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Audience of One (2007)

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A documentary following a Pentecostal minister who receives a vision from God to create an epic science fiction movie based on the biblical story of Joseph, sending him and his followers on a journey of extreme faith.


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Credited cast:
Richard Gazowsky ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Pietro Manigrasso ...


Ten years ago, a Pentecostal pastor from San Francisco was praying on a mountain top when he received a vision from God to spread the Gospel through filmmaking. Using donations from his congregation, he slowly transformed his church into a fully functioning movie studio, and the production company Christian WYSIWYG Filmworks was born. After experimenting on a number of small projects, Pastor Richard Gazowsky announced that he and his WYSIWYG crew were going to make a film entitled, GRAVITY: THE SHADOW OF JOSEPH, a biblical science fiction movie that would redefine the Hollywood epic. AUDIENCE OF ONE is a documentary that chronicles the making of GRAVITY. This verite style film goes inside a Pentecostal church, where the charismatic Gazowsky leads his loyal cast and crew on an incredible journey that tests the limits of faith. From pre-production at their church, to shooting principal photography in Italy, to leasing an enormous studio on an island in the San Francisco Bay, AUDIENCE OF... Written by Anonymous

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9 March 2007 (USA)  »

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"It's like watching yourself go to the toilet..."
30 April 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

After the screening of Audience of One, much to the surprise--nay, the horror--of viewers, Pastor Richard Gazowsky and some of his congregation approached the stage with director Michael Jacobs. I, for one, had my hand over my mouth; my eyes were widened; and I certainly didn't know what to expect next.

But I'm getting ahead of myself--let's backtrack.

It took Gazowsky forty years to see his first feature film. Now the mission statement of his San Francisco based WYIWYG ("What You See Is What You Get") Filmworks is: "To bring the presence of God to people all over the world through entertainment." A highly unlikely candidate for a director, Gazowsky has made it his lifelong mission--since God told him to do it, of course--to get the biggest film ever on screen. It's kinda like "Star Wars meets The Ten Commandments"; shot on 65mm, it will be "the greatest movie ever made" and with a two million dollar budget to boot! A humble goal, indeed. Well, with that kind of pressure on your shoulders, it's no doubt that the film hasn't been made, despite hundreds of thousands of dollars and over a decade invested.

Jacobs doesn't really interfere much, in this film. He simply sits back and watches the roller coaster that is WYSIWYG Filmworks. Throughout the documentary, we see a highly inexperienced crew, a director who treats the set as a dictatorship instead of a collaboration, and a train wreck of goofs, mix-ups and failures. Anyone outsourced--and with any experience--ends up leaving, due to the misguided creative vision of the wannabe director. The crew spends money they don't have, relying on "investors" we never see; who end up dropping the whole project in the grease. Yet, the troupe hold on to that crazy vision and pray like there's no tomorrow because they are bound by faith! Just about the entire film made me laugh out loud, but at the same time, I felt a little ill in my stomach. The real question here--despite all the buffoonery and delusion--seems to be of immense import: is all of this a tad bit dangerous? Going back to the Q&A session, after the film; one audience member asked the pastor if he'd immediately turn to operate, if God had asked him to be a surgeon. And while the pastor's answer is an obvious one, the question still lingers in the air. Is this man's ambitiousness capable of hurting others around him? I certainly don't doubt this man's determination or his conviction--he actually sold his house to help the project--however, I do have doubt in his ability to deliver. And while he may be blinded by his own ambition, it's simply no excuse to waste the hopes and aspirations--and money!--of true believers, on the weak foundation of a deluded dream. This problematic, cultish mentality might be funny from the outside; but as we've seen so many times over: fundamentalism can be a very dangerous thing.

The pastor's response to all of this?

"It's like watching yourself go to the toilet," he says with sincerity. "I don't like to see myself cry. I feel like a total idiot in front of you guys. But what if we end up getting funded, dude? Then I'm not so stupid. Maybe." Maybe. Or, perhaps you're just a charlatan, who's just wasted another large sum of money--and someone else's dreams--due to false promises, based on absurdity and lofty goals, impossible to meet.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Conman or naive guy in denial? dinkamrat
Paint it any way you want, but this film is about Major Self Delusion... deckard-53
the ending track vortex_lip
The Ending (whoa!) lurm
Wow... unclemike1
Pastor Richard has not given up hope! misterajc
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