Joe Boyd is a teaching pastor at a thriving 6,000 member church in Cincinnati. He’s also an improv comedian, actor and filmmaker; an interesting mix in a church leader. His session “Telling the Kingdom Story Creatively” was one of the surprise stand-outs at our Creative Church Conference: Indianapolis last summer. You never quite know what Joe’s going to say, which brought a nice balance to a conference full of earnest artists and church leaders, serious about integrating the arts into church experiences and outreaches. He helped us laugh, then drove home some very insightful points about creativity and faith. (His session and the complete Creative Church Conference recordings are available on DVD, CD, or MP3, Here. )
Joe’s main venture these days–in addition to teaching at the Cincinnati Vineyard— is film development for Rebel Pilgrim Productions. On September 13th, RPP will release its latest movie, “A Strange Brand of Happy”, starring Joe, Grammy Award Winner Rebecca St. James, (Yes, the Christian music star) and Academy Award Winner Shirley Jones (Aka, Mrs. Partridge).
“A Strange Brand of Happy” introduces us to an aimless bachelor (Joe) who is suddenly unemployed and finds himself attracted to his life coach, the same girl (Rebecca St. James) his manipulative ex-boss is pursuing. It’s a romantic comedy.
“Basically, we wanted to tell a story about an unhappy guy who loses his job and is forced to actually think about the meaning of life a little bit,” Joe said. “We wanted him to discover that in pursuing that thing inside of you that gives you a strange brand of happy, you find yourself … and maybe even find God there too.”
Rebel Pilgrim wants to make films that have an offbeat, lovably quirky style like “Office Space” or “Little Miss Sunshine”, but remain “faith-friendly”. And though “A Strange Brand of Happy” certainly contains plenty of quirkiness, it manages to give center stage to questions about faith and the meaning of life. Its even earned a Dove approval rating for kids 12 and up. This film delivers some brilliant moments, such as a profound and beautiful spoken word performance by Anis Mojgani, and really can open the doors to deep conversations about faith that ultimately lead to salvation.
The company is counting on a Kickstarter-styled fundraising site, called Seatzy , for selling seats to prospective screenings on Sept. 13. The film will appear in any theater where people have pledged to purchase 500 or more tickets. Like a Kickstarter campaign, if it falls short, no money changes hands.
You can support Rebel Pilgrim, their mission, and this film by checking for theater locations in your town here and buying a ticket or two in advance. You can even buy tickets in cities where you don’t live just to show support.