Growing up in the Bible Belt I always wondered what kind of belt this metaphorical idea would be as a literal interpretation. It most definitely was not a regular leather belt. What was it? Possibly a chastity belt. Perhaps a sanding belt. Probably an authentic crocodile skin belt that crooked preachers purchase to hold up there pants because of all the money in their pockets. Perhaps.
Growing up in the South I was immersed in Christianity from a young age. I walked myself down the aisle to get baptized at 10 years old. I sang in the church choir, was a youth usher, went to Sunday School and Wednesday night Bible study, vacation Bible school in June, all of that typical stuff. I actually liked it a lot. I liked the community the church provided and the general sense of positivity it stood by. The church does great things for a lot of individuals and communities. It gives people hope and has historically played a large part in organizing the black community (something very difficult to do). I respect that. I didn’t stick around after going to college, but I respect it nonetheless.
What I don’t respect though is the authentic crocskin belt wearing preacher. People who are supposed to lead, but end up being crooks. Selling dreams, buying cars, and leaving the followers to wonder how their gas bill is going to get paid. Even more important, the mark that this may leave on impressionable kids. A kid wanting to grow up and become a preacher to pass on the Word is fine with me. A kid wanting to grow up and become a preacher in order to live in a big house and buy a nice car is ridiculous. It’s not the kid’s fault though; he had to get the idea from somewhere.
Enter Timothy and Matthew, two adolescent foster brothers from the Bible Belt. Abandoned by their parents at a young age, they were left to live with two god-fearing horrendous excuses for foster parents. The foster parents take out all of life’s frustrations on the boys by physically, verbally, and mentally abusing them. After a vicious beating sends Timothy to the hospital, Matthew decides its time to escape their situation to start life elsewhere. He has no idea how to do this until he notices the large amounts of money raked in each week at the church by a preacher who drives a nice car, wears designer suits, and has a swimming pool in his backyard. From this, Matthew develops the idea of going door to door selling holy water to people in order to raise funds to escape their abusive home. This is where my film, “Third Timothy” begins.
The film explores issues of truth, faith, and loyalty between two brothers as they work towards a better life while dealing with an abusive past and skewed views of religion. It was inspired by people I knew growing up and the first time I saw a pastor driving a brand new Escalade with ostrich skin seats. Along with this, it is driven by my strong belief in educating the youth responsibly.
I will present film in the tradition of Southern Gothic literature that explores deeply flawed, disturbing characters who are involved in sinister events relating to or springing from poverty, alienation, racism, crime, or violence. The form is used to explore social issues of the American South, with gothic elements taking place in a magical realist context. Hauntingly sumblime images that capture the spirit of the region and of the people will support the narrative. Growing up in the South, these issues were all around me and I have drawn from them to tell this story in the most authentic way I can. There are many depictions and conversations surrounding the idea of crooked pastors, but how many have you seen explore the effects of their actions on young people? How many times have you had an 11 year old boy try to sell you holy water? I intend to take a fresh approach to the “crooked preacher” issue by showing these situations and more in “Third Timothy”.
We will begin shooting in June 2013. I look forward to sharing it with you. Stay tuned for updates on the development of “Third Timothy” as well as info on our upcoming Indiegogo fundraising campaign. We’d love for you to be involved.