Stuff.co.nz Sits Down With ‘The Holy Roller’ Director Patrick Gillies

Film director Patrick Gillies tells the story behind a homespun feelgood movie that came together with a jolt or two.  “Our film opens nationwide on September 15,” my partner-in-crime, Angus Benfield, informs me. Rugby World Cup month. “Isn’t that like the ‘Month of Death’ for movies in this country?” Angus urges me to have some faith. We’ll be offering a cinematic antidote for all those sick of the rugby: a feelgood comedy-drama with no swearing or nudity. I remain unconvinced. Welcome to the harsh reality of micro-budget film-making in New Zealand. Our story begins 10 years earlier, when Angus, an Australian actor-writer-producer, is working as a youth pastor at a Sydney mega-church. Disillusioned by what he regards as an over-emphasis on materialism, he begins writing a film satirising the commercialisation of religion and the neglect of society’s outcasts. Fast forward several years, and Angus has settled in Christchurch with his Kiwi wife, Ruth. Our paths cross, and he flicks me a copy of his screenplay, The Holy Roller, the story of a struggling preacher who transforms a seedy nightclub into a thriving church, attracting unwanted attention from the local crime-lords. Angus doesn’t give a hoot that I am a dirty heathen. His mission is to make a mainstream movie that will appeal to anyone, regardless of their theosophical beliefs. In mid-2008, a phone call: we’re in the money. A mainly Christchurch-based business consortium has fronted up with $160,000 – a pot of gold to someone like me who has never made a film for over $45,000. Filmed mostly in Christchurch’s CBD over the course of 15 days in late...

Christian Cinema Reviews ‘The Holy Roller’

Angus Benfield, a writer, actor and producer, brings his 20 years of experience in the Australia and New Zealand film industries to the Christian movie THE HOLY ROLLER, in the starring role of Pastor Luke. His partners in the film are Patrick Gillies [director and producer], an award-winning writer, director and producer, and Mark Freiburger [DOG DAYS OF SUMMER]. The producers are currently looking to build teams in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States to help spread the word about the film. Taken From:...