Following on the heels of the critically acclaimed film Boys of Baraka comes Jesus Camp. A production with Magnolia Pictures and A&E IndieFilms, the feature follows a number of children attending Pastor Becky Fischer’s Kids on Fire summer camp in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota, where ‘kids as young as six years old are taught to become dedicated Christian soldiers in God’s army.’ As might be expected, the film has a polarizing effect on viewers – simply by its very existence. Some of the feedback realscreen received demonstrates this. One chose to nominate Jesus Camp ‘because it managed to deal with a politically and culturally divisive issue, while being respectful of both sides.’ While another noted: ‘Some have said this documentary is objective. I disagree. Still, the access these filmmakers gained was extraordinary and lifted the veil on an aspect of American culture often left unexamined.’ It’s notable that both sides argue for the merits of the film and filmmakers.
Nominated for an Oscar against the monster An Inconvenient Truth, Jesus Camp was pegged as the film likely to play David to Participant’s Goliath, should the unlikely happen. In the end, however, it was not meant to be. Interesting anecdote: the filmmakers learned about their nomination aboard a United Airlines flight at 30,000 feet. After asking to see if the pilot could check to see if the nominations had been announced, they were surprised by a plane-wide page: ‘The women in row 23 just got nominated for an Academy Award.’
Recent titles: Jesus Camp, Boys of Baraka
Hours this year: 3 to 4
Upcoming includes: The Big Girl (MTV), plus others