Richardson, a bishop for Lighthouse Light of the World Christian Ministries in Crows Landing and a graduate student of the American Baptist Seminary of the West in Berkeley, will premiere the film featuring local talent at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 8 at the Westside Theatre, 1331 Main St., in Newman
The movie focuses on the lives of six characters and takes place within the context of Reverend Wilks’office, according to Richardson. Each character signifies cultural difficulties facing the church in the midst of a changing society.
The film has been three years in the making, and originally started out as a graduate film before Richardson decided to pursue its theme of theology, the concepts of God and religious influences, further. He elicited help from actors throughout northern San Joaquin Valley, including Patterson residents Josephine McKinney and Franklin Barfield.
McKinney portrays a hot-tempered college student named LaLa, while Barfield’s character, Lieutenant Ron Paul, succumbs to tragic circumstances after returning home from Afghanistan.
Richardson preached of the pair’s acting chops, and consider the two “off-the-chart” performers. Richardson said he was particularly impressed with Barfield’s portrayal of Lt. Paul, a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Franklin Barfield’s performance is riveting in this movie,” Richardson said. “If there were an Oscar, Grammy, anything available to him here, he would win it. I expect Franklin to get picked up in Hollywood.”
Actors also include Stockton resident Amanda Hallgarth, who plays the secretive Dr. Daniels, and Hughson resident Danette Vercher as the premarital counselee, Lillyann. Richardson will also portray Rev. Wilks, a pastor in crisis, while his wife, Linda Richardson, will play Sister Candies, the Pastor’s love interest.
Though the film takes place in a church setting, Richardson advises children age 13 and younger not to see the film due to graphic violence.
It was important for the production to shy away from gospel films that play on stereotypes, Richardson said.
Instead, he wanted to push pressing circumstances that face the church and society on a daily basis. After the 90-minute film, there will be a 40-minute panel discussion with audience members.
“The issues that are in the movie can be seen as offensive, but these are serious issues that face our community everyday,” said Richardson, who has placed 40 theological issues that study the concepts of God in a modern society. “It’s an exciting movie. It will provoke and evoke emotions. I expect the audience will leave feeling challenged.”
The production is in no way a reflection of the church’s ideals, according to Richardson.
“The audience is never preached at because the purpose is not to evangelize you,” he said. “The film puts you in the seat of the pastor and lets the audience decide what you would do in that situation. The film is intended to engage discussion.”
Tickets are $10 each and can be found at brownpapertickets.com.
Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24, or firstname.lastname@example.org