“Believe Me,” a feature film about four college friends who start a fake Christian charity, examines the power of platforms and charismatic personalities, specifically among young Christians — and parodies the religious scandals that oft-times hit faith communities.
The movie, which hits theaters nationwide September 26, focuses on main character Sam Atwell, played by actor Alex Russell, who is smart and cunning and who uses Christian rhetoric to strategically catch the attention of adoring followers who willingly donate their money to him.
But there’s only one problem: Atwell is deceiving his fans, as he doesn’t believe the messages he’s preaching.
In fact, he only turned to his fake charity in an effort to pay his massive tuition bill, convincing his roommates to join him in an effort to travel the nation and collect fast cash.
Eventually, Atwell is forced to decide what he really believes.
While the fictional film is intended to spawn laughter in audiences, director Will Bakke told TheBlaze this week that it deals with some very serious subjects, mainly “questions about the power of platforms” and why people believe someone simply because he or she is “on a stage wearing a mic.”
Watch the “Believe Me” trailer below:
And read TheBlaze’s question-and-answer with Bakke:
TheBlaze: What was your motivation behind making “Believe Me?”
Bakke: Simply put, my motivation was to tell a good story. We wanted to see what would happen if four outsiders got thrown into today’s Christian culture. On film, it’s easy to paint religion from extreme ends of the spectrum. And while faith is usually taken pretty seriously, there are a lot of funny things that believers of all religions do. We wanted to hold up a mirror to those funny things.
TheBlaze: Who is your intended audience?
Bakke: The subject matter is directed towards young people, but the truths are applicable to all ages. Everyone has had an experience with religion, whether good or bad, so the subject matter is relatable to most people. Because the emotions in the movie are so genuine, “Believe Me” could create a common ground for people from different belief systems; the crossover of audiences that connect with this story will surprise people.
TheBlaze: What are you hoping audiences will take away from the film?
Bakke: I hope they’ll challenge their beliefs, and ask themselves question of, “Why do you believe what you believe?”
TheBlaze: Will you be marketing to Christians and people of faith? If so, how will they react to the plot?
Bakke: Of course! The Christian demographic is huge, and recent religious films like “God’s Not Dead,” “Heaven is For Real” and “Noah” have outperformed box office expectations because of their religious fan bases. But to be clear, “Believe Me” is not a Christian movie. Christianity is the backdrop to the story, but there’s no hidden agenda or altar call at the end of it.
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