing an arm to a shark. Released by Sony‘s TriStar division, the film brought in nearly $44 million at the U.S. box office.
In many cases, these movies are not filled with unknown actors; they star top performers such as Robert Duvall, Melissa Leo, Helen Hunt, Helen Mirren and Louis Gossett Jr. (all Oscar winners), plus Vera Farmiga, Martin Sheen and Gerard Butler.
So why is Hollywood looking to a higher authority?
A confluence of factors — including the economic and social difficulties facing the country in the last few years, a desire among actors and directors for interesting roles and the success of 2009’s rather religious “The Blind Side” — seem to be at work.
“We are doing some serious soul-searching as a nation, trying to decide who we are going to be and what we are going to stand for,” said Craig Detweiler, director of the Center of Entertainment, Media and Culture at Pepperdine University, which is affiliated with Churches of Christ. “I think that does take us back to ultimate questions, whether as filmmakers or audiences.”
“Filmmakers,” he added, “are understanding that spirituality can be a complicated rather than a simplifying aspect of rich drama. I think for actors, they also understand these are complex roles that are ripe for exploration. When you have Academy Award performers like Robert Duvall and Melissa Leo, these are not simple or stereotypical portraits” of Christians.
Emmy Award winner Kathy Baker appears in “Seven Days” and “Machine Gun,” both times as a devout woman. Though she considers herself a spiritual person, she said she was drawn to the projects because they were both strong roles. And in the case of “Machine Gun,” she had the opportunity to work with director Marc Forster. “You have this wonderful director who can do anything and you give him this great story that has to deal with international politics. It’s only a coincidence to me that it’s faith-based.”
Baker said she believes that there are more faith-based films these days in part because religious people are eager to invest in them.
“This is a relatively new concept that different groups are funding indie films and stepping up and having the courage and the knowledge to say let’s make a movie,” she said. “‘Seven Days in Utopia’ was funded by some generous faith-based people who were very open about it. That’s why it got made.”
Review: ‘Machine Gun Preacher’ takes hard look at the road to redemption
Built around a fire-breathing performance from Gerard Butler (“300”) and directed with both scope and specificity by Marc Forster (“Monster’s Ball,” “Finding Neverland”), “Machine Gun Preacher” can be tough to watch as it closes in on the torture and violent abuse suffered by people — chiefly children — in Sudan. Those going seeking tearful uplifting moments best be prepared: This film will not pamper you.
In the film based on a true story and shot partly in Michigan, Butler plays Sam Childers, a drug-dealing biker tough guy who’s just getting out of prison. Shocked when he finds out his wife, Lynn (Michelle Monaghan), has become a born again Christian, Sam stomps out of the family trailer and reunites with his bad boy buddy Donnie (Michael Shannon).
Sam and Donnie are nobody’s idea of nice, and Forster quickly lays out just how on the edge — and violent — they are. But then Sam — and this happens a bit too easily — finds Jesus.
Actually, he doesn’t just find Jesus; he’s consumed by his sudden conversion to Christianity. Out of work, he’s forced to sell his motorcycle; but then things pick up. Thanks to an act of God — a tornado — Sam not only finds work rebuilding his town, but he also starts his own successful business.
Soon enough, he’s starting his own diverse church in town, and he finds himself pressed into duty as an impromptu preacher. Eventually, he runs into a missionary from Africa, and Sam decides he should volunteer to do some work there as well.
What Sam finds in Sudan is an approximation of hell. Rebel soldiers rule the land, often forcing children to take up guns after making them kill their own parents. People are tortured and maimed just for the random fun of it or to scare the general populace into compliance.
Sam decides to build an orphanage, but it is quickly attacked and burned down. That’s when he decides perhaps it’s best to fight fire with the kind of firepower he’s used to.
Meanwhile, his church back home is falling on bad times, his family is struggling to stay solvent, and Donnie — who has also converted — is crumbling.
But Sam has become obsessed with his project in Africa. And his religious fervor has taken on a madness that the devil might recognize.
