Friday, May 9, 2014

Don’t Mess with the Missionary Man: Machine Gun Preacher Sam Childers

I recently attended the Gasparilla International Film Festival in Tampa, Florida, where I served on the documentary grand jury as well as a panel discussion about filmmakers and the press. In the Filmmaker Lounge post-panel, I was surprised to meet the subject of one of the docs I’d watched. Kevin Evans’ Machine Gun Preacher tells the unbelievable tale of Sam Childers, outlaw biker turned rescuer of African children, fighting the Lord’s Resistance Army with a Bible in his hand. (If this stranger than fiction story sounds familiar, it’s probably because you saw Gerard Butler play Childers in the 2011 Hollywood version of the same name.)

Even odder was Childers’ unabashed openness with a journalist he’d just met and his willingness to flit between diverse subjects: his steadfast belief in Obama’s ties to the loathsome leader of northern Sudan, whether Erik Prince of Blackwater was giving mercenaries a bad name, the reason he was at the Gasparilla International Film Festival in the first place. Because I found myself with more questions than time, I decided to follow up with Childers ASAP, before he was off on his next African mission and out of touch with the first world.

To read my interview visit Filmmaker magazine.

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