There are a lot of blank spots in all this. Sam sells his business to finance the orphanage — so how does his family survive? How does the church stay intact without its preacher?
These sort of practical notions get steamrolled by the action scenes in Africa as Sam becomes a somewhat unholy holy warrior.
But it’s that essential dichotomy — killing in the name of God — that keeps “Machine Gun Preacher” more interesting than it might otherwise have been. The white American who is out to save the wretchedly oppressed needs more than a bit of saving himself.
Is he beyond redemption? “Machine Gun Preacher” leaves the question hanging in a way that earns admiration. The opposites in the title hold true through the film.
‘Machine Gun Preacher’
Rated R for violent content including disturbing images, language, some drug use and a scene of sexuality
Running time: 127 minutes
Detroit Movie Examiner
Genre: Action, Drama
Opens locally Friday, September 30th, 2011 (check for showtimes)
Run Time: 2 hours, 7 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Shannon, Souleymane Sy Savane
Directed by Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland, The Kite Runner)
The title “Machine Gun Preacher” implies we’ll get an intense blood-soaked action-mayhem movie, with explosions, and more than a few slow-motion shots of our hero walking into the camera with the world aflame behind him. The reality is, we do get intense action, graphic violence and explosions, but this is no comic book movie…instead it is an intense adult drama that doesn’t exploit, and only shows us horrible violence when needed. While not a perfect film, “Machine Gun Preacher” was an unexpectedly good film, with some pretty heavy moral issues at the center, making this a thinking-man’s action flick.
Gerard Butler stars as real-life humanitarian Sam Childers, a former junkie and ex-con who finds the Lord, establishes a church, and opens an orphanage in the heart of the civil-war stricken Sudan. But he acts first and prays later, the kind of guy who kills to protect those he loves, and believes that murder must be acceptable if done to protect the innocent. Michelle Monaghan is his ex-stripper wife, and the two have a young daughter as well. At home is also Sam’s buddy played by Michael Shannon, who at first seems miscast as a drug-dealing biker, but shows that he can pretty much play anybody, as long as he is a low-life creep (nobody in Hollywood does it better right now than Michael Shannon.)
It must be stated that what is (and was) going on in Sudan is unthinkably horrifying. Children, women, slaughtered nearly every night by a brutal dictator and his army. Women raped, and children forced to kill other members of their family in order to stay alive. Devastating acts of evil and violence that continue on even today, without much attention given in the media.
Sam is determined to save the lives of hundreds of children in Sudan, and what started as a curiosity turns into an obsession. He sells the business, and the car, to fund his Sudan project. When the killing continues, his anger rises and he decides to fight back. He becomes a crusader of sorts, the “white preacher” who fights for justice for the under-privileged.
This obsession of course begins to impact his family. The day to day of American life is no longer of consequence to him…how dare his daughter ask for money to rent a Limo to her formal dance, when he needs every penny to buy a new armored truck?
The best things about “Machine Gun Preacher” are the themes the film asks us to question. Isn’t murder murder? How can somebody hold a bible in one hand and an assault rifle in another? We see Sam’s point about the Limo money, but should the situation in Sudan overshadow every little thing in our lives back home? The answers are not clear ones, and the movie does a good job of presenting these themes in subtle ways.
That is, until near the end. The last 15 minutes or so becomes a bit heavy-handed, and more of a message film as opposed to a character study.
Casting seems to be the real issue I had with the film. Gerard Butler is great during the middle and end of the film as his frustration boils through his born-again persona. But I just couldn’t help but think what a Russell Crowe or even a Mel Gibson could have brought to the part. Gerard Butler, to me, doesn’t have that A-list star power, and believing he was a tough ex-con in the early scenes was a bit hard for me to swallow.
Even still, “Machine Gun Preacher” is like Rambo for Smarties, an intense action movie that stays focused on the morality at hand. Despite not being a perfect film, I really liked it, and found that less graphic violence was actually more impactful…scenes depicting horrifying injuries were few and far between, but every time you see blood in this film you care about where it came from…and that’s rare for an action movie